Immigration crisis: Britain and France guilty

PRIME Minister David Cameron is displaying the ugliest face of British imperialism in his crude and ill-thought out response to the crisis of desperate immigrants in Calais trying to get into Britain and causing disruption to travel and trade between Britain and Europe.

His first thoughts were to promise “more fences and more sniffer dogs” to help the French police prevent these immigrants’ efforts to hide themselves in vehicles bound for Britain or to walk through the Channel Tunnel — risking their lives in the process.

He would never have given them a second thought if their plight had not led to traffic gridlock that is affecting trade and profits. He seems totally perplexed by their determination to get into Britain while his imperialist allies in France want nothing more than for the problem of these refugees to move to Britain and cease to be their responsibility.

Both governments are responsible for this tide of human tragedy. They, along with the United States, took part in the attacks on Libya, the undermining of Syria and the Iraq and Afghan wars and numerous interventions in North Africa that have devastated once stable and prosperous countries, “bombed them back to the stone age”, destroyed their infrastructures and left them at the mercy of warring extremist factions. They have made these countries impossible to live in safely and are surprised that suddenly there are thousands of traumatised and desperate people on our doorstep with their children looking for somewhere safe to live.

The countries where the people first arrive in Europe — Italy and Greece — are doing their best to offer humane assistance but are overwhelmed. The governments and mass media in Europe are building barriers against these refugees but at a local level a lot of humanitarian work is being done.

It is outrageous that Britain and France, who are responsible for the crisis, are both trying to pretend it has nothing to do with them and to shirk off all responsibility. Cameron speaks of these victims of his warmongering as a “swarm” and his instinct is to increase policing and even considering bringing in the army to try to make these people go away. But they have nowhere to go. They cannot just disappear.

Now he is threatening to punish landlords who rent out accommodation to illegal immigrants as though that would make any difference. It is true that unscrupulous landlords do exploit illegal immigrants but it is the immigrants who are the victims. Forcing the landlords to evict them will just leave them hungry and cold on our streets, camping in public parks and on pavements.

If the Government could use just a fraction of the money it has spent bombing and blasting these people’s homes, or the profits that British, French and American oil companies have made from seizing these people’s oil reserves, there would be plenty to provide decent accommodation and necessary healthcare for these people — and for the homeless British natives.

The long-term solution has to be to restore the countries that these people are fleeing from to a safe and habitable condition but that cannot be easy to do. It cannot be easy to start reconstruction in countries still in the depths of civil wars and ravaged by extremist fascist gangs. One step in the right direction would be for western oil companies to stop paying these extremist thugs like ISIS for oil from the stolen oil fields of Iraq and Libya and to stop supplying funding and weapons to these groups.

But it does require a long-term co-ordinated international response to deny weapons and money to the terror gangs and to restore the oil revenue to these countries to rebuild their infrastructure and allow them to determine their own form of government. It would be the job of the United Nations if it was performing the role it was created for.

But while that body is dominated by the imperialist countries that seems impossible. That must not stop us demanding humanitarian aid and justice for the victims of imperialism at every level and in every political arena. The imperialist empires are not as strong and stable as they once were and the angry voice of protest is growing all around the world.