2 MINUTE RANT: Immigration turns me into an honorary Marxist

I am not a Marxist, but…

There is a myth that groups like the EDL and the BNP have ‘left-wing’ concerns. But as far as terms like ‘left’ and ‘right’ can be applied with any accuracy nowadays, the difference is not in the groups of people they claim to represent or the issues they choose to care about, but rather, what they identify as the cause of those problems, and what they identify as the solution.

It’s easy to see how the EDL are portraying themselves as defenders of liberalism, with their gay rights wing, and other Muslim-hating individuals popping up from various other minorities. And it’s easy to see how the BNP could be confused with a left-wing party, given their love of nationalisation and constant talk of things like housing, and supporting British workers.

But caring about gay rights, homelessness, or lack of jobs isn’t necessarily left-wing in itself (no matter how many times conservative-minded folk who don’t care about those things insist that me caring about them makes me a left-winger) any more than making the link between those problems and immigration automatically makes someone a racist. Of course it’s true, for example, that if illegal immigrants can and will work without basic rights for £3 an hour, they have an unfair advantage in the labour market. Of course legal British citizens can’t and won’t compete with that. Anyone with any sense can see that. It doesn’t make you left-wing (or racist) to acknowledge it, and see it as a problem.

However, the difference is that a left-winger would surely identify the problem as two workers being exploited. And although I don’t agree with the government redistributing wealth as being a viable solution, whenever I see workers being paid £5.93 an hour, or workers stuck in a benefits trap, getting violently angry with workers who have the audacity to be paid £3 an hour and not bother with any rights, while all groups of workers get blamed for their own situation by groups who get rich whatever happens, I can’t help but feel that whatever they say, an awful lot of right-wingers must love immigration, especially the illegal kind. It provides both an ever-compliant, ever-expanding workforce, and a perfect scapegoat for any social problems. And I can’t help but feel that Karl Marx was actually right about this one: people really do seem to be divided by social class more than anything else, including nationality or race. And an awful lot of energy seems to go into making sure we never realise it, too.

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