In the Morning Star of 18 November, former Straight Left ultra-Stalinist Nick Wright, now rehabilitated into the Communist Party of Britain (CPB) and a regular contributor to the paper, had a lengthy article headed “The truth about immigration waits at the Polish border”
While rightly condemning Poland and the EU over the plight of the people at the border, Wright glosses over Lukashenko’s cynical manipulation of desperate migrants in his efforts to destabilise the EU (while his master Putin gloats from the sidelines), and reports of Belarusian troops forcibly turning back migrants attempting to flee the Polish border
The twist is this. Much of Wright’s piece is a thinly-disguised argument in favour of immigration controls and nationalism: “For the European Union ‘freedom of movement’ is a highly conditional right exerted in the interests of each state in which the demands of the market in human labour is paramount”. Even Merkel’s relatively liberal policy towards immigrants is sneered at as: “Germany… was happy enough to take its pick of the more educated Middle Eastern migrant population in order to increase the skill-set of its working population.”
The most interesting points in Wright’s article are his comments about the German politician he describes as “The unorthodox left-wing German Bundestag deputy from Die Linke (Left Party), Sahra Wagenknecht [who] has challenged liberal responses to the rise of the far right to make the point that in challenging racism it is necessary to name those responsible for the flight of refugees and migrant workers…”
Wright fails to mention that Wagenknecht’s “unorthodox” approach to “challenging racism” has been to call for stricter immigration controls and to criticise the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD)… for being too soft on immigration!
This is not simply a slip or an oversight of Wright’s part: he goes on to claim that “she [Wagenknecht] had calumny heaped upon her for suggesting that in a factual and democratic debate about migration that there are many people who oppose racism and xenophobia and at the same time consider the regulation of migration to be essential.” Later in the same article, Wright praises Wagenknecht for “challenging Die Linke’s runaway accommodation with liberalism and German capital: Wagenknecht has compelled a rethink”. This can only be a reference to Wagenknecht’s long-standing criticisms of the party for being (as she sees it) too pro-immigration.
This is part and parcel of Wright’s extreme (even by the standards of the Morning Star and CPB) pro-Brexit stance, leading him to sympathise not just with the red-brown Wagenknecht, but even with the French National Front (as was). On 8 March 2017 the Morning Star published a letter from Wright objecting to an article “shot through with liberal illusion” that had cited, as evidence of the NF’s reactionary nature, its opposition to the EU. Wright’s letter read : “The politics of the National Front in France have some similarities to Donald Trump’s stance, but the motor of Marine Le Pen’s success lies not simply in reactionary rhetoric but in an economic programme which is suffused with policies which appeal to millions of French workers…
“To include the National Front’s ‘opposition to participation in the EU’ in a list of reactionary positions is to misunderstand the critical role of the EU in underpinning the power of capital… it is this reality which Le Pen’s party recognises as a wedge issue to separate sections of the French working class from the parts of the left which retain the illusion that the EU can be transformed.”
Nick Wright’s article is further proof that some even supposedly “left wing” Brexiteers subscribe to a fundamentally reactionary world view tainted by the essential racism of Brexit.