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Europe and Immigration?

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  • Europe and Immigration?

    We have been having trouble's in swedens welfare, due to unregulated immigration by the government. I think this is a 'set-up' introduced by the EU Elite so people will vote a more 'neo-liberal' line in sweden.
    Appealing more to their hatreds et al.

    Weekly Standard, Feb. 28
    An article argues that Sweden is facing "profound exhaustion with immigration." It provides a brief history of the Swedish welfare state—including the construction of 1 million apartment units in the 1970s that were shunned by native-born Swedes but embraced by immigrants. It goes on to claim that Sweden's strongly antiracist, pro-immigration stance may be destroying its generous welfare state. Moreover, disgusted by honor killings among Kurdish immigrants and worried that people from around the European Union might come to their country and take advantage of their social benefits, Swedes may soon start cracking down on immigration. …

    How are things in your 'European' neighbourhood?

    A sidenote:
    With the murders of Olof Palme, and later on, Anna Lindh.
    The guardians of 'real' egalitarian democracy and world peace.
    I smell a 'Rat' here..
    It seems to be coming from the 'west' too.

  • #2
    I wonder, good Theocrat, whether looking out, towards the EU Elite, is the key to this issue. Or perhaps the answer, as usual, lies closer to home? As well as to the sorts of stereotypes which all countries and nationalisms tend to entertain regarding The Other.

    I am currently writing from somewhere in the South (Syden, as my good Norwegian friends refer to it: meaning all of these Other weird, equatorial, tropical, funny, poor and dirty little countries with funny little brown people running around in them all the time...and germs; Syden is definitely about germs. Surely you Swedes must have some related concept, yes?).
    Anyway, writing from Down South where the Midnight Sun never shines. But I do have some direct experience of Scandinavia. Of course, Norwegian. Most recently there in December, just on visit, but I have lived and even (blush, blush) worked in Bergen and elsewhere as an illegal immigrant for a few months. Not out of necessity, but rather out of love. Anyway, that's another story.
    The issue is: it seems to me that Norskis appear to be going through the same sorts of agonising over immigrants that Swedes are. But in both cases, like you, I see little substance and much rhetoric behind this. Rather unfortunate rhetoric, I might add.

    However, rather than lay the blame at the feet of the Eurocrats in Brussels, I wonder whether this isn't simply a reaction to be expected from welfare states which have, until recently, lived in relatively stable socioeconomic isolation? After all, there is a profound streak of provincialism, or if you want, of distance from the madding crowd of immigrant issues and such in Scandinavia as compared to other countries?

    In any case, one of the things that always comes to mind whenever I hear Europeans (be they Scandinavians, or Spaniards, or even Brits) whingeing about immigrants and banging on about the threat that these people pose...I have to chuckle as I remind myself of a much closer and far far larger illegal immigrant scenario: on our own Mexico-US border. Where the scale of the problem is vastly, vastly larger to anywhere else (except China, where the recent internal, irregular migration from rural to urban places is the largest, in terms of human numbers, in history) As in Europe, however, the Mex-US issue is hugely overstated. And very hypocritical, as it seldom highlights the enormous benefits for both nations' economies and mutual understanding that this all brings.

    I guess I don't have a final thought on this. But there you are. Early morning food for fodder.

    Comment


    • #3
      AAh...I meant, early Monday morning food for thought. Wheh...that was a long night last night.

      Comment


      • #4
        This is bound to be a major issue in the UK's coming general election - forced to the top of the agenda by tabloid editors looking to distract as usual from any truly important issues.

        All the parties are currently vying to see who can be 'toughest' on immigration. The pressure is political. The (unconvincing) argument put forward by those who should know better is that if we don't do this the BNP fascists will gain ground. 'Unconvincing' as would-be fuhrer Nick Griffin himself once pointed out in a rare moment of insight "(ex-Home Secretary) David Blunkett is the BNP's finest recruiting sergeant". By reinforcing the message that immigration is a major problem, the mainstream politicians are bolstering the far-right's arguments.

