By Arturo Gallegos for FRN
A recent conversation with the director of the language center of a public German university has given me a new perspective, and sparks yet another question related to the so-called “refugee crisis” in Germany. The academic explained to me that there was a shortage of staff available to fill teachers’ roles. This hampers the university’s ability to continue with the language courses. How can this be? Well, it turns out that there is currently a labor exodus of teachers who are certified to teach language to foreign students, the teachers being a facet of the university’s “integration courses.” That is, integration for refugees.
With some exceptions, the reason behind the exodus of many docents lies not in a sudden change of moral values. The root cause lies in economic reasons. The integration courses are directly financed by the Federal government and are available to persons’ who have obtained a special certificate from the Federal Ministry of Immigration and Refugees (Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge – BAMF, in German).
A teacher without a BAMF certificate gets paid approximately 17 euros per hour, whereas a teacher with a certificate earns approximately 35 euros an hour. The higher pay that the certified teachers receive attracts many applicants for the certificate. The desire for this certification has resulted in considerable wait lists that are increasing, with many applications remaining on hold for years.
But, the labouring teachers who must work to pay their bills are not the only ones who have turned to the refugee crisis for financial opportunities. The first entity to look for financial “opportunities” brought on by the refugee crisis was of course the German government itself.
Merkel, and her hive of neoliberal lackeys didn’t just turn humanitarian overnight. There is a reason why “refugees” are encouraged, admitted, and supported (housing, schooling, and even grants are paid for by German taxpayers).
The reason for this, like the labor exodus of teachers, is also economic. The weight of all this support rests on the taxpayers, which means it rest’s on the shoulders of the working people of Germany. Nevertheless, the surplus value generated by the labor of the newly imported refugee’s remains in private hands as profit for the bourgeoisie.
The businessmen, oligarchs, and plutocrats are the ones reaping the benefits of the cheap labor force that the refugees represent. And, very importantly, the accommodation and training of this newly imported labor force doesn’t cost them anything. The integration of the refugees into the pool of cheap labor not only benefits the bourgeoisie from the process of providing a pool of cheap labor. The process of them being integrated is in itself beneficial to the bourgeoisie in that the state directly pays private schools for their courses. The companies hiring the refugees also reap the benefits of being paid to train the individuals in the very company they will work in through government subsidies.
To sum up, the bourgeoisie is wrestling federal subsidies into private hands to train and integrate a newly imported pool of cheap labor, generating greater profits for the bourgeoisie. This increases the financial power of the bourgeoisie and gives them increasing sway over the government, and the status quo in general.
Not only must the German people bear the economic burden, but there are social and cultural costs as well. It is the common German worker who is forced to share their communities with the newcomers, not the German bourgeoisie. Rather, the bourgeoisie lies tucked away in their exclusive and luxurious estates, far off from the poor living conditions of the refugees and the poor proletariat of Germany.
The forced coexistence of the native proletariat of Germany and the newcomer refugees, along with increasingly poor material conditions (strongly the case for ANY nation under late-capitalism), naturally results in friction between the two communities.
This friction will be costly to the common German people politically, as they will face stigmatization of a racist connotation, merely based on their opposition to federal policy.
The stigmatization of swaths of the common German, based on their opposition to federal policy and their criticism of the lax conditions of German refugee, in turn result in the swaying of the German proletariat to look for political alternatives, such as the far-right.
The movement of swathes of the German proletariat to the far-right is the result of the increasing distrust of the new coming refugees, but once again, the bourgeoisie lie tucked away in a position of economic privilege where they will bear no existential burden resulting from the refugee crisis at hand. The only result is the enrichment of the bourgeoisie and the division of the German proletariat.
But we must remember that the refugee crisis didn’t just appear as some magical act. It wasn’t until after the destruction of the state of Libya, with compounded chaos resulting from the attempt to do the same to Syria, that this crisis had emerged. Both conflicts were supported by the German government. The order of Trump to bombard Syrian air bases with missiles in 2017 was even applauded by Merkel.
It would be naive to think that Merkel was not aware of the potential repercussions that the imperialist war against Libya and Syria could have on the conditions of immigration, especially immigration to Europe and Germany.
Even so, she did not take one step back from supporting the neoliberal, imperialist agenda and was unwavering in providing logistical and armed support to terrorists under the curtain of “freedom and democracy.” Yet, neither freedom nor democracy is to be seen in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, or in the territory controlled by the “rebels” in Syria.
