Reject Attempts to Blame the Peoples for the Global Migration Crisis

An Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada backgrounder dated December 10, 2018 states, "In response to the Syria refugee crisis and increasing movements of refugees and migrants, the UN General Assembly in 2016 adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants. That declaration launched separate processes to create two non-binding international agreements: one for refugees (Global Compact on Refugees) and one for migrants (the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM))."

The backgrounder informs that the estimated 258 million international migrants worldwide represent a 49 per cent increase compared with the number in the year 2000, and 3.3 per cent of the world's total population.[1]

The GCM says, "[It] seeks to reconcile tensions underlying international migration, including national security concerns, human security, dignity and rights." It concludes: "The successful negotiation of the GCM in the current global climate related to migration and sovereignty underscores the value of multilateral dialogue on critical global issues and the role the UN can play in supporting a rules-based international system."[2]

An attempt to give credence to a rule of law that in practice no longer exists has become a matter of very serious concern. Various forces have come forward to defend liberal democratic notions of peace, order and good government, enshrined in the rule of law, as if this were the solution to the very serious abuses of power we are witnessing today. However, each passing day reveals that the system called liberal democracy is precisely what has collapsed into the anarchy, violence and chaos that is carrying out abuses and condoning them and has proved incapable of developing a pro-social alternative.

Louise Arbour, a Canadian who is the UN's Special Representative for International Migration, reports that the GCM initiative "emerged from the intolerable sight of large numbers of migrants losing their lives, and of a growing perception that governments had lost control of their borders." This way of speaking is devoid of context and gives governments which pursue the neo-liberal anti-social offensive a way to justify these actions and use the issue of migration to foment social division. Human trafficking today is the consequence of creating what are called prosperous economies by upholding so-called market economies, human rights and multi-party systems. The rich have become richer and the poor poorer but nonetheless the architects and promoters of this system are let off the hook.

The loss of migrants' lives and the loss of control of borders is not accidental but rather the double-edged sword of imperialism. Migrants and refugees are the canaries in the mine, victims of the neo-liberal assault on the international rule of law and nation-building, which arose from the ashes of the great victory over fascism in 1945 and now lie ruined from the attacks of imperialist globalization.

Except in rare examples, U.S.-led imperialism has breached the borders of many countries to gain control over their economies, politics and all aspects of life, including culture and ideology. In the case of those countries that imperialism has been unable to overwhelm, it has resorted to destruction through predatory wars, financing of mercenaries to foster regime change, economic sabotage, blockades and sanctions to cripple a targeted economy, such as that of Venezuela. The attacks create refugees and an outward migration of desperate people seeking a life as they have every right to do.

The "estimated 258 million migrants" have become an international reserve army of unemployed workers willing and able to sell their capacity to work at almost any price to gain a foothold towards a better and stable life. How convenient for the big powers to find millions of global unemployed at a time when their own populations of working people are shrinking because of a falling birth rate.

Imperialism of the big powers is the force behind the nation-wrecking agenda of unjust wars, regime change, big power interference in other country's internal affairs, economic sabotage, blockades and sanctions, the out-of-control pillage of natural resources, and the instability and environmental degradation and climate change provoked by corporate greed, beyond the reach of any rules or regulations. The lack of control over the affairs that affect the lives of working people is the challenge they face and which they must organize to change.

The financial oligarchy deals with migration in the most self-serving way possible, namely, to blame migrants for their plight and divide the working people of the countries which are using these migrants as cheap labour. It is important that working people in Canada not fall prey to this propaganda that does not serve their interests. The governments in these countries that serve the interests of the rich then bemoan the fact that as human beings migrants must be provided with the essentials of life at the standards of living the various countries have attained. Thus, the plight of migrants and their role in the economy is presented as the "inability of governments to control their borders and stop the flow of migrants" because private interests have been politicized. The old democratic forms no longer exercise authority because the conditions they were designed to deal with have changed.

The means used to defend what is called the national interest in no way restores a national authority but on the contrary turns people into categories to be criminalized. Heightened border control and a fight against organized crime and gangs consider, as a premise, migrants and refugees illegitimate usurpers, who must then prove themselves worthy. The Trudeau government equates any nation-building in opposition to imperialist control as an attack on the peace, order and good government of the liberal democratic order. Nonetheless, the plight of those forced into migration today compels us to act to build the New, not to defend an order which no longer exists and is therefore incapable of sorting out any problem in the present.

Many migrants, after a treacherous journey they never wished to make in the first place, end up living and working underground as undocumented cheap workers, fearing arrest and deportation each and every day. They suffer abuse at the hands of human traffickers and unscrupulous employers. They work to send money home to their families and provide a life for the next generation.

Migrants are victims of a world order that has fallen apart under the aegis of the global financial oligarchy. They are part and parcel of the great sea of humanity which forms one working class worldwide striving to empower itself so that it can humanize the natural and social environment. Defending the rights of all, especially by speaking out against the abuse of  fellow human beings and against their enslavement and plight, is to assume social responsibility and take concrete action to take control of our own lives and nation-building.

The strength of working people lies in their overwhelming numbers and aims for society which are not self-serving. Working people gain control of their lives when they speak up to defend the rights of all in their own name, and do not let others with agendas speak in their name, as is done all too often at this time.


1. "Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration," Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, December 10, 2018.

2. Ibid.

This article was published in

Volume 49 Number 16 - May 4, 2019

Article Link:
Reject Attempts to Blame the Peoples for the Global Migration Crisis - Diane Johnston


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