The immigration crisis on the Moroccan-Spanish border: the hypocrisy of the democratic ruling class

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The last two weeks have witnessed startling scenes on the southern border of the European Union. First there were the massed assaults by thousands of migrants on the wire frontier fences erected by the Spanish government, as they tried to break through, leaving behind a trail of tattered clothes and blood. Next came the bullets that cut down 5 desperate migrants – in all likelihood and despite the media coverup fired by the police of the very “democratic” and “pacifist” government of Señor Zapatero, who likes to present himself as a kind of inoffensive Bambi. There then followed the massive deployment of legionaries and Guardia Civil with the aim of “humanely” (sic!) repelling the migrants. On the 6th October, after behind-the-scenes negotiations between the Spanish and Moroccan governments, events took a new turn with the machine-gunning of 6 migrants on Moroccan territory. These deaths marked the beginning of a whole series of increasingly brutal acts: migrants abandoned in the desert south of Uxda on the 7th October, massive raids in Moroccan cities where the migrants were concentrated; repatriation flights to Mali and Senegal with men and women handcuffed and crammed in together and the news that huge numbers of migrants had been abandoned, in the buses of death, in the Sahara desert.

After the 6th October, the Zapatero government once again appeared in its role as the “champion of tolerance”. It “protested” loudly to the Moroccans about their “inhuman” treatment of the migrants and and made a great media presentation of its project to set up an “ultra-modern” fence (in reality three separate ones) that would stop all penetration “without causing the least injury” to the migrants. Its European Union colleagues immediately joined in the chorus of “democratic protest” against Moroccan excesses, “demanding” the “respectful treatment of the migrants”, with all their usual blather about the European Union being a “ welcoming land” and the necessity to “develop” the African countries. The Spanish Foreign Minister, an expert in beautiful smiles, bared her teeth and in all seriousness announced that “Spain would not tolerate any illegal emigration – however this is compatible with respect for the migrants” (sic!).

In this crisis the democratic states are showing themselves to be particularly two-faced. Since 6th October, the Zapatero government has skillfully subcontracted its dirty war against the migrants, to the Moroccans, allowing it to appear before the world in its usual mask of angelic promoter of “peace”, “human rights” and the “respect of the individual”. This is the face of cynicism, lies and manoeuvres, the usual disguise for the “great democracies’” revolting hypocrisy.

In the days prior to 6th October, the Zapatero government showed a different face altogether: machine gunnings, beatings by the Guardia Civil, razor-wire fences and low-flying helicopters, deportation of the migrants back to Africa. This reality has torn away the hypocritical veil with all the talk about “Rights” and “freedom” and given us a glimpse of the brutal reality: faced with the migrants from Africa, the “Socialist” Zapatero has behaved in exactly the same way as the oft-condemned Sharon with his wall in the West Bank and Gaza, or as the Stalinists Ulbrich and Honnecker when they raised the Berlin Wall to cut off East Germany off from the West.

These two faces, the democratic hypocrite and the blood-stained criminal, are in reality not opposed but complementary. They form an indispensable unity in capitalism's method of domination, a social system that sustains a minority and exploiting class, the bourgeoisie, whose very survival clashes more and more head-on with the interests and needs of the proletariat and the vast majority of the population.

With the tragic problem of immigration we see how capitalism, engulfed in an ever worsening crisis, - which takes its most extreme forms on continents such as Africa - is not even capable of ensuring the minimum of survival to the increasingly huge masses of human beings thrown into a hell of hunger, war and deadly disease.

In their flight, the migrants are beaten and robbed by the police and mafias of the countries which they cross, who can always count on the self-interested complicity of their different states and when they finally arrive at their longed-for goal they run into a new wall of shame, with fences, bullets, deportations... Faced with an increasingly severe crisis, the countries of the European Union are less and less a dazzling “refuge of peace and prosperity”. Their economies can only absorb a few tiny drops of the immense human tide, whose increasingly shameful conditions of exploitation are progressively going to resemble those in the countries from which the migrants have fled.

This situation also has to be seen in the context of the growing imperialist tensions between different states each of which is seeking ways to strike at their rival or to have the tools with which to blackmail it. This makes the migrants an appetising morsel for the manoeuvres used by the different governments. The Moroccans tried to blackmail Spain by giving all kinds of help to the mafias specialising in migrants in order to putn pressure on the Spaniards. But at the same time, through its situation as the Southern entry port into the European Union, Spain has tried to exact an even higher price for its services as bloody goal keeper.

This swindling and phony game has cost the lives of thousands of human beings condemned to a tragic odyssey. The strongest states can easily present themselves as the “most human and caring” because through their back-room deals they get their weaker colleagues to do their dirty work. Morocco appeared as the bad guy (its police and military's tradition of savage brutality perfectly fitted it for the role) whilst Spain and its “partners” in the EU, its shameless landlords,[1] had the brazen gall to give it lessons about “democracy” and “human rights”.

Capitalism's growing contradictions, the deepening of its historic crisis, the decomposition of its social order, the increasing intensification of the class struggle, means that these large states, the virtuous ones of the democratic order, appear increasingly with blood on their hands. Three months ago we saw the British police, the “most democratic in the world”, cold bloodedly murder a young Brazilian,[2] less than a month ago we saw the North American army and police distributing bullets rather than food and necessities to the victims of hurricane Katrina, today we see the Zapatero government assassinating migrants, deploying troops and raising a wall of shame.

Capitalism with a human face is not possible. Humanity's interests are incompatible with the necessities of this system. In order for humanity to live capitalism must die. The destruction of the capitalist state in all countries, the abolition of frontiers and of the exploitation of man by man, this is the perspective that the proletariat must give its struggle in order that humanity can, simply, begin to live.

International Communist Current 11.10.2005

1 In recent days, the authorities of the European Union have openly paid their Moroccan confederates the substantial credits they wanted in payment for their job as frontier guards, something they had managed to avoid until now.