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Struggle is everywhere: Philippines, Syria and undocumented migrants in Ireland

@MigrantRightsIR

Our world is an exciting, upsetting, joyful and a hopeful place. There are disasters, wars, oppressions and exploitations in a lot of places but there are also fight-backs, humanity, resistance and revolutionary struggle as well.

At times, it seems that all good things are lost and struggles are defeated. But nothing -fortunately- is just black and white. Defeat and victory seem to be co-existing in many places.

But a struggle goes on everywhere.

IRELAND: THE STRUGGLE OF UNDOCUMENTED MIGRANTS

The Irish Times published a great article on undocumented migrants. The stories and the analysis show the hurt these migrants are suffering and the hypocrisies of the Irish state when it comes to undocumented migrant workers. (1)

"Migrant Rights Centre Ireland estimates that between 26,000 and 30,000 undocumented people live in Ireland. Some are children and families."

"The Irish Government has stepped up lobbying efforts in Washington during the past year, raising with Democrat and Republican politicians the plight of an estimated 50,000 undocumented Irish people in the US."

"Irish politicians and diplomats have pressed for legislation that would make citizens of about 11 million illegal immigrants in the US, including the Irish."

"Here, the State every year deports or forces the voluntary return of hundreds of foreigners who have arrived illegally in Ireland from countries outside the European Economic Area. Successive Irish governments have ignored undocumented people living in Ireland while lobbying for the undocumented Irish in the US."

Edel McGinley, the deputy director of the centre says: “It is a hypocritical situation. We need to clear up our own system and look after people at home to give credibility to our efforts in the US.”

Migrant Rights Centre Ireland is running a Justice for the Undocumented campaign that includes, from 9am next Wednesday, a 24-hour vigil at the Dáil. (#24h4hope).

All antiracist group and activists, migrants rights defenders, progressive political parties and organisations should support this 24H initiative and defend the rights of undocumented migrant workers in Ireland and everywhere.

PHILIPPINES: DISASTER VICTIMS GET DRAFTED IN UN CASH-FOR-WORK PROGRAM

"The Philippines is home to multiple natural disasters every year, including typhoons and floods, but the World Food Programme has decided that the best way to get 2,000 such victims back on their feet is by paying them to re-build their own homes. The cash-for-work program has been rolled out in Kenya and Syria previously, but with the help of the Department of Social Welfare, the Philippines will be the newest pilot test.

The 2,000 participants were chosen on the basis of their poor economic and living conditions in northern Philippines. They will earn up to $6 per day and at the end of an agreed-upon 10 days of work they receive a text message indicating that their money is at any one of 18,000 participating banks in the country. The money can also be cashed at participating pawnshops." (2)

A similar program is run by the international NGO the Tzu Chi Foundation. It is paying Tacloban residents who are willing to participate in clean-up efforts in their communities.(3)

Even Milton Friedman of 'Chicago School of Economics' couldn't come up with a program like 'cash-for-work' (Or maybe he did).

Very clever indeed...

How do you privatise and outsource a national disaster relief and rebuilding effort, and how do you eliminate the state's responsibility for rebuilding infrastructure and homes?

Well, simple: You use, under the disguise of 'aid and support programs', some of the basic principles of neoliberalism along with some creative techniques.

First you need a noble cause: a Something like, "we don't just help people but we also help them to be self sufficient"

Secondly, you use civilian organisations: It would be extremely useful to involve NGOs and call the work done as a 'humanitarian' assistance effort.

Finally, you apply some of the basic techniques of neo-liberalism: You hire the very same people, the victims of the disaster, who lost everything, including their homes and loved ones. You give them up-to 6 Dollars a day to build their own homes and clean-up their towns. As you are doing all of this, you make sure that the international media reports your 'great initiative' as a way of out if the crisis caused by the disaster, while not reminding the world that long after the devastating disaster, the people are still homeless and the towns are still in ruins.

Instead of the state doing what a state must do in such situations, you solve the disaster recovery problem by exploiting the very same victims of the disaster. These people, having no choice but to accept whatever they can get, become the victims of capitalism the second time. First environmental destruction, global warming and then economic destruction of their lives.

You pay them pennies and free yourself from every responsibility you have.

While arms industry costs the nations billions every year, 'victims-workers', without having a choice become the modern day disaster recovery slaves.

Services - privatised  and  outsourced
State's Role and responsibility - Reduced
Labour cost -  Almost none.
Employment model - exploitation.

Priceless!

...

SYRIA: REVOLT - IS IT ALL LOST?

BBC News 24 showed a very interesting and surprisingly good documentary: "Overland to Syria".
This is a documentary about the aid campaigns of British Muslims and their journey to bring the aid to Syria to hand delivered it.

A lot of people on the left have abandoned their support and hope of Syrian revolution. Syrian people are caught between the horrors of sectarian jihadists and Assad attacks. And all we hear and see from Syria is the horrific stories and pictures of war rather than details of revolutionary survival stories.

This documentary is another proof that despite all the huge complications, the ongoing brutal war, there is still a revolt going on in Syria and Syria is not just about the jihadists and the dictator Assad. Ordinary people, as well as fighting, are trying to keep the hospitals running, are ensuring food is produced and neighbourhoods are protected. Jihad isn't simply everywhere dominating the revolt.

In many of the Middle-Eastern secularist circles, the struggle of Syrian people are deemed as "islamism that has nothing to do with genuine revolt". These circles fail to see the situation and the ongoing struggle due to their historical ideological roots, deep in Stalinism, but also due to their ever sectarian Islamophobic views. Assad is seen by the secularists as a hero fighting against to enemies: The Islamists and the western imperialists.

In fact the situation is a lot more complicated. Assad is 'dealing' with western imperialists, aided by Russian imperialism, fights against jihadist groups who are supported by  Western-friendly regional countries (you see the complication here), and also attacks the revolutionary forces.

Revolutionaries try to save their revolt from drowning due to Jihadist and imperialist interventions, they fight against both the jihadist gangs and Assad army. Towns struggle to hold off these forces while trying to keep the hospitals, bakeries, basic humanitarian services running.

The BBC documentary showed the aid efforts but more importantly showed the civilian struggle in Syria.

Who are we sitting in our cosy rooms and say that "Syria is lost to jihadists" while there are people over there still fighting for freedom and revolution? They have enough to deal with instead of having to convince the 'demoralised' touristic analyst of the west that they are still fighting.

Long live the Syrian people fighting the reactionaries and the army of dictator Assad. And down with Western and Russian imperialism.

...

Our world is an exciting, upsetting, joyful and a hopeful place. There are disasters, wars, oppressions and exploitations in a lot of places but there are also fight-backs, humanity, resistance and revolutionary struggle as well.

At times, it seems that all good things are lost and struggles are defeated. But nothing -fortunately- is just black and white. Defeat and victory seem to be co-existing in many places.

But a struggle goes on everywhere.

(1) http://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/undocumented-the-paperless-chri...
(2) BBC News and fastcompany.com
(3) http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/business/11/25/13/intl-ngo-starts-cash-work-p...

www.twitter.com/memzers

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