Saving drowning people, a crime?


This 13 August 2018 by the (right-wing) Daily Mail from Britain says about itself:

Rescue ship Aquarius saves 141 migrants off Libyan coast

More than 140 migrants rescued by an aid group as they drifted in the Mediterranean have claimed five ships passed them by without plucking them to safety.

According to international law, all ships are obliged to save people at sea in distress.

The migrants, including 67 unaccompanied minors, were mainly from Somalia and Eritrea and were believed to have been at sea for about 35 hours on a small wooden boat that had no motor.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Ship Aquarius stops its Mediterranean rescue missions

The rescue ship Aquarius is no longer operating in the Mediterranean. Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) who manage the ship together with partner SOS Méditerranée reports this.

Since 2016, tens of thousands of migrants on their way to Europe have been rescued from the water or from often not seaworthy boats.

Ideally, Médecins Sans Frontières would like to continue with the Aquarius, but the organization says that Italy has made it impossible. “The Italian government, supported by other European countries, has labeled our aid as illegal, smeared it and blocked it by withdrawing the registration of the ship, so the Aquarius can not sail.”

So, apparently, the xenophobia of Mussolini-loving Italian deputy Prime Minister Salvini of the extreme right Northern League party is the ‘new normal’ of the European Union.

‘Black day’

Director Nelke Manders of Médecins Sans Frontières calls this a black day. “Stopping the Aquarius means that people will die avoidably at sea”, she says.

The Aquarius was the last rescue ship to sail off the coast of Libya until September. Last year there were five organizations with ships active in that area. The Aquarius has been in the port of Marseille since October, because the ship lost its Panamanian flag registration.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says that more than 2000 people drowned in the Mediterranean this year.

There are still ships stopping refugees’ small boats in the Mediterranean. However, these are not the Aquarius or other rescue ships. They are warships of Salvini and his NATO allies. They will either let the refugees drown, contrary to international law; or bring the refugees back to Libya. Back to the Libyan hell of slavery, torture prisons and militias killing each other and civilians.

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British racist attack on Syrian refugee boy


This 27 November 2018 video from England says about itself:

Syrian refugee schoolboy held down and ‘waterboarded‘ by bullies

The violent video appears to involve pupils at Almondbury Community School in Huddersfield and has been shared widely on social media.

By Ceren Sagir in Britain:

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Police charge school boy for racially aggravated assault on Syrian refugee

A TEENAGER has been charged for racially aggravated assault over a filmed attack on a Syrian refugee, police said today.

A viral video showed the Syrian boy, whose arm was already in a sling, being dragged along the ground and having water poured down his mouth.

Footage of the incident, which took place at Almondbury Community School in Huddersfield on October 25, sparked outrage and an online crowdfunding page for the victim was formed, receiving nearly £80,000 in donations in a day.

The 15-year-old boy came to Huddersfield two years ago with help from the United Nations after his family were persecuted and allegedly tortured by the Syrian government.

West Yorkshire Police said the assailant has been interviewed and will appear before a youth court “in due course.” They added that the incident has “been subject to thorough investigation” since it was reported the day after.

Previously, an “unconnected incident” on October 7 was also investigated at the time, where three pupils were interviewed. No further action was taken and it was referred to the school.

Almondbury Community School head teacher Trevor Bowen said the situation was being “taken extremely seriously.”

Unite Against Fascism’s Weyman Bennett said Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, known as Tommy Robinson, has inspired racist attacks, such as the van attack near a mosque in Finsbury Park last year, and claimed he is now inspiring children to attack other children.

He said: “The horrific attack on a young Syrian means we have to double our efforts to fight fascism and stop the poison destroying young lives.

“It is time to rip the mask from Tommy Robinson’s organisation and his link to Ukip to prevent it from happening on a bigger scale.

“It’s shocking that it has taken so long for this to come to light. Every school and college will have to find a way of protecting the victims of racism, and more importantly, preventing the attempts by the fascists to turn us on each other.

