Look, balloons! Another migrant scare distracts attention from corona and crisis

With the worst covid outcome and deepest recession in Europe, our rulers are keen to divert workers’ anger from themselves and their failing system.

Proletarian writers

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Four refugees use spades to paddle a tiny dinghy across the Channel. The increase in numbers via this particular route has been vastly overhyped. It is still insignificant in relation to the total number of refugees in Britain, never mind in the world. Britain takes a tiny fraction of the world's refugees in comparison with Germany and France, and an even tinier fraction compared with the middle-eastern and African countries that are closer to imperialist warzones. The vast majority of refugees are only able to make it across a single international border.

Proletarian writers

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There is a meme on social media that has been doing the rounds for a while now. Beneath a picture of dark-skinned families walking with what scant belongings they can carry are the words: “We’re not running for your benefits, we’re running from your bombs!”

This pithy summation really needs to be borne in mind when we are confronted by a fresh deluge of “immigrants are swamping us!” sensationalism by Britain’s corporate media.

Of course, there are other reasons for mass migration (refuge seeking) besides invasions and terror meted out by the imperialist war machines. There are ‘natural’ disasters, oppression from groups and governments in the refugees’ own countries, and, of course, grinding poverty.

Once the surface is scratched on these reasons, however, we very often find that our imperialist elites are in there somewhere, grubbing around for maximum profits and domination, so that even if they are not directly causing the problem from which people are fleeing, they are certainly exacerbating it.

Channel ‘emergency’ grabs the headlines

And so we come to the latest immigration terror and ‘threat to everything we hold dear’. “It’s time to declare an emergency in the Channel” screamed the Telegraph, as three or four little boats of desperate people were intercepted by British Border Force officers on the south coast.

Nigel Farage, mindful that people were in danger of forgetting him, took to the waves to film a small, overloaded boat of refugees in the Channel. He documented the French navy shadowing the boat in case it got into trouble and he witnessed the British Border Force picking it up once it entered British waters. From this, he deduced that the French are helping to send refugees to Britain.

It may well be that the French government would like to see some of its refugee population leave France for Britain, but the shadowing of the little overloaded boats so as to be able to rescue their occupants in case of accident is hardly a crime, and anyone picked up in this way would be transported back to France, not to Britain. The French also inform British coastguards about the boats’ locations so as to allow British forces to perform the same role in our own waters.

Whatever happens, it is clear that the people in the boats are not being left to ‘run amok’, destroying our way of life (that is still a government prerogative), but will end up, on whichever side of the Channel, in some sort of ‘monitored’ situation. Many of them are in limbo for years, unable to work or build any kind of a life while various arms of the state argue about whether they should be officially allowed to stay.

The latest ‘crisis’ to be making summer headlines consists in fact of 4,300 people who have crossed the Channel by boat since January. This number is five times higher than last year because other routes into Britain (via trains, ferries and lorries) diminished with the coronavirus lockdown, and because there is a lack of legal routes for refugees trying to claim asylum in Britain.

How many make a ‘flood’?

Whilst the numbers crossing by boat are higher than usual, the overall numbers concerned are insignificant on a global scale. Britain receives far fewer asylum seekers and refugees than other European countries, which in turn take fewer than the oppressed countries do.

Before it was destroyed by Nato, for example, Libya used to be home to a significant percentage of African and middle-eastern refugees, most of them fleeing imperialist-inspired wars. Syria, likewise, was home to huge numbers of Palestinian and Iraqi refugees before many of them were forced to flee once more by the influx of west-backed jihadis.

Ever eager to grasp an opportunity to look tough, home secretary Priti Patel has appointed a ‘clandestine Channel threat commander’ (we kid you not) to take on the challenge of repelling these hostile boarders. At a cost of millions, she wants the British navy to block those little boats of misery in the Channel and force them back into French waters. The threat would be backed by a refusal to pick up survivors from boats that sink (as many do) – a clear breach of international maritime law, besides being an affront to basic humanity.

Even the French are disgusted by this proposal and have called on the prime minister to distance himself and the British government from such blatant brutality. We shall see.

In the meantime, those few refugees who are successful in making landfall on Blighty’s green and pleasant land are not being handed luxury homes or wads of cash. Far from it. In many cases, families are split up and their members are put into ‘holding accommodation’ (detention centres / concentration camps) that are a very long way from five-star.

Our advice to anyone seriously worried at the threat posed to their way of life by a handful of distraught refugees awaiting arrest on a cold south-coast beach is that they consider taking up the cudgels against British imperialism.

It is Britain’s rulers, after all, who are some of the biggest culprits in turning workers and peasants into refugees and migrants so desperate they will risk anything to escape the lands of their birth.