        Having looked quite closely into this issue, I know that the politicians are being completely cynical and going aginst their own advice. The Home Office has published reports that show that immigration has no negative impact on local labour markets. Present day policies mean, however, that many thousands of 'illegal' workers are exploited under conditions that meet the ILO's definition of 'forced labour'. http://www.tuc.org.uk/international/tuc-9317-f0.cfm

        As to the welfare state - well, 'welfare chauvinism' is an expression I've heard used. It seems odd to me, as the British welfare state, at any rate, seems to be increasing run by immigrants. It is true, however, that hard evidence seems impossible to come by - the history of immigration controls seems to have been almost entirely driven by fears of what might happen rather than any concrete evidence. And, of course, racism; when people complain about 'immigrants' how often are they referring to US citizens or Australians?

        Of course, racism itself has moved into the cultural sphere. No longer do people claim (well, outside of the BNP at any rate) that other 'races' (in quotation marks because the whole concept has no scientific validity) are biologically inferior, but what we are told that we are in danger of losing our national culture due to being 'swamped' by others. I think, however, that people who subscribe to this site will need little persuading that the idea of a 'national culture' as something that can be preserved like a fly in amber is pretty absurd in this age of global communications, even if were desirable (which it most decidedly isn't!).

        For a thought-provoking alternative view on immigration controls, check this out http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article...514058,00.html and see the Channel 4 film tonight (8pm).

        Admittedly, 'Let 'em all in' would not be a votewinner. However, at the very least we should be honouring our commitments to the 1951 Geneva Convention on Refugees. It's a sad reflection on how little the world has improved since WW2 that it is now being argued that this is no longer a possibility. Above all, perhaps, our governments should be pursuing foreign policy agendas that cut the number of refugees at source.

        Has anyone got any ideas, by the way, of how the 'non-racist immigration controls' demanded by many on the left might actually work? And is it right for us to carry on recruiting highly skilled workers from poorer countries (Our social services department, for instance, has recently gone out and recruited a qualified doctor from the Czech republic to attack as a care assistant in an older person's home - supervised by a nurse(!))

        One simplistic argument I use with people who are against immigrants, by the way, is to point out that they are in effect likening the economy to a cake, of which there are only so many slices to go around. In reality, however, it is more like a bakery. More bakers mean more cake for everyone!
        \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

        Comment


        • #5
          Generally speaking immigration to Britain, as to America and Canada, has stimulated the economy and generally improves the economic well-being of the countries in question. I believe that this is what should be emphasised, rather than running with the xenophobic notions drummed up by the right-wing press (not just the tabloids, I should add, but Murdoch's Time's and The Daily Telegraph).
          The Weekly Standard is owned by Rupert Murdoch and is the main voice of the neocons, with many of the leading White House neocons as contributors, including David Frum who penned the Axis of Evil speech.
          As such its reports should be viewed with as much suspicion as that from any other extremist source. Perhaps a better right-wing source is The American Conservative, which was set up in opposition to the neocon viewpoint and is strongly, for instance, anti-war and opposed to much of Bush's liberal economic policies. It's run by Pat Buchanan and the Greek millionaire Taki (who funds it).
          It's worth checking as many sources as possible (The Economist, for instance, is often a reliable source) about the realities of immigration and social security.

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          Comment


          • #6
            I doubt very much if any of us are not nth-generation immigrants!

            My maternal grandparents were (from Belgium and the Netherlands to the UK).

            But I'm not sure how many pure-blood Picts there are left over here.



            Gr.,
            Ant

            Comment


            • #7
              I'm kind of embarassed for rambling on an on and not really saying much in that earlier mail. But as I read MMs and other comments, something came to mind. A most enjoyable little book I got my hands on recently, Richard Hall's "Empires of the Monsoon: A history of the Indian Ocean and its invaders" (London: HarperCollins 1998).

              What has this got to do with immigration?

              Apart from being a roaring good read, Hall demonstrates the intense (but virtually unkown or conveniently forgotten) connections that already united, entangled and complicated any racially pure distinctions in this part of the world...some 1,000 years before today!
              Perhaps most fascinating of all is how he takes one through a millenium of trade, travel and interracial, inter-religious relations...until the Portuguese arrive on the scene and begin to distinguish Black Africans from Brown Indians, and Moors from Christians...and basically the whole place goes to pot. Well, sort of. Economically, at least, because the connections and unspoken rules of civility break down and suddenly the Indian Ocean becomes a weird, unfriendly, patchwork of isolated coasts and states on the fringes of European expansion.