“Our enemy is not in the playground or our schools. It’s at the top of our society where they seek to divide us to conquer each.”

Mr Weyman said, to continue the trade unionist and socialist tradition of “saying No Pasaran”, a demonstration will take place on December 9.

Central American refugees from climate change, oppression


This 27 October 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

How a Climate Change-Fueled Drought & U.S.-Fed Violence Are Driving Thousands from Central America

President Trump is urging Mexico to deport the thousands of Central American migrants who are at or approaching the U.S. border in an attempt to seek asylum, days after U.S. border authorities fired tear gas into a crowd of asylum seekers as some tried to push their way through the heavily militarized border near San Diego.

Trump tweeted, “Mexico should move the flag waving Migrants, many of whom are stone cold criminals, back to their countries. Do it by plane, do it by bus, do it anyway you want, but they are NOT coming into the U.S.A. We will close the Border permanently if need be. Congress, fund the WALL!”

This comes just days before Andrés Manuel López Obrador is sworn in as Mexico’s new president. López Obrador’s incoming government has denied it made any deal with the Trump administration to force asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while their U.S. asylum claims are processed.

We speak with John Carlos Frey, Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter and PBS NewsHour special correspondent. He recently returned from reporting trips in Guatemala, Mexico City and Tijuana, where he was documenting the migrant caravan.

CHRISTIANS SLAM TEAR GASSING KIDS Some Christians denounced White House “cruelty” after Trump’s administration defended federal agents’ use of tear gas at the U.S.-Mexico border. Doctors told HuffPost that using tear gas on children can have serious physical and psychological health effects. However, Trump’s homeland security secretary issued a forceful defense of the gassing, saying migrants were “warned about the danger” of traveling to the border. [HuffPost]

European Union anti-refugee Big Brother software


This 1 November 2018 video says about itself:

Orwellian! Trials for AI Lie-Detector Border Guards Are Underway!

Trials are underway of an EU-funded scheme where AI lie-detector systems will be used to scan potentially dodgy travelers coming from outside the bloc. Too Orwellian?

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

The European Commission is investing 4.5 million euros in a lie detector that is supposed to detect illegal immigrants at the border with artificial intelligence. The computer system, iBorderCtrl, would consist of an animated border guard that asks questions to travelers. The system would then analyze their “micro-facial expressions” to determine if they are lying about their travel plans.

As for reliability (not) of lie detectors: here. And here.

This reminds me of the Palantir Big Brother artificial intelligence software (ab)used by authorities in New Orleans and elsewhere in the USA.

And of the police facial recognition software, which identified over 2,000 innocent people as ‘criminals’.

Maybe that European Union border software might ‘recognize’ me, or you, as the late Osama bin Laden, or at least his ghost.

The intention is to experiment with the system at border crossings in Hungary,

The country with the most racist government in the European Union. Where Prime Minister Orban calls refugees ‘poison’. Where you can get a medal for anti-Semitism.

Greece and Latvia.

Latvia: where Adolf Hitler’s SS veterans march on the street, protected by police; and sit in parliament.

Technology website Gizmodo reports that the test will take six months and will be done at four border posts, but that has not been confirmed by the European Commission.

The European Commission speaks of a “smart lie detection system”. The AI lie detector should make it easier for border guards to recognize illegal migrants “and thus contribute to the prevention of crime and terrorism“.

Oh yeah, the myth that people crossing borders without documents are supposedly more criminal and more terrorist than ‘autochthonous’ people. The European Commission parroting Donald Trump’s xenophobia on refugees from Honduras and other Central American countries.

Criticism

The company behind the lie detector believes that the system achieves a success rate of 85 percent in the laboratory. But critics have strong doubts and are worried about the plan.

According to the science magazine New Scientist, iBorderCtrl has been tested on just 30 people. In the Dutch Volkskrant daily, a scientist says that there is no evidence for the popular assumption that liars are stressed and that this stress translates into fidgeting or a trembling corner of the mouth. Nor would any reputable lie expert cooperate with the project.

Will Trump shoot refugees from Honduras dictatorship?


