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The Mediterranean

Since the year 2000, at least 45,000 migrants have drowned along Mediterranean routes, more than 2,000 a year. This is the very same sea in which tens of millions of tourists bathe every summer, and these are the same routes followed by multi-storeyed cruise ships. Small boats and parasols, castaways and cruise passengers: it cannot be repeated often enough, this capitalist society has made barbarism a run-of-the-mill occurrence.

There is more, beyond the boorish inadequacy of their politics, beyond the ferocious face of the Italian government which is hesitating about these shipwreck deaths, beyond the hypocritical scolding of the opposition parties, which behaved in exactly the same way when they were in government, sending back tens of thousands of poor wretches to their captors in Libya. In the face of utter indifference, year after year a de facto apartheid has been created, with millions of workers of foreign origin confined to the most thankless jobs in a regime of wage segregation. There are Ukrainian or Ecuadorian carers, Romanian and Moroccan bricklayers, African farmhands, Bengali or Senegalese manual labourers and factory workers. Then we have attendants, health workers, cleaners and drivers: migrant workers of all ethnicities and nationalities. They are an integral part of the social landscape of both the cities and the countryside. However, they are invisible in their ubiquity, with a society which pays no attention to their unequal pay, their difficulty in accessing decent housing, the ordeal of family reunification or the vexatious problems encountered in the bureaucratic process of obtaining a residence permit. Further-more, the demographic winter means that there is no other option but to resort to migrants, including for skilled jobs; ageing Western powers are already competing for imported labour. Yet their political parties are on the hunt for an easy electoral consensus, and are more than happy to stoke the flames of the most hateful xenophobic fears.

This happens in Italy, and the same fate awaits migrants in Spain, where the disgrace of barbed wire fences against migrants in Ceuta and Melilla has become an equally inhuman standard practice. It also happens in London, where even a government staffed by second-generation immigrants plans on deporting to Rwanda those who attempt to land in Britain in search of a better life. And in Paris, where over the next three years the government will double down on its securitarian migration policy, by signing an agreement with the UK, which will pay €541 million to reinforce police controls in Calais and prevent migrants from crossing the Channel. This is the reality of "civilised" Europe - and we are only scratching the surface.

We cannot accept a society that has made barbarism a banality of everyday life. Fighting for the unity and defence of our class, the struggle for a truly human society, a communist society, is the alternative between civilisation and barbarism.