Friday, June 03, 2016

Excluding the poor

THE GLOBAL MELTINGPOT
“We cheer when the Berlin Wall comes down. We condemn the Israelis for their separation barrier and Donald Trump for his ludicrous Mexican fence. But are we really so different? We also police our borders with guns and razor wire as if we had some God-given right to this particular stretch of land. Through the random lottery of life, I have a UK passport. I didn’t work for it or do anything whatsoever to deserve it. In economic terms, I just happened to be born lucky.”

“Within our own borders we complain at any suggestion of a postcode lottery. When the north of England has a different standard of healthcare to the south, we consider it a scandal. But when the global north has a radically different standard of healthcare to the global south, we think that’s just the way it is. In fact, it’s far worse than that – we somehow think it our duty to fence off our advantage, to protect it against those who would share in our good fortune.”

“In this era of advanced globalisation, we believe in free trade, in the free movement of goods, but not in the free movement of labour. We think it outrageous that the Chinese block Google, believing it to be everyone’s right to roam free digitally. We celebrate organisations such as Médecins Sans Frontières for their compassionate universalism. But for all this talk of freedom from restriction, we still pen poor people into reservations of poverty.”

“no force on earth can insulate us against billions of people without enough to eat. Many will tragically drown in our Mediterranean moat, others will be stopped for a while at our fences, but nothing will not stop more people from trying to come. And eventually they will succeed. Artificial national boundaries, just lines on a map, are no match against the massed forces of human need.”


“Before the Aliens Act of 1905, the UK had no border controls to speak of. They were first erected to stop Jews coming from eastern Europe. “England for the English,” was the slogan. The Manchester Evening Chronicle explained what this meant: “That the dirty, destitute, diseased, verminous and criminal foreigner who dumps himself on our soil and rates simultaneously, shall be forbidden to land.” Border controls have always been racist in character. And it’s much the same today. They are about locking in our wealth and keeping mosques out of the Cotswolds. At present, globalisation is a luxury of the rich…”

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