This is the last part of the 3rd issue of our periodical the “Cuneo Rosso” on mass migration processes, ranging from their causes, starting from neocolonialism, to institutional racism in Italy and across Europe. A point is made that migration processes are a key issue for a young and multinational new proletarian movement resisting and fighting back 21 Century capitalist rotten society.
1 The profound and uncontrollable dynamics of global capitalism have produced a large-scale international migration movement. A movement that is growing daily as a result of the inequalities of development, of the foreign debt that strangles many countries in the South of the world, of the industrialization of agriculture of Africa, Asia and Latin America under the dominion of agribusiness, ecological disasters and neo-colonial wars, the need of rich countries to grab new immigrants to be exploited. This migratory movement is also directed towards the more developed areas of the South, but primarily towards the countries of the North of the world, including Italy.
2 These same dynamics have produced the largest industrial reserve army in the history of capitalism, about 1 billion unemployed and underemployed, a mass of “supernumerary” proletarians destined to grow further. In the countries of the South, but also in all the countries of the North of the world (Italy first, just ask the young people of the South).
3 These dynamics (or laws) typical of the capitalist mode of production are today exacerbated by the fact that since 2008 we have entered the greatest crisis in the history of capitalism – and we have not come out of it at all. The production and financial crisis was buffered with measures that predispose the squared replication of it; the ecological crisis is worsening visibly; and both are intertwined with the crisis of the international order that emerged from the Second World War, definitively buried. So the crisis that began in 2008 is taking on the characteristics of a crisis of civilization, the crisis of the civilization of capital, incapable of envisaging a future different from the present, catastrophically modified for the worse.
4 In such a context, the formation of a migration movement of 270 million (growing) on the global scale and of a gigantic industrial reserve army constitutes a highly explosive social contradiction. Because it highlights the inability of hyper-developed capitalism to ensure decent living conditions for wage earners, and even work whatever it is. And it weighs on the more permanently employed employees, already squeezed out as lemons, the weight of objective competition on the downside of tens of millions of proletarians and proletarians of every nationality in search of work, bringing the capacity of endurance of both to a limit impassable.
5 Aware of the inevitability and, at the same time, of the extreme danger of these processes, the great capitalist powers, beginning with the United States of Trump, and with the European Union behind them, have promoted violent mass media campaigns and no less violent law and police measures against emigrant / immigrant proletarians indicating them as the highest perpetrators, the real causes of the social malaise produced by the crises and anti-proletarian policies of the “neo-liberal” era. Here is the scapegoat on which the workers of the individual countries, especially the most marginalized and precarious, must rage if they want to save their skin!
6 For years this attack in Europe and in Italy has taken on the features of a real war against emigrants and immigrants – with tens of thousands of dead, wounded, prisoners, forced into exile and illegal immigration, and an incalculable number of acts of discrimination, humiliation, violence. This war is not the result of arbitrary, reversible political decisions of this or that government, this or that political force. It is the obligatory result of the profound, uncontrollable dynamics of the global capital of which we have said, and it is also the attempt to keep the most dangerous consequences for the established order under control, through the methodical use of state force and racism. Minniti-Gentiloni yesterday, Salvini-Di Maio today, are the vile, interchangeable executors and perpetrators of this political course that increasingly uses the demonization of immigrants.
7 State racism is a weapon of the bosses, and therefore raises a question of class. The attack on immigrant proletarians is part of a general attack on the entire working class. The dirty game of the great capitalist powers is, in fact, to exploit the work hunger of emigrants / immigrants and the unemployed / underemployed to depreciate and torment the entire labor force to the maximum, stripping it of “acquired rights”; and exploit the fears, prejudices, nationalistic sentiments of the native workers to hurl at immigrants, and thus divide the potential single-class front. The social bomb they created, they want to make it explode in our field. We must at all costs raise it against it!
8 The “sovereignist” and “populist” rights are the driving force, the spearhead of such a mobilization, and already behind them – especially in Italy – there are openly neo-fascist organizations. It is necessary to pay the maximum attention to their action, especially because they are in government here in Italy. But out of any self-deception of anti-fascist fronts with the democratic forces. Never forget that state policies of war on emigrants, with walls, kampi, police, armies and criminal gangs deployed at the borders, have been launched in Europe well before the sovereign and populist right came up, with the Schengen agreement, produced by the alliance between Christian Democrats, Liberal Democrats and Social Democrats, and still continue through the work of this same coalition of center-left democratic forces that leads the European Union. Just as it must be kept in mind that the “closure” of ports in Italy did not arrive in 2018 with Salvini, it was implemented already in 1997 with the Prodi government and the criminal sinking of the Albanian ship Kater i Rades.
