IST statement on the racist drive in Europe

Friday 13th July 2018

1. The European Council meeting on 28 June marked a potentially very dangerous turning point in the racist drive against migrants in Europe. After Donald Trump’s election in November 2016 the European Union presented itself as a bastion of liberalism and tolerance standing out against the new American president’s racism ands sexism. But this latest summit saw the EU embrace Trump’s anti-migrant agenda.

2. Trump caused outrage when he detained the children of undocumented migrants separately from their parents. But the EU has decided to create detention camps – so-called “disembarkation platforms” – for whole families along its borders. Libya – a country dominated by warring predatory militias that already traffic, kidnap, torture and rape migrants – has been picked out for a special role in this. The summit gave the Libyan coastguard an exclusive role in “rescuing” refugee boats in the Mediterranean.

3. These decisions are a consequence of the axis that has developed between Trump and the far right governments that are spreading across Europe – represented by Viktor Orbán in Hungary, Sebastian Kurz in collaboration with the Nazi Freedom Party in Austria and Matteo Salvini in Italy. Supposedly more moderate politicians of the neoliberal centre such as Angela Merkel in Germany and Emmanuel Macron in France are trying to contain these forces by making concessions to them. This is creating a death loop that is radicalising anti-migrant policies and actually strengthening the far right.

4. The rise of racist populist parties is giving strength and confidence to the real fascist forces. The success of the Lega’s campaign in the recent Italian elections has multiplied racist attacks. Trump and the American alt-right are also helping the fascists. We see this in the rapid emergence of a far right street-fighting movement in Britain around the Football Lads Alliance and Tommy Robinson, which has been embraced by UKIP.

5. The EU’s anti-migrant drive requires a higher level of imperialist intervention in Africa. Italy has made great efforts to reshape Libya since Gaddafi’s fall. France has been stepping up its long-standing apparatus of military intervention in the Sahel region. Germany is pushing African governments to stop the flow of migrants at source. And the United States Africa Command is increasing its military footprint in sub-Saharan Africa, as was shown by the combat deaths of four US Special Forces soldiers in Niger last October, and the plans for an American military base in Ghana.

6. At its recent meeting, the International Socialist Tendency reaffirmed its unremitting and absolute opposition to these policies:

· We stand for open borders and oppose all immigration controls: migrants aren’t the problem but the bosses and bankers and their system;

· At the same time, we seek to build the broadest possible anti-racist movement, uniting all those opposed to Trump and the far right and defending migrants and refugees;

· Building on the traditions of the Anti-Nazi League in the 1970s, renewed in recent years by Keerfa in Greece, Aufstehen gegen Rassismus in Germany, Stand Up to Racism and Unite against Fascism in Britain, Unitat contra el feixisme i el racisme in Catalunya, Platform fur eine menschliche Asylpolitik in Austria, Marche des Solidarités in France and United against Racism in Ireland, we aim to deny fascists the ability to agitate and organise by mounting mass mobilisations that drive them off the streets;

· We oppose all military intervention by Western imperialist powers in Africa and the Middle East and demand the dismantling of their military bases in these regions;

· We take every opportunity to build international solidarity among the exploited and oppressed of the world. Only socialist revolution can put an end to the suffering and conflict caused by capitalism.

The Coordination of the International Socialist Tendency
13 July 2018