It’s hell alright, but is it a war? Review of Vittorio Longhi’s new book on global policies towards migrants

The Immigrant War: A global movement against discrimination and exploitation’ provoked a fair bit if discussion since it was published in December. Here we argue that it is a good introduction to what is now the vast literature on the subject, and also throws out some stimulating challenges as to where the debate should go in the future.

February 18, 2013 BY Don Flynn

The Brussels-based journalist Vittorio Longhi has written a succinct and compelling account of the way that global policies on migration are impacting on vulnerable and exploitable groups of migrants.

His range is wide, covering the position of the vast army of migrants who have been needed to build the new cities of the Arab Gulf states, the movements of people between countries of Latin America and the United States, the plight of refugees trapped in what is euphemistically called ‘the jungle’ in France, and the dangers encountered by those seeking to cross the Mediterranean in flimsy crafts to gain entry through Italy.

Longhi is also ambitious enough to inject into the litany of hardship and danger a discussion about the attitudes held by migrants towards their own predicament, which does not always point to easy conclusions on how this stacks up as a comprehensive understanding of exploitation.  He quotes many who do situate themselves within outlooks that express awareness of the way in which they are made systematically vulnerable by the operation of policies which seek their disempowerment and who are resisting this process by building networks of solidarity both amongst their own people and extending outwards to include sympathisers from the host population.

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