This 25 October 2018 video says about itself:

The Migrant Caravan and Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric

Migrants are undeterred by Trump’s smears and threats against the migrant caravan.

By Andrea Lobo:

Trump to deploy hundreds of troops to the border against Central American migrants

26 October 2018

The US Defense Department is expected to approve as early as next week the deployment of 800 to 1,000 active duty troops, mostly from the Army and Air Force, to the US-Mexico border, according to Trump administration officials.

While media reports indicated that details have not been finalized, this is the most concrete indication so far that the Pentagon plans to deploy troops domestically against the “caravan” of thousands of Central American migrants, mostly families with women and children that are currently crossing Mexico and seeking to reach the US.

The comments made by the US officials and media commenters sought to minimize the significance of the deployment, stating that the troops will be composed of engineers, aviation support, doctors and lawyers. Troops can still carry arms, CNN cites a military official, but “solely for self-defense.”

However, the unofficial announcement comes exactly one week after Trump first threatened to “call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!” He called the caravan an “onslaught” and said that the impoverished workers and peasants are “hardened criminals”, while making unfounded and racist claims that “Middle-Easterners” have joined it.

On Thursday morning, Trump restated his threat to deploy the military on Twitter, calling it a “National Emergency” and adding, “They will be stopped!” The previous night at a rally in Wisconsin he said the military was “all set” to be sent against the migrants.

Such a move would violate the Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits the armed forces from carrying out domestic law-enforcement activities, excluding the National Guard. While US officials speaking to CNN denied that troops would deal directly with the caravan, a myriad of provocations can be construed to justify their direct intervention, which could turn into a massacre of unarmed workers and children on the basis of “self-defense”.

Last weekend, at the Guatemala-Mexico border, about 400 Mexican antiriot police began an assault against the migrants by tackling and shooting tear-gas canisters against the defenseless families seeking to cross the bridge toward the port of entry. Some migrants responded by throwing rocks, sandals and other objects, which led to an even more aggressive attack by the police.

While not confirming the deployment, Captain Bill Speaks, spokesman for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, wrote in an email to Military Times that the Department of Defense will “ensure the safety and security of the CBP [Customs and Border Patrol] personnel involved in border security operations.”

The troops are expected to join the 2,100 National Guardsmen already deployed across the US-Mexico border in late May.

The move is bound up with Trump’s efforts to exploit the caravan to ramp up nationalist and xenophobic sentiments ahead of the November 6 midterm elections in the United States.

The caravan has become a massive demonstration of workers. As they marched into Mexico, the 7,000-strong caravan chanted “Migrants are not criminals! We are international workers!” Mexican workers and peasants have warmly welcomed them with food, supplies and lifts.

The domestic deployment of the military against immigrants is a serious warning to the entire working class in the United States and internationally, immigrant or native-born alike. The ruling class is ready to respond to any defiance to the foundations of capitalist rule by proclaiming a “national emergency” and employing deadly repression.

As the Pentagon escalates its military confrontations against its main geopolitical rivals, the US ruling class is preparing to suppress all political dissent. The domestic deployment of troops is a precedent for waging total war against rivals abroad and social opposition at home.

On Tuesday, US vice-President Mike Pence told the media that the Honduran [right-wing coup] president, Juan Orlando Hernández, had assured him that the caravan was being “organized by leftist organizations and financed by Venezuela”, which Trump has referred to repeatedly as “socialist”. Such arguments seek to characterize the migrants as a “foreign invasion” to create a ready-made pretext for a violent attack against the migrants.

The Mexican and Guatemalan authorities have also deployed their militaries to stop the caravan. The Guatemalan government reported that it has sent back about 4,000 Honduran migrants. It placed military personnel and barbed wire at the main highway into the country from Honduras, at Agua Caliente. However, about 2.500 Hondurans who crossed into Guatemala on Tuesday successfully repelled the Guatemalan police and military officials who were requesting documentation and seeking to make arrests. According to the Guatemalan Prensa Libre, they simply marched forward as a group.

