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Immigration

Capitalism in Australia

Since the end of the second world war two-and-a-half million workers from Europe, including a million from Britain, have gone to Australia. The majority go in the hope that they are going to make a fresh start and are leaving their problems behind them. They have been attracted by advertizing. (One slogan declares “We are making Australia a better place to live in”.) The emigrants are going there to work. To be more accurate they will be “getting a living”, but as they will be doing the bidding of some employer they are not free men and women.

Down Mexico Way

Billionaire presidential hopeful, Donald Trump, has pledged that, if he becomes President of the United States, he will build a 3,145 kilometres-long wall or fence between the US and Mexico, to keep out all Mexicans and other Latin-Americans.

Between 1965 and 2015 more than 16 million Mexicans migrated, legally or illegally, to the US. Between 2009 and 2014 870,000 came, according to the Pew Research Center. About 5.7 million are currently living in the country illegally, but they do not come, or attempt to come, just from Mexico. They are from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. They attempt to reach America via Mexico. ‘It is like a fever. People are desperate,’ says one Honduran by telephone to the Toronto Star (30 January).

Those Aliens!

A Short Story

WILL: (to George, who is discovered reading the Daily Distress): Hello! looking for a loser?

GEORGE: No. I'm reading about those confounded aliens. Those foreign bakers are allowed to come over here and they immediately start agitations and strikes as though the country belonged to them. Taking the bread out of our mouths, I call it.

WILL: Why, you're a funny chap. You grumble if they work cheaply, and you grumble of they try to better their lot. I suppose the fact is you hate them, and they could do nothing to please you.

GEORGE: Who can help hating the beggars when they take our jobs away from us. Why don't they go back to their own country?

WILL: Look here, George, the foreign workman has no more a country of his own than you have: his native land, like yours, is the property of a master class and the worker has not even burial space of his own.

GEORGE: That's an old tale.

Racist Myths

Rather like Arctic explorers throwing chunks of meat off the sledge to distract the pursuing wolf pack, British governments during the 1960s and 1970s enacted a series of immigration laws designed to assuage a racist appetite which was threatening to devour quite a few parliamentary seats. Whatever else was said about them, it was black immigration the Acts were intended to reduce. It was argued that for the government to be seen to be doing this would take the sting out of the racist propaganda that Britain was about to be engulfed in a human flood from Africa, Asia and the West Indies. Another way of putting this would have been to argue that passing racist laws would actually reduce racism. All three big parties were clear at the last election that there is no going back to the days of free immigration for anyone from the old colonies.

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