In January, Red Pepper initiated a debate on immigration controls and how to oppose them (“Taking the asylum war to Blunkett‘). In the spirit of constructive debate we at the No One is Illegal Group would like to respond.
There was much in Nigel Rose’s original article with which we agree. We agree, for example, that New Labour’s “managed migration’ policy should be opposed. Immigration control has never been about absolute exclusion; it has been about excluding the unchosen and allowing in the necessary – necessary for the British economy. This is achieved by redefining who is “legal’ and who is “illegal’. Politically, it is vital to proceed from the slogan “no one is illegal’. And this is where we diverge from Rose.
He did not demand an end to immigration control. Instead, he said: “The radical alternative, and the one that many of us feel in our hearts is the right one, is the idea of “no borders”: people should be free to go wherever they please.’ We agree with this. But why just keep to the heart? Why not say it publicly? Why not fight for no immigration controls?
Rose’s reluctance, in spite of his heart, to help build a movement for no controls is political self-censorship. People sometimes say that though they personally support a “no control’ position it is too “advanced’ to be argued publicly. It seems there is a real fear about confronting racism.
Six months ago the No One is Illegal Group wrote a manifesto with the aim, like Red Pepper, of stimulating debate. The manifesto ends with a programme of action that advocates the following:
Could we suggest that Red Pepper organises a debate with speakers for and against the issue of no immigration controls?
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