Our VoiceImmigrationNews & Politics

Racist Violence in Italy Could Happen in U.S.

Jill Garvey • Jan 15, 2010

Last week in Southern Italy’s working-class city of Rosarno, African immigrants clashed with local residents in what has been described as the worst racial violence since World War II, when Italy allied itself with the Nazis. The riots erupted after a racially-motivated attack on a group of Black agricultural workers. 1200 immigrants were evacuated by the government for their own protection and sent to detention centers to await deportation. This was not a spontaneous or isolated event, racial tensions have been exacerbated on multiple, coordinated fronts.

Americans should pay close attention to Ital; we are not far behind.

Like Italy, U.S. industry and those who profit from it (Italy calls it the mob, we call it big business), has benefited from the cheap labor of undocumented immigrants and refugees of color, while at the same time exploiting the tenuous existence of these same workers.

Like the U.S., Italy has a parallel force of bigotry at work: an anti-immigrant movement which has infiltrated government and undermined not just the basic democratic rights of immigrants and refugees, but those of the entire working population. Its parliament mapped harsh restrictions and fines for undocumented immigrants, and authorized “citizen patrols” similar to what we’ve seen in Maricopa County, Arizona.

The anti-immigrant movement in the U.S., led by the John Tanton Network, has ties to counterparts in Russia and Europe, and it is the relationship of groups like the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) to European ultra-nationalists that should be of real concern.

The European Union spends over half of its “migration management” funds for border enforcement, giving rise to the “Fortress Europe” moniker that civil, human, labor, religious, and immigrant organizations use in daily, derisive language about the collective mentality driving migration policy.

As Italy has unfortunately demonstrated, anti-immigrant fervor and inhumane immigration policies translate to real violence. Draconian immigration laws in Italy have created this situation. With no opportunities for real integration, Italy’s immigrant communities, some of which have been in the country for generations, are relegated to the vulnerable fringes of society.

Make no mistake, this is the same direction the John Tanton Network is taking the United States.

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