Tag Archives: black lives matter

The COVID-19 pandemic and the global plight of refugees and migrant workers

25 Jun

24 June 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to tear through the global population, the disease is having an especially devastating impact on the tens of millions of displaced people throughout the world.

More than 1 percent of humanity–some 79.5 million people–were living as forcibly displaced people in 2019, the highest number on record. This staggering figure, which is almost double the number of displaced people just a decade ago and 10 million more than at the end of 2018, was cited in the latest United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) annual Global Trends report released last week.

If the world’s displaced were considered as their own country, that country would have a population almost equivalent to that of Germany, Europe’s largest economy, or that of Iran. The vast majority of the refugees come from five countries, all of which have either been direct targets of US imperialist aggression and intrigue or are suffering as a result of decades of colonial domination and neocolonial occupation. Afghanistan, Myanmar, South Sudan, Syria and Venezuela account for 68 percent of the total. Syria alone, which has been devastated for almost a decade by a bloody US-instigated civil war, accounts for over 13 million displaced people–more than half of its 22 million pre-war population.

The poorest countries are bearing the brunt of the crisis, as the imperialist powers in North America and Europe seal their borders to refugees, use heavily armed, fascistic border guards to fire on them, or allow them to drown at sea. The UNHCR report notes that 73 percent of people displaced outside of their home country have found refuge in a neighbouring country, i.e., they live in countries that are often as ill-prepared as their war-torn, impoverished homelands to provide for their survival and well-being.

The report noted in this context the fate of the Rohingya, who were forced out of Myanmar in a vicious campaign of terror by the US-backed military regime. Tens of thousands remain confined to miserable, inhospitable camps in Bangladesh. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the UNHCR has registered growing numbers of Rohingya moving towards Malaysia and other southeast Asian countries due to the hardship produced by lockdown measures and the diminishing prospect of ever returning home.

Refugees and displaced people who seek to reach richer countries in Europe and North America confront brutal repression and the threat of death due to the ruling elites’ criminal policies. In the United States, the Trump administration has established a vast array of internment camps, where desperate and impoverished people fleeing horrendous social conditions in Latin America, including women and children separated from their families, are treated no better than animals. Militarized guards and militias patrol the US-Mexico border, which has become the scene of hundreds of migrant deaths every year.

In “Fortress Europe,” the European Union has all but abolished the right to asylum and shredded the protections adopted in the Geneva Convention on Refugees, a piece of international law instituted following the unbridled savagery of the Nazi regime. Seven decades later, European governments, with Germany in the lead, are well on the way to resurrecting similarly barbaric practices.

Tens of thousands of refugees are confined to hellish concentration camps in Libya and other parts of North Africa, where they are subjected to torture, rape, slavery and worse by EU-funded militias. On the Greek islands, tens of thousands of people are crammed into overcrowded camps with virtually no sanitary facilities, amid a raging global pandemic. Thousands of refugees are left to drown in the Mediterranean on Europe’s doorstep each year.

The cruelty and vindictiveness shown towards refugees by European capitalism is so brazen that even UN officials have been compelled to criticise it. Speaking at the release of the Global Trends report, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said that as a European, he feels “embarrassed and ashamed” over how the EU has handled the refugee crisis.

As horrific as the figures are in the UNHCR report, it accounts for the situation in 2019. It therefore does not take note of the devastating impact of the coronavirus crisis, which has dramatically worsened conditions facing refugees and migrant workers on every continent.

Migrants and displaced people typically belong to the most oppressed and exploited sections of the working class. They have been hit especially hard by coronavirus outbreaks, and largely left to fend for themselves by callously indifferent and often maliciously hostile state authorities, from Modi’s India to Merkel’s Germany and Trump’s United States.

In Germany, where the fascistic Alternative for Germany plays a major role in determining government policy, large numbers of Romanian, Bulgarian and other Eastern European migrant workers are herded into dilapidated buildings often unfit for human habitation. They receive poverty wages and have no rights or job protection. They have been infected in large numbers in meat packing plants and in the agricultural sector, while many more have been placed under effective police guard in hopelessly overcrowded tower blocks and disused army barracks, which then become hotbeds for the spread of the virus.

In India, millions of migrant workers were left to starve by the Hindu supremacist government of Narendra Modi, which failed to provide adequate assistance to them when it unveiled a nationwide lockdown with just four hours’ notice in March. Due to the fact that the vast majority of migrant workers are day labourers in the so-called “informal sector,” they were left virtually overnight with no income to obtain food and other basic necessities. Hundreds of thousands began trekking on foot back to their home villages, often covering hundreds of miles and carrying the virus with them. Many more were detained in camps.

In the United States, migrant workers make up a large proportion of the more than 25,000 meat packing workers infected by CoVID-19. Hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants received no assistance during lockdown measures, due to fears that contacting state institutions could result in their detention or deportation.

Building on the Obama presidency, which oversaw a record number of immigrant deportations, the fascistic-minded Trump has launched a series of military-style immigration raids carried out by Immigration and Customs Enforcement thugs to arbitrarily round up immigrants for detention and removal. In July 2019, Trump launched nationwide raids targeting 2,000 families in 10 major cities for deportation.