              As for economic cakes. The bakers' metaphor is spot on.

              For not only do economies grow and prosper, but cultures and worldviews are enriched by migrant activity. All the time.
              But then, I'm only stating the obvious.

              Comment


              • #8
                The Swedish welfare state was to a large extent built by Finnish and Yugoslav immigrants. Today, it is obvious that this country will go down the drain if we don't receive more labour from abroad. As the post-WWII baby boomers face retirement, we will need plenty of workers to take care of their former jobs as well as for taking care of them.

                All the talk about immigration leading to unemployment is just a load of bull. People are deported in spite of them working their asses off at jobs which native Swedes don't want to do. This is also true for highly qualified jobs. In my sister's current hometown there had been a shortage of medical doctors for several years, but when they finally had found a woman from Belarus (or was it Russia?) who, unlike native doctors, was willing to live and work in a low-status, far-north region, she could not receive a permit to work. Why? I can't see any rational, non-racist reason for this.

                Unemployment in Sweden was caused by the neoliberal, right-wing government of the early nineties firing a couple of hundred thousands of people from the public sector. This policy has been continued by the (so called) Social Democrats.

                Now liberals and conservatives cry for a more authoritative and competitive environment in public schools as this would create order in the chaos (supposedly) caused by multiculturalism and lack of discipline, ignoring the fact that the problem began when the "fat was trimmed" off the public body, which decimated the number of grown-ups present in public schools. And the result is, as any rational person (or communist hippie, to use the right-wing term) understands, that there are now a number of kids whose only chance of getting attention from adults is to kick someone or set something on fire.

                Rant over.
                You can't spell "politically correct" without "correct".

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Mikey_C
                  This is bound to be a major issue in the UK's coming general election - forced to the top of the agenda by tabloid editors looking to distract as usual from any truly important issues.

                  All the parties are currently vying to see who can be 'toughest' on immigration. The pressure is political. The (unconvincing) argument put forward by those who should know better is that if we don't do this the BNP fascists will gain ground. 'Unconvincing' as would-be fuhrer Nick Griffin himself once pointed out in a rare moment of insight "(ex-Home Secretary) David Blunkett is the BNP's finest recruiting sergeant". By reinforcing the message that immigration is a major problem, the mainstream politicians are bolstering the far-right's arguments.

                  Having looked quite closely into this issue, I know that the politicians are being completely cynical and going aginst their own advice. The Home Office has published reports that show that immigration has no negative impact on local labour markets. Present day policies mean, however, that many thousands of 'illegal' workers are exploited under conditions that meet the ILO's definition of 'forced labour'. http://www.tuc.org.uk/international/tuc-9317-f0.cfm

                  As to the welfare state - well, 'welfare chauvinism' is an expression I've heard used. It seems odd to me, as the British welfare state, at any rate, seems to be increasing run by immigrants. It is true, however, that hard evidence seems impossible to come by - the history of immigration controls seems to have been almost entirely driven by fears of what might happen rather than any concrete evidence. And, of course, racism; when people complain about 'immigrants' how often are they referring to US citizens or Australians?

                  Of course, racism itself has moved into the cultural sphere. No longer do people claim (well, outside of the BNP at any rate) that other 'races' (in quotation marks because the whole concept has no scientific validity) are biologically inferior, but what we are told that we are in danger of losing our national culture due to being 'swamped' by others. I think, however, that people who subscribe to this site will need little persuading that the idea of a 'national culture' as something that can be preserved like a fly in amber is pretty absurd in this age of global communications, even if were desirable (which it most decidedly isn't!).

                  For a thought-provoking alternative view on immigration controls, check this out http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article...514058,00.html and see the Channel 4 film tonight (8pm).

