[Marxism] Mr. Louis Godena's racist, white supremacist provocation,

Calvin Broadbent calvinbroadbent at hotmail.com
Mon Aug 1 04:14:43 MDT 2005

Kudos to Joaquín Bustelo for uncovering Louis Godena's racist and 
reactionary politics. As a matter of fact, there is a history of 
accomodation to state racism on the British Left, obviously in the 
trade-union movement and in both the 'Stalinist' and Trotskyist left.

Here is a good article on capitalism and immigration from the latest edition 
of the British newspaper *Fight Racism Fight Imperialism*.


FRFI 185 June/July 2005

The reality of capitalism’s immigration policy

The British Labour government is in the process of fine-tuning a class-based 
immigration policy to suit the needs of the market. Home Secretary Charles 
Clarke’s announcement in February of a four-tier work permit scheme was just 
the latest refinement in this plan. This ‘modern’, capitalist-friendly 
immigration system underpins all today’s spin about keeping out ‘unfounded’ 
asylum seekers but letting in skilled economic migrants and is no less 
racist than the policies that preceded it. FRFI opposes all immigration 
controls. NICKI JAMESON reports.

In September 2000, then Immigration Minister Barbara Roche announced a 
fundamental change to Labour’s immigration policy. Roche gave a speech 
entitled ‘UK migration in a global economy’ to a conference organised by the 
Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) and sponsored by the British 
Bankers Association. She opened by congratulating the City of London on 
having the ‘most diverse and international workforce in London’.

Prior to then Labour’s sole policy on immigration had been based, like that 
of the previous Tory government, on restricting and reducing it, and in 
particular on attacking ‘economic migrants’, accusing those making asylum 
claims of secretly coming here to find work and improve their living 

However, the shortsightedness of this approach had begun to be pointed out 
to the government by its own supporters, and pro-Labour journalists had been 
preparing the ground for Roche’s speech for several months. On 19 June 2000, 
the day after 58 Chinese people died a horrific death whilst being smuggled 
into Britain in a tomato lorry, The Guardian’s Alan Travis used the focus on 
the dangers faced by would-be economic migrants to call for an ‘immigration 
policy based on...economic needs rather than foreign policy objectives or 
asylum sympathies’. He dismissed as of ‘marginal importance’ the argument 
against depriving poor countries of skilled workers so they can service the 
rich nations, citing the global value of remittances sent to poor nations by 
workers in rich ones as $65 billion a year.

As we reported in FRFI at the time, the government now changed its stance in 
order to encourage the openly ‘economic’ migration of a cheap, skilled, 
middle class workforce. ‘Workers who will earn enough to pay taxes and buy 
houses, who will not require council accommodation or state benefits; who 
can be paid relatively high wages but are cheap nonetheless, because this 
country has not had to invest in their education or training.’ (Fight 
Racism! Fight Imperialism! 157 October/November 2000)

Highly skilled...
The Highly Skilled Migrants Programme (HSMP) came into operation in January 
2002. Men and women with the requisite level of qualification and existing 
salary are recruited abroad to seek work in Britain. They are given visas 
for one year initially, which they can renew if they find jobs. The 
programme has spawned an entire industry of recruitment consultants and 
lawyers, who promise to smooth out the bureaucracy for applicants. However 
there is no actual guarantee of finding work, and even at the ‘highly 
skilled’ level, black and Asian migrants face racism. FRFI spoke to two men 
from India who came here on the HSMP and remain unemployed (see box).

The IPPR, which hosted the conference at which Barbara Roche spoke, bills 
itself as ‘Britain’s leading progressive think tank’. Its direction is, 
however, firmly in tune with the drive of ‘New Labourism’. Current director 
Nick Peace was formerly a Special Adviser to David Blunkett on migration, 
asylum and citizenship. It is therefore not surprising that the IPPR should 
now produce research that vindicates this aspect of current government 
policy by demonstrating that the widely held notion that immigrants are a 
drain on the public purse is untrue. The study Paying their way: The fiscal 
contribution of immigrants in the UK, published by the IPPR in April 2005, 
concludes that in fact the reverse is the case, and immigrants contribute 
more to the state per person than people born in this country.

The study is based on data from the Labour Force Survey and the Office of 
National Statistics and shows that total revenue from immigrants grew 22 % 
in real terms from £33.8 billion in 1999-00 to £41.2 billion in 2003-04.This 
compares to a 6% increase for people born in the UK.

Of the almost 20,000 nurses who joined the medical register in 2003-04, more 
than 15,000 were from overseas. One third of the 212,000 doctors on the 
register qualified abroad. Home Office figures show the annual number of 
work permits issued to healthcare staff from outside the European Union has 
risen 27-fold since 1993, to more than 40,000. The highest number of these 
workers come from the Philippines, followed by India and South Africa.

A campaign against this draining of skilled staff from oppressed nations to 
service rich ones forced the government in 2001 to impose a ban on 
recruitment from the hardest-hit countries. However, deals have since been 
struck with the Philippines, India and some other countries which claim to 
have a surfeit of trained staff and are anxious to secure the remittances 
which such workers can send home from Britain and other wealthy nations.

