«In Italy there was racism before Salvini; he wanted to scare us, to divide migrants and put them one against the other. Now he’s not here anymore, the situation is different and something has changed. Which kind of racism we will have to face after Salvini?» This one, like many other questions, has been discussed last saturday with migrants from Sierra Leone coming from all over Emilia-Romagna. The discussion started from this document by Coordinamento Migranti, which we now republish in english.
The good news is that Salvini is no longer the Minister of the Interior. Facing this changing, is now the moment “to dare”. Salvini created a regime of fear to prevent migrants, women and men, to speak out loud, to divide new and old migrants, to divide asylum seekers and migrants who have a work permit. “To dare” means to put an end to this regime of oppression, it means to claim for the end of the blackmail of the permit which is a burden for millions of women and men who move, live and work in Italy and Europe. We need “to dare” because Salvini is gone, but Bossi-Fini law is still here and in order to fight it, human rights are not enough.
Everyday migrants get confined in narrow spaces, limited to the cage of the welcome-system, the work exploitation and the constant menace of the expulsion. The abolition of the humanitarian permit forced thousands of migrants to submit to exploitation, regular or not, which facilitates cooperatives and bosses.
Now the government talks about “discontinuity”. The only real discontinuity would be to put an end to the twenty-year exploitation enhanced by the Bossi-Fini law, to put an end to the forced reposition of migrants throughout Europe and to put an end to the externalisation of the frontiers. The real discontinuity is an European permit of residency which allows all migrants to freely look for the bettering of their condition.
Thousands of asylum seekers are still trapped in the web made by territorial commissions, prefectures, questure and municipalities which respond to their request with denials and, furthermore, ask migrants to present documents which are not requested by the law. Thousands of migrants who have been living in Italy for years, with permits always precarious and connected to their job, will keep facing pointless bureaucratic obstacles to obtain citizenship for them or their relatives. Thousands of migrants, women and men, keep depending on permits which are given with endless delays and last only few months, on precarious contracts, short and under-payed, on language certifications which were made more expensive by Salvini, hitting in particular migrants women, who often work in the isolation of domestic spaces.
With all these things occuring, opening ports, notwithstanding its importance, is not enough: it’s necessary to put an end to the politics of denials and to the laws which eliminated asylum rights and humanitarian protection; it’ necessary to put an end to under-payed and irregular jobs; we must eliminate the condition which forces migrants to constantly show they have a job, an income, a regular house. We cannot wait patiently and trustingly for the new government to act. We say out loud that the only real discontinuity with Salvini’s politics and his predecessors is the breach of the nexus between permit and work-contract. We know that the real discontinuity is the collective political action of migrants directed to put an end to Bossi-Fini law and his regime. It’s time to dare to live a better life!