Repression and Immigration
The death of a public figure, has a symbolic effect beyond the personal. It can be interpreted in various
ways, and is and will be. The most enduring truth, is that this was the horrible murder of an innocent and
well intentioned young woman, and a mother of two children. It is heartbreaking to think of it.
It comes at a time of great division. Such times are characterised by an increase in the dark forces of
the symbolical. In a polarised society the symbolic power of the event is swept up into the division. As is
the case here, one side is able to harness its power to enhance their position. On a symbolic level it is
immensely powerful, and yet, has next to nothing to do with the actual decision before us.
One side wants to limit immigration, the other is afraid that to do so is part of a racist tenancy in others,
or themselves, that they wish to defeat. This fear means they have to uphold the EU policy of unlimited
immigration, which is in itself irrational, insofar as it is literally impossible. It does have a practical purpose,
the economical one of driving down wages for the benefit of capitalism, but for many in the debate it has a
symbolical one, it is a symbol of anti-racism. Racism is an irrational fear of foreigners. There is another
irrationality in our society, the fear of discussing immigration. The powerful distortion of such a symbol can
give a result in real life, where a poor black British man can be accused of racism for not wanting to lose his
job to cheap migrant labour.
In fact, neither side has quite the extreme views supposed (despite the extreme policy that is not
believed in) The remain side (even Corbyn) do not genuinely believe in unlimited immigration. If such a
thing were to occur tomorrow they would ban it the next day. They certainly do not believe in unlimited
immigration from outside the EU, or inside it. In that sense they are not opponents of a racist immigration
policy they are advocates of it. But symbolically, they are opponents of it, and that is the more important
aspect for people when it is attached to anything they regard as a moral good.
As for discussing limits to immigration, all parties do it, including Labour, all Labour governments for
example have some limits, they are not accused of being toxic and are not associated with Nazi murderers.
In reality there is the very different experience of immigration for working class people and middle-
class people. Taboo and repression has been used to silence the poorer members of society, in a harsh
manner that has denied them political representation or even understanding for decades. This is a collective
repression, since they are made into a depository where we put facts that we cannot deal with, a dumping
ground, literally and psychologically. And for that to work it has to be accompanied by a denial of its
contents. The very facts of working class life are simply being denied. Yesterday a young girl, an immigrant
in fact, was dragged out of a coffee shop in broad daylight and raped and stabbed in the stomach. This event
has no symbolical power. Partly because she was not a public figure and partly because it did not fit the
narrative of those who control the media, it remained a marginal event. This is because it is part of working
class life, and we are willing to accept it, for if we didn't we should have to alter the whole set of mechanisms
that make her life, aside from the stabbing, worth less than it ought to be worth. If however we were in a
referendum on poverty, and its social consequences, and if the working classes controlled the media, then it
would have a wholly different and a symbolic value.
Repression is at the centre of the debate, and is the pressure point where all forces are concentrated.
We take it for granted that working class people have a different experience of life , not just to immigration.
But it is the undeniable but denied result of gross inequalities in our society. It is an inequality that is the
result of enormous oppression. This referendum has made the scale of that more obvious, it has been drawn
into the open. The forces ranged up against the less well off are of global proportions. Built into our society,
is not only this inequality but the various mechanisms, political, linguistic, economic, ideological, and
material, that uphold it and make it possible. The middle-class left are one of the main instruments of it, and
this fact is, to say the least, contrary to their self image. This creates in them a strong process of denial that
fuels the need to diabolise their victims. It justifies their relative wealth. This is a hard truth for the middle-
class left to swallow, but one day, somehow, they are going to have to. We have to at least hope, that justice
and fairness will have its way.
In this debate, therefore, immigration has that special place, and it attracts the forces of oppression and
denial and self delusion in the perpetrators of inequality. The result is the “toxic” aspect of the debate. The
problem is they don't recognise their own leading part in that. When they use the word, they mean simply
that the other side are poison. In truth the inequalities of our society that are the basis upon which their
own view of immigration depends, are toxic, in that they poison the very possibility of a debate, as the facts
are simply different for the two sides.
Terrible murder has given us a situation where the lid of repression is about to be slammed shut again.
The left-wing middle-classes will once again use their power and control of the media to enforce their view,
which while being largely a socio-economic one where the EU itself as well as immigration is an important
part of their economic superiority. Their view is being presented by a huge and cruel distortion, as a moral
one. They even preach of love triumphing over hate, quite unable to see the hate in their own hearts. All the
while believing they are acting to defeat the forces of evil and racism, they are merely getting their own
way. By doing this they are pushing society back into darkness and repression, and consigning the working
classes to impotence and poverty once again, after a few weeks of glimpsing an alternative.
The prospect is one that ought to fill us with fear. The middle-class left are like a too stern patriarch
who, faced with a rebellion from his grown up children, has successfully defeated them at the final hour
when they were nearly free of him, put them back in their places, not only by force but by condemning
them as immoral and worthless. What love can there be in such a family as that? Whatever can be the
eventual outcome? You cannot ever successfully oppress. That is the great lesson of history and human life.