In 2003, 5,560 work permits were issued to teachers from Commonwealth 
countries to work in the UK. Young teachers from Australia and New Zealand 
in particular teach in Britain to fund their travels in Europe. The largest 
single source of overseas teachers is South Africa, while Africa lacks five 
million teachers if universal primary education is to be achieved by 2015. 
Again there have been complaints and in autumn 2004 the British government 
was forced to agree to clamp down on the poaching of overseas teachers.

Ironically, while the government twists and turns to allow in the skilled 
workers it requires, and at the same time introduces yet more new measures 
to make it difficult to claim asylum in Britain, it is compelled to ignore 
the skills and qualifications of those ‘highly skilled migrants’ who have 
entered the country as asylum seekers. According to the Council for 
Assisting Refugee Academics (CARA), there are at least 1,000 asylum seeker 
doctors in Britain who are not allowed to work as their claims are still 
being processed. CARA estimates that ‘the skills and experience of up to 
5,000 foreign academics seeking refuge in this country could be worth more 
than £100m to the economy.’ Britain is short of 3,000 dentists, while an 
estimated 700 asylum seekers have qualifications in dentistry.

Less skilled...
Clarke’s aim was to gather ‘all our current schemes for work and student 
migrants into one simple points-based system’ (Hansard 7 February 2005). As 
with the ‘highly skilled migrants’, the ‘tourists, students and migrant 
workers’ remain subject to endless controls, policing and changes in policy. 
The new system is designed so that permission to enter the country seeking 
work can be granted or withdrawn from whole sections of people with no 
warning or reason given. Just two months after the current version of the 
‘working holidaymaker visa scheme’ was introduced, the Home Office began to 
restrict it. Of course, no Australian, New Zealander or white South African 
has been affected, but there was a sudden and total block put on any further 
applications, from Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Namibia and Botswana. This followed 
the announcement of a similarly sudden block on the issuing of visas to 
visitors aged 18 to 30 from Nigeria.

Meanwhile the lowest paid workers from overseas continue to exist in the 
worst conditions, entering the country legally if they are from the ‘newly 
incorporated’ EU nations of eastern Europe, or illegally if they are from 
China or other poor nations, and doing the worst jobs for the lowest pay.

There is nothing progressive about the current policy simply because it 
involves the encouraging of some immigration, while the one it replaced 
openly discouraged all forms. This is not an offer of betterment to the 
workers of other nations, but the ‘flexible market economy’ drawing on the 
reserve army of labour of poorer countries to service the rich ones. In the 
1950s the British economy needed an influx of low-paid workers and found 
them in its former colonies in the Caribbean and south Asia. As soon as 
enough were here, Enoch Powell shouted about ‘rivers of blood’ that would 
flow from a race war if immigration was not halted and all political parties 
unquestioningly united to ensure the door would begin to be closed. Today 
Britain needs certain types of skilled workers and is ensuring it obtains 
them at the lowest cost. If these gaps are filled, the policy will change 
again to fit the latest dictates of the market and Labour will dance to the 
tune of the City of London once again.

Highly Skilled Migrants seek work

‘The elation, the promise and the expectations last only until we arrive at 
Heathrow. The Home Office provides absolutely no support, understanding or 
help – no telephone calls are answered; e-mails and letters are not replied 
to, and visits in person are not entertained.

We are told repeatedly before coming here that the UK of today is an equal 
opportunities country; they are ‘investors in people’, in fact we are even 
handed out an equal opportunities monitoring form, where we tick our origin. 
But its all a trick – it’s pseudo-racism, isn’t it? Everyone is sickeningly 
polite, but the jobs never come our way. This is usually put down to ‘lack 
of UK experience’. Yet I have met so many New Zealanders, Australians, South 
Africans, people of white origin, who don’t have a shred of UK or London 
experience, are a lot less qualified, armed with CVs which have far weaker 
experience, not even relevant experience for the jobs that they are doing 
here, but they are the ones who have got the jobs. There is always some 
hurdle – if it’s not ‘London experience’, or ‘lack of UK network’, it’s that 
the job is in Wimbledon and you stay in Wood Green, or you are overqualified 
and ‘too senior’ for the role.

Half the recruiters do not know about this programme. So they do not 
recognise it. They ask us who has sponsored your visa? They do not realise 
that no one needs to sponsor an HSMP visa. The staff in the REED office at 
Wood Green told me that they have never seen a HSMP visa; even though REED 
is currently in partnership with the government to increase employment for 
migrants. Even the government’s own Job Centre initially refused to let me 
register because they did not know about HSMP.

So, how are we living here without jobs? We have brought our savings here 
and are spending them in this country. We cannot find any jobs – forget 
managerial ones, not even basic ones. And when the money finishes, we have 
to go back with shattered dreams and empty pockets. Maybe that is how we are 
making a difference – by spending our money here, so it adds to the net GDP 
of the UK. Could it be that it is the real reason why only senior managers 
and people with funds are targeted for this programme?’

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