The current Central American caravan across southern Mexico and Guatemala is estimated at 14,000 migrants, according to the Mexican El Universal, with additional contingents planned. The main body leading the caravan yesterday left the town of Mapastepec in the Mexican state of Chiapas, about 95 miles from the Guatemalan border.

The migrants are at least 1,000 miles from the US border. There can be long pauses to regroup as the caravan faces the efforts of Mexican authorities to divide, detain and deport the migrants. It is therefore uncertain when it will reach the US and how large it will be.

The fascistic policy of the Trump administration builds on measures previously supported and implemented by the Democratic administration of Barack Obama, which presided over more deportations than any other. While Trump has taken these policies to a new level, the parallels of both administrations include family separations, the deployment of the National Guard to the border, the expansion of surveillance and physical barriers at the border, the deportation of minors, and the buildup and use of the Mexican armed forces as an extension of the US border patrol.

Policies such as the separation and prolonged detention of migrant families violate US and international law, constituting torture and crimes against humanity. Moreover, the attempted deportation of a Salvadoran mother and daughter in August in the middle of an ongoing hearing demonstrates the sheer lawlessness with which the government is carrying out its policies.

Trump’s threat to force migrants to apply for asylum in Mexico before reaching the US is another breach of US and international law.

The response of the Democratic Party to Trump’s onslaught against immigrants was characterized by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who told Democratic candidates this month that insisting on criticizing Trump’s anti-immigrant policies was a “waste of energy.” Even after Trump’s threats against the caravan, Democratic leaders kept accusing Trump for “changing the topic.”

The Democrats have instead focused their electoral appeals on stoking militarism and anti-Russia hysteria to portray Trump as “too soft” on Russia. In addition to seeking to compel Trump to adopt a more aggressive stance against Russia, this campaign has been used to attack basic democratic rights, including through Internet censorship.

Democratic legislators have led an offensive for pressuring the Ecuadorian government to hand over WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange, calling him a “threat to global security,” while seeking to incriminate him as an actor in the supposed Russian interference in the 2016 elections.

Without WikiLeaks, Americans and the world would not know the extent of the lies and US cover-up of the Honduran military coup of June 28, 2009 that installed a regime even more pliant to US demands and further worsened the social crisis behind the mass migration.

After the coup in 2009, the State Department insisted to the press that it did not know “who did what to whom.” However, a cable released by WikiLeaks dated July 24, 2009 from the US embassy in Honduras and sent to the Obama’s White House and Hillary Clinton’s State Department explores legalistic rationalizations “for a solution” to justify the overthrow. It concludes that the event “constituted an illegal and unconstitutional coup” and that the “Forced Removal [of President Manuel Zelaya] by Military was Clearly Illegal.”

The months and years that followed saw a dramatic intensification of the use of death squads and the military to repress social opposition against the coup and the resultant wave of corporate tax cuts, tax exemptions, cuts to environmental and labor regulations, and corrupt concessions that chiefly favored US and local corporations. A 2014 report by the US think tank Center for Economic and Policy Research measuring the impact of the overthrow found that poverty had increased 13.2 percent and extreme poverty 26.3 percent in the first two years after the military coup.

By Steve Sweeney:

Friday, October 26, 2018

NICOLAS MADURO branded US Vice-President Mike Pence a “crazy extremist” today after Washington accused the Venezuelan president of funding the migrant caravan which has been blocked from entering the US.

Caracas blasted claims of a “Venezuelan plot”, warning they could be used as the pretext for US military intervention against the country.

Speaking from the Oval Office alongside US President Donald Trump, Mr Pence claimed he had spoken to Honduran [right-wing coup] President Juan Orlando Hernandez who told him the caravan was sponsored by “leftist groups” and funded by Venezuela.

WHITE HOUSE MULLS LEGAL ACTION AGAINST MIGRANT CARAVAN The White House is considering a major executive action to stop the caravan of migrants traveling through Mexico from entering the U.S. Any potential ban would come from the same legal authority as Trump’s controversial travel ban. [HuffPost]

Defend immigrant workers against Trump’s military crackdown: here.