9 Immigration is a big fortune for the countries of arrival, particularly for the exploiting classes of these countries. It has been and is particularly so for Italy and the Italian capitalists, especially for the tide (or rabble, you do) yellow-green of the small and medium size bosses and owners who have inflated the sails of the League and the M5S, and of the false “cooperatives” affiliated to the Democratic Party. For this elementary reason restrictive, repressive, selective state policies on migration do not point to “zero immigration”. They aim to have immigrants at zero (or, if possible, sub-zero) rights.
10 Western European companies and states have an inexhaustible need for immigrant workers and immigrant workers for demographic, competitiveness and welfare privatization reasons. The need varies according to the individual countries, years, sectors, economic trends, but remains structural and long-term. If, by hypothesis, Italy were really to do without the immigrant workers who are on its territory and the others coming, it would be a demographic, economic and social disaster of incalculable proportions. Well beyond the current stagnation!
11 The obsessive mass-media campaign against immigrants, especially against refugees and asylum seekers, who would live behind us from freeloaders, stealing work and welfare from Italians, importing here barbaric violence, crime, drugs, diseases, barbaric customs and religions, serves precisely to try to compress the most possible price, living conditions, rights and expectations of the last arrived workforce. The latest arrivals and immigrants forced by the state to “clandestinity” are criminalized to hit, with them and beyond them, the entire immigrant population by digging a ditch of mistrust, hostility, hatred, among native and immigrant proletarians.
12 The advent of Trump and the escalation of international tensions has radicalized these trends and policies. In Rome, the Lega-Cinquestelle government, following in Trump’s footsteps with the sign “first Italians”, positioned itself at the forefront in Western Europe in the spread of state racism at the popular level, with the aim of breaking into two camps mutually hostile the working class which is becoming increasingly dangerously (for the bosses) multinational. This is why the battle to oppose and delegitimize it has a value that goes far beyond Italy.
13 The designated “scapegoat”, however, is certainly not a herd of sheep willing to be slaughtered. Women and men, to a very large extent proletarians, who have emigrated and continue to emigrate to Italy and Western Europe, have taken on all sorts of costs, dangers and suffering. Emigrating, especially in current conditions, is a tough, terrible experience that can cost lives, rape, enslavement. It is confronted because one is forced to do so in order to conquer for oneself and one’s loved ones conditions of existence denied in their own countries of birth by the legacy of colonialism and neo-colonial robberies. Those who confront it are bearers of instances of personal, social, gender, national emancipation that clash with the slave capitalist claims. They demonstrate a special strength – the strength that comes from the anti-colonial revolt movement of the exploited over two centuries, and that can spill over, and often spills over, into the struggle against the agents of today’s capitalist slavery.
14 Both the history of the proletarian movement and the events of the early twenty-first century show us this special strength: from the United States to China to Italy. Shame on the adventurers and rogues “rossobruni”! From 1989 to the present the immigrant proletarians in Italy have given a thousand and one trials, in the factories, in the countryside dominated by the multinationals of the agribusiness and the mafia, in the detention centers, in the squares, with their associations, in the production of culture, of not wanting to accept the role of slaughter-flesh that the masters would like to give them, and that they refused in their land of birth. In the wake of this experience, the immigrant logistics porters and drivers, with the ten-year cycle of struggles with SI Cobas and other grassroots unions, have placed themselves here and now as the vanguard of the immediate workers’ struggles in a period of profound reflux of native workers. And they were also in the forefront in responding to the political challenge launched by the Conte government.
15 This is the reverse of the medal of the spontaneous dynamics of global capitalism: with the production of international forced migrations on a large scale, an increasingly immediately multinational proletariat is being created, a result of direct, material and daily experience. And this is the best prerequisite for getting rid of the most fatal of all the illusions that have afflicted the life and struggle of the workers: that of being able to escape the cataclysms of capitalism by blocking with the “own” bourgeoisie, with “one’s” nation; of being able to secure the skin, the freedom, its future barricading itself in “its” nation.
16 This new multinational composition of the proletariat, which is coupled with the enormous growth of the female proletariat, is however only the presupposition of a new proletarian movement that reconstitutes itself on a radically and consistently internationalist basis, clearly demarcating itself from the previous one that was increasingly poisoned and corroded by nationalism, and in particular by a white, westernist chauvinism, which sees “black” workers as people of lower rank, unfair competitors, disruptive elements of their existence and their own increasingly sparse but non-existent ones, “privileges”. Getting rid of any feeling of superiority or dislike of “foreigners” workers will be neither easy nor painless. A strong revival of the struggle, of the anti-capitalist class struggle will be needed, which is the great purifier of poisons. And an organized political action based on a revolutionary internationalist perspective, which today in Italy is still at the embryonic stage of a tendency in formation, will be needed too. Class anti-racism, class anti-capitalism, proletarian internationalism, will not spontaneously be reborn from nothing, without a long preparatory work that concerns today, not by our choice, only small minorities that have not been discouraged from the current state of the class, and are not content to actively participate only in immediate and defensive struggles.
