Refugees and Dissidents

By Matt Hanson



In North America, and elsewhere around the world, for example in Mediterranean countries such as Greece and Italy, there is a growing antipathy for migrants. The United States and Canada are not alone in the increasing volume of political distaste for migrants. In the United States in particular, there is an inherent contradiction within this debate, and this crisis of asylum, as concerns the identification of migrants as invaders.

With unabated trends favoring economic globalization, such as the overshadowing precedence of international free trade agreements, wealthy nations have a greater responsibility to receive economic migrants, and equally, forced migrants fleeing life-threatening persecution. To deny this responsibility is to reject the foundations of humanity, and to delegitimize the standard of national boundaries as security zones. Instead, national boundaries fulfill their original purpose, militarized demarcations, where the history of an invasion has simply taken another form.

In other words, the misperception of migrants as invaders exposes the fundamental myth of the modern nation state as a cultural, social, political, or economic distinction. As is most apparent outside of North America and Europe, however within as well, cultural, social, political and economic phenomena observably transcend state boundaries, merging in varying forms transnationally. Similarly, all people, as such, are a part of the transnational social capital that exists in every nation individually, and collectively throughout the globe. The inequalities of the global marketplace are manifest in the story of the modern immigrant.

Immigrant is a very different term than migrant. With its special legal, political, social and cultural ramifications, immigration is a process whereby a foreigner resides permanently in a country other than that of their origin. Immigration also connotes official identification, as recognized by the country wherein one is immigrating. Whereas migration is a primordial concept, immigration entails the officialdoms of international law, and domestic policy.

Anti-immigration is the result of geopolitical insecurity, while deeply rooted in forms of racism steeped in multigenerational, and colonialist inequality.


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4 thoughts on “Refugees and Dissidents

  1. Many many thanks for reflagging this piece here. I’d like to support Oppression Monitor Daily with more work in the near future. Let us stay in touch, and all the very best here at this important source.

  2. Sure, Glenn! Many thanks for the opportunity. I’m currently producing two related pieces, one that speaks to the Utah tar sands resistance movement, and another foreign correspondence piece on African refugee rights in Egypt.

    In the near future, I’d also like to prepare a piece on transnational anti-Semitism, and hate crimes, comparatively examining such contexts as immigrant perspectives in the U.S., Greece, Palestine and beyond. There are a few other prospective pieces I am working on as well with respect to poverty alleviation, and environmental justice that would align well with Oppression Monitor Daily.

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