It is no news that the world is going through the worst migratory crisis since the end of World War II. According capitalist organizations such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), this crisis includes around 68 million people, half of them under 18 years old. Every 30 minutes a person is forcefully displayed from their original land or home because of economical, social or cultural reasons, because of political or religious persecution, or by the disasters caused by wars.
Statement of the IWL-FI
The phenomenon of forced migratory flows is not a new one. But it has exacerbated to the maximum with the global crisis and obvious decomposition of the imperialist capitalist system. At the same time, as was bound to happen, this problem has been an important factor in increasing the social-political polarization both in imperialist and semi-colonial countries.
Right now there are two mains focuses. The African and Middle East “route” towards the more developed countries of Europe, which reach its most alarming levels in 2015-2016, but still leaves a trail of corpses in the Mediterranean, and more recently, the successive caravans of thousands of Central America families who leave everything behind and endanger their own lives on a 3000 km journey on foot to the USA. We also cannot forget, as part of this social tragedy, the millions of Venezuelans, who flee from the poverty and repression provoked by Maduro’s capitalist dictatorship seek refuge in various South American countries, particularly Brazil and Colombia. The same can be said of the thousands of Haitians who go to other countries of the Southern Cone.
What forced migration shows us is nothing else but the savagery of capitalism. And the bourgeois governments, with more or less heinous discourses, answer with more savagery.
Criminalization of forced migration by the bourgeois governments
Recently, the picture of Oscar and his little daughter Valeria, who drowned embracing each other in the Bravo river, within the limits of the city of Matamoros, State of Tamaulipas in Mexico, touched the entire world. It is a horrendous image, that unmasks the true face of imperialism and its managers like Donald Trump.
The subject of “the danger of illegal immigrants” has always been one of the electoral banners of the current president of the USA, and now is not different. Trump spares no insult for the migrants, whom he calls terrorists, bandits, drug dealers. But he has not answered only with racist, xenophobic hate speech: he has taken grotesque measures such as sending troops to the southern border, increasing arrests, separating children from their parents, segregating people in inhuman concentration camps and, as is known, insisting in erecting a wall in the Mexican border.
It would be wrong to think Obama was different, however. Without appealing to hate speech as Trump does, the Democrat government of Obama was the one that deported the most people so far: more than 3 million migrants. Republicans and democrats can diverge in rhetoric or manners, but they agree on the essential: migrants must be repressed.
But the caravans also show the calamities caused by dictatorships that serve imperialism, such as that of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, Juan Orlando Hernández [JOH] in Honduras, or Maduro in Venezuela. The same can be said of the boot-licker governments of Guatemala, Costa Rica and El Salvador, and of the disgraceful role of “police filter” played by the Mexican government of López Obrador, who surrendered all the way to Trump’s blackmail and sent troops to the Guatemalan border to stop the caravans and “hunt” the migrants. And more ignominious still: the Mexican government disguises its repressive action with a cover of “respect for human rights”, when actually, after its deal with Trump on June 7th, the border zones have become concentration camps for the migrants expelled from the USA, who remain in Mexico until their requests of asylum in the US are processed. They are almost 17 thousand this year only.
The caravans of Central American migrants, of whom tens of thousands are jailed in the borders and hundreds die, like Oscar and Angie [não seria Oscar e Valéria?], are the product of the combination between imperialist brutality and decades of politics of pillaging and repression by the governments of the region. One example is treaty of the Northern Triangle. Others are the famous TLCs (“Treaties of Free Trade”), which have abandoned the privatizations, destruction of labour rights, surrendering of natural resources to multinationals, massive unemployment and widespread poverty: a perfect storm to bring a sector of the working class to utter impoverishment and despair.
In Honduras, for example, poverty reaches 64% of the population, there are 350 thousand unemployed, and 70% eke out their living in the informal sector. In the same country, 63% of the graduated decide to migrate and 23 children abandon school every day. Besides, the various Honduran governments decided to privatize 66% of the electricity system, which has increased the prices for this essential service in up to 20%. In El Salvador, almost 30% of the population lives in the USA. The economic chaos is such that the money sent by those who managed to migrate reaches some 20% of the country’s GDP. The situation is not very different in the other countries of Central America nor in Mexico, where the money sent by migrants – 36 billion dollars every year – is the second biggest entry of money in the country.
However, among the working class of these countries there are sectors with are not desperate. There are very strong popular uprisings against the dictatorships in Nicaragua, Honduras and Venezuela, against governments such as Jimmy Morales in Guatemala and against the neo-liberal plans of Alvarado in Costa Rica. In these battles, the heroism of the masses is impressive: the dead, wounded and arrested number in the hundreds; the brutality of the governments is explicit; and the traitorous role of the bureaucratic traditional leaderships is more and more evident.
