The migrants are our class brothers

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
September 25, 2023

On Saturday, the Pope celebrated a huge mass in the Vélodrome stadium in Marseille. Thanks to financial support from the multibillionaire Rodolphe Saadé, CEO of the multinational maritime transport company CMA-CGM, he was even able to tour around the city streets and have it broadcasted on giant screens. As the good Christian he is, the Pope emphasized the obvious fact that migrants are human beings. And all the media marveled at his words. What a joke! The very next day, right after kneeling down before the Pope, Macron reaffirmed he was toughening up his policy against the migrants.

Yes, the European Union (EU)’s policy towards the migrants is revolting. While the number of migrants is tiny compared to the size of Europe and its population, those in power want people to believe that the situation is out of control. But the 230,000 irregular entries into the EU this year – the figure given by the European agency that tracks them – is not even four times the number of people who came to listen to the Pope’s mass. European countries do have the means to welcome them, but their leaders won’t drop their policy of scapegoating migrants in order to divert attention away from the growing discontent due to inflation and the economic crisis.

Prices keep going up. “It will continue on”, Macron has said. Everyone knows who is to blame: it’s businesses like TotalEnergies, the agri-food corporations like Danone and Nestlé, huge wholesalers like Carrefour and Leclerc, and shipping companies like CMA-CGM which made 25 billion euros in profit last year by significantly increasing the price of transporting goods. But for the government, going after these trusts is out of the question. Just look at what happened with gas prices. The government suggested allowing gas stations to sell below cost in order to lower their prices but distributors and oil companies immediately rejected it and Macron withdrew his proposal at once.

He and other EU politicians prefer to put the blame on the migrants, claiming that it’s impossible “to take in all the misery in the world”. As if they weren’t responsible for all the misery here and elsewhere!

Where, indeed, does the misery that the migrants are fleeing come from? Most countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America are rich in natural resources. It’s in these countries that TotalEnergies extracts its oil and that other industrialists go to get their raw materials. These countries have been kept in a state of underdevelopment through the plundering carried out by big capitalist corporations in imperialist countries, the same corporations that exploit and steal from us here with inflation. To compensate for the plundering of these countries, the ruling cliques received a tiny share of wealth, not to help develop their countries but so that they themselves could live in luxury amid an ocean of misery. Plus this money has been used to set up armies with the help of armies from wealthy countries so as to keep the population in line. That’s what France has done in Africa. And on top of all that, the natural disasters and the wars that this whole situation is causing make everything worse.

So, fellow workers, we mustn’t fall into the trap of treating migrants as a threat. Those who seek to pit us against each other are our worst enemies. Such politicians, whether they are in power or hoping to get in office one day, cater to the rich and couldn’t care less about our lives and those of the migrants.

On the other hand, migrants will work alongside us in companies and live alongside us in our neighborhoods. They will become our class sisters and brothers. And as workers, we must advocate for the freedom of all to move around and settle where they want and for all workers, regardless of where they come from, to have the same rights. It is not just a question of acting out of humanity, it is vital for the working class. The working class can be a considerable force, with irresistible revolutionary energy, on the condition that it has a class consciousness and a party with a program to overthrow the imperialist social order that is rotting our lives here and the lives of billions of human beings around the world.

Workers of the world, unite!

Nathalie Arthaud