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50 Years Ago: Forty Million Refugees

There are no less than forty million refugees in the world today. Forty million people living in misery and hopelessness. Such is the appalling truth revealed in a little book recently published—Refugees 1960 (Penguin Books, 2s. 6d.). (…)

[T]he authors fondly hope that in this world refugee year, the camps can be emptied and the conscience of the capitalist world stirred so deeply that every man, woman and child will be resettled. Just listen to this:

“Every country with room to spare should ease open its bureaucratic door and undertake to accept without ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’ a percentage of the sick or economically useless human beings, to balance what they have gained from the young, healthy immigrants who will be benefiting their economy without any cost to them in education or training.”

A tall order indeed. It is hopeless to appeal to the conscience of a society which has been directly responsible for such a monstrosity. Far better to have a world where man can be free to travel over its surface without the futile restrictions of nationality, and where he can satisfy his needs from a sufficiency of wealth that only Socialism can make available.

But when all this has been said, it is still worthwhile to read Refugees 1960. Mainly, it is a plain, straightforward statement of very unpalatable facts, and no attempt has been made to grind a political axe. Yet by its very simplicity of style and presentation, this book shouts a condemnation of capitalist society from every page.

(From book review by E.T.C., Socialist Standard, June 1960)