MFJ Statement for USB (rank & file union) mobilisation, Rome 16/06/18

Read flyer in Italian here

Open the Borders! Open the Ports! No Deportations!

No to the racist Salvini/Di Maio government! – No to the racist Brexit project! No government & no electoral majority can take our rights away

  • For a pan-European immigrant & youth led movement against ‘Fortress Europe’ – No to Racism! No to Austerity!

  • Build integrated worker/community defence to shut down the fascists

  • Defend & extend the free movement of ALL people

Rome: 16 June 2018

Movement for Justice by any means necessary (MFJ) in Great Britain greets today’s mass demonstration in Rome. MFJ welcomes the mass protests that are part of the Transnational Action across countries in Europe and West Africa. In the face of an international crisis and the rise of the racist Far Right across the ‘western democracies,’ our movement has to be international.

The movement is advancing. In February, thousands of immigrants and anti-fascists demonstrated in Macerata a week after Traini’s racist attacks – in defiance of opposition from the leaderships of the Democratic Party and big trade union federations. On the morning after the national election in March, immigrant youth took to the streets of Florence to express their rage, just a few hours after the racist murder of a Senegalese immigrant, Idy Diene. Strikes and marches have been organised hours after the racist murder of unionist Soumalya Sacko, an immigrant agricultural worker from Mali and organiser in the bold fight in San Ferdinando against racist exploitation by bosses, for decent homes and working conditions and for equality. Thousands in integrated marches across the country and especially in Sicily have protested against the inhumane racist decision of deputy PM Salvini to close the ports to a boat with 629 immigrants.

The militant protests, marches and strikes by immigrant workers and youth have continued, from the north to the south, against a political system and a government that have plumbed new depths of anti-immigrant racism, emboldened the fascists and given them a licence to kill. There is an increasing awareness in Italy, echoed across Europe, that the fight for immigrant rights and the fight against fascism are one and the same struggle.

Racism, crisis & resistance in Italy and Britain

Great Britain and Italy are now the ‘hot spots’ in the profound economic, political and social crisis that is wracking Europe. In both countries (as across most of Europe) the fight by immigrant workers and communities and our allies against racism & xenophobia are the most militant, dynamic struggles. In both countries, anti-immigrant racism is the political factor that has precipitated a sharp crisis – the Salvini/Di Maio coalition and Brexit.

The March election in Italy demonstrated that the Italian ruling class has, at least for the present, exhausted the possibility of imposing further capitalist austerity through the Democratic Party or some other ‘centre-left’ formation. It is turning towards a more naked capitalist tyranny to save its wealth and power, but the election has increased the instability of its political system. The election result was a victory for the anti-immigrant racism that the PD had itself encouraged, as with the Minitti/Orlando law and the agreement with Libya. The coalition between the League and the 5-Star Movement is an unstable outcome that the fascists will seek to exploit.

Only the movement, led by immigrants and youth, can defeat the fascists. We can win because we are far bigger and represent a far greater social power than the bands of fascist thugs with their deluded ideology. We must shut down the fascists before they become more dangerous. The fascists can only hope to grow and win if we fear to mobilise our own power. The truth is that ruling class fears our power far more than they fear the fascists.

In Britain, a referendum on leaving the EU that was called at the behest of the racist right-wing delivered a narrow victory for anti-immigrant racism. It has plunged the United Kingdom into its greatest political crisis for over a century. The younger generation and the black & Asian communities, including the most integrated working class districts, voted overwhelming against Brexit.

Now Prime Minister Theresa May’s inhuman policy of creating an ever more “Hostile Environment” for immigrants and asylum seekers is in shambles and under attack from the resistance of its victims. The over-reaching attacks on generations of immigrants and their families has become a scandal. The collective resistance of immigrants and asylum seekers in detention centres has done more than any humanitarian reports to expose the government’s brutal racism. The government has been forced into a series of U-turns on its key racist policy at the same time it is trying vainly to agree a policy on Brexit.

The crisis of consciousness in the European labour movement

The ruling classes of Europe have no way out of the present economic and political crisis except to impose ever-increasing austerity on working class, poor and struggling middle class people of all races – and to attack and scapegoat the immigrant communities whose power and militancy they fear. Italy and Britain are two out of the four biggest economies in the Europe, which makes their severe instability acutely dangerous for the whole European capitalist project. In both countries, traditionally powerful working class movements suffered big defeats and demoralising betrayals, and workers have suffered the disastrous effects of ‘free market’ policies, from the 1980s onwards. Those situations are closely mirrored in France, where Macron is introducing new racist immigration & asylum laws at the same time as he launches major attacks on workers’ rights and organisations.

In all these countries, so-called ‘socialist’ parties, based on the support of the working class, have been essential agents of these policies. The ‘wipe-out’ of the French Socialist Party and the humiliating defeat of the PD are the result – but their malign legacy is that a significant part of their working class base has moved, not to the left, but to the right (and sometimes to the far right) on the basis of anti-immigrant demagogy and against their material interests, seeking a false security in their citizenship and their white skins. The crisis of European capitalism has become a crisis of the European workers’ movement.

It is in the interests of both immigrant and non-immigrant workers to be united in struggle – but it not sufficient just to state that. Unity will not be created simply by shared action in economic struggles, because the present consciousness of large sections of the working class is an obstacle to united action. A change in political consciousness – in political psychology – requires political action and struggle.

For a pan-European immigrant & youth led movement to fight racism, fascism and austerity by any means necessary: Defend and extend the free movement of ALL people

The hopes and experience of struggle that brought immigrants to Europe, and the constant fight for respect and equality once here, have put low-paid immigrant workers in manufacturing, agriculture and the logistics sector – workers who are generally younger and who are not burdened by the betrayals that ‘centre-left’ politicians and trade union leaders have inflicted on the older generation of native-born white workers – at the forefront of the fight for workers’ and human rights in Italy and elsewhere. The ruling classes fear this militant vanguard and the fascists aim to crush it.

A new political movement must be led by the vanguard –immigrant workers and by youth, the most integrated generation in the population of most European countries. It must be fighting for immigrant rights and equality in work, in education, in citizenship and in the right of free movement, because it is on these issues that the rich and powerful seek to divide the workers and the poor and oppressed.

  • We fight for full, equal citizenship rights for everyone who lives, works and studies in Italy. We fight for those rights as the people we are – whatever our national origin, ethnicity, culture, religion, sexuality, gender etc. We are all Italy today!
  • We build action to stop all deportations, shut down the detention of immigrants & refugees, and make the racist immigration laws unworkable.
  • We fight to Open the Borders of Italy, of Britain, of Europe, because that is what hundreds of thousands of us are doing in order to resolve the real material problems in our lives. It is what thousands of Italian citizens who rescue and defend immigrants and refugees in defiance of the law are doing. The only alternative to Open Borders is a world of greater barbarism and tyranny.
  • We fight to unite workers in the major trade union federations with the militant movement of migrant workers and overcome the conservative bureaucrats who have surrendered the rights of the working class.
  • We fight By Any Means Necessary because we cannot allow the powers-that-be to determine how we fight against their oppression, exploitation and racism.

Racism and xenophobia are the politics of despair. A movement that is leading a militant political struggle for equality and dignity against the powers-that-be, a movement that places no reliance on the present rotten political systems of Europe, will have the power to rebuild the working class movement on a militant, integrated, anti-capitalist basis.

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