                  Admittedly, 'Let 'em all in' would not be a votewinner. However, at the very least we should be honouring our commitments to the 1951 Geneva Convention on Refugees. It's a sad reflection on how little the world has improved since WW2 that it is now being argued that this is no longer a possibility. Above all, perhaps, our governments should be pursuing foreign policy agendas that cut the number of refugees at source.

                  Has anyone got any ideas, by the way, of how the 'non-racist immigration controls' demanded by many on the left might actually work? And is it right for us to carry on recruiting highly skilled workers from poorer countries (Our social services department, for instance, has recently gone out and recruited a qualified doctor from the Czech republic to attack as a care assistant in an older person's home - supervised by a nurse(!))

                  One simplistic argument I use with people who are against immigrants, by the way, is to point out that they are in effect likening the economy to a cake, of which there are only so many slices to go around. In reality, however, it is more like a bakery. More bakers mean more cake for everyone!
                  I think they are overreacting and being irrational in their decisions.
                  There are many tabloids in Sweden who are questioning the Liberal parties agenda. Pointing that they are on a 'Neo' path, and have ratified their most redeeming qualities. Playing with peoples fears of other cultures is one of them. Saying that we should only throw out the criminal immigrants. But that's in reality only nudging us in an unfavourable situation. If there is wife beating and mutilation, please try and help those organisation back in their homeland so they can change their mind and behaviour. 'Short term thinking' is the road to disaster.
                  The world is becoming way smaller. Europe in particular.
                  My father is one of them who didn't understand my arguments for not throwing out immigrants at a whim. But when i started talking about what's going to happen to his pensions in a few years, he bagan to understand. I don't mind a liberal. But i really dislike Neo's at both sides of the political scales. In that i mean Neo-Marxists as well..

                  I mean... Whats the real point of globalisation if we all can't get along culturally. I just think it's economy after all. Capitalists with long term thinking are the one's we should celebrate in our countries. The one's who do good for the people, should be handed a signature list of people's gratitude, so they see the results of their actions and can boast to their foreign customers in that he's got the people with him on this.
                  It would rubb-off on some at least...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
                    Generally speaking immigration to Britain, as to America and Canada, has stimulated the economy and generally improves the economic well-being of the countries in question. I believe that this is what should be emphasised, rather than running with the xenophobic notions drummed up by the right-wing press (not just the tabloids, I should add, but Murdoch's Time's and The Daily Telegraph).
                    The Weekly Standard is owned by Rupert Murdoch and is the main voice of the neocons, with many of the leading White House neocons as contributors, including David Frum who penned the Axis of Evil speech.
                    As such its reports should be viewed with as much suspicion as that from any other extremist source. Perhaps a better right-wing source is The American Conservative, which was set up in opposition to the neocon viewpoint and is strongly, for instance, anti-war and opposed to much of Bush's liberal economic policies. It's run by Pat Buchanan and the Greek millionaire Taki (who funds it).
                    It's worth checking as many sources as possible (The Economist, for instance, is often a reliable source) about the realities of immigration and social security.
                    Right on the money! I think immigrants are the "spice of the nation".
                    Adding flavour as well as colour. And they are hardworking.
                    And are able to work in enviroments and situations that most picky europeans shirk away from.

                    I think most of this is in fact due to the American economics being forced on europe. I genuinly feel that our countries are being 'date raped' by the neo-cons. And America is a guy that has been in too many 'drunken barfights' and I do think the party is over for that guy. There is some wierd stuff I see happening in american tv-shows going anyhow. A changing attitude towards socialism? Either that or im maybe just seeing things again. Some americans economists are talking about maybe introducing "Degree's of Socialism". :?:

                    I talked to some people about Americas domestic economy, which is in shambles btw. And everybody is reiterating that "They're an import country, they don't have 'shit' to export. Their exports include what could be seen as something from the 19th century". I don't know if this is a valid fact or not.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      We're all immigrants to some extent, my paternal great-grandfather was a piano tuner from Berlin, god knows what brought him to Consett, a small steel town in NE England & another of Thatcher's victims (the town not my great grandfather.)
                      I used to work in a jobcentre & we had a lot of Iraqi asylum seekers. They came with sheafs of job slips, they put more effort in than the "indigenous" unemployed. We had doctors & architects looking for work as cleaners or kitchen porters! 8O
                      Arioch, aid me! Blood and souls for Arioch!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Theocrat
                        I think most of this is in fact due to the American economics being forced on europe.
                        The funny thing is though that true free market economics would call for a free labour market as well. Which is why 'The Economist' is consistent in its views. I think much of the fear expressed by the working class comes from viewing capitalist restructuring - casualisation of labour, rolling back the welfare state, etc and feeling threatened that they may continue to lose the gains that have been made over the past 60 years. The media focuses this fear on immigration as a distraction.

