by Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired
I had to walk away from some FB friendships with folks back in England. I was tired of the anti-immigrant mood that seems to be emerging over there and people were forwarding these provocative anti-immigrant statements put out by right wing nationalist and blatantly fascist groups like the English League, this Britain First movement and others.
One friend back in England was going on about the Somalis coming over there and getting jobs and handouts and all that when "real" English people can't. You would think there were swarms of Somalis sucking up the British welfare state's benefits like a vacuum cleaner. But Somali's must be a tiny percentage of the British population. The CIA World Factbook has what it refers to as "black/African/Caribbean/black British" at 3%. I would hazard a guess that Somali's fall in to this category and are a tiny portion of that 3%.
But this image of fortress Europe being besieged by swarms of immigrants does not paint the real picture. The barbaric wars, actually prolonged conflict, that US imperialism has waged in the Middle East have not only created a humanitarian nightmare in terms of deaths as it split Iraq in to three, it drove hundreds of thousands of refugees in to neighboring countries, in particular a small country known as Syria.
The UN report on refugees released last month claims 60 million people have been displaced due to these predatory wars fought under the banner of The War Against Terror. I think if you were to talk to Iraqi's they could let us know very clearly what terror is. 2014 saw the number of forcibly displaced people rise by 8 million. More than 30 million of these refugees are children.
"This little island can't hold all these people" one woman wrote to me from back home., herself the daughter of immigrants. These views are spread by the right wing media, papers like the Daily Mail, the Express and the Daily Telegraph. But most refugees the report points out, are stuck in their own countries or flood the small, and often impoverished countries that border the areas of conflict, or more accurately, the countries the US bombs for peace. Of those that do escape their own countries, 86% end up next door the report claims.
The report claims that as far as Europe goes, with a population of 500 million, the 100,000 refugees there are a relatively small percentage. Lebanon has one Syrian for every four of its own citizens, Turkey, with a population of 75 million has more than 1.6 million refugees. Turkey, like Syria borders Iraq and has been severely affected by the catastrophe US imperialism brought that country. Poverty stricken countries like Eritrea and Somalia have taken in 3.7 million people, many from Sudan, their neighbor. The US is also taking in some 100,000 Muslim refugees a year according to some sources.
Commenting on the report, Bloomberg Businessweek says that donor countries have pledged less than half of the $8.5 billion the UN claims could provide adequate food and shelter for the 12 million Syrians scattered throughout the Middle East. The parasitic owner of Bloomberg, the former mayor of NYC with the same name as the Magazine, is worth three times that $8 billion.
But these problems can never be solved in this way. It's not the money. As an Oxfam report pointed out last year, 85 of the world's richest people have more wealth than 3.5 billion of the rest of us. Poverty, disease, hunger, these are all market driven calamities and nothing to do with lack of funds or humanity's inability to solve them. The Oxfam report also pointed out:
- Almost half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just one percent of the population.
- The wealth of the one percent richest people in the world amounts to $110 trillion. That’s 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world’s population.
- The bottom half of the world’s population owns the same as the richest 85 people in the world.
- Seven out of ten people live in countries where economic inequality has increased in the last 30 years.
- The richest one percent increased their share of income in 24 out of 26 countries for which we have data between 1980 and 2012.
- In the US, the wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of post-financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90 percent became poorer.
The fanatical Sunni religious groups were funded and supported by the US and its Saudi allies in their efforts to destroy national liberation movements in the former colonial world that were a hindrance to market reforms and US capital plundering the country as well as to undermine Soviet influence. Jimmy Carter's National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brezinski was asked about the US relationship with Moslem fundamentalists in 1998. The US was funding and arming them to fight the Soviets.
Q And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic Fundamentalism, having given arms and advice to future terrorists?
Brezinski: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet Empire? Some stirred up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the Cold War? *
Here in the US, there is no counter to the massive ideological propaganda of the ruling class. We have reality TV shows the object of which is to obscure reality. Consequently most Americans are completely unaware that the struggles for self determination and control over their own resources and national wealth on the part of many of the countries now overrun by ISIS and other fanatical groups, were defeated as a direct result of US imperialism's policy of funding and supporting the every same groups it now claims are terrorists. Despite spending trillions of dollars, costing US lives and the lives of more than one million people in the Middle East, ISIS control Iraq and Syria, the Center for Security Policy claims.
Business Week is concerned not enough is being done as even sections of the US ruling class realize that the immigration problem has the potential to destabilize markets and therefore profit opportunities. But this magazine of the US 1% is only half correct when it stresses, "There is no single or permanent solution". There is a permanent solution but not within the framework of capitalism. Capitalism to many is simply the act of buying an object and selling it for a profit. We are not taught to recognize it for what it is, a system of production, an organized way of interacting with nature to produce the necessities of life, that it has not always been the dominant form of production, that other forms, feudalism and slavery preceded it.
We are taught to think that our system is the end of civilization, that there is no other way of organizing society and production. Every ruling class, those that control and manufacture the ides in society, teach that their system is permanent.
We are witnessing a crisis of capitalist globalization, the many contradictions within the system coming to a head, the existence of nations states within a global economy and the struggle for markets and profits in a crowded world market. Mass forced migration of people's, the destruction of the environment, the poverty and disease that exists because it is not profitable to invest in the infrastructure and resources that would eliminate them, these are permanent feature of capitalism intensified with capitalist globalization.
The Greeks recently chose to stand against these forces, against global capital in the form of the EU, EC and IMF. They took a first step last Sunday and voted to oppose further austerity measures a vote recommended to them by Alex Tsipras, the leader of the political party, Syriza that they elected to defend them against these predatory forces. But Tsipras, and it looks like the entire party, have capitulated to global capital. Syriza's leaders had no plan for taking the movement forward, no plan to take over the banks and the dominant sectors of the economy like shipping. There has been no serious attempt to reach out to the workers of Europe and to build a continent wide workers struggle against international capital. There is no other alternative except a victory for German, European and US capitalism.
No matter what the outcome of the Greek struggle, the choices are the same. The only solution to the crises of capitalism, whether the forced migration of people as economic refugees or the struggle against the austerity agenda of the bankers, is the struggle to end this system that can no longer take society forward and actually threatens to end life as we know it on this planet. Environmental catastrophe looms if we do not act. Each national struggle must be a struggle to take collective control of society's productive forces and the daily production of human life out of the hands of the clique that rules. As we struggle to do this,we reach out to workers of all countries as we build a truly international movement that can challenge global capitalism and build a world federation of democratic socialist states.
*Interview with Zbigniew Brezinski on the CIA's intervention in Afghanistan by Le Nouvel Observateur Paris January 1998. Quoted in War and Globalization by Michel Chossudovsky Chap. 2 p20