Migrations: Global motives, local traumas

Ilo Trajkovski

The issue of leaving the country is getting more and more serious. We run out of doctors and workers, there are less and less young people, and the elderly are left on their own. Along with this, the country runs out of hope, the prospect disappears. Stories of NATO and EU integration don’t bring fresh hope, yet they bring new frustrations. Most of the young people – and not just them – no longer believe that it is worth waiting for things to get better here to finally start living alive and well, a European way of life.  Those who are not members of political parties and mobilized realize that much of what is portrayed here as European is only a mantra for domination. Instead, young people from the Republic of Macedonia, but also from other countries with a similar level of social development and similar place in European and global integration, are heading directly to the sources. From the countries of the global periphery, young people from Macedonia, Italy, Greece, Turkey, for example, migrate to Germany, Great Britain, France, Switzerland or to some of the Benelux countries and the Scandinavian countries, then to the United States, Canada and Australia.

Add another country to the list, it is basically the circle of countries towards which the emigration waves around the world are moving. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in some countries that receive the biggest part of immigrants, the proportion of settlers with regulated status in 2017 reaches nearly 30 percent (Switzerland, Australia), in others it is around 20 percent (Canada , Sweden, Austria) in the rest about 15% (France, Great Britain, Belgium, Ireland, Germany, the United States). Out of this core of Western civilization, only three other countries are emerging as strong magnets for migrants: Saudi Arabia (with 38 percent), Oman (44 percent), and Israel (23 percent).

All other countries, like the Republic of Macedonia, lose a smaller or larger part of their population. But in all these countries, migration and migrants are followed by numerous traumas. Trauma when leaving the homeland, traumas when arriving in the new country. In both cases migrants are subject to different public stigma. At home they say that they leave because of “unrequited love”, because of selfishness and non-patriotism. In Croatia, for example, the emigration of young people is considered to be conditional upon a type of expatriate tax – if they have old parents, they should take them with them or pay the state for their stay in the country. In the countries they arrive to they are called newcomers, immigrants, that they are ghettoized and unintegrated. Strong extreme movements are raised against them. Immigrants are blamed for all social problems in host countries and the topic of immigration ends with discussions of all major problems in those countries – unemployment, terrorism and general unsafety, as well as many others.

And the facts say that real sufferers are just the migrants. They pay two bills for their decision. As emigrants, they not only do not break the ties with the countries they originate, but significantly contribute to improving the poor economic situation from which they have “escaped”. Some countries, at certain times, with appropriate programs, managed to get back some of those people back to their countries, enabling them to build the standards and resources they had at the foreign countries at home. As immigrants, they not only take away the jobs of domestic workers but they do things that they consider unworthy of people like them. Contrary to the propaganda of political populists such as Trump (in the United States), Le Pen (in France), Gauland (in Germany) or Farage (in Great Britain), economic and sociological analysis show that settlers in the Western countries not only do not take the jobs of domestic workers but create more and more new jobs. Conversely, serious labor market disorders are created in the countries that they left.

The basis of this contradiction between the economy and the politics of migration lies in the logic of capitalism. It is today the dominant mode of production not only in immigrant but also in immigrant countries. Precisely because of this historical fact, Francis Fukuyama wrote that the fall of communism means the end of history – that there is no longer an alternative to liberal capitalism. The expansion of capitalism on a global scale has raised new high waves of migration. As in the previous three centuries, the expansion of capitalism, either within national societies or globally, is stirring up the world’s population. In accordance with its logic of uneven development, capitalism draws the most dynamic parts of the workforce into its orbit.

Attracting them into their cores, capitalism simultaneously releases millions of migrants not only from the poverty and miserable economic conditions in their domicile countries. It also frees them from various other chains and human misery (crime, corruption, clientelism, captured institutions) that are characteristic of the poor countries involved in the global order. Therefore, even Vladimir Ilyich Lenin in the distant 1913 wrote “Only reactionaries are blind to the progressive importance of this modern migration of nations.” Even more than that, seeing how America at that time for the needs of its industry sucks the most valuable workers from less progressive countries, including Russia, will conclude that this is the only way for the development of less developed countries: “The emancipation of the slavery of capital is impossible without the further development of capitalism and without the struggle between the classes that are based on it.”

From that perspective, the question arises whether the existing stigmatizations, but also the instrumentalities of migration – at home and abroad – are functional for the progress of the developing countries? For example, are the numerous recent mocking comments functional, but also restrictive measures at the expense of our emigrants because of their negative attitude towards the change of the name of the Republic? Is Macedonia really just getting emptier?

Concerning the last question, we will wait until the next census. He is also related to the issue of the place of the diaspora in our society. Until then, despite all the stories about the emptying of the Republic of Macedonia, the official statistics show positive migration balance! Yes, positive! Officially, at least according to the migration reports of the State Static Office, in the last fifteen years, the number of emigrants from the country is lower than the number of those who move into the country! The majority of migrants come from Albania, Kosovo and Turkey!

Views expressed in this article are personal views of the author and do not represent the editorial policy of Nezavisen Vesnik