                        It does indeed seem feasible at least that a free labour market could lead to a 'levelling down' of pay and conditions. But people don't seem to have woken up to the fact that increasingly their jobs can be exported anyway. If migrants are here and working legally, bringing all the benefits that have been mentioned, they can also be organised in trade unions and fall under the protection of labour legislation. The fact that the UK has the most repressive trade union laws in Europe, and that our 'Labour' prime minister is proud of the fact, is what should really be angering people. But you won't see the Murdoch rags ranting about that!

                        Last night's programme was good - also made the point that most people don't want to move to a different country, and if they do it will generally be for a temporary period. Immigration controls actually mean they are forced to stay on a permanent basis.

                        Food for thought by Nigel Harris (Economics Professor, LSE and leading proponent of the 'No Borders' argument):
                        The transition to a global politics involves the painful destruction of the old national politics of left and right, of corporatism and state socialism. There remains an intellectual vacuum within which the old left shrivels, shell shocked by the completeness of its reversals. Trade unions in the developed countries are grateful to be still alive, preoccupied with individual grievances rather than collective action, with few aspirations beyond immediate interests. The bold promises of universal freedom on their banners mock the humdrum reality. The outcome of the long confrontation between capitalist nationalism and socialist internationalism sliced the wrong way, leaving confident capitalist internationalism and defensive socialist etatisme. Thus the world made mock of the dreams.
                        Challenging stuff - but I think I'd challenge his two main points. First - have trade unions at root ever really had much in the way of 'aspirations beyond immediate interests' (the British Labour movement has long been known for its pragmatism and willingness to strike an accord with imperialist interests) - and secondly - to what extent is capitalism genuinely 'international'? The power of the national state still appears to be vital for pursuing the interests of capital - do we see any diminution of warfare or arms spending, for instance?

                        Sorry, Nigel, you really had me going there (just like listening to Bruce Springsteen... )
                        \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Mikey_C
                          The media focuses this fear on immigration as a distraction.
                          Isn't there a 'world union organisation' for the working class.
                          Which can break through all the BS. The union papers today
                          (at least here) are not that informative about the negative issue's involved in new manufacturing technics et al or how to cope with them. It would be better to have a magazine which takes these matters up at a global level. ie Which does what and whom to whom. For us all to make accurate assessments.
                          New generation are coming and they understand, why and how, the
                          world is bigger.
                          More so than the old generation.

                          I definetely think the capitalists are going to make use of the younger generation's unimformed position at the workplace for their own benefits.

                          Originally posted by Mikey_C
                          It does indeed seem feasible at least that a free labour market could lead to a 'levelling down' of pay and conditions. But people don't seem to have woken up to the fact that increasingly their jobs can be exported anyway. If migrants are here and working legally, bringing all the benefits that have been mentioned, they can also be organised in trade unions and fall under the protection of labour legislation. The fact that the UK has the most repressive trade union laws in Europe, and that our 'Labour' prime minister is proud of the fact, is what should really be angering people. But you won't see the Murdoch rags ranting about that!
                          I got wind that an old schoolmate, who's defined as a capitalist.
                          Well, he's a programmer and his workplace try to vote which payment method they wanted, collective or hourly, they chose collective, and the boss threatened with moving the business somewhere else.

                          I almost wished i could be there to see his face, being beaten down by the harsh face of capital interest.

                          But it was good, in a way, to see that they are in this shit too.

