Forty years on from New Cross, the need to build a mass anti-racist, anti-imperialist movement is still paramount. No justice, no peace!
The primary cause of immigration is imperialism and the asymmetric development that it results in, with wealth on one pole and poverty on the other. If people want to migrate to Britain it’s most often because their countries and economies have been underdeveloped by the British state and its allies. Very often this imperialist domination requires military force with people driven from their homes and countries by the military actions of these same states.
Britain’s ruling class is happy to loot other nations and interfere in all aspects of their economic, political and everyday lives wherever they believe they can profit from doing so. Britain’s borders then block the people of these nations from migrating to the place where this stolen wealth is accumulated.
Britain’s border controls, forces and immigration laws are institutions of a racist imperialist state and thus have a racist imperialist character: Access is stacked against people from oppressed nations and against people with no wealth, who can only move to Britain if they have skills that British capitalism can exploit at that time. In the later stages of an industrial cycle (which we are currently experiencing in now in Britain) where production is stagnant or shrinking, capitalists require a reduction in the number of migrants into Britain. In boom periods the opposite is the case with migrants being sucked into the imperialist core to be exploited. The Windrush generation is a clear example of this; they were initially encouraged to move to Britain to work but became unwelcome once the needs of the British economy changed.
Both the main capitalist parties in Britain stand united in this regard, both Labour and the Conservatives have ideologies and policies based on the concept that immigration should be relative to the needs of the British economy. Jeremy Corbyn, Labours supposedly leftwing leader, attacked the Tories in his last election campaign for underfunding and mismanaging British borders. In addition to this he has made multiple statements that EU immigration has driven down wages, which is completely untrue. Rather than challenge capitalists or fight to end exploitation, Corbyn wants to prohibit the movement of workers into Britain. Whilst on the other hand, the conservatives themselves continue with the typical capitalist rhetoric that only “skilled workers” should be allowed to migrate to Britain, particularly post-Brexit.
But why is capitalism, a system within which hard work supposedly “pays off”, scared of having too large a labour force right now? Surely more workers means a greater productive output and more wealth creation for the capitalists? Has Britain reached a point where it is simply overcrowded and there are too many people for our limited resources? No. It is a matter of how these resources are controlled and distributed. The problems that we are currently experiencing in Britain are caused by inherent contradictions in the capitalist system.
Capitalism is a system where production is carried out for profit by private individuals and companies. It is not a system that can, or even attempts to, meet the needs of the oppressed people and classes. There is presently a dire need for greater healthcare, housing, and a litany of other services in Britain, a dire need for a system that can meet the needs of the oppressed. There is massive wealth in this country, mainly as a result of it being an imperialist state that plunders wealth, resources and labour power from territories it controls.
But the wealth in this state is concentrated in the hands of private businesses and individuals who will only put it into action if it will return a profit. At the point that we currently find ourselves in in the production cycle, profits are small and require a large level of risky investment from the capitalists; so, rather than invest their wealth in production, this wealth is allowed to sit in bank accounts and in tax havens as our economy stagnates. Furthermore, as the scramble for profits becomes more desperate imperialist and inter-imperialist wars become more likely.
To try and kickstart a new profitable cycle of production, austerity has been enacted by the ruling class, coupled with tax cuts for businesses. In fact, since 2008 the corporate tax rate has gone from 30% to 19% with plans to take it down to 17% in 2020, whilst at the same time the working class has suffered massive attacks on our standards of living through cuts. The ruling class has tried to obscure what they are doing and who is to blame; they have stirred up racial tensions and pointed at people that they label as “scroungers” and “undeserving” (addicts, homeless people, single mothers, people unable to work etc.) who are some of the individuals hardest hit by the failures of capitalism. They do this in an attempt to hide what’s really going on; they do this to prevent us from recognising the real cause of our suffering. Other workers are not our enemy, the enemy is the ruling class, and the solution to the problems facing us is socialism.
In a socialist Britain imperialism would be ended and workers would be organised according to a plan that aimed to secure the maximum satisfaction of the material and cultural requirements of society. The right to work could be guaranteed. In such a system workers would not be seen just as a means to produce surplus value for the ruling class with their number dictated by the needs of the economy. Rather, in a socialist system, a greater number of workers would mean greater levels of production and, as a result, a greater ability to meet people’s needs.
An example of a socialist line with regards to immigration can be seen in the policies recently enacted in Venezuela, which allowed all migrants living in Venezuela to be granted citizenship. “I will proceed to sign a decree where I make legal 8,381 immigrants from various parts of the world and support the migration of the world,” President Maduro said at a meeting with international representatives visiting Venezuela before daring the USA to enact the same policy: “I make public the request that President Trump sign a decree establishing the legality of all Latinos and Caribbeans who live in the United States.”
We as workers and oppressed people don’t need to be scared of each other. Red Fightback as socialists and internationalists call for the end of British imperialism and all imperialism as the primary cause of migration. We want to create a movement to end capitalism in Britain and build a society that is organised based on meeting our needs as workers and oppressed peoples. Until socialism in Britain is achieved we oppose all imperialist border controls as institutions that are racists and oppressive to workers for the benefit of the profits of our ruling class.