Alistair McConnachie explains how the Left is driven by its ideology of "equality" and how it dishonestly manipulates the fine idea of solidarity to collude in destructive capitalism and ecological disaster.
This article was published originally in the September 2006 issue of Sovereignty.
There were fears of a new wave of clandestine migrants from eastern Europe last night after Poland announced it is opening its doors to workers from outside the EU.
In an attempt to ease labour shortages, people from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus will no longer need work permits to enter the country.
With thousands of its citizens flocking to the UK, Poland finds itself short of skilled workers.
(Unaccredited, "Poland in new migrant alert",
The Scottish Daily Mail, 2-9-06, p.55)
Irony of ironies! Poland is short of skilled workers because they're all flocking to Britain because, allegedly, we're short of skilled workers!
Such is the absurdity of neo-liberalism -- the term which has come to refer to minimum government intervention in the economy, or government intervention intended to ensure complete freedom of movement of capital and labour.
This article demonstrates that neo-liberalism is upheld by those on the Left as well as those on the Right.
On the question of free movement of labour, the free-marketeers and capitalists on the Right meet the anti-capitalists and anarchists on the Left in complete agreement.
The reason the free-marketeers uphold a central pillar of neo-liberalism -- free movement of people - is their desire to make a lot of money.
The free-marketeers cannot speak out against free movement of labour because that would require them to re-assess their commitment to free movement of capital.
It's unfortunate that some anti-EU groups simplistically advocate "free trade" without thinking it through properly and realising that the full implications may often be the antithesis of their professed belief in national sovereignty, both political and economic. After all, even if we left the EU, cheap labour would still come here, unless there were restrictions set on this particular aspect of "free trade."
The reason the anti-capitalists uphold a central pillar of neo-liberalism -- free movement of people - is their desire to promote "equality".
In this regard, the Left emphasise "international workers' solidarity". This can often be a very good idea.
CONSTRUCTIVE SOLIDARITY and POLITICALLY PERVERSE "SOLIDARITY"
For example, I realise that if my job is shipped to Mexico, the Mexican worker will probably have a pretty crummy job working for low-wages in poor conditions.
I can accept that the system is screwing us both.
We all benefit when living standards and working conditions rise in other countries. It means there is less chance of an employer in this country bailing out and going abroad to exploit cheap labour and poor working conditions, and there will be less of a migration push from these countries.
I can understand that if I can help the Mexican build a better economic system for his own country, then maybe in time there will be less incentive for the system to ship my next job out there, or to force his family over here.
In this sense, solidarity with workers internationally is an appropriate and fine thing, to be encouraged. Sovereignty carries a slogan on its back page, with every issue, which advocates "Solidarity with Farmers Internationally."
However, the idea of "solidarity" becomes a very bad thing if it is misused as a rhetorical device to neuter my opposition to having my living space invaded, or my work and wages undermined, or my environment destroyed, or when I'm expected to condone unlawful behaviour in its name.
For example, when we're expected to show "solidarity" with the massive influx of immigrants, especially the illegal ones -- which the Left like to call "irregular" -- and bogus asylum seekers, and to put from our minds the political, social, economic and ecological consequences of this immigration invasion -- for the greater notion of "solidarity".
In that sense, "solidarity" is simply a slogan being used to undermine my rights and to prevent me articulating them and to stop me standing up for myself, and my group's interests. It is in this politically perverted sense that the Left today almost always use the term.
THE DRIVING IDEOLOGY OF "EQUALITY"
Why do the Left insist on doing this?
Why do they seek to geld opposition to neo-liberalism from the working class by misusing the idea of "international solidarity" when it is not appropriate to the circumstances, nor the interests, of the people to whom they are speaking?
The reason is because the Left's over-arching ideology of "equality" demands that they put "equality for all" before the interests of any specific element of the working class.