                          Originally posted by Mikey_C
                          Last night's programme was good - also made the point that most people don't want to move to a different country, and if they do it will generally be for a temporary period. Immigration controls actually mean they are forced to stay on a permanent basis.
                          I think it's good for people to want to work and see other countries etc.
                          But i always see these people want to return to their homelands.
                          So i think immigration controls are really daft. What we may be needing is screening for hardened real criminals. And we need taking care of those that already are in the country. Not introducing heaps of stupid penal codes.

                          Originally posted by Mikey_C
                          Thus the world made mock of the dreams.
                          Challenging stuff - but I think I'd challenge his two main points. First - have trade unions at root ever really had much in the way of 'aspirations beyond immediate interests'
                          Well it will be a slow and grinding progress to get to a world union action. And workers have to get a group conciousness again. And understand that, what happens to them, will eventually happen to us if we are not carefull. Corporations have to stop swindling money like pirates and take care of the people that work for them. Otherwise they might as well shut down their operations. It pains me to hear of children in china working to death for meager rations, so that we up here can buy cheap shoes. Id rather pay some more if they can get a better working condition.
                          And better yet get to school and play with the other kids...
                          But we should be putting the fingers on the corporations.
                          I buy my food from stores that are a bit more expensive because of quality and personell. I disagree with the 'pricks' who just want cheap goods. I always tell them "Yeah! It's really cheap.. But lets ask the workers in the store how they feel about their jobs". And these are kids that have nowhere else to go for jobs.....

                          It's a good thing that there are many 'leftist' jounalists left in this country.
                          Either that or they're 'humanists' and that is a good thing. They are still covering stories about work and wages, which is good. And radiopeople are covering situations abroad.

                          There are still some 'fucked up' jounalists who keep flirting with old fascist stories from the past. More now than ever. In a really sneaky or candid sort of way that makes me sick. Hard for many kids, who get a bad education at budget-cut public schools, to percieve.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Theocrat
                            Isn't there a 'world union organisation' for the working class.
                            Which can break through all the BS.
                            I've been reading an upbeat book called "Globalisation and labour" by Ronaldo Monck which argues that unions are starting to get their global act together, and the ICFTU http://www.icftu.org/ is shedding some of its Cold War baggage (it was set up as a post-war breakaway from the World Federation of Trade Unions which contained communist unions).

                            The problem is that their rhetoric generally leaps ahead of their actions. There's a great deal of organisational rigidity and ingrained thinking to be overcome - and you try persuading members (in the UK at least) that their money should be spent on international work. They think we're their personal insurance scheme!

                            Trade unions are contradictory, I must say. But I still think they're incredibly important and the only hope however critical I am. "Pessimism of the Intellect, Optimism of the Will", as my old mate Gramsci used to say!

                            I agree with you about the press, by the way. I think it's a cancer. The power of big corporations controlling the media creates a huge imbalance and undermines democracy. Literally, when they can get away with it. In Venezuelan the private TV channels deliberately showed false footage of Chavez supporters supposedly shooting at right wing protesters (when really it was the other way round) and actually told viewers to go out and overthrow the elected President.

                            Same thing happened here in the miners' strike - they showed the miners throwing rocks at the police before charged on horseback. Actually the charge took place first - trapped in field the miners had to defend themselves. Just to prove we really do live in a democracy the truth was eventually revealed on a documentary screened on a minority channel at 11pm on a weekday night, around ten years later. :x
                            \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I must confess my deep mistrust of unions generally. Which is not to say that I don't think that the principle of unionisation is essential. Indeed, by this point in time we should really have transcended unionisation and enshrined its principles as basic human rights rather than hard-won 'benefits' and such.

                              However, short-termism and greed seems to be as lively in this sector as anywhere else. although arguably i am confusing union bosses with workers, which of course are two different things altogether.

                              In any case, some interesting (and damn important) alternatives have sprouted here and there in recent history. I am thinking especially of Anarcho-Sindicalist Catalunya in 1936, and more recently of the rather interesting and whoppingly succesful labour model introduced in the Basque township of Mondragon...

                              there are aspects of both movements which would appear to reflect some of the aspirations and issues raised above. They, as most movements of this sort would have to be, were and are utopian in nature.

                              but then, is reaching for utopia (the workers utopia; the migrants' utopia) necessarily self-defeating? (an open question I posit)

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