Italian far-right government deports refugees from hospitable village


This 6 October 2018 from Italy is about a pro-refugee solidarity demonstration in Riace, Italy, against the arrest of the pro-refugee mayor.

By Marianne Arens:

Italian Interior Minister Salvini orders removal of migrants from Riace

19 October 2018

Italy’s right-wing coalition government and its fascist Interior Minister Matteo Salvini have ordered the removal of all refugees from Riace, known as the “village of hospitality”, in southern Calabria. On October 2, the mayor of Riace was placed under house arrest.

Last Saturday, the Interior Ministry issued a circular declaring that all migrants living in Riace should leave the village and move into various state refugee camps. Initially, the measure was to be executed this week but on Monday the deadline was extended for a period of sixty days. This leaves the refugees to an uncertain fate.

A week ago, several thousand people demonstrated against the detention of Mayor Domenico “Mimmo” Lucano and denounced the government’s fascist immigration policy.

Due to Lucano’s initiative to welcome migrants and refugees into his village, the former ghost town of Riace has been imbued with new life and is now known throughout Europe. In 2010, Wim Wenders shot his short film “Il volo” (The Flight), in which he honored the model-town on the Calabrian coast and its mayor.

This is video of Wenders’ film Il Volo.

Lucano has been awarded several international prizes, including last year’s Dresden Peace Prize.

Of the approximately 2,000 inhabitants of the village, more than 400 are immigrants and another 500 have returned from emigration. The first migrants came from Kurdistan twenty years ago and have largely adopted Italian citizenship since then. Refugees from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Syria, Ghana, Eritrea, Somalia and other countries came later.

About 200 of them are directly threatened by the announced deportation. The Interior Minister’s decree has caused great concern amongst the immigrant population. On Sunday, a group gathered in front of Lucano’s house, where they kept emphasizing: “We don’t want to leave Riace. Our new life is here.”

The locals support the immigrants, as Riace has gained greatly from its new inhabitants. Thanks to the influx of new residents, the local school did not have to be closed. Dilapidated houses were rebuilt and the whole town—with its cafes, shops, studios and services—was given new life. Lucano, who initiated the project twenty years ago as a teacher, was elected mayor in 2004.

For two weeks he has been prevented from leaving his house or receiving any visits. The government is demanding that the municipal council submit a new bill for all additional expenditures incurred by immigration, regardless of the fact that Riace has not received any state funds for special expenses in more than a year.

Thousands are taking to the streets against the government’s pitiless refugee policy. On October 6, 6,000 people gathered in Riace to express their solidarity with the mayor; further demonstrations took place in Rome and Milan the same day. Several thousand school and university students also showed their solidarity with the migrants of Riace and its mayor on the October 6 and 12.

However, all these opposition protests have no voice in politics. Reports about them can be found almost exclusively in the blogs or Twitter accounts of the relevant initiatives and networks. The mainstream media either report them very scantily or not at all.

The merciless position of Salvini is an expression of the crisis and weakness of the government. It seeks to divide and intimidate the population while also diverting attention from itself as it prepares massive attacks on the entire Italian working class.

Salvini justified his tough stance in Riace by attacking mayor Lucano, stating, “Irregularities in the use of public funds cannot be tolerated.” This is all the more preposterous as Salvini’s own party, the far-right Lega, has misappropriated 49 million euros of taxpayers’ money in just three years (2008 -2010) and must now repay it in annual installments, as confirmed in September by the highest court in Italy, the Cassation Court.

This is awkward for the coalition partner M5S, which has always claimed to be against corrupt politicians and whose voters do not fully support Lega’s witch-hunting of refugees. As a result, several M5S leaders have attempted to cautiously distance themselves from Salvini in public. While Roberto Fico (M5S), the President of the House of Representatives, has not distanced himself from Salvini’s decree in Riace, he has criticized his migration policy in the past.

