In answer to Rita Boswell’s letter last week, immigration is a fact of life. It fuels booms – USA in the 19th century and every western industrial nation in the 1950s and 60s.
It also fuels wage cutting and division. This is a scar of the last decade in the UK that I feel Rita is responding to. For working people the answer is not to fall in with the rich and employing class because their anti-immigration diatribe weakens all of us.
The removal of immigration will not touch one gram of welfare and wage cuts. The more we let ourselves be divided the more we are smashed in to.
The answer is standing in solidarity with people from wherever they originate and fight the rich together. This may be through unions, rank and file activity, housing estates, campaign groups, wherever.
To answer some of Rita’s ancillary points, immigration often carries a language deficit. This accounts for the appearance in 19th century America of China towns, German towns, the Italian quarter. Within a generation most of these areas disappear along with original cultural gaps. I wonder how many UK people of the past 20 years that have emigrated to Spain speak fluent Spanish?
Urinating in the gutter? A few years ago, I travelled and stayed in deepest Morocco. Around the crumbling 15th century town walls there was a high stench of urine. When I walked these pastures first thing in the morning, away from my three-star hotel, it was not the toilet facility that caught my eye. It was the fact that whole droves of extremely impoverished people were forced to sleep against these same walls.
The existence of public toilets in rare instances will not be known for some people from another World. The irony is that with the removal or cut back of public toilet facilities here, their number will be swelling with home grown UK citizens.
Free prescriptions ? Between 1948 and 51 all chemists sported free prescriptions. There cut back was the first attack on the newly created welfare state. To highlight people of recent origin to the UK is playing straight in to the hands of the mansion inhabitants of our island that are busy chipping away at our income in both money and services to feather their lifestyles of extreme affluence. It is them we need to attack not the odd welfare recipient in a shopping queue.
Don’t be divided against immigrants. Fighting together has to be the answer.