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Population & Migration, Dysophia 2


There is little doubt that one of the biggest political debates across the post-industrial1 world and beyond is that of migration. 

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The “spending review” is here, with the language of cuts, recession and deficits ringing out across Europe. In the UK, the anti-migration hysteria which increased steadily before the General Election continues to be perpetuated by the Con-Dem coalition and the far right wears a variety of new faces in the form of the English Defence League, the English Nationalist Alliance and more. Austerity politics and ‘sustainability’ are now being used to promote nationalist responses to the straining economic and ecological situations. 

This edition of Dysophia looks at the current political situation in the UK and seeks to show the interconnected nature of the struggles against capital and nation states and, through this, develop an analysis of symptoms such as climate change and calls for control on migration and population. The articles included in this pamphlet are intended to provoke discussion and provide context for some of the arguments often heard today. 

Migration, population and climate justice are highly emotional topics already the subject of much detailed writing, with many good texts. However, less is written using a particularly anarchist analysis of how they link-up. Thus, we do not go into exhaustive detail on these issues but to demonstrate a) how they are all inter-connected; and b) how an anti-authoritarian critique of the underlying issues and prevailing attitudes can help build communities of resistance and solidarity. We hope that as well as filling this gap, this pamphlet will be a starting point for various debates that still need to be had. 

We hope that the range of topic and treatment of issues will provide materials to satisfy every reader, whether those new to anarchism or those well versed in the standard texts. Half the articles appear for their first time in this publication; the rest are a selection of texts which we felt were valuable

contributions to the debate or demonstrated the solidarity and awareness we are calling for in action. We would have liked to have included is material from No One Is Illegal on migration and The Corner House on population and climate change. Unfortunately, we have been constrained by space, but we urge anyone who wishes to explore these issues further to start with them (see resources). We have not included discussion of primitivist arguments in relation to population as critiques of that strand of green anarchist thought have been well covered elsewhere. 

The relationship between all the overlapping circles which we highlight here can be problematic and tense at times. The aim of Dysophia is to provide an introduction to concepts connected to ‘green anarchism’ and provide a space for a variety of viewpoints. With this in mind, we welcome a contribution from Tomas exploring the arguments around the controversial ‘Third Ethic’ of permaculture, which in some forms is defined as a limit to population and consumption as a form of sustainability. This has a special relevance today with the current attack on the “Welfare State” and the Government’s particular emphasis on restricting support to large families and migrants. 

The inclusion of the text of a 1890s trade union leaflet arguing against a call for controls on Jewish migrants demonstrates how old these issues really are. 

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