Hungarian left-wing organizations demand adequate policies for the refugee crisis

The crisis in Western Asia and North Africa keeps deepening. Neither the key North American and European actors in the one and a half decade-long armed conflict, nor their regional allies are willing to abandon the politics of brutal interventions, even if these are indefensible according to international law. The aim of maintaining political violence is clear: gaining control over the arms market, trade routes and sources of raw materials, most importantly oil.

The NATO and the great powers are responsible not only for aggravating the crisis, but for the civilian casualties of the armed conflicts and the millions of forcefully displaced people as well. Despite this, not only do they show very little willingness to stop the dangerous processes started by the crisis, but they deliberately try to get rid of its negative consequences on Europe – following a several centuries-old tradition of colonialism.

Massive crowds of people have been displaced by the crisis and the interventions, and some of them have been trying to make it to the European Union and apply for refugee status. What they receive in an increasing number of EU member states and Southeast European countries is persecution and humiliation. From Calais to Röszke, several brutal incidents have been committed by the authorities. The European right-wing and extreme right-wing parties and the public made hysterical through orchestrated scapegoating by the political elite and media applaud as razor blade fences are being built in Bulgaria, Hungary and the English Channel area, among others. Specific legal provisions have been introduced violating national laws, international human and refugee rights in several countries, including Hungary. Government-friendly media often depicts refugees in a humiliating and dehumanizing way; xenophobic billboards appear on the streets and xenophobic questionnaires are being sent out to people. There are even some extremists who advocate violence against refugees. Meanwhile, the affected states are unable to act in a common and coordinated way, they are willing to grant refugee status for only an extremely small fraction of all refugees, and they consider the ”distribution” of tens of thousands of human beings based on arbitrary quotas as a possible and viable solution. As Aimé Césaire already put it in 1950 with an immortal expression: ”Europe is morally, spiritually indefensible”.

Seeing these processes, in the name of the Hungarian left wing organizations we demand that:

The Western and European military powers, as well as their regional allies immediately end any military and political interventions, which do not serve the purpose of reducing the armed conflict and building peace and stability in the war-torn states of the area. Intervening states should create an international fund for reconstruction, the size of which is to be defined as a function of the scale of the previous destruction. If this does not happen, demonstrations and protests should be organized, demanding these actions from the responsible states.

The United States, the European Union and other intervening states should immediately secure significant financial help to the countries providing shelter for the vast majority of refugees including Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iran and Pakistan in order to provide decent accommodation and care for the more than five million displaced people currently living in these countries.

The countries of North America, the European Union and South Eastern Europe should offer, besides the other forms of refugee protection, the possibility to gain collective, automatic and temporary protection for all refugees fleeing from areas constantly ravaged by war, so that both the host countries and the refugees can have time to reflect on the possible long-term solutions for the situation. In the present chaos it is impossible to take responsible decisions. The standards of services should be brought to a common level, no permanent differences between host countries should exist In the long run.

We demand that in host countries the national authorities accomplish fully their duties regarding social attendance and provisions. These countries should provide funds available for non-governmental aid organizations. These fiscal burdens should be carried by owners of capital from their own income, as they are the greatest beneficiaries of the current geopolitical skirmish. They should do so in order to avoid that welfare systems in host societies suffer damages and a pitched battle might begin among different vulnerable social groups. In our view, it is a real danger that right wing and extreme right forces will turn local populations against refugees through the tactics of nationalist psychosis and, consequently, detract attention from the existing social and class conflicts.

Vulnerable migrant groups should be provided with jobs in productive and service organizations operating on a social basis and providing satisfactory working conditions. This way it might be avoided that Western companies contract newcomers and defenceless migrants in a way that would further worsen the already precarious working conditions of the transnational migrant working class.

In our endeavour to achieve these goals, we expect the support of Hungarian, North American and European trade unions and other left wing organizations. The signatories invite civic and political organizations, trade unions and others to join our declaration (by writing to eszmelet1989@gmail.com). The list of signatories will be published on the website of the Hungarian left wing journal Eszmélet (http://eszmelet.hu/en)

The following Hungarian organizations have signed the above document:

ATTAC-M (Attac-Hungary), BAL (Left Alternative), Balmix, Civil Parlament (Civic Parliament), Diplo Editorial Team, Eszmélet Editorial Team, Hungarian members of the 4th International, Hungarian Social Forum Network, MEBAL (Hungarian United Left), May 1st Society, A Mi Időnk Editorial Team, MKT (Karl Marx Society), Transform Hungary Editorial Team