Statement written by International Relations Committee Co-Chair Zach Medeiros and SPUSA Vice-Chair AJ Segneri. Passed by the SPUSA National Action Committee
Late last month, Reuters and the Italian media reported that Franco Gabrielli, Italy’s national police chief, sent a written directive to police stations across the country ordering them to take "extraordinary action" before the "growing migratory pressure in an international context marked by instability and threats" to "control and remove irregular foreigners." A source within the Italian Interior Ministry confirmed the directive to Reuters and elaborated on what this extraordinary action would entail: the creation of several new detention centers. Following a January 4th uprising at a migrant reception center sparked by the preventable death of a young Ivory Coast woman and dismal living conditions, the Italian government publicly reiterated its hardline stance and further pledged to step up deportations.
It should go without saying that these are reactions based on fear, political desperation, and racist and xenophobic disregard for the lives and rights of people in need. While terrorism (from both non-state and state actors) is a real threat to the world, the answer to this problem is not mass reprisals against people whose only crime is to be undesirable in the eyes of Europe’s gatekeepers. These are the same gatekeepers who, as representatives of the capitalist ruling class, have proven themselves unwilling and unable to provide for the needs of the majority across the planet.
Socialist Party vice-chair AJ Segneri states “The is a prime example of the failure of the Grand Coalition who feel they are conducting Left politics but in reality are making neoliberal policies that further harm the people of Italy. These same policies are now harming those seeking refuge.”
The failure of then-Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s referendum initiative in December, followed by Renzi’s resignation and replacement by another made-to-order neoliberal politician is yet another sign of the growing rejection of the status quo by those who suffer under it. In Italy, as in Europe as a whole, the shrinking credibility of the neoliberal center provides a political opening for the far left and the far right. While the left has won victories, it is the neofascist far right that is on the rise globally. Operating under a populist mask, they are attacking immigrants, refugees, and all other “outsiders” on their path to power. In order to stave off these upstarts, the establishment appeases them by cracking down with increasing severity on the vulnerable and the most oppressed.
However, this form of fascism-lite will not stay lite for long. While the forces of fascism are on the upswing, drumming up fear and hatred to shift attention away from the real problems, we must all understand and be unafraid to say that the enemy is capitalism. It is the ravages of capitalism and capitalist entities that forces tens of millions of human beings to flee their home countries to find sanctuary elsewhere, often dying in the thousands in the process. The depredations of capitalism throws those people into a false, needless battle for resources with the residents of the countries they flee to.
We must fight for the human rights of those who seek refuge across capitalist borders, and stand alongside those already fighting the conditions that cause them to seek refuge in the first place. The path to a better world is not found through mass detentions and deportations, or through a retreat into ruthless nationalism, but through internationalism and socialism.