A report on the July 2016 ICC London Day of Discussion

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baboon
A report on the July 2016 ICC London Day of Discussion
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The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: A report on the July 2016 ICC London Day of Discussion. The discussion was initiated by baboon.
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baboon
A few comments

I welcome this summary of the meeting from KT and agree that, with the "difficulties" text , this is an important attempt to begin to analyse the implications of migrants and refugees and the rise in what's called "popularism".

 

I think that like many other questions, the historical approach is important to the question of migration; the summary itself cites the movement out of Africa  some 50,000 years ago. One could go further back, if one included homo as a species, some hundreds of thousands of years earlier to previous movments out of Africa to Asia and, in some cases back to Africa. Under the relatively slower unfolding of time during this period movements of just a few metres a year would result in vast distances covered over an era. This wasn't just wandering nomads but social movements creating settlements along the way. Because if  migration is a phenomena of humanity - and the social aspect and dynamic referred to in the summary applies more or less to pre-sapien homo - then so is settlement and sedentism. But if these movements occured within a positive social dynamic, voluntary and free, then the movements of people under class society, capitalism and its decay are by compulsion and necessity to the dog eat dog, survival of the fittest that are a feature of migratio today. The working class surely doesn't particularly want to go en masse to the other side of the world to find work? One could imagine a fluid movement of humanity essentially based on sedentism in a communist society.

 

The developments of migration and refugees (not necessarily the same thing as the summary says) are today rooted in the breakdown of the economy and the collapse of the eastern bloc which opened up a period of the development of centrifugal tendencies that temselves went against the old world "order". On the imperialist level there was a certain loss of control by the bourgeoisie that went along with a growing difficulty to cohere society. At the same time distrust, helplessness and impotence affected many layers of society not least the working class. But for the bourgeoisie, while it uses the effects of decomposition to its own perceived advantages, this situation brought about its own problems and among these is the development of popularism. As comrades have said this phenomenon has roots in capitalism's decline but it seems to have taken on a more profound and disturbing development today. I think that while it's part of a bourgeois campaign it is more than that and expresses a certain loss of control by the bourgeoisie.

 

The ICC insists on the development of state capitalism and how it increasingly invades all aspects of social life. It even exists to some degree as a "beyond borders" development providing itself with certain organs to overcome barriers of national frontiers. There's the IMF, WTO, various extra-national trade agreements, the EU and so on which, while being dominated by the major powers, effectively oil the wheels of world trade and keep it turning over. The Brexit vote was certainly a major mobilisation of the working class and the population into the electoral process - many voted who have never voted before contradicting a trend to more and more people being put off by that whole process. But, unlike most elections in the major democracies, it gave the bourgeoisie the wrong result. It hasn't just undermined the British ruling class and its economy but has had major repercussions around the globe. And there are similarities with Trump in the US who has absolutely nothing to offer the US economy but sound-bites, let alone the pro-Russian tendencies of his clique at a time when the US is aiming to step up its confrontation with Russia. Popularism seems to be "a product of social impasse", i.e. decomposition, and as such the spread of a poison rather than a deliberate policy of the bourgeosie.

 

Of course they will use it to try to defend the national interest; development of the forces of repression, division and campaigns against the working class. And the questions posed by Brexit are more widely shared in the tendencies to isolation, scapegoating, fear of the others, against a state capitalist "inclusion" which is just another expression of exploitation. Capitalism's contradictory needs for the reinforcement of borders, walls, barbed wire, etc., and its need for more or less migrant labour is expressive of its limitations, in fact its inability to give any long term perspective, has given rise to popularism which is conjured up out the situation, which it undoubtedly uses but which tends to escape its control. "Down with borders" is certainly insufficient but the breakdown of borders through the impetus of class struggle still remains a possibility.