Immigration

China's scattered migrants

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China's booming economy has been built on the back of migrant workers. Hsiao-Hung Pai talked to Sally Kincaid and Charlie Hore about her new book and the lives of China's migrant population

Why did you choose the title Scattered Sand for your book?

The idea of Scattered Sand came originally from Sun Yatsen, the founding father of the Guomindang (Nationalist) Party - so it came from the Republican Revolution of 1911. The idea was when he was talking about the Chinese people as being scattered sands - not united as a nation against Western imperialism.

Is the American working class different?

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In this article from 1986, Duncan Hallas takes up the argument that the American working class has been historically immune to socialist ideas.

One of the most important developments over the last year has been the revival of radical movements in the US. The uprising in Wisconsin, the Occupy movement, the Oakland shutdown and now the protests over the killing of Trayvon Martin (see Jonathan Neale in this issue of Socialist Review) all point to a new mood. American workers have long presented an enigma for socialists.
Why has the most powerful working class in the world never been able to create even a mass Labour-type party (the Democratic Party has always been a purely capitalist party).

Hallas explains how the conditions of American capitalism initially acted to prevent the emergence of stable working class organisation and to limit the influence of socialist ideas, but argues this no longer applies.

The central question in discussing the American working class is why there is not, and has not been, a political labour movement of any significance in the United States. This is in spite of the fact that the US is today the major capitalist power in the world and has been, since the turn of the century, one of the two or three major capitalist powers.

There are a number of explanations put forward. The first set of arguments are what you might call the "sociological" arguments. They can all be found in letters which Engels wrote to various people in America in the 1880s.

China's migrant women

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Breakneck industrial expansion has transformed women's lives in China over the last generation. They live very different lives to their mothers and grandmothers but face enormous hardship in China's huge factories

If you are reading this article online the chances are that some part of the technology you are using will have been produced at one of the Foxconn factories in China.

This company made the international news last year due to a number of suicides among its workers. One of the largest Foxconn factories is in the city of Shenzhen in South East China. Between 300,000 and 450,000 workers are employed in this massive industrial park - a walled campus within Shenzhen dubbed "Foxconn city".

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.

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