… only reactionaries can shut their eyes to the progressive significance of this modern migration of nations… Lenin, 1913
All the gang of those who rule us/Hope our quarrels never stop/Helping them to split and fool us/So they can remain on top Brecht, Solidarity Song, 1929-1930
Australia's population reached 25 million the other day – way ahead of schedule. Experts thought it would happen at least a decade from now. The increase is mostly a product of immigration.
I'm all for mass immigration, primarily because it's very good for immigrants. Of which my parents and I were three, in 1954. But even if I wasn't one myself, I'd still be all for it. It's also good for the locals, as it expands economic opportunity in the domestic market and enriches the culture and cosmopolitan sense.
At the time my parents arrived, Australia's population was barely ten million. With more than double the population today, Australia is a much better and more interesting place than it was back then.
It makes me angry to hear politicians – sometimes 'left' and sometimes Right – suggesting or directly stating that migrants – 'too many people' – are to blame for infrastructure problems, unemployment and high house prices. How difficult is it really to run more trains in the cities at peak hour and to plan ahead? These are services that we are generally happy to pay taxes for.
Unemployment? The only way to reduce unemployment is by creating jobs, something the economy is meant to do. When we have the government actually creating the jobs, or even seeming to, we have an economy that is losing its mojo and acting as a restraint.
House prices? The great majority of people who own more than one property are Australian-born. Stop blaming immigrants!
Let's question capitalism rather than immigration levels. No wonder bourgeois politics is pretty much on the nose all over the advanced world.
Infrastructure expansion is a political question, as is the development of new cities and regional centres. Capitalism is such a backward system in countries where it has reached maturity and outlived its previous usefulness that rapid growth doesn't happen and people – the most precious of all things – are regarded as a problem. What's with a system that has always had a 'reserve army of labour' – the unemployed – when there is so much work that could and should be done?
Don't blame immigrants for the fact that capitalism is a sluggish moribund system, not dead yet but certainly unable to realize genuine, realistic, opportunities for all round development, and that the governments administering it can only do good things on the basis of increasing debt.
Many years ago, possibly the early 1990s, I was at a party in a beautiful property in Sylvania heights, Sydney, overlooking the Georges River. The property was set on several acres of attractive native bush.
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