The defence of refugees and migrant workers is a task that falls to the working class. Anti-immigrant chauvinism and nationalism have been systematically promoted by all factions of the political establishment in every country to justify right-wing policies of law-and-order and attacks on democratic rights. They also seek to scapegoat immigrants and refugees for the social problems produced by decades of savage austerity and attacks on working conditions, which have in reality been implemented to boost the wealth of the super-rich and pay for imperialist militarism and war.

“The world of decaying capitalism is overcrowded,” wrote Leon Trotsky in the Manifesto of the Fourth International in 1940. “The question of admitting a hundred extra refugees becomes a major problem for such a world power as the United States. In an era of aviation, telegraph, telephone, radio, and television, travel from country to country is paralyzed by passports and visas. The period of the wasting away of foreign trade and the decline of domestic trade is at the same time the period of the monstrous intensification of chauvinism and especially of anti Semitism… Amid the vast expanses of land and the marvels of technology, which has also conquered the skies for man as well as the earth, the bourgeoisie has managed to convert our planet into a foul prison.”

Eighty years after these lines were written, their forceful condemnation of the bourgeoisie is, if anything, even stronger than in 1940. While the bourgeoisie of every country is returning to the reactionary politics of nationalism, militarism and the far-right, the working class on a world scale is more interconnected and unified than ever before. The mass multi-racial protests over recent weeks in dozens of countries triggered by the brutal police murder of George Floyd testify to the common experiences of exploitation and state repression faced by workers of all backgrounds around the world under capitalism.

Rejecting the ruling elite’s nationalism and anti-immigrant poison, working people must come to the defence of refugees and migrant workers on a global scale. They must defend the rights of workers of all nationalities to work, live and access social and health care services in the country of their choice without fear of persecution or deportation.

The defence of the democratic rights of refugees and migrant workers is possible only as part of the broadest mobilisation of workers and young people against social inequality, capitalist state repression and militarism and war. Such a struggle should be guided by a socialist and internationalist perspective and set as its goal the transfer of political power to workers’ governments committed to socialist policies.

Jordan Shilton

Published by the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI)

“While it is true that people must liberate themselves from their servitude, it is also true that they must first free themselves from what has been made of them in the society in which they live” New & Used Books for Activists, Protesters & Revolutionary’s; https://www.facebook.com/Fahrenheit451bookstore/

Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

7 Jun

I thought you might be interested in this page from Amazon.


Sent from Mail for Windows 10

A call to the working class! Stop Trump’s coup d’état!

4 Jun

Statement of the Socialist Equality Party

The White House is now the political nerve center of a conspiracy to establish a military dictatorship, overthrow the Constitution, abolish democratic rights and violently suppress the protests against police brutality that have swept across the United States.

The political crisis unleashed on Monday night—when Donald Trump ordered military police to attack peaceful protesters, threatened to invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807, and deploy federal troops into states to establish martial law—is rapidly escalating.

Democracy in America is teetering on the brink of collapse. Trump’s attempt to carry out a military coup is unfolding in real time.

There is no other way to interpret the sequence of events that have occurred over the past 24 hours. In a series of extraordinary public statements, high level political and military figures leave no doubt that they believe that Trump is seeking to establish a military dictatorship.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper stated at a press conference that he opposed Trump’s threat to invoke the Insurrection Act and deploy the military throughout the country. The use of active-duty soldiers to patrol US cities, Esper said, should be a “last resort and only in the most urgent and dire of situations. We are not in one of those situations now.” Trump, according to an official who spoke to the New York Times, “was angered by Mr. Esper’s remarks, and excoriated him later at the White House…” The White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, indicated that Esper may soon be dismissed from the president’s cabinet.

Responding to Trump’s threats, Esper has reversed himself and ordered 750 soldiers from the 82nd currently in Washington DC not be sent back to Fort Bragg, as had previously been announced.

Esper’s comments were followed by an extraordinary denunciation of Trump by former Marine General James Mattis, Trump’s first Secretary of Defense. We quote Mattis’ comments in some detail not because we give any political support to “mad dog Mattis,” who played a leading role in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, but because he provides a blunt assessment from someone who is intimately familiar with what is happening within the military.

Mattis accused Trump of attempting to overthrow the Constitution. “When I joined the military, some 50 years ago,” he writes, “I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens—much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.”

Mattis continued:

We must reject any thinking of our cities as a “battlespace” that our uniformed military is called upon to “dominate.” At home, we should use our military only when requested to do so, on very rare occasions, by state governors. Militarizing our response, as we witnessed in Washington, D.C., sets up a conflict—a false conflict—between the military and civilian society. It erodes the moral ground that ensures a trusted bond between men and women in uniform and the society they are sworn to protect, and of which they themselves are a part. Keeping public order rests with civilian state and local leaders who best understand their communities and are answerable to them.

Mattis concluded his statement by implicitly comparing Trump’s concept of the military to that of the Nazi regime.

