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  • Published in Opinion
Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker shaking hands

Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker, December 2017. Photo: Flickr/Number 10

Following our mass condemnation of Trump, Reuben Bard-Rosenberg highlights the inherent racism of an organisation closer to home

This week Angela Merkel unveiled the dark side of the Schengen area. The treaty, we were once told, was about freeing human beings up to move across the breadth of this wondrous continent. And yet for asylum seekers - for people who do not possess the virtue of having been born in the whiter, more Christian part of the Eurasian landmass - the opposite will soon be true. Under proposals unveiled last week, Gemany plans to disperse asylum seekers - some of whom have been living legally in Germany for years - to whichever part they had originally entered first.

Whilst for the ethnic Dutchman and the ethnic German, the Schengen area may represent the freedom to move, for many people of colour, it will come to represent the opposite. It will represent the freedom of states to move you wherever they please. Today, even the established bargain between racism and liberalism - that brought about free internal movement combined with a harsh external border - is coming apart, as the European elites do everything they can to accommodate the politics of the growing radical right, in return  for the latter’s consent in prolonging the life of the increasingly unpopular European project.

And that is to say nothing of the external border itself. At a time when Greeks are being denied basic medicine in the name of prudence, the European Union has announced that it is tripling its border control budget to £35 billion. A cursory glance at the past few years will show you that this can only mean more people being drowned in the Mediterranean for the crime of being African, and more innocent men, women and children being locked up in European jails.

At the moment, much attention is rightly being focused upon the brutal concentration camps being filled at the Mexican-American border. The question upon many people’s lips is “what would I do if I was faced by the rising tide of Fascism during the 1920s and 1930s”. I would like to think that if I had been a citizen of Fascist Italy, I would have been alive to the horrors of the British empire, or at closer proximity, to the brutality of the Romanian Iron Guard. Yet I would like to think that I would focus also upon matters closer to home.

And so it is with our condemnation of Trump. Amongst the hardest borders in the world you will find not only the Mexican-American border, but also that border that divides the mostly Christian part of the Eurasian landmass, from the mostly Muslim part of the Eurasian landmass – which was made barely permeable when the countries of the EU pooled their diplomatic and commercial power to forge a deal with the dictatorial regime in Turkey. And you will also find the maritime mortuary that is the Mediterranian. 

As socialists, our fight is for human dignity against the tyranny of fences – whether they enclose our land under the banner of private property, or separate us from one another under bloody banner of national purity. And in this regard, our fight is against both Her Majesty’s Government and Jean-Claude Juncker’s European order. 

Reuben Bard-Rosenberg

Reuben Bard-Rosenberg

Reuben Bard-Rosenberg is a socialist activist and radical folk music promoter.

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