Immigration

Cameron's nasty turn

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As part of the run-up to the local elections, David Cameron made a particularly nasty speech about immigration

Cameron's speech served a number of purposes. It reassured the Tory party's right wing and drew a dividing line with the Liberal Democrats - which also gave Nick Clegg something he could object to and so help to appease his dwindling voters. It also played the race card just as the cuts are really starting to bite and face growing opposition.

Cameron spent a considerable amount of time "de-toxifying" the Tory brand, trying to turn the image of the "nasty" party into one of caring conservatives. The re-toxification of the Tories is proceeding rapidly.

China: miracle and misery

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Last month David Cameron visited China in an effort to encourage trade with Britain, but barely mentioned the touchy issue of human rights. Hsiao-Hung Pai analyses the "miracle" of Chinese economic growth and the human suffering that underpins it.

Last month a huge British trade delegation led by David Cameron and four of his cabinet ministers, all wearing their Remembrance Day poppies, went on their Journey to the East to promote British business interests and sign trade deals for British capitalists.

Striking a note of resistance

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Earlier this summer I found myself walking around the Pilsen district of Chicago. Migrant Mexican workers settled in the neighbourhood in the 1960s.

There you can see hundreds of murals and mosaics. These works of street art depict the daily life of the migrant Mexican community and their struggle for civil rights. Many of these works are clearly influenced by the Mexican muralists of the 1910 Revolution - Diego Rivera and José Orozco.

Interview with Gary Younge: the contradictions of identity

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Identity politics have increasingly come to shape political dialogue. Gary Younge, Guardian columnist and author of a new book on the subject, spoke to Esme Choonara about immigration, racism and class.

Why did you write a book about identity?

It's an issue people talk about a lot and that has become increasingly central to our politics. But we don't often talk about it in the most informed ways.

Migrants and the economic crisis

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In the face of the economic crisis, many politicians are blaming migrant workers. But what is the truth behind the racist rhetoric, asks Jane Hardy.

The recession has had devastating consequences for migrant workers. During the boom thousands of workers fuelled the surge of construction in Dubai and Moscow. They provided cheap labour and did the worst jobs in Britain and Ireland - which before the recession were deemed the big "success stories" of European capitalism. Migrant workers are concentrated in sectors that have experienced the largest contractions in output, such as construction, export-oriented industries and the so-called hospitality sector.

Letter from France

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Undocumented workers in Paris are waging an extraordinary battle to win their rights, reports Vanina Giudicelli

On 12 October 1,500 sans papiers - immigrant workers denied residence papers - began a wave of strikes and workplace occupations around Paris. Every day a hundred more joined them, until by the end of November the movement was 5,000 strong.

The media has paid very little attention, but every report that does appear exposes the racist attitude of both the government and employers.

Double punishment for Calais refugees

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On the morning of 22 September French riot police razed a makeshift camp in Calais where mostly Afghan refugees were living as they waited to cross over to Britain.

Despite the presence of human rights activists, the police arrested 276 people - half of them minors.

Eric Besson, the French immigration minister, ordered the clearout of what was dubbed "the jungle" in order to "stop traffickers".

It is ironic of Besson to try to put a humanistic veneer on his action. Refugees set up the camp after French authorities decided in November 2002 to close the Red Cross camp in Sangatte that used to look after them. And the French government wasn't worried when most of the refugees found themselves on the streets at the beginning of winter.

A journey on the railroad

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Sin Nombre tells the story of a Honduran immigrant family on a dangerous train journey through Mexico to the US. US filmmaker Cary Fukunaga talks to Christophe Chataigné about his astounding and gripping debut

Why did you choose immigration as the subject for your first film? It seems like a risky choice.

I didn't really think about it in those terms. I did a short film while still at film school. It was my second year project, not my thesis project, which typically as a film student you save for your calling card film - the film that you think might start your career. For your second year film you can just do whatever you want. And rather than do something ridiculous I wanted to do a serious film, more about today's issues.

X is for Xenophobia

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Xenophobia - literally fear and loathing of "the alien", "the stranger", "the foreigner" - has enjoyed a long if inglorious past, not least in Britain.

Across Europe today, and indeed internationally, xenophobic anxieties about "foreign invasion" through migration retain all the political potency they had over 100 years ago, remaining a phenomenon that unscrupulously cynical bourgeois politicians continue to try and harness in order to attain or maintain political power.

Views from the migrant workers

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Francesco and Gianluca, like their 98 Italian colleagues housed on a barge at Grimsby Fish Docks, had arrived in late January on a four-month contract to work at the French oil giant, Total, at Lindsey oil refinery in Immingham.

Francesco, in his late 40s, had worked as a welder in Tunisia and Libya. Gianluca, in his 30s, worked in Croatia and Germany. "This is my first time in the UK," he said.

And here in north Lincolnshire, "it was the first time in my 20 years of working life abroad that I've experienced anti-foreign feelings," said Francesco.

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