Admiral Sandy Winnefeld, a retired vice chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, wrote in an email published in the New York Times: “We are at the most dangerous time for civil-military relations I’ve seen in my lifetime. It is especially important to reserve the use of federal forces for only the most dire circumstances that actually threaten the survival of the nation. Our senior-most military leaders need to ensure their political chain of command understands these things.”

None of these military figures are devoted adherents of democracy. Their statements are motivated by fear that Trump’s actions will be met with massive popular opposition, with disastrous political consequences.

“Senior Pentagon leaders,” the Times reports, “are now so concerned about losing public support—and that of their active duty and reserve personnel, 40 percent of whom are people of color—that Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, released a message to top military commanders on Wednesday affirming that every member of the armed forces swears an oath to defend the Constitution, which, he said, ‘gives Americans the right to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly.’”

Statements were also released by all the living former presidents—Obama, Clinton, Bush and Carter. These statements were far more circumspect and made no explicit warning of a coup. They called for no specific action against Trump. It was far less an appeal to the people than a cautious effort to dissuade military leaders from backing Trump.

On the side of the fascistic cabal around Trump, the Times published a comment by Senator Tom Cotton under the headline, “Send In the Troops.” This political conspirator declared, “One thing above all else will restore order to our streets: an overwhelming show of force to disperse, detain and ultimately deter lawbreakers.” Since “delusional politicians” are refusing to do what is necessary, Cotton writes, it is necessary for Trump to invoke “the Insurrection Act [which] authorizes the president to employ the military ‘or any other means’ in ‘cases of insurrection, or obstruction to the laws.’”

The political situation is on a knife edge. Never in the history of the United States has the country been so close to a military takeover. Threatening military deployments are still underway. The Times reported on Wednesday night: “Despite calls for calm from senior Pentagon leaders, the troops on the ground in Washington on Wednesday night appeared to be ramping up for a more militarized show of force. National Guard units pushed solidly ahead of the police near the White House, almost becoming the public face of the security presence. They also blocked the streets with Army transport trucks and extended the perimeter against protesters.”

In the face of this unfolding political conspiracy, the Democratic party is acting with its habitual mixture of cowardice and complicity. Not a single major Democratic Party politician has openly denounced the dictatorial actions of the Trump administration. They are doing everything they can to keep the raging conflict within the state out of public view. The line from top Democrats is that Trump’s “rhetoric” is “unhelpful” and is serving to “inflame the situation.” Among the most pathetic responses to the crisis has come from Sen. Bernie Sanders, who merely retweeted the statement of Mattis, to which he attached the comment: “Interesting reading.”

During the long-forgotten impeachment trial that was held in January, the Democrats insisted that it was necessary to remove Trump immediately because he had allegedly withheld military aide to the Ukraine in its conflict with Russia. They advocated the removal of Trump because he was seen as insufficiently aggressive in his relations with Russia.

But now, when Trump is attempting to carry out a military coup and the overthrow of constitutional rule in the United States, the Democrats offer no serious opposition to Trump, let alone demand that he be removed from office. When it is a matter of upholding the global interests of American imperialism, the Democratic leaders are full of fire and brimstone. But when confronted with the direct threat of dictatorship, they are meek as church mice.

Underlying their cowardice are basic class interests. Whatever their tactical differences with Trump, the Democrats represent the same class interests. What they fear more than anything else is that opposition to Trump may assume revolutionary dimensions that threaten the interests of the capitalist financial-corporate oligarchy.

The target of the conspiracy in the White House is the working class. The corporate-financial oligarchy is terrified that the eruption of mass demonstrations against police violence will intersect with the immense social anger among workers over social inequality, which has been enormously intensified as a result of the ruling class’ response to the coronavirus pandemic and the homicidal back-to-work campaign.

Nothing could be more dangerous than to think that the crisis has passed. It has, rather, just begun. The working class must intervene in this unprecedented crisis as an independent social and political force. It must oppose the conspiracy in the White House through the methods of class struggle and socialist revolution.

The demonstrations that have taken place during the past week rank among the most significant events in American history. In every region and state, tens and hundreds of thousands of working people and youth, in an extraordinary display of multi-racial and multi-ethnic unity and solidarity, have taken to the streets to oppose the institutionalized racism and brutality of the police. The South—the old bastion of the Confederacy, Jim Crow laws, and lynch mobs—has been the scene of some of the largest of the demonstrations. The protesters are giving voice to the deep-rooted democratic and egalitarian sentiments that are the noble heritage of the great American Revolution of the eighteenth century and the Civil War of the nineteenth century.

The only viable answer to the criminal conspiracy being hatched in the White House is to raise the demand for the removal of Trump, Pence and their conspirators from office.

This can only be achieved through the intervention of the working class, which should join the protest demonstrations en masse and initiate a nation-wide political strike.

No to Dictatorship!

Trump and Pence must Go!

The Socialist Equality Party and the International Youth and Students for Social Equality Party call on all readers of the World Socialist Web Site to become active in this fight.

Published by the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI)


Are We There Yet? “TRUE REVOLUTION COMES FROM TRUE REVULSION; When things get bad enough the Kitten will kill the Lion” Bukowski; New & Used Left Wing & Progressive Books, Memorabilia – http://www.facebook.com/Fahrenheit451bookstore/

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