Anarchists in Germany have called for May Day 2017 to focus on solidarity with migrants in the face of one of the fiercest reactionary backlashes of the modern era.
The FAU anarcho-syndicalist union is launching the action, saying that “migrants are workers, just like us” but are especially suffering under the current political conditions in Europe and are uniquely exposed to capitalist exploitation. In a statement, the union’s international committee said:
The labor dispute has no limits!
If the signs of the times do not deceive, we are entering a stage of populism such as we have not seen in the last few decades. The exploitation of both the “inside” workers and the excluded is driven by nationalist and racist tropes inciting the people against one another. Against the project of a world full of new walls at the borders — and in the mind — we need a project that is able to break down all barriers and in their place build connections among us, socialising workers to organise solidarity and mutual aid. We want to seek what unites among us in the struggle for better living conditions, fighting within the meaning of anarcho-syndicalism for a world without exploitation and domination.
The FAU calls on all individuals, collectives, grassroots unions and other social initiatives to participate in the international day of action on “Work and Migration.” On May 1st, we want to express our class solidarity with migrants by mobilising across borders against the prevailing xenophobia, racism and nationalism, which are the weapons of State and capital. A consistent struggle against racism is also a fight against the capitalist system, which is based on extreme inequality and is instructed to maintain their our state of social division.
Notably exploitation and disenfranchisement affects migrant workers in our society who suffer as a result of the racist immigration policies that produce undocumented employment, work prohibitions or compulsory labor. Especially active in food service, cleaning and the construction industry, with a low degree of organisation and lacking union support, they have little opportunity to fight against the increasing precariousness of their working situations. The established “social partnership” unions again show only limited interest in organising (undocumented) migrants or to supporting them in the fight for the right to stay and against legal obstacles. Rather, their focus on core workers has deepened and they accept the social divisions, the nationalist logics of economic location.
These grievances oppose solidarity and self-organisation — as in the case of our colleagues from Romania who are exploited at the construction site of the shopping center Mall of Berlin under scandalous working and living conditions to have been cheated and threatened. Organising with FAU, the labour dispute led to the Berlin shopping center being dubbed the “Mall of Shame” and it became a symbol of migrant exploitation in Germany. We were able to answer the social climate of incitement, in particular against migrant workers from south-east Europe, with an example of successful resistance. Even in the current efforts to support refugee people and underpaid labour, we see a merger of exclusion and lowering labour standards, which negatively affects the consequence all workers. We should build working class solidarity and resistance, not only fighting for freedom of movement of all people, but also against racially-legitimised exploitation. The laboor dispute has no limits!
In the tradition of May 1st, we call for solidarity with migrant workers to protest together against precarious working conditions, against capitalist exploitation, against the racist border regime. No matter what form these protests take — strike, rally, information distribution, event, performance; no matter whether locally or nationally; regardless of whether it be worker, unemployed person, student, pensioner, migrant or refugee, to know that there is the possibility of organising against exploitation for all. Only with international solidarity and a trade union practice that ignores borders can we defend ourselves against capitalism. Perform a common action for May 1st. Together we will build bridges where others want to build walls.
The International Committee of the FAU
Email mai2017 [at] fau.org for more
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