Salvini had recently praised the decision of Sarah Casanova (Lega), the mayor of Lodi, to exclude refugee children from school meals if they did not pay the maximum contribution. In a very short time, more than 60,000 euros were collected via the Internet for foreign children’s school lunches in Lodi. Fico then called upon Lega politicians Salvini and Casanova to rescind their decision in Lodi, to apologize and to ensure “that these children return to the school canteen.” In the case of Riace, the M5S has openly welcomed “the end of a model”, as of October 7.

Fico is certainly not worried about the refugee children of Lodi, but rather the crisis of the Five Star Movement, which is visibly losing its support base. While it was still the strongest party in Italy in April’s general election, it has now fallen behind, with 28.5 percent, trailing the Lega (33.8 percent).

While the Lega mobilizes its fascist supporters through its brutal immigration policies, Beppe Grillo’s party owes its rise to a slightly different clientele. Claiming to be “neither right nor left”, it benefits the most from the demise of the social Democratic Party (PD). According to the polls, the PD would currently only achieve 17 percent.

The M5S will not be able to fulfill its campaign promises to withdraw the Fornero pension reform and introduce an unconditional basic income. Italy’s budget deficit, at 133 percent of gross domestic product, is already more than twice the EU target. This week, the Italian government must submit its budget for 2019 in Brussels and calm the financial markets to avoid the Milan Stock Exchange crashing.

To counter the growing popular opposition, PD and other opposition politicians and union leaders are responding to the inhuman government policy in Riace with hypocritical protests. For example, Naples mayor Luigi de Magistris described the decision as a “shame” and called on the government to “take action against the Mafia” instead.

The mayor concealed, however, that Salvini’s refugee policy draws upon that of his predecessor, Marco Minniti (PD), and the decisions taken by the EU that have caused thousands of people to drown in the Mediterranean, die of thirst in the Sahara or suffer in the torture camps of Libya. …

The previous government of the Democratic Party (PD) under Matteo Renzi had already canceled the special tax revenue for the village of Riace.

The case of the threatened deportation of the inhabitants of Riace demonstrates that the working class in Italy must become active independently of the old organizations. If it wants to defend its social and democratic rights and protect the refugees, it must join forces with the international working class and not with the nationalist parties and bureaucratic apparatus of Italian politics.

Big Italian protest against arrest of pro-refugee mayor


This 6 October 2018 video says about itself:

Live: Demonstration in support of Riace’s arrested pro-migration mayor

A demonstration in support of the Mayor of Riace, Domenico Lucano, takes place in the south Italian village on Saturday, October 6 under the slogan ‘We do not stop Riace’. Riace Mayor Domenico ‘Mimmo’ Lucano was put under house arrest on Tuesday, October 2 in relation to allegations of aiding illegal immigration. Riace administration has been frequently lauded as a ‘model’ for the way migrants were integrated into the local community and made a positive contribution to it giving a new life to a village, which was previously mostly abandoned.

By Allison Smith:

Italy: Arrest of Riace mayor sparks protests

10 October 2018

The arrest of Domenico Lucano, the mayor of Riace, a small town in the Calabria region of Italy dubbed “hospitality town”, sparked pro-immigrant protests across Italy this past weekend.

It is estimated that nearly 6,000 people demonstrated in Riace against Lucano’s arrest by the Italian tax police on charges of faking marriages of migrant workers and abusing public funds. Protests also took place in Milan and Rome. Many supporters took to Twitter to denounce his arrest and the “fascist” anti-immigrant policies of the coalition government.

According to authorities, in a wiretapped conversation Lucano and his partner Tesfahun Lemlem admitted to arranging the marriage of a Nigerian woman to avoid her deportation. Lucano also allegedly … awarded rubbish collection contracts to companies that support immigrant workers, which angered the local Mafia.