Therefore, if working class people in England are being displaced from apprenticeships, or jobs, by already qualified Eastern Europeans, or Somali refugees, then the Leftist will not stand up for the English indigenous working class because his doctrine of "equality" mandates that he cannot and must not "discriminate" between people in any way.
Therefore, he will argue that the Somali has a right to this job too and that the Englishman needs to see himself, not as part of a national citizenry, but rather as part of an amorphous "international working class" in which he is "equal" with this Somali and shares "solidarity" with this Somali "working class person". Viewed this way, the Englishman can only lose.
To promote "equality", the Englishman is expected to deny his interests, forfeit his rights and cede his space in the name of "solidarity" with someone he's never met, who is likely not a citizen, and is probably a law-breaker!
As a consequence of its ideological obsession with "equality", the Left cannot and will not oppose free movement of labour and so it must try deliberately to pervert and misuse the idea of solidarity in order to neuter any working class opposition to the open-borders of neo-liberalism.
The Left's obsession with "solidarity" can sometimes have its amusing manifestations.
I had a conversation with a Lefty in Buchanan Street this month. He was standing beside a stall and wanted me to sign a petition showing "solidarity" with some Cubans who, for reasons he was not able to explain clearly, had been thrown in jail in Miami!
Faintly amused, I smiled and said I didn't think that was of much relevance to people in Glasgow. Oh, but on the contrary, apparently, it was his group's aim to build "an international movement for working class solidarity".
I laughed out loud. "How are you going to do that," I asked, "when right here in Glasgow, we have the Scottish Socialist Party, who are now split right down the middle, and screaming hatred at each other. If they can't keep it together in Glasgow, how are you going to keep it together worldwide?" He didn't have much to say to that!
THE MARXIST BOGUS "GREENS"
The Leftist and Marxist "Greens" will point out that it is capitalism which drives immigration pressures.
Like all Marxists they will trace whatever it is they claim to be concerned about, to the economic system. They will try to claim that ecological crises are a product of social causes which themselves are products of the capitalist system and its injustices.
Of course, the economic system is often a factor, and one can recognize that without having to be a Marxist!
However, these people are Bogus Greens because the bottom line for them is not ecological sustainability, but like all other Leftists, the bottom line is their fundamentalist religion of "equality" which drives them on destructive routes.
Even if we work sincerely to correct the economic problems of which they complain, even if we work to ensure people want to stay where they are rather than migrate, even if the economics is changed for the better, they would still support ecologically damaging open borders and unlimited immigration -- in the name of equality!
In this regard, compare the difference between genuine ecologically-aware advocacy, as found in Sovereignty with that of the Marxist Bogus "Greens":
Sovereignty challenges neo-liberalism. We campaign for economic justice for all. To those ends, we advocate building Self Reliance Worldwide (see for example, The Principles and Purposes of Foreign Aid, and Appendix to our Asylum Policy, we support the Cancellation of Third World Debt and we advocate thoroughly throughout this website, the economics of Localism not Globalism.
At the same time we advocate restricting immigration and asylum levels severely, and enforcing the immigration laws. We campaign for ecological sustainability and emphasise its central relevance to the issue of migration.
Marxist Bogus "Greens" on the other hand, put freedom of movement above economic justice and ecological sustainability because they are fixated on their religion of "equality" in every field of human life.
This ideology demands that there must be no laws which "discriminate" in any way towards any particular person for any reason whatsoever. Thus, immigration laws are inherently anti-equality and "racist" and must be torn down and there must be open-borders.
Moreover, they try to justify this in economic terms because they believe that freedom of movement is a necessary tool to achieve their economic goals in the first place.
They believe that only when we can all move about unimpeded will the world economy stabilise at a level which is the same for all. Only then, as a result of this economic equality will the social problems caused by inequality be sorted and ecological sustainability achieved.
Of course, in reality this free movement of people will be politically, socially, economically and ecologically damaging and unjust to many areas and peoples of the planet -- but that is of little concern to them.
The Marxist Bogus "Greens" will destroy the planet in their efforts to achieve "equality".