Further to my recent post on ‘Immigration’ – https://bernardjporter.com/2018/10/15/immigration/ – another important distinction to draw in this context rests on whether the immigrants intend to merge into the societies they come in to, or whether – to put no finer point on it – they come as colonizers. (My special academic area, of course.)
Colonizers migrate in order to set up societies of their own abroad, as for example most British and other European emigrants did in the Americas, Africa and Australasia in modern times. Others come to rule or exploit the indigènes of the lands they move into, in which case it’s called imperialism. Not many recent immigrants into Britain (or the US) fall into that last category, whatever the more extreme Islamophobes may claim. Most of them simply settle, and manage to culturally adapt, at least to an extent that the natives find comfortable with, and after the first generation or two.
The danger may come when they set up settlements of their own which are deliberately cut off from the communities around them, as so many emigrants in the age of European expansion did. It’s not only foreign immigrants that do this, incidentally; my own personal experience of the upper classes (at Cambridge University) taught me how ‘cut off’ they are; although of course they aren’t strictly ‘foreigners’. (Unless we’re going back to 1066.) In the 19th and early 20th centuries it was mainly us doing the migrating – Brits, Irish and other Europeans – to the detriment, in the main, of the native Americans, the aborigines of Australia, Maoris, and others. But today it’s south Asian and Middle Eastern immigrants into Europe that this pattern is generally associated with; as exemplified by this two-year-old newspaper article, sent to me by RR, about ‘ghettoes’ of immigrants in certain northern British towns: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3899540/Go-away-shouldn-t-Don-t-come-corner-Yorkshire-no-white-residents.html.
Now, I don’t think we should take this at face value. It’s from the Daily Mail, after all, and reads as if it comes from Enoch Powell’s time. (Powell’s gross stories of immigrants shoving excrement through whites’ letter boxes, for example, were soon revealed as urban myths.) Nonetheless, I don’t doubt that the Daily Mail story reflects some of the reality of these places – I’ve witnessed it myself in Bradford and elsewhere – and that it can be problematical. The tenacity of Moslem culture among many of these recent immigrants may be one barrier to their – even partial – integration, though it doesn’t seem to have had this effect on the present Mayor of London and Home Secretary. Personally, I take the customary liberal view of this: we should try to make the immigrants welcome, and encourage their integration. Naïve? I hope not.
But I don’t want to pursue this question now. It has little bearing, for example, on the current burning issue of how many we should let in. The only point I want to make here, and to add to today’s debate on migration, is that this sort of immigration should, strictly speaking, be regarded as another form of colonialism, which we on the Left have always been taught to disapprove of historically. So, should we reject this form of settler-immigration for the same reasons?
To tell the truth, I’m not sure what we can infer from this new classification of (some of) our incomers. But as someone concerned about semantic accuracy, and in order to refine the argument, I believe that ‘colonialism’ should always be called out for what it is. – That’s all.