Commented to a friend: Faced with the dubious, bogus, offensive statements of Cameron and Theresa May on immigration yet again, can we insist that even left and activist types, learned professors many of then, not automatically use political asylum as a defence, when all migrants, including so-called opportunist economic and ‘poor’, should be free to move. If capital can cross borders at will, why not labour? Sure, the point is that this is a game of labour flow control, but there are also needs, wants and desires, and a hierarchy of exclusion that must be beaten down. ‘keep banging on the walls of Fortress Europe’ sing ADF. It was not so long ago that the UK was all open armed about commonwealth, or even Eastern European, workers. And the US used to have a slogan ‘give us your poor, tired, weak and hungry’. This was already hypocrisy, but to adopt the language of Labour Party and Con-Dems and talk of asylum rights is to cede the ground and only defend ‘legitimate refugees’ which then means its OK to lock up and deport all the others. It is not OK. As stressed by the anti-deportation campaigns and actions of the No Borders London group etc.
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
This quote comes from Emma Lazarus’ sonnet, New Colossus, which she wrote for a fundraiser auction to raise money for the pedestal upon which the Statue of Liberty now sits.
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”