Immigrants are our class brothers and their contributions are vital to support pensions and welfare benefits for all

As the next General Election looms into view over a very dark horizon, the backroom boys and girls of the British bourgeoisie’s political parties, sit fashioning the various footballs to be used in staged games to put on a show for the voting public.  One of the biggest and seemingly most important balls to be kicked about if our media are correct, is immigration since it is only too easy to weaponise the lingering race prejudices, lurking in British society from the days when Britannia ruled the waves, to cast the blame for all the ills of capitalism at immigration’s door. But is it a problem in reality?

We at Lalkar don’t believe immigration is the great problem that bourgeois politicians of all stripes would have us believe.  In fact, the captains of industry (what industry is actually left) and the majority of those great and good personages haunting Westminster’s tea rooms and occasionally parking their sanctimonious backsides on the much-coveted green seats of supposed power, also understand that immigration is not some horror coming over the Channel in little boats to destroy our society.  When they say otherwise, they are lying.

It doesn’t take much thought to understand that if a country’s economy could not take an influx of migrants they either would not come or would not stay very long. People whose situation is bad enough to make them drag their family around the world, and in the case of the so-called ‘illegal’ refugees, using terribly dangerous modes of travel through wild lands and across wilder seas, are simply trying to give themselves and their families safety and security!

Regardless of the lies emanating from our disgusting news media in Britain, who reflect the disgusting bourgeois dictatorship that we live in, most refugees from wars, terror attacks or enforced poverty at the hands of Western imperialism (including the British variety) and their puppets, are not heading for just Britain but anywhere that offers some level of safety. But even if they did all want to come here, can we really complain if the victims of the inhuman practices of our ruling class want to come here, following the stolen wealth of their lands?

Instead of complaining about refugees coming here it would surely be better to stop our rulers from savaging, bombing and ravaging other people’s lands to take their wealth away? We who live in the same land as the imperialist robbers and murderers are much better placed to rid the world of these parasites and this is a duty that the British working class must shoulder at some point.

Back to immigration in general, in Britain, as in much of the Western world, the birthrate has fallen dramatically over the last few decades. This is partly due to the poverty inflicted upon the working class as the welfare state is being dismantled and destroyed, along with indigenous industries, as the profits of the 0.1% who really run this country are under some pressure to keep expanding.  While the rich destroy our livelihoods and launch wars of spoilage and banditry upon less developed counties to try to keep their profit margins stable, many young working-class people in this country are leaving having families until later and later in life and have fewer children when they finally do have them

It is generally accepted that for a society just to maintain its balance, i.e., for the working class to produce, house, feed and clothe the next generation of workers to replace themselves, a birthrate of a minimum of 2.1 is necessary. In Britain the fertility rate has fallen from 2.19 in 1950 (a time when we were crying out for West Indian workers to come here and man our buses and trains) to 1.85 by 1980, when the government of the day under Margaret Thatcher’s leadership was destroying much of Britain’s productive industries, and then,  1.49 in 2021, the last date used by the most recent study published in The Lancet.

We now have one of the lowest birth rates in western Europe. This most recent Lancet study forecasts that this decline will continue, with a possible drop to 1.38 by 2050 and lower still by the end of the present century. The Lancet study raises the question of how do we care for an increasingly aging population with a dwindling working population and, perhaps more importantly, how do we pay for that care of the elderly without the tax payments that we should have received if the ratio of working people had remained the same or increased?

There is another mistaken idea that runs through the British working class alongside that of immigration being bad, and they are linked. This is the belief of most workers that they have paid their taxes etc. and that they have therefore secured the right to decent welfare care in their old age. Except, it is not their own care in old age they have paid for, and nor have they secured it!

In an article in The Times that also looks at the immigration/birthrate report it is explained that the British welfare state is very much like a Ponzi scheme.  A Ponzi scheme involves fraudsters persuading a person to invest in order to obtain a very good return, say 20%.  Unfortunately, this return is financed out of funds provided by future investors, not from investment, direct or indirect, in any kind of production of new wealth. Eventually new investors can’t be found, promised returns can’t be paid and so the whole scheme collapses.  Our welfare system is always in hock to the next layer of workers paying into it.  The taxes we pay take care of financing the needs of the current users, and when it is time to claim our own pensions, benefits and/or care, it is likewise those who are paying into the system at that time who will be financing us. So, if there are not enough people at that time (a) to do the work of looking after us and (b) to pay into the state pot enough to finance that work, it will mean collapse of all those things for the majority of us.

Tory MP Miriam Cates correctly told The Times: “For too long Western societies have viewed declining fertility rates as unremarkable or perhaps even desirable. But the reality of below-replacement fertility rates is that there are now too few babies being born to sustain our society, with not enough young people to enter the labour force, pay tax or care for the disproportionate number of elderly.

“What we are facing is not a one-off population contraction but a situation where every new generation is smaller than the last. We need to wake up to the fact that falling fertility rates are one of greatest threats to western nations and their economies” (Eleanor Hayward, ‘Falling birthrate to leave UK reliant on immigration until 2100’, 20 March 2024).

If there aren’t enough young people, surely it makes sense to welcome immigrants! 

Nearly all British politicians can see the necessity for immigration as can anyone approaching old age if the facts are explained to them. The stories of immigration control nightmares and declared calamities, meltdowns and upheavals resulting from an influx of migrants is just the bourgeois media’s backdrop to the election games that are played in parliament to garner the votes of the gullible who eagerly swallow the bourgeois lies! 

Foreign workers are not the enemy of British workers. It is not just that we should have compassion for those people forced out of their homes to seek work far away from family and friends and that we should want to help them.  What we need to realise also is that instead of being left to rot in run-down seaside hotels, they, as fellow workers, could be deployed doing many of the urgent jobs that are currently simply being neglected – staffing hospitals, caring for the elderly and infirm, teaching in schools, repairing run-down public buildings, mending potholes, cleaning polluted rivers and beaches, etc., etc. They are prevented from doing so because the interests of imperialism stand in the way.  Imperialism is the enemy of us all and we will only make any real gains for all of us when we see who our enemy is and join hands with all other workers in the struggle to overthrow our masters and their obvious agents within our class.