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