The waves of refugees will be a way to gauge the breakdown

The timing of the current Afghani refugee crisis is a challenge for the Green Party campaign in Germany. The Greens have, over the years, notably been compassionate, more willing to accept refugees than most other parties. