Migration and Imperial Guilt

Gepubliceerd op 14 juni 2024 om 11:39

Brecht Jonkers highlights how historical imperialism and modern globalist agendas contribute to the ongoing challenges and contradictions faced by both migrants and host countries.

The political developments across Europe nowadays, and in particular the rise of the “populist right-wing” across the continent and the migration debate that accompanies it, always causes me to have double feelings.


On one side, from a purely historical and civilisational viewpoint, this is all just a very normal, logical and in many ways ironic consequence of Europe’s imperialist past, at least when talking about such countries like the UK, France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.


Simply put: you can’t expect to conquer and enslave half the world and then complain when some of the descendants of the enslaved and deprived decide to leave their plundered homelands and settle in the imperial core. Actions have consequences, and the continuous imperialist and neocolonial predations on the Third World have caused hundreds of millions of people to live in precarious living conditions. People who can’t be blamed for doing whatever they can to survive, including travelling to the imperialist powers that stole their fatherland’s wealth in the first place, and trying to make a living off of the stolen wealth within the West.


On the other side, it is a fact that these waves of labour migration often have negative side effects for both the country of origin (brain drain, population reduction, lack of development opportunities due to the absence of a proper workforce) as well as for the country they end up in (clash of values, lack of social cohesion, further atomisation of society into a patchwork of individuals without social and cultural roots).


We must never forget that, more often than not, labour migration in particular is encouraged by some of the most powerful globalist, neoliberal and imperialist institutions in the world, such as the WEF, World Bank, IMF and the Bill Gates Foundation. Now, I’m not going to entertain the ridiculous notion that these liberal institutions are united in some sort of “cultural Marxist” plot to wipe out the White race or any such hogwash. The actual reasons for all of this are far more tangible.


The mass influx of an impoverished and desperate labour force into the West allows for an artificial increase in the workforce. And not just any workforce, but a desperate one that will agree to just about anything in order to survive. This means lower wages, precarious and dangerous working conditions, unregulated overwork, infringement on holiday and free time rules, you name it. Not only does this provide the capitalist elite with a cheap workforce, it also helps to put pressure on the already existing domestic proletariat and on the trade unions, in order to roll back previously gained workers’ rights achievements.


This all is not new. Marx called these sorts of workers, lacking class consciousness and undercutting the more organised workforce, “lumpenproletariat” — an unknowing and “unconscious” weapon in the hands of the bourgeoisie.


In Western Europe, this has all been tried before, and not even that long ago. When the economic boom after World War II happened, Western European countries invited tens of thousands of Italians, Greeks, Spaniards, Portuguese and later Moroccan and Turkish workers into France, Belgium, West Germany and the UK to work in the coal mines and steel factories. Thousands of them have died since then due to health complications and lack of safety precautions during their time working.


Of course, over time and with generations being born in the West, these communities start organising and demanding their rights. The Southern European communities are by now fully anchored in society and absorbed into the domestic working class, and for the most part this happened to the North African and Turkish communities as well.


This necessitates, from the perspective of the globalist elite, a constantly continuing and never-ending stream of impoverished new potential workers from ever more varied origins: Afghan, Somali, Eritrean, you name it.


To facilitate the globalist economic exploitation of this incredibly varied group of working class arrivals, the liberal ideology tries to remove them from their cultural and social roots. To make them all individual atoms in a rootless society, in a “global world” without religious, cultural or ethnic expression. Of course, the same is then extended to the “native” population of the West (although it could be argued that a lot of the Western world has already abandoned any cultural or religious roots long ago in favour of Americanised globalism).


As was written in the manifesto of Feniks when this anti-globalist movement was founded over here in Belgium: one of the main issues with the globalist approach to migration, and labour migration in particular, is that the benefits are privatised (in the hands of the bourgeoisie factory owners and financial elite), while the costs (social security, financial compensation but also law enforcement) often get collectivised. A new twist in the age-old capitalist mantra that profits are made individually but crises are borne collectively.


This is a complex issue that can’t be solved with either denial or hysteria, and I personally don’t have much faith in either the present-day liberal-left nor the populist right figuring out a solution anytime soon. But it does need to be addressed.

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