The crisis has increased so much as to threaten the foundations for the current political base in Germany. The Social Christian Union of Bayern (CSU in German), under the leadership of Horst Seehofer, came very close to breaking their own symbiotic alliance with Christian Democratic Union under Merkel, threatening the foundation of the whole “big coalition” politics of the ruling elements of Germany, along with eroding the symbiotic relationship with the Social Democratic Party (SPD in German).
The mentality of Seehofer in this action is largely reflective of the same right-populist ideals that have ascended in Italy, Austria, Poland, and even the United States under Trump.
The ascension of alternative, anti-globalist political forces in the above-mentioned countries is starting to weigh in so much on the geopolitical scale that it is affecting the economic interests of certain elements of the bourgeoisie. That is why the governments of these nations so often find themselves in collision course with the interests of the of western, neoliberal governments represented by Merkel, Macron et co. in the European Union and Clinton and Obama in the United States.
Unfortunately, in the developing political situation in US and Europe, the majority of the so-called “progressive” elements (including large parts of the “left) find themselves in a common front (along with the neoconservatives, the right-wing of neoliberalism) against the likes of populist minded leaders like Trump and Seehofer. There is a kind of holy character ascribed to the refugee crisis by the establishment neoliberals, and any questioning of the establishment’s intention’s is often derided as heresy.
This development rests mainly on two points. Firstly, as I explained above, on the demonization of any criticism of the policy of the federal government as a “racist.”
Secondly, the reluctance to admit the presence of ex-fighters and terrorists among the waves of refugees entering Europe, an objectively true aspect of the refugee influx that the neoliberal establishment finds admissible.
The root of the crisis lies the contradictions found in the capitalist world economy. That is to say that the mass influx of refugees results in the increase of cheap labor, in turn increasing the profits of the bourgeoisie, which ultimately strengthens the reserves of finance capital; the life force of the parasitic bourgeoisie.
Meanwhile the common German proletariat must face the everyday conflicts resulting from the refugee crisis.
The lack of a concrete, class based analysis and the absence of any systematic evaluation of the armed conflicts in the middle-east prevents so-called “progressives” from focusing on the root of the crisis at hand. Namely, that the refugee crisis is the result of neoliberal policies imposed on sovereign nations.
The hawkish foreign policy of the neoliberal establishment has resulted in the destruction of the national sovereignty and infrastructure of various Arab states. The resulting consequence has been the compounding of new waves of refugees on top of the waves generated from past conflicts.
The lax policies of the German government toward the influx of refugees has resulted in the import of a massive pool of cheap labor, resulting in higher turnovers for the plutocrats. Such is the result of neoliberal policies, whose ultimate aim is to divide and conquer all who don’t toe the line of “freedom” and “democracy”.
The destruction of sovereign nations and the enforcement of policies of privatization, greatly strengthen the reserves of capital held by the international bourgeoisie.
The problem of the refugee crisis will not be solved with moralizing tendencies and grandiose idealism. It is not a question of the civilized West vs the barbaric nations of the world. It is far from any conceptions of good vs. evil.
It is the result of class struggle in which the bourgeoisie uses a cheap foreign labor force to enrich itself while dividing the working class under the guise of liberalism and morality – namely, a liberalism and morality used by the bourgeoisie to embellish their support of foreign wars while they destroy the social and labor rights of their countrymen domestically.
This in turn reduces the outlook of swathes of the proletariat to apathy and obedience, or pushes them into the arms of the populist right, which is gaining traction. It is no wonder that swathes of the proletariat are turning to the right, when the right often times offer more progressive political alternatives than the so called “progressives” themselves!
In conclusion, we must tackle the problem at its roots. We must fight for the rights of all working people, not only refugees. The need for self-criticism and concrete, materialist analysis is in demand. The last thing we need is another addition to the already long-list of struggles pertaining to identity politics (feminism, gay rights, indigenous issues). We must politicize refugees as much as any other component of our societies, and utilize them in the struggle against neoliberal policies and privatization.
The goal of the bourgeoisie is essentially to achieve the “third-worldization” of the industrialized countries; a process that attempts to nullify the rights and improved conditions of the working class, reluctantly given by the bourgeoisie for the sake of staving of the looming threat of existing socialism.
This criminal action has nothing to do with identity politics, such as immigration status, sexual preference, or ethnic strata. All of the banners representing identity politics, as FRN Editor-in-Chief Joaquin Flores has argued, are alienable and therefore hypocritically defended by the bourgeoisie. The only banner that is unalienable and presents a true danger to the ruling bourgeoisie is the banner of a united proletariat.