Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Roma evictions in Madrid

Here a small boy is distressed as riot cops monitor the bulldozing of a relative’s home in the Roma settlement of El Gallinero on the outskirts of Madrid, Spain. Madrid’s planning board has declared the settlement illegal though Roma have lived there for over 50 years--albeit without water or sanitation services & in shacks made of cardboard & zinc in a flood zone. It isn’t the squalor the planning board objects to; the area is likely charted for gentrification & development.

The forcible & violent evictions of Roma settlements throughout European countries are becoming quite alarming & more threatening as the oligarchs target the most vulnerable & impoverished as scapegoats for their economic crises. Their scapegoats include not just Roma but undocumented immigrants. The stinking racism involved has fostered the rise of right-wing thuggery in several countries. Roma were a primary target of extermination under German fascism & this alone should give pause. It certainly makes clear that standing up against tyranny & fighting for democracy requires opposition to racism as a weapon & defense of the Roma against these rabid predations.

In the US where the Roma population is relatively small & scattered, the focus of scapegoating has been undocumented immigrants--who own & control little but their labor. This has been a giant impediment to unity for US labor, quite frankly making numbskulls of a regrettable number of them. Working people need to get straight who our enemies & who are allies are. If we let our masters decide that for us, our collective asses are fried.

(Photo by Susana Vera/Reuters)

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