[Marxism] Fwd: Swans Commentary: A History Of The Passport System, by Louis Proyect - lproy64

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Feb 13 08:11:24 MST 2017

It is a sign of how little we have progressed that the Roma being 
persecuted across Europe today for their refusal to abide by the norms 
of "citizenship" were being persecuted for the same refusal in the 16th 
century. A police ordinance from 1548 Prussia stipulated that "gypsies 
and vagabonds" (Landstreicher) had to be issued passes to travel within 
the feudal state. Furthermore, in all feudal entities the lower classes 
needed traveling papers, a way of tying a serf to his lord's manor.

Despite Britain's reputation for being freer and more "enlightened," 
things were not much different. A 1381 statute prevented anybody but 
aristocrats from leaving the kingdom. (A point on terminology: passports 
are required to leave a country; visas are needed to enter one.) Britain 
also had the same determination to keep the peasant tied to his master's 
land. A member of the lower classes could migrate from one part of the 
kingdom to another only if he had a certificate issued by a court 
official or a cleric.

full: http://www.swans.com/library/art16/lproy64.html

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