In 1998, Lucano welcomed the first immigrants and asylum seekers to Riace—a boatload of Kurdish immigrants that washed up on its shores—to save the town from total economic collapse and save the immigrants from deportation. Since then, the town’s population has grown to 1,500, including 400 immigrants from 20 countries. Migrants are given housing and jobs repairing roads and houses, baking bread, reopening cafes, or setting up shops for local crafts. His policies have attracted international attention and the ire of the Italian authorities.

Lucano’s arrest occurs in the wake of a European Union (EU) immigration summit accord in Brussels this past June where the Italian coalition government of the Five Star Movement (M5S) and the League (Lega) insisted on provisions for EU funding for refugee prison camps in Turkey and North Africa. They called as well for building closed detention camps in Europe for those seeking asylum and the construction of more such camps, named “regional disembarkation platforms”, along shipping lanes for migrant vessels.

The EU accord also agrees to block refugee movement between EU countries. Finally, the plan calls for rewriting the so-called Dublin Accords on EU asylum law, which mandate that refugees apply for asylum in the first EU country they reach. Italy is a first destination country for thousands of immigrants, and the Italian government is working to prevent migrants from seeking asylum when they reach the Italian border.

In recent years, the government has enacted laws to criminalize immigration. In 2002, then Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and his coalition partners, Gianfranco Fini of the neo-fascist National Alliance and Umberto Bossi of the far-right Northern League (predecessor of Lega), launched a joint attack on poor immigrants, passing the “Bossi-Fini Law,” which introduced criminal sanctions for persons caught illegally entering the country or who return after being expelled.

Under the law, an immigrant who is stopped without a residence permit is expelled immediately. Immigrants are also subject to arrest and detention of six to 12 months, followed by immediate deportation, if caught attempting to re-enter Italy before the expiry of a re-entry ban. A second offence is punishable by up to four years imprisonment. The law also increases the time limit for seclusion in detention centers whilst waiting for extradition. This was extended from 30 days to 60 days and asylum seekers are placed in detention while awaiting asylum review, in contravention of Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which states, “Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person.”

Subsequent administrations, including center-left, have never acted to repeal this draconian measure.

While the bourgeois media have expressed a degree of sympathy for Lucano as well as their concern about Italy’s moves toward an authoritarian state, they speak for the same center- and pseudo-left forces that paved the way for the current government’s immigrant policies.

M5S, with its fake anti-establishment posture, is revealing its true colors. For all their criticism against Berlusconi and the Italian Democratic Party (PD), they are moving to the right of both and have no problem implementing and further elaborating the legal framework adopted by the PD against immigrant workers.

In fact, M5S is honoring their manifesto, which vows to do away with “the business” linked to illegal immigration and promises to boost border security by hiring 10,000 police officers and building new prisons.

An October 7 post on the blog of M5S is headlined, “Riace was not a model, the era of the immigration business is over.” The blog post, written by M5S undersecretary Carlo Sibilia, confirms the withdrawal of funds for the Calabrian city: “‘We have decided to reduce speculation on hospitality to zero. There are no coverages for Riace, and our government has set itself the goal of eliminating rainy day funding in terms of migration policies.’ These are my statements made during the visit in Calabria on August 6. Today, after the arrest of the mayor of Riace as part of the Xenia operation carried out by the Guardia di Finanza [Italian finance police], they are more understandable.”

M5S offers nothing progressive in their policies, including the proposed “Citizenship Wage,” which, even if enacted, comes with so many restrictions it will be rendered meaningless. They seek to agitate public opinion against immigrants and migrant workers to divert attention away from election promises and the real issues facing Italian society—poverty wages, crumbling infrastructure and the like.

There is widespread concern among Italians about immigration, but there is also mass sympathy for the plight of immigrants and an understanding that the significant increase in immigration is due to the unending wars and economic destruction abroad.

The current government is thoroughly right-wing. If this is what the Italian state is doing to a member of the political elite, workers should be warned that the true goal of this administration is draconian attacks on immigrants and workers alike. The only way forward for Italian workers and youth is the development of a socialist and internationalist movement in opposition to the government and the financial elite who control the levers of power in Italy.

Italian right-wing government deports all Riace immigrants to concentration camps: here.