Eviction of refugees in Calais: the Jungle is capitalism

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On 23 September, in Calais, a whole phalanx of journalists and cameramen took part in a major media carnival organised by the French government: the evacuation of the ‘Jungle' a refuge for thousands of migrants living in abject misery in tents or under trees, barely surviving thanks to a few benevolent souls.

We were treated to the sight of the forceful eviction of human beings who had been tracked down like animals, and contemptuously described as ‘illegals' as though they were criminals. And what was their crime? To have fled from poverty and war in their country of origin (many come from Afghanistan), risking their lives to end up in this pit. All were following the same dream: to get to Britain where they hoped to find work. To do this they were ready to be smuggled through border controls in lorries despite the detailed searches. These are the people who have been made into a scoop by the journalists - an unworthy spectacle not unlike the one we saw recently when the Stalinist trade union, the CGT, forcefully evicted migrants, women and children included, who had taken refuge in union locals.

After the media circus, most of these destitute migrants were parked in detention centres awaiting deportation. Those who evaded capture are hiding in the sand dunes or are starving to death on the streets of Calais.

As ever, the hypocrisy of the bourgeoisie knows no limits. Thus we had Eric Besson, formerly of the ‘Socialist' Party, and now immigration minister, telling us that the aim of this operation was to fight not against the migrants, but against those who engage in people trafficking. Get out your handkerchiefs!

Sending in 500 CRS riot police against 300 people, more than half of them minors, is no doubt a heavy blow against those who traffic in human lives, despite the fact that the organisers of this traffic are often protected by the mafia who work inside the public authorities, and who frequently have their hands steeped in the sale of young people into prostitution all over Europe.

What's really behind this hypocrisy? The bulldozing of the Jungle, like the closing of Sangatte in 2004, won't halt the flow of disinherited people towards the borders, because they have nowhere else to go.

In fact, this spectacular, militarised operation is a warning from the French bourgeoisie that it is unwilling to permit increasing immigration into its territory. It is telling us that its policy of repression and deportation is going to be rigorously applied. With the massive development of unemployment and poverty, the French bourgeoisie will do everything it can to rid itself of such totally undesirable people. The message is clear: ‘Go and die somewhere else'. What's more, this policy of firmness is going to be put into practice in all areas to do with national security. And it will be echoed by the rest of Europe's governments who are rushing to point out that they have already been too generous and couldn't possibly take in yet another batch of illegal immigrants. The British bourgeoisie is particularly keen on pointing out how everyone wants to go to the UK, which is only a small island after all.

This whole disgusting scenario reveals the inhumanity of all governments and all those who zealously serve the capitalist system.   

Tino 25/9/09