The Evils of Inaction: Capitalism and the Migrant Crisis

With thousands of refugees hoping to be granted asylum in Europe, the continent has responded to the crisis with much resentment. Only recently did anti-migration demonstrators bearing neofascist slogans take to the streets of Warsaw, completely dwarfing the pro-migration rally that had taken place the same day. Their opinions are undoubtedly shared by many across Europe, as we have seen, it’s not only ordinary citizens who are to blame; the use of tear gas and water cannons upon migrants at the Hungarian border shows outright hostility between governments and migrants, and the fact that Swedish opinion polls reveal a far-right, anti-immigration party to be the country’s most popular choice show that mob mentality isn’t just present on the streets.

In an attempt to at least respond to the event, the United Kingdom has agreed to accept a quota of 20,000 refugees. Even a relatively small contribution such as this one was met with disdain, with many fearing for the stability of the nation after such an influx. It’s evident that none of those talking of stability have ever lived in Syria.

One thing is clear: thousands are pouring to our wealthy, stable nations to escape war, poverty and discrimination, and it’s as if we’re doing everything we can to shut off the flow of people and put up our national boundaries. The refusal to accept quotas or the angst about allowing more citizens to one’s country may be justified by a belief that Europe can’t cope with the influx, or that we won’t be able to provide for these people, yet these ideas are almost laughable if you compare the provisional capabilities of France, Britain or Poland with those of the dishevelled states these migrants are flocking from. When we finally realised that we can’t ignore the issue, it’s as though we reluctantly did as little as possible to get around it. Take the UK, for example. I firmly believe it could provide for many more than 20,000.  Perhaps not without harming the grossly unequal hierarchy of wealth that dominates in Britain, but some sacrifice of wealth and resources is obviously needed. Unsurprisingly, the wealthy nations of the west are yet again unwilling to sacrifice theirs.

In this respect, the recent migrant crisis is part of a far larger problem, for it is well known, for example, that there is enough food in the world to feed everybody, yet some live in luxury while others starve. This reflects the economic disparity between nations of the first and third world, which remains a necessity for either’s existence, and will always be preserved by wealthy countries simply by their refusal to change it, and jeopardise their affluence. Thus, their refusal to act, to utilise the economy for purposes that contradict their interests, is an inherent evil of the international bourgeois.  Europe’s refusal to take more responsibility is only a new manifestation of the same old problem; the unwillingness of the wealthy to change the status quo. We can only hope that, when such change doesn’t come, there are enough voices out there to insist upon it.

8 thoughts on “The Evils of Inaction: Capitalism and the Migrant Crisis

  1. Good post Max. I’m glad you’ve written about the migration/refugee crisis. When I first learnt of the Holocaust I couldn’t understand why other countries didn’t give visas to all the Jews desperate to escape. This feels similar – so many fleeing wars, poverty and persecution – and the response is to hope they will either stay put or go away.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Very interesting, Max. Did you see the Daily Mail headlines – one saying basically ‘stop them coming over here’ and the next week, when that poor toddler was washed up on the shores of Greece, something like: ‘Britain must open its door to refugees’.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You may be the anonymous revolutionary, but if what you write is Marxism, then I am an accidental Marxist. I most certainly am a “Maxist” and fully and whole-heartedly agree with all that you write. The failure to act by wealthy states like ours (Denmark, in my case) is a shame, and should be a crime. I read everything you write with great interest and admiration.

    Yours sincerely, theaccidentalmarxist

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Max, great human writing and analysis, I do not think it matters about ideology, Europe has acted like a spoilt petulant child for so long and has treated the developing and the undeveloped nations with such brutality that I think the people in Western nations could be deemed to be mentally unstable. I think that whatever form government takes, it should have an ethical foundation and that is lacking in the West and feeds into the global instability.


  5. Greetings from the former “Karl-Marx-Stadt”, now known as Chemnitz, Germany.

    I have to say I agree with the gist of your post, but perhaps I may offer the german perception of events as an expansion of sorts. “A touch of realism”:

