Manifesto For the Welcoming of Migrants

The editorial boards of Regards, Politis and Mediapart join forces to launch the Manifesto For the Welcoming of Migrants signed by 150 intellectuals, artists, activists, trade unionists and personalities of civil society.

All over Europe, the far right is making progress. Passion for equality is being replaced by an obsession with identity. The fear of no longer feeling "at home" is prevailing over the opportunity to live side by side. Order and authority are crushing senses of responsibility and sharing. Every man for themselves is the overriding public sensation.

Times for scapegoats are on their way back. The frenzy of financialisaton, goods going around in never-ending circles and the downward spirals of inequality, discrimination and insecurity have long been forgotten, to the extent of being invisible. Despite the actual figures, we are told that the cause of all our misfortunes lies in "migratory pressure". From here, the path is not far to saying that, in order to get rid of our malaise, all we have to do is reduce migratory flows. Too many have already embarked on it.

We refuse to accept this. The roots of contemporary woes do not lie in the displacement of human beings. Instead, they can be found in the unrestricted influence of competition and governance, in the primacy of finance, and in the deafness of technocracies. It is not the immigrant workforce that is weighing down the overall payroll, but the increasingly universal rules of competitiveness, profitability and instability.

It is delusional to think that migratory flows can be contained and stopped a fortiori. Wanting to do so, we will always end up being obliged to do our worst. Regulation turns into increased police control, while the border becomes a wall. Inevitably, closure brings about violence, as well as an increased number of impoverished and exploitable illegal immigrants. In this globalised world, goods and capital can move around with no controls or constraints, but human beings cannot. The free movement of people has never represented the credo of capital.

In decades to come, migrations will increase, whether they are forced or voluntary. They will reach our shores and our country, and there will be expatriates, just like today. Driven by wars and weather-related disasters, there will be an increased number of refugees. What are we going to do about it? Are we going to carry on closing borders and leave the poorest to welcome the extremely poor? Morally, it is shameful, and rationally, it is stupid. It is head-in-the-sand politics… Will the flood let us go first? No, the flood will come for all of us!

There must not be any concessions to these ideas that the far right has imposed on us, that the right has rallied too often and that even tempt left-wing parties. As intellectuals, creators, activists, unionists and citizens first and foremost, we are stating that we will not look the other way. We will not compromise with the far right’s business capital. Migration is only bad for societies that turn their backs on sharing. Freedom of movement and equal social rights for immigrants in host countries are fundamental human rights.

We will not grant the far right the pleasure of letting it believe that it is asking the right questions. We are rejecting its questions along with its answers.


Sign petition here.