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instinctively an issue for mainstream left parties to shy away from.

The fact of the matter is, if you are working class, you are far more likely to be threatened, and this includes the quality of earnings of your livelihood, by unfettered imigration than other classes tend to be, though of course the middle-classes are not entirely immune. (The wealthy and the professional classes, on the other hand, are often sheltered, albeit for different reasons...and perhaps slightly less so in English-speaking countries)

This isn't particularly complicated...and some mainstream left parties, notably the Socialist Party in the Netherlands, which had a positively break-through election in NL's last parliamentary elections (not speaking for the last), have caught on and are tuning in to the working class voters they purport to wish to represent.

Perhaps it is that in other countries, the mainstream left parties have been captured by the professional classes who have been largely sheltered from the effects of immigration? Small wonder, in a country like the UK, with no proper outlet for working class voters (they are given short shrift by all parties, really) that a UKIP comes in to fill the void.

That the void exists is not an indictment of those who would waste a vote on UKIP. It is an indictment of the lack of representation of working class voters for over a generation in that country.  

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Fri Apr 2nd, 2010 at 03:01:09 AM EST
The fact of the matter is, if you are working class, you are far more likely to be threatened, and this includes the quality of earnings of your livelihood, by unfettered imigration

What exactly do you mean?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Apr 2nd, 2010 at 03:43:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Your wages are depressed, your employment made more precarious, your bouts of unemployment more persistent, just speaking to livelihood. Add to this the future livelihood of your children, themselves impacted by the quality of education they get and which tends to deteriorate in inverse proportion to the time schoolmasters need to focus on integration-related tasks.

This all being the existential underpinnings of the angst which tends to manifest itself on the surface as complaints about "differentness" (smells, different personal dress, personal insecurity, overcrowded housing in the apartment next door, et c.)

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Fri Apr 2nd, 2010 at 05:19:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
redstar:
an issue for mainstream left parties to shy away from.

yes, that is a thorny one.

i guess a simple 'who's going to do the shitwork and feed in taxes to pay for your retirement' just ain't gonna fly...

or even 'they're people, and they deserve the same breaks' either.

stumped for words about that little issue, while stumping away anyway.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Apr 2nd, 2010 at 04:35:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
really called shit work.

Pay a worker a decent wage, and there is no such thing as shit work.

Of course, if the elite class has determined an employ to be shit work and refuses to pay the prevailing, living wage (and therefore imports workers to fill the jobs at lower levels of pay they determine the work to be worth), then all of a sudden, there is such a thing as a shit job.

The Paris metro, in the dark of the middle of the night, is being entirely refurbished, at sub-standard wages, and in scandalous conditions, by illegal immigrants.

I for one am not so glad the Socialist (and unabashedly Liberal) mayor of Paris is looking out for the interests of his (mostly wealthy) taxpayers by exploiting illegal workers to make his underground as pretty as the floral show on the Champs-Elysées for Christmas, and thereby both screwing the illegal workers laboring dangerously for peanuts, and undermining the rights of legal workers everywhere in Ile-de-France...

This reality is as it is because we accept it, not because it needs to be.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Fri Apr 2nd, 2010 at 05:28:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
c'est un scaaandale!!

paris getting globalised, innit?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Apr 3rd, 2010 at 08:04:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The BNP fills the void you speak of in the UK. The UKIP is mostly an extra-rabidly eurosceptic splinter of the Tories.

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 2nd, 2010 at 09:43:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you see jobs as a limited pool, then immigration increases competition for them. If you see a certain unemployment as a policy choice upheld by the central bank, those with a weak position should consider if it would not be good to get someone weaker then them in the mix. Finland also has unemployment, but lacking proper immigrants (except a few somalis) most of them are palest white. But soc-dems can not say that, it would break the illusion that they will bring jobs after the election.

Otherwise you can view labor as a resource, consider the capitalist economic system as an enemy and want the workers of the world to unite. But that is so 20th century.

All in all, I would say that the soc-dems lack of politics on immigration is due to a general lack of economic vision. I think they should start to fight the BNPs and FNs by actually challenging them, building organization in those strongholds that are situated within worker neighborhoods, but then they would need some vision, some narrative, some ideas (other then "we are less bad then the conservative/christ-dem").

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Apr 2nd, 2010 at 04:09:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A swedish kind of death:
If you see jobs as a limited pool, then immigration increases competition for them.

An argument ive always seen as dubious at best.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Apr 2nd, 2010 at 07:41:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
SocDems have a general economic vision, have had one for the past generation. It's called "Third Way," and it's basically neo-liberalism with sheep's clothing, usually hiding out in mainstream left parties, often times dominating them until they are run into the ground (I note in passing the Social Dems in both Germany and the Netherlands are at or near record lows in the polls, unsurprisingly as they have turned their backs on the people they are supposed to represent).

They are run into the ground because they have an economic vision, one which has little or nothing to offer to working class people, unless you mean stagnating wages, higher precarity of employment in exchange for more "flexibility" (ie work harder for lower pay) and lower levels of social insurance (diminished unemployment insurance, shrinking pensions, delayed retirement dates, wage concessions and so forth).

It is against this backdrop that you expect your SocDems, liberals in the main, to speak to working class people about their fears of...what? Unemployment, inability to provide for their families, the feeling of worthlessness coming from long-term joblessness, the attendant ills (alcoholism, anti-social behavior, criminality) which come from being excluded. And, when excluded in one's own country, all the while waves of immigration, into one's own working class neighborhoods no less, people with different customs sometimes hostile to their own, well, I think you know what comes next...and I really don't think, after the past generation of SocDem dithering and abandonment of the working class, that your lot have much to offer to this particular class.

Now, you may view labor as something other than a resource, and consider the market as the be all and end all of how the worth of a man or a woman is established, and think that such a market, with your SocDem's guiding hand softening the blow, will be delivering jobs and prosperity to one and all, there will be no rising inequality, there will be a job and a pension for young and old. But, we both know this is a fantasy, as the record generally shows. A fantasy which is, yes indeed, so very 20th century.

A livelihood is a right, a worker able to respect himself or herself after a day's work, and provide for his or her family...that's a right too. When this right is recognized, you'll get somewhere with those who are supposed to be your core voters. But, those of us with families, those of us who indeed have gone through a fair bit of joblessness, know better than to trust your lot with our futures. It's a generation now and counting of sell-outs, broken promises, greater inequality, greater joblessness, less rights in the workplace, and lower wages. And, all across the continent, you are just as liable to see Social Democracy delivering this result as you are to see the Right.

And meanwhile, the immigration continues. Ostensibly to fill jobs that no European will take. Unless of course it paid at the prevailing, market wage which would have obtained were it not for the immigration. And, just as inexorably, an EU-based agro-alimentary multinational dumps low-cost food into Africa, undercutting local farmers who eventually sell out to...the same agro-alimentary concerns...and trek north for jobs, to feed the families they used to feed with income from their farms. And the wealthy get rich as they are coming, and the wealthy get rich as they are going, and working people on both continents are getting screwed. (And if you get this parable, that's what was meant, ultimately, by the "workers of the word unite" phrase you deride, I've just updated it for the new, inter-continental version of the phenomenon already in effect in the mid-19th century in continental Europe.)

Meanwhile, your guys are still trying to buy a clue, which is normal...in your tops-down party organizations, as a rule you are not working class, you do not know precarity, stagnating income reducing one's child's prospects is not a problem you deal with, housing and personal security are not concerns....

     

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sat Apr 3rd, 2010 at 04:37:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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