Imagine the floods in Tewkesbury last year, were more widespread, and that you are you family, friends and neighbours had lost all your possessions as the waters rose. Rendered homeless you decide to move, to drier, warmer, safer parts. You choose to go to a place where you have some connections, to try and cope with the distress of losing everything and to try and rebuild your life.
Imagine, your entire country had been ravaged by years of drought, food shortages, epidemics exacerbated by malnutrition, a trade system that favoured crops for export over domestic food needs, conflict over access to precious resources and a crippling foreign debt.
With no hope of providing food and little prospect of a secure future for your family, you decide to move, to more prosperous, safer, parts. You choose to go to a place where you have some connections, where there are other people who speak you language or where you have historical links ...
As the impacts of climate change really start to bite, already precarious lives are being made untenable in wide areas of the world. As is human nature, people will try and move to a place where their chances of survival seems better. Most will try and stay in the region, or go to a nearby place. Some will travel further. There are many
barriers to cross though. Those in the richer more prosperous
lands are reluctant to give up any of their 'quality of life.'
They have mostly been brought up in relative comfort and security
and the idea of new people coming makes them fear for their own futures. They tell and listen to stories of how these newcomers will not only take some of their wealth, but also somehow corrode their culture, increase crime and bring strange ways and even diseases.
So they are happy to see that higher and harsher barriers are built to keep these people out, even when thousands still perish as they try. They are prepared to accept that in order to ensure that what is theirs, stays theirs, their governments must introduce ID cards, surveillance systems and build special prisons for immigrants. To deter
more people from coming, they try to make life for those migrants who have reached their lands difficult and demeaning and violently remove as many as possible. And it even seems proportionate to move the debates about immigration rapidly to the right in the face of extremist, nationalist groups such as the BNP.
However the riches that they so preciously guard is often not really theirs at all.
The wealth of the "developed" world was built from past and current exploitation of developing countries. And still, the rich of both the Global North and South profits from the exploitation of normal people all over the globe with a capitalist economy heavily relying on cheap labour of migrants, only possible by exploiting their precarious situation. And while everybody claims freedom to decide for themselves to decide how and where to live, this freedom
and autonomy is not given to migrants or refugees.
Climate change and global economic recession will make a mockery of national borders. When we are fighting climate change, let's not forget to fight for equality at the same time. We will oppose the market based mechanisms such as carbon sinks and trading, not only because they can not work but because they aim to stabilise the current economic system.
The UK state tries to divide these new arrivals from the rest of the population by suggesting that the structural crises of underinvestment in social housing, and the massive loss of secure jobs are the
result of competition over scarce resources by immigrants - not by State and Capitals investment decisions.
For Freedom of Movement for All.