    Every week we have demonstrations by the group known as “PEGIDA” – I do not know how well known they are outside of our borders, their name means “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occidental World”. Without a shred of irony, the local branch of PEGIDA hold their weekly meetings at the worlds second largest bust, the giant head of Karl Marx situated in the city center. But in all their ignorance, they do seem to represent a rather small minority in this country. And that despite the fact that germany has let in literally hundreds of thousands of refugees, indeed approaching one million.
    So in a rather stark contrast to Great Britain, or most other european countries, we have actually taken your advice and gone with a policy of: “Let in as many as possible”. And now we are discovering the side effects of that – and mild as they are for the moment, there are some significant problems looming on the horizon:
    1) Every refugee needs to be registered and given some form of temporary or permanent visa. Then they need some form of financial assistance and some form of integrative assistance (such as an education program) and of course a residence to actually live in this new country. All of these points require an enormous host of border-police, communal politicans, lawyers, doctors, beaurocrats of a dozen branches, etc. And we have simply reached the limit for how many people of those professions exist in germany at the moment – the training of additional staff in all those fields is ongoing, but will not happen over night.
    2) There is a growing right wing movement against the influx of so many foreigners, as increasing parts of the population begin to fear radical changes in their surroundings. Of course you can I know those changes would mostly be beneficial – an additional Syrian fast food restaurant here, a couple more Syrian language schools there – but to a part of the population any change will always be bad change and they must be pandered to, in a way, by ensuring that change happens slowly enough for them to feel comfortable with it. Failing to pander to this gut feeling which many people seem to posess risks a right wing backlash, as is already occuring in many areas, with the bombing of refugee camps and a general increase of violence.
    3) Carrying on from point two, we have also experienced a growing left wing radicalisation in response to the growing right wing. I am aware that I am writing on a deeply left wing website, but from your posts I do not take you for a radical. The left wing radicals in germany advocate the expulsion or physical supression of the right wing – a move akin to quenching a fire by smothering it in oil. We are moving, as a country, towards a seriously dangerous rift in our society, a move which may in the near future cost a lot of lives.

    Thus, as I said, merely a small expansion upon the views you have shared. People should share their wealth, share their living space, share what ever it is that other people do not posess and desperately need. But as we are beginning to see, it cannot be done without taking into consideration what the population feels, or has the capacity to do, about the situation. In germany we are, in a way, blessed to have such horrific experiences in our history. It has made the entire population very careful about supporting reactionary movements, and very open to tolerance. As a german I feel it would be great if other countries shared the refugee load more evenly – but I wonder, at times, whether other countries would not break rather more quickly under such a load. Even if the economies, crime rates, religions of a country would be more or less unaffected (or affected positively in the case of the economy) by refugees, if the population does not approve (and does not approve to the point of becoming militant in voicing their dissaproval) then perhaps it will not be possible to take in more people in future, and all idealist concepts to the contrary would end in rather dreadful conflicts.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jonas – your perceptive article leaves me deeply ashamed for my country (UK) and myself. We have some excuses in our disgraceful press, nearly all ultra-right wing and owned by the likes of Rupert Murdoch and the Barclay brothers; not to mention the malignant effect of our ‘Public Schools’ system (exactly not public of course) ; but these are excuses. I would so much prefer the actions of an Angela Merkel rather than our Conservative government – but look what is happening to our Labour party.
      And so many of my countrymen (and women, of course) claim to be deeply Christian.


  6. Hi Max,

    I’ve just been watching an “expert” on Fox, the channel liberal Americans watch for its comedy value, talking in the light of the Paris atrocities. To let Syrian refugees in to America, he says, is to condemn Americans to death in their own country. Among the innocent and dispossessed, he claims, there will be terrorists.

    On March 16th, 1190 – and I guess you’ll know more than most about this – around the same number of Jews were killed in York as people were killed in Paris 48 hours ago. So, nine hundred years on and still we find people who thought they were safe within their community being butchered. The pressure on Chancellor Merkel’s refugee policy has just increased.

    I commend the British Communist Party’s response to the refugee crisis. The UK’s appalling stance is rightly condemned, but the need for wealthy nation states to fund, support and trust the United Nations is also highlighted. Actually, I don’t think Communist ideology and Charter principle are easily reconciled (monolithic world of communist states versus a more politically diverse paradigm), but the call to get behind the United Nations resonates. Fund it properly, find its leaders from the brightest and best and let national interest assume a supporting role as we seek to resolve this dreadful situation.

    Booked my flights. See you in December.


    Liked by 2 people

  7. Max,

    It appears you have been very active since I last visited your page.

    Not sure about the music on the Anniversary post. Is there a rock version of this? Or perhaps a rap Eminem style? Well I can assure you that youtube never fails to find even the most obscure musical requests. I did a quick search and much to my surprise discovered there is a rock and a reggie version amongst others. Just in case you fancy something a bit different. My 11 year old was looking at me very strangely whilst doing her homework as I played several versions.

    Really liked you post on the refugee crisis. It is important to remind ourselves that not that long ago Europeans in their thousands needed shelter. Did the world’s nations close their borders. What were the long term, economical or otherwise, benefits of having done so for those nations?

    There is a lot in the media about the effect of letting refugees into the UK, stating the obvious in terms of the financial impact. But what will happen if we close our boarders? Have we really properly considered that. What will be the economic and humanitarian impact upon us as a nation if we choose not to act? Over half of those refugees are children.

    It’s voices like yours that force us to ask those questions.

    I was reading some of the other comments on your site. Enjoyed the “Maxist” comment from the accidental marxist.

    Keep up the good work.

    K x

    Liked by 2 people

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