Migration beyond resentment

Tom Griffin
9 December 2008

The politics of migration represent an acute challenge for a post-credit crunch world in which the assumptions of liberal globalisation are being called into question.

In the UK, Sunder Katwala warns against a return to the right-wing chauvinism of Enoch Powell, a politics that sought to prevent the multi-racial Britain which is today's reality. In contrast, Paul Kingsnorth argues that it is the left that has most to gain from challenging a belief in open borders that emphasises labour market flexibility at the expense of working class living standards.

For Shamser Sinha, that analysis represents a politics of resentment which ignores the broader reality. When people are faced with poverty, many will seek a better future elsewhere, and wealthy countries already put significant barriers in their way.

Some of those obstacles are exemplified by the experiences of Uzbek migrants in Russia encountered by Maria Yanovskaya. Despite their often marginal position, such workers provide crucial remittances to their home countries. The loss of their jobs to the credit crunch could pave the way for a social explosion.

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