17 For decades in Italy and in Europe, the working class has been on the defensive, and on a very disorderly defensive. The old proletarian movement is decomposing. However, the potential strength to respond to the war against immigrants and against the whole working class is gigantic. It is a question of combating aggression on all fronts: immediate struggles are fundamental, but they are not enough because they always and only touch the effects. From the effects it is a question of grasping the causes, the causes of international migration, of the differential and combined exploitation of immigrant and native proletarians, of the creation of a gigantic reserve proletarian army. And hammer out without getting tired, on the unique destiny of the proletarians of all the countries of the world.
18 The immigration issue is a general issue, affecting millions of people, and cannot be solved by small local experiments involving a few dozen or, at most, a few hundred immigrants, such as the “Saluzzo model” dear to Landini (the new secretary of CGIL) or – let alone – the “Bergamo model” dear to the Democratic Party Gori, based on voluntary work, or the use of “humanitarian corridors” agreed between the Ministry of the Interior and particular institutional NGOs. Not even the “Riace model”, which reflects the feelings of a part of those who criticize government policy without radically questioning it, could have had such a function. We need to develop a general response to the struggle that frontally attacks the Lega-Cinquestelle government, without giving the slightest credit to the fake opposition of the Democratic Party or to the “pressure” of CGIL-CISL-UIL, slaves and accomplices of all the anti-proletarian policies of the last decades.
19 The immediate battles to be pursued here and now in Italy are those for the repeal of the Salvini and Minniti decrees that violated the most elementary rights of immigrants and asylum seekers – a battle that has already begun in recent months -, and for the immediate and unconditional regularization (not subjected to the blackmailing constraint of the employment contract, or residence) of all immigrants through a permanent European residence permit. The prospect to be rooted in the working class is that of effective and complete equality of treatment at work and of rights between natives and immigrants. This implies the struggle for the introductionof the jus soli, without conditions and limitations, to close all administrative detention centers, repeal the whole special legislation on immigration (against immigrants), and the denunciation of the closure policy and externalization of EU borders (starting with the Schengen agreement). These battles and propaganda / agitation campaigns are for us an integral part of the effort to establish a unitary line of struggle, an anti-capitalist class front that resists the capitalist attack in an increasingly organized manner, on a national and international scale on all the plans (wages, hours, trade union freedoms, etc.), and prepare the offensive.
20 In order not to be partial and ineffective, this effort must incorporate the denunciation and the struggle against neo-colonialism, first of all the one that has Italian companies and the Italian state as its protagonist, whose logic of looting and devastating the countries of the South of the world, Africa and the Middle East first, is responsible for the forced South-North emigration that the right demonizes. The internationalist perspective in which we recognize ourselves is that of the unconditional support for the anti-imperialist struggle, for all the proletarian, social, peasant mobilizations that bring in question the imperialist domination of the countries in the South and the East of the world and the subjection to it of the “national” bourgeoisies, more and more involved, with more or less autonomy, in the memorable enterprises of global capitalism. So far the club of the imperialist countries, the local bourgeois regimes, willing to carry out any crime against their own peoples, and the gendarmes of the area (Saudi Arabia, Israel) have succeeded to suffocate in the bud, or divert into blind alleys, these mobilizations (in 2011-2012 in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Syria, etc.), but they will recur (as is already happening in Palestine, Algeria and Morocco).
21 Last but not least, the production of an enormous mass of forced emigrants from the countries of the South of the world and of Eastern Europe and of an immense mass of unemployed, underemployed, precarious workers of all nationalities, sets in way on the strategic level, stringent – together with the struggle to demolish the international division of labor created by imperialism – the resumption of the struggle for the generalized, unconditional (unconstrained capitalist compatibility) reduction of the working day. The main antidote, in addition to the competition, the flexibility and exploitation imposed by the logic of profit, the double, monstrous dissipation of human abilities, the unemployment / underemployment forced on the one hand, the unlimited intensification of work performance and the lengthening of the working hours on the other. That is why, digging to the end, as for the solution of the “ecological question” raised by the mobilizations against the pillaging of nature, the devastation of the environment and climate change; as for the solution of the “women’s question”, raised by the international women’s struggle movement; also for the solution of the “migration issue”, to really affirm the right not to emigrate, we come to the need to fight for a new form of society, international socialism, in which human beings (the “associated free producers” of Marx) will no longer work for profit, but only for the satisfaction of truly human needs.