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The Left is lying to itself, it needs limited migration as much as the Right does.

Edward Anderson
September 10, 2021

After Spanish right-wing figure Santiago Abascal was condemned for not openly welcoming Afghan migrants, Edward Anderson writes that the Left everywhere should not be so quick to judge, as limited migration is not the sole domain of the Right. 

When Santiago Abascal, leader of Spanish right-wing party Vox, delivered a press conference on the 30th August, it did not take long for perhaps the most controversial part of his speech to be put into bite-sized form. Europe does not have moral duty to welcome or accept every Afghan or African who seeks to enter. Predictably, Twitter was in uproar that such a evil far-right view could be espoused, with people flooding in to state their brave view that Abascal is a bad man.

Ignoring the modern liberal tendency to turn their views into a religion, complete with the belief in original sin as seen by the number of pictures in response to Abascal of White slave masters hundreds of years ago (as if poor people in Darlington or Murcia today have some original sin they have to pay), it ignores a simpler point. Namely, that Abascal merely said something every left winger who wants a welfare state and public services would have to agree with.

Now of course, I am not naive enough to assume that Vox are the bright left-wing conservative future of Spain, one only needs to read their plan to ´free´ the housing market (make it easier for foreign speculators, Airbnb and landlords to keep pricing out Spanish people from home ownership).

However, when Abascal points out that the Government is promising housing to people when some Spanish people are living in their cars or that people want to continue accepting the importation of thousands of illegal migrants via Morocco a year when the youth unemployment rate is 38 per cent and rent is horrifically high, it should be easy for left wingers to see that he has a point.

For a welfare state and collective public goods to exist, that nation or community requires high levels of social solidarity and trust. When people pay into a common pot their willingness to pay bluntly depends on whether it goes to ´the likes of us´. It is why old left wingers did not emphasise colour of skin or other forms of ´diversity´ as part of their political slogans, for it undermines this need for solidarity.

Predictably, when countries have large influx of immigration and diversity this not only lowers levels of social trust and solidarity in general but also within the same ethnic groups. So, Spaniards would be less likely to pay for public goods and social services for each other, let alone newcomers, because of the increasing amounts of immigrants, many illegal.

There is a reason why Denmark has strong wages, reduced inequality and a welfare state whilst countries like the United States, sadly, do not. We should also be very clear who the winners are from such an influx, the richest people who have to contribute less to a public pool and terrible businesses who can bank on an unending supply of cheap labour. As said before, this kind of open borders policy exists to erode the foundations on which any welfare state would exist. Don´t just take my word for it, that well known far-right white supremacist Bernie Sanders spoke on the issue back in 2015.

It is a sign of just how efficiently working-class people have been eradicated from politics that saying countries have the responsibility to their own citizens above all others is now the mark of the ´far-right´.

A great man (who thankfully is not alive to see his greatest creation is funding ´Dear White People' articles) once said, "The language of priorities is the religion of Socialism." You can have a welfare state and reduced inequality or you can have mass immigration and demographic diversity. Not both. For actual left wingers, the choice should be a clear one.

If the above is perhaps too abstract for you then why don´t we have a look at what´s happening in another country in Europe, Italy. The new head of the opinion polls for their election (less than two years away) are The Brothers of Italy Party, who are neck and neck with the previous leaders and by no means ´progressive´ Lega Italia. Both combined hold 40% and there is no government next time without them. They are certainly not going to accept the continuing import of immigrants via boat. Here in Spain, the immigration issue is fuelling Vox to 15 per cent and the latest polls here in Spain has PP and Vox forming a government.

They are likely to reduce the influx of immigrants but as mentioned before, their rampant economic liberalism and hostility to public services funded through taxes is likely to entrench the inequality and diminish the public services that left wingers are supposed to care about. This trend is only increasing across Europe now left-wing politics has become associated in the public´s mind with liberalism.

Every nation has a duty to put its own citizens first and any left-wing party that wishes to build or maintain a welfare state should have no squeamishness in clearly espousing such a view. If the idea that countries owe more obligations to their own countrymen than to complete strangers (with no social or cultural loyalty to the state) is right wing to you, there is a simple solution. Give up the pretence of being left wing, admit you are just a liberal and stop dragging actual left-wing politics down with you.

Having previously lived in Catalonia during the 2017 Catalan Referendum, its Unilateral Declaration of Independence and election, Edward is currently based in Madrid writing about Spanish and European politics.
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