Resist commodification, modern-day slavery and other imperialist attacks on migrants and the people!
Statement of the International Migrants Alliance on the International Migrants Day 2011
The International Migrants Day 2011 is commemorated amidst intensified attacks on the livelihood and rights of migrants under the worsening global economic and financial crisis brought about and intensified by imperialist globalization and war. At the same time, the day is remembered amidst an upsurge of people’s movements against imperialism and the advancement of the militant migrants’ movement worldwide.
For migrants, immigrants, refugees and other displaced peoples, the global crisis has resulted to even more severe, exploitative and oppressive condition as both the countries of destination and countries of origin try to squeeze the maximum of profits and benefits from the commodification and modern-day slavery of migrants.
Such imperialist framework on migration is best exhibited in the Global Forum on Migration and Development that remains now as the multilateral venue for the more powerful countries to shape migration and migration policies according to their own interests. They use mantras of development and cooperation, and pay lip service on migrant’s rights to muddle the waters and hide the exploitative agenda of imperialism and the ruling class of countries of destination and countries of origin.
While already discredited among the grassroots migrants and advocates, the GFMD is still being used to counter the exposition of the grassroots migrants on the inhumanity, injustice and indignity brought about by commodification and modern-day slavery.
In countries of destination, especially the capitalist countries, migrant workers are relegated to the gutters of the society in terms of their economic, political, social and cultural rights. To resolve the raging crisis and the resultant impacts of the bailout packages given to the monopolists, countries of destination further exploit the cheap and docile migrant labor with the erosion of wage, denial of benefits and repression of the civil and political rights of migrants to organize and resist.
The vulnerable groups among migrants such as the domestic workers, industrial workers, agricultural workers, low-ranking service workers, marriage migrants, youth and children, and the undocumented migrants experience some of the worst forms of exploitation and oppression as they suffer the brunt of wage cuts, job insecurity, physical and sexual abuse, and criminalization. While using migrants as sources of cheap labour, countries of destination whip up or fan xenophobia and discrimination to divide the ranks of the working people, weaken the resolve of migrants to fight with threats of backlash, and most of all, cover up the culpability of the government and the ruling class to the people’s miseries with their faithful adherence to neo-liberal globalization and imperialist wars of aggression and intervention.
Founded in June 2008, the International Migrants Alliance is an international alliance of 112 grassroots migrant organizations and institutions working for migrant workers.
Countries of origin, meanwhile, rely more heavily on labour export programs to prop up their economies that are pushed further to the brink of collapse by imperialist control and, at the same time, contain the social ferment brought by grinding poverty, massive dislocation of people, and military actions against those who dare resist.
These countries scramble to compete with each other in the constricting overseas labour market by making their export labour force even cheaper and more skilled. They whip up monstrous fees to instantly generate income from migrants and would-be migrants. They further downsize the already miniscule service and protection mechanisms available for migrants and families as part of national austerity measures.
As we commemorate the International Migrants Day made possible by the struggles of migrants around the world, the International Migrants Alliance calls for all migrants of the world to step up resistance against the imperialist agenda of commodification and modern-day slavery of migrants.
Migrants must continue to forge and develop and unities with each other to build an even stronger national, regional and international movement of grassroots migrants and advocates. Migrants must also always bear in mind the interconnections of migrant’s issues with our respective people’s issues and thus, migrant’s struggles must always and ever be linked with people’s concerns. We must unite with the workers and people of the host country, and not let imperialism and the ruling class drive a wedge among
all the exploited and oppressed.
We are workers. We are not commodities. We are not slaves.
On this International Migrants Day, migrants around the world will make our mark against imperialism and for genuine freedom, democracy, justice, peace, and development
Reference: Eni Lestari, chairperson