HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » On immigration, the langu... » Reply #1

Response to Surya Gayatri (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 09:23 AM

1. "Our political class ... has been pulled so far right ... it will not tell the complicated truth

about the consequences of conflict, about a globalised economy, about our interconnected world, a world that we cannot simply step off, or stop."

... all the problems we face around education, housing, employment and health on to one group of people. The fact that it’s not true, that immigrants are not the source of our problems, no longer matters. The “tell it as it is” crowd don’t tell it as it is at all. They are cowards. As we have veered rightwards, pulled there often by out-and-out racists, the only stance seen as vote-winning is to be ever more “tough” on immigrants.

The far right’s fantasy of pulling up the drawbridge to stop this great flow of desperate humanity in transit is just that: a fantasy. The politician who promises control of all borders, and pledges to further strengthen that control by withdrawing further from Europe, is selling a simplistic idea. This idea is now indeed itself Europe-wide, as the toxic language around immigration has moved from the margin into the mainstream.

Many drown anonymously. Their stories on the whole do not interest us, as they are too complex. Too many countries are involved, too much conflict, too many journeys push them out to sea. ... We feel we have no responsibility to them, still less understanding of who they are. They are simply “other”. The discourse of the BNP, the EDL, and now Ukip – which, whatever it says, attracts out-and-out racists – has contaminated public life.

How did we end up in this moral vacuum where we lose any sense of connection to other human beings? It’s fairly easy: people who aren’t human beings don’t need any rights, or any sympathy, so we dehumanise them via language both political and personal. We talk of them as disease, contagion, a virus. They are not us. They cannot become us.

This is an excellent opinion piece not only in its indictment of the far-right and its anti-immigrants sentiments (rooted in racism), but its condemnation of mainstream parties that have been pulled to the right by the constant, simplistic drumbeat of anti-immigrants pressure from the far-right.

The far-right does love to avoid 'complicated truths', preferring to dumb things down to a populist "US vs THEM" message that seems to work well for them at election time. The 'complications' of an interconnected world - immigration, climate change, trade, communications, etc. - can all be solved, in their minds, by 'building a higher wall to keep the world out.

I would disagree however that for "Tory and Labour you could substitute Republican and Democrat, and for Mediterranean migrants, substitute Latin American migrants". There is certainly a tremendous amount of anti-immigrant sentiment in the republican party but I don't think the Democratic Party has been dragged as far to the right on immigration policy as Labour may have been. Polls in the US show that a more pro-immigrant policy is actually quite popular with American voters but the republican party - particularly its tea party wing - is able to block any legislation on immigration reform.

Thanks for finding and posting this excellent article, Surya Gaytri.

Reply to this post

Back to OP Alert abuse Link to post in-thread

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 8 replies Author Time Post
Surya Gayatri Apr 2015 OP
LineNew Reply "Our political class ... has been pulled so far right ... it will not tell the complicated truth
pampango Apr 2015 #1
Surya Gayatri Apr 2015 #3
mylye2222 Apr 2015 #2
Surya Gayatri Apr 2015 #4
malaise Apr 2015 #5
Surya Gayatri Apr 2015 #6
pampango Apr 2015 #7
Surya Gayatri Apr 2015 #8
Please login to view edit histories.