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The Hell of Migrants By José Blanco

The hell of migration today is extreme. Women and men, often with children, or children without parents, face the most brutal social, political, climatic, geographic and criminal obstacles, as they march along endless roads in jungles and plains, and soldiers await them on the way, or in the country of their destination, who send them back to the beginning of each feat, which may have taken them years to accomplish, to start it all over again: what they want to leave behind is worse. The implication is terrible: those who did not or could not migrate remain in a deeper hell. Migrants and non-migrants are the two faces of one of the most inhumane mass social processes that constitute the colonial capitalist system.

The social kaleidoscope of the colonized, with its continuous oppression, builds human beings with a sum of courage, capacity for work, resilience and potential for development, which would make them a highly desired and demanded labor force. But in the “chosen” country of destination, if they are not rejected, the lowest wages, lack of rights, overcrowded housing, systematic racial discrimination, the most artful police treatment await them. For more than a century, employers in the imperial center hired this labor force or rejected it, depending on the phase – upswing or downswing – of the economic cycle. Neoliberal globalization brought with it secular stagnation and, now, that productive force is no longer needed, capitalism cannot create jobs for it anywhere.

The migrants crowded on the border between Belarus and Poland, or between Mexico and the United States (US), are not there by choice, but because there are too many of them. Neoliberal globalization was built to clear the way for the expansion of capital, and one of its first rules was: freedom of movement for capital, not for labor. The non-freedom of cross-border movement of labor is another resource of the employers.

The thousands of migrants – mostly Kurds – crowded on the border with Poland, in the middle of a fierce winter, trying to reach the European Union, almost all of them are from Iraqi Kurdistan and are not unaware of what happened in “their” country. The foreign military invasion from 2003 onwards led by the US and supported by Europe made Iraq a scorched earth. Hussein’s alleged backing of the 9/11 terrorists and the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction that he planned to use against the US were blatant lies. But the economic infrastructure was demolished and much of the civilian population’s housing was demolished by bombing. Out of that devastation was born the possibility for Lukashenko, President of Belarus, to manipulate thousands of homeless people for his geopolitical purposes. Lukashenko’s attempt to use the Kurds as a bargaining chip does not erase their migrant status, as the extreme right-wing government in Poland wants.

The same happened in Afghanistan or Libya. Massacres of civilians, destruction of the infrastructure, including public services, systematic destruction of nature, theft by the invaders of the riches they found in their path. They thus created a crowd that is fleeing and will continue to flee their countries because their lands were razed to the ground.

Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, has lived in political chaos provoked by the imperial powers. Exorbitant poverty and social chaos produce compulsive emigration. But there are more forces driving it: political chaos gave rise to the chaos of criminal gangs that plague the country. The current patterns of Haitian migration began to take shape in 2004, when, due to a coup d’état, the UN sent a mission that was led by Brazil and Chile. The poorest Haitians were recruited to work on the construction of the World Cup stadiums: they became Brazil’s cheapest labor force. Then they were fired and became undocumented labor force, but they settled in that country. And that produced a stream of new Haitian migrants who, since 2018, sought to enter the US.

In 2010 an earthquake produced its share of migrants and, in that year, by the hand of Hillary Clinton, a neoliberal Haitian government was created whose program produced new migratory flows. According to Haitian activist and academic Mamyrah Dougé-Prosper, interviewed by Leticia Garziglia of ALAI, the government’s “development plan” had four axis: tourism, large plantations, agribusiness, industrial parks and mining; all four axis required land. So it became imperative “to displace people from their land; part of forced migration is related to land dispossession… One is forced to abandon one’s land, either because one has been tricked into selling it… or because one has been kicked off the land even though one does not want to sell it.”

Source: La Jornada, translation Resumen Latinoamericano – English

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