The refugees are from our side of the class divide ; an injury to one is an injury to all!

Workers' Fight workplace bulletin editorials
2 November 2022

After the scandal at the Manston migrant holding centre, Prime Minister Sunak was asked by Labour if the asylum system was “broken”?  He answered by boasting that his party in government had got Brexit done and had taken control of the borders “by ending freedom of movement”!  Besides not answering the question, imagine boasting about removing workers’ right to travel and work freely across Europe!?

    Of course none of this government’s actions in respect of Brexit, nor indeed anything else, has had a positive effect on the lives of anyone – let alone the migrant refugees currently being treated “worse than animals” and certainly without a scrap of human compassion at Manston.

     Suella Braverman called the arrival of almost 40,000 migrants in small rafts over the course of the year, an “invasion”: language which was immediately welcomed by Nigel Farage, the far-right politician who used the very same words during the 2015 election, when UKIP polled its highest ever vote share, provoking Cameron’s Brexit referendum.

    Immigration minister, Robert Jenrick, supported Braverman, saying that “‘invasion’ is a way of describing the sheer scale of the challenge".  The politicians say they are only against “illegal” immigration.

    However, today, using a small raft to arrive in Britain is the only way to submit an asylum claim, given the fact that safe routes no longer exist - and neither do application centres abroad.  This is due entirely to the nationalistic, anti-immigrant stance, not only of the British, but also EU governments.  Increasingly, they adapt to the right-wing scapegoating of (mostly) dark-skinned migrants, in the context of an utterly rotten capitalist economy in constant crisis, which has nothing to offer the working class except exploitation down to its very bones, in order to keep itself going.

    In fact 76% of those who arrive here, even under the Home Office’s strict criteria, are judged to have valid asylum claims.  However, due, not just to massive cuts at the Home Office, but the systematic subcontracting of all its functions to private cowboys, it’s got to the point where 96% of people who crossed the Channel last year are still waiting for an initial decision, part of a backlog of 100,000 applications.  With hardly any support nor way of sustaining themselves, many refugees "disappear", including children, to work on the black market or more likely, to be exploited by criminal gangs.

    If the asylum system is broken, it’s a function of the crumbling of the whole capitalist framework.  And if its politicians are stupid, flippant and, moreover, brutal like Braverman, that’s because they are products of this system’s rottenness.  It’s time for change, from bottom to top.