Two incidents on European territory this week demonstrate how the deepening global economic and political crisis affects the international working class on the issue of forced migration.
On May 28, French riot police raided a migrant camp in the port city of Calais, in northern France across from England. Like locations at the U.S. southern border in California and like similar locations at the borders of other developed nations, Calais has become an area where migrants — desperate to find jobs or escape severe hardships at home — congregate, unable to go any further.
And on the very same day, at a border spot bridging Spain and Morocco, more than 1,000 migrants tried to scale a huge fence-like barrier made of razor-wire in an attempt to make their way into Spanish territory. Many were beaten by the police but many others were successfully able to cross over. According to various news services, migrants from all over Africa repeatedly try to cross that fence at Melilla, a Spanish enclave in North Africa.
The local government in France said the raid at the camp in Calais was carried out because of health concerns due to an alleged outbreak of scabies at the camp. But coincidentally, the brutal French raid occurred a mere days after right-wing and anti-immigrant parties won big in European elections.
In an example of extreme racism, in 2009 the French media and others labeled the Calais camp, “the Jungle.” That was the year that the camp was first razed under the Nicolas Sarkozy administration. At that time, almost 300 migrants were arrested, over a third of them under the age of 18.
The raid at the camp was met with resistance from both migrants and activists, most of them reportedly young, who protested at the site against the riot police.
Despite the continuing attacks against this camp since 2009, migrants continue to gather here as they have few economic options. Over 1,000 migrants had been living in the camp under tarps and cardboard at the time of this week’s raid. The existence of migrant camps, however, such as the one in Calais, are a direct result of the capitalist system and its current drive to lower wages for workers throughout the world.
These two incidents alone are a direct result of the global capitalist economic crisis. This crisis is crushing the lives of workers around the world. More and more, low-wage capitalism as well as imperialist war and intervention are causing the forced migration of millions of workers.
Imperialist policies have forced workers, a tidal wave of them, out of their homelands. There must be a tidal wave of international global solidarity in order to push the ruling class back.