The Mediterranean sea has been turned into a huge, deep graveyard
The phenomenon of the migrant caravans is neither new nor restricted to Central Americans. We have seen it in Europe, especially in 2015 and 2016, when thousands of families left Africa and countries of the Middle East such as Syria and Iraq, and headed to Europe.
From the shores of Libya, a destroyed country in utter chaos, they try to cross over the Mediterranean in extremely dangerous conditions to European ports, such as Lampedusa, in Italy. In 2018 alone more than 2000 people died trying to complete this journey. There are concentration camps in which thousands are detained in the USA, France, in Eastern Europe, and in Erdogan’s Turkey, a country which is paid 6 billion Euros by Europe to serve as a “wall” against migrants. Only a small portion of the migrants, usually that which is more qualified for work, is “admitted” by the governments of “democratic” Europe through a repulsive system of “quotas”.
The case of German captain Carola Rackete, a young woman of 32 years who rescued with her ship 40 migrants in the Mediterranean, is illustrative of how heinous Europe’s migratory politics are. After two weeks waiting for authorization, Carola decided to take the risk of docking immediately. She was arrested and sued on arrival. The Italian Minister of Inner Affairs, Matteo Salvini, a famous far-right politician, accused her of committing an “act of war”. A dispute with the German government made possible for the captain to be released, but the fact that saving lives is considered an “act of war” must be understood by the working class as a very clear lesson of how the “civilized” European governments think and act.
The great task: solidarity with the migrants and all-out fight against the governments
The International Worker’s League-Fourth International believes that the greatest tasks of the political, social, student and union organizations across the world is solidarity with all the forced migrants, in any country.
No one is illegal! For the capital there are no borders, but for workers there is. This is unacceptable. If entire families risk their lives trying to reach the USA, Europe, or whatever other country, it is because in their own countries there are no guarantee of minimally dignified living conditions.
It is the task of the organized working class and of all sectors who say they are democratic to fight without quarters against xenophobia and racism. The bourgeoisie uses these prejudices to divide us as working class and, thus, to increase their profit rates and over exploiting even more the undocumented. We reject xenophobic words and actions, and state that foreigner or national, we are the same working class.
The other task is fighting the governments. We must urgently demonstrate against the political repression of Trump and of his servant governments in Central America; at the same time, we must denounce and reject the crimes of the European Union against migrants from Africa and the Middle East.
We demand the immediate withdrawal of troops, the complete opening of all borders, the end of any wall or fence, so that any person can freely enter any land in the country. This is a fundamental human and democratic right. We demand papers and dignified workers for everyone, in any country. The same work must be paid with the same wage.
In Central America, we more than ever say that we need to defeat, through our struggle, the dictatorships of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua and JOH in Honduras, the main lackeys of Trump in the region where migrant waves come from, both to the USA and to Costa Rica. Oligarchical, corrupt governments like Jimmy Morales in Guatemala, Alvarado in Costa Rica, or FMLN (and now Nayib Burkele) in El Salvador, are as responsible as Trump for the poverty and death of thousands of migrants.
The task is to split with imperialism, defeat its offensive and its re-colonizing politics to the semi-colonial countries. And this requires fighting their lackey governments. This requires fighting the national bourgeoisies. In the imperialist countries, the task is the organization of solidarity with migrants, for the free access to papers, for dignified work. Education and rights for every family. The task is also one of fighting against Trump and the European governments, who have their hands stained for blood of our class.
In every country, it is necessary to organize migrants to defend themselves, in every aspect, from the attacks of the government and, where it exists, the far-right.
We call the mass movement organizations to organize an international journey of struggle against xenophobic policies and for free migration in all countries; a campaign in which the organized working class and other exploited and oppressed sectors must take the lead.
For an anti-capitalist answer to the tragedy of refugees and migrants
The final resolution of this struggle can only be reached by a socialist revolution that brings the working class to power. In the semi-colonial countries, the phrase “socialist revolution or colony” is more real than ever to stop the savagery, the misery, the unemployment and the power of drug dealers. In the imperialist countries, to put an end to the social war of the governments against the working class, be it native or foreign. Far from a utopia, the socialist revolution is an urgent necessity for all peoples.
The IWL-FI, with its different sections, puts itself in service of the construction of an alternative political leadership that realizes this task, both in the semi-colonial countries and in the imperialist countries in which we are present.
The working class has no borders! No human is illegal! Stop the criminalization of migration!
Decent asylum and shelter for all migrants! Open the borders now!
The unions and social movements must organize solidarity actions with migrants on both sides of the borders!
Out with USA imperialism from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Mexico, and all Central America!
Complete solidarity with all peoples that fight against dictators like Maduro, JOH and Ortega!
Down with governments and dictatorships which serve Trump and the European Union!
Translated by Miki Sayoko