Migration, nationalism, right wing populism, fascism, Liz Peretz and Bill MacKeith

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Synopsis First – an explanation. The facilitators (Bill MacKeith and Liz Peretz) of this day are activists, not Politics or Migration Studies lecturers. This means that the three morning sessions will be led from the campaigning angle. Our aim will be to

a) discuss the history of migration, how right-wing political parties use migration to gain popularity at home, migration’s use to international capitalism

b) introduce and facilitate a debate about migration and the current issues around migration, and

c) what place campaigns/political activity/solidarity action around migration have in the struggle towards a different world; especially looking at the debates current in the UK between a ‘no borders’ approach and single-demand approaches (no detention, right to work, amnesties), and the importance of migrant led, ‘autonomous movement’-led and trade unionist-led approaches

Session a): i) A story from the Middle East – from the Emperor Hadrian to present day Palestine

ii) Why do people migrate? War, environmental reasons, jobs (by invitation – cheap labour/labour shortages/UN convention), land; rights issues, family integration

iii) Where do they migrate to? Within states, across borders/continents – the helpers (‘traffickers’)

iv) The manipulation of the migration issue as a right-wing non class-based reactionary demagogic platform in the UK and

v) The statistics and realities of migration world wide and into Europe from the 20th century to the present?; migrant ‘groups’? and integration into host communities; diasporas and ‘progressive nationalist struggles’

Session b) i) The current debate – at the moment migration is a major issue for debate; one strand is an argument between individual rights to free movement versus ‘managed migration’. This will be explored with reference to Fortress Europe, the USA, Australia and ‘externalising borders’.

ii) The current European position on immigration law – the European Union’s 2008 Return Directive – harmonising international rules, weakening the UN convention, detention, deportation, destitution, criminalsation, superexploitation

iii) Populism in the UK c/f other European countries – BNP, UKIP, Migration Watch, New Labour ruled by the press eg double punishment for foreign nationals. Immigration controls and their relation to the ‘strong state’. Some comments on the development of the right in Europe, anti-Islamism

iv) Class solidarity versus chauvinism and nationalism – e.g. resistance in housing estates and schools to deportation, actions by aircrews, trade union support for the right to stay and the right to work, trade union campaigns for the right to stay and the right to work, trade union solidarity support for ‘precarious’ (undocumented, casualised and otherwise marginalised) workers

v) Multiculturalism, integrationism, and anti-Islamism

vi) The leading role of migrants in 20th and 21st century trade union struggles

Session c) i) Current demands and campaigns: no borders versus one or more ‘single issues’: no detention, no deportation, regularisation and the right to stay, the right to work, no destitution, freedom of movement ii) Different kinds of direct and political action and their effectiveness – migrant-led groups, sans papiers, ‘autonomous’ groups, local democratic movements, trade union-led; detention-free zones, ‘cities of sanctuary’, civil disobedience in solidarity with migrants rights (refusal to spy on migrants for the state), hunger strikes and disturbances in detention centres (attempted prosecution of detainees mainly unsuccessful) iii) Propaganda around demands – local, national and European/international activity; working out a programme of international action iv) Formulating the questions for the afternoon reading and language group debate for the final plenary – what are the ways forward?

Reading list: Websites

Institute of Race Relations www.irr.org.uk;

Migreurop www.migreurop.org;

Campaign to Close Campsfield www.closecampsfield.org.uk;

NCADC www.ncadc.org.uk

No one is illegal www.kmii-koeln.de; www.noii.org.uk

Picum www.picum.org


(English photocopies of some chapters will be available for afternoon reading)

Arun Kundnani (2001) ‘In a foreign Land: the New Popular Racism’ in Race & Class vol. 43, no. 2, The three faces of British Racism: a special report

Arun Kundnani (2007) The End of Tolerance, Pluto Press

Steve Cohen (2006) Standing on the Shoulders of Fascism, Trentham Books

Teresa Hayter (2004) Open Borders, new edition, Pluto Press

Hans-Georg Betz (2003) ‘Xenophobia, Identity Politics and Exclusionary Populism in Western Europe’, Socialist Register, pp. 193-210

Jorg Flecker (2003) ‘The European Right and Working Life’, Socialist Register, pp. 211-28

Huw Benyon and Lou Kushnick (2003) ‘Cool Britannia or Cruel Britannia? Racism and New Labour’, Socialist Register, pp. 229-44

Various detainees (2006), Voices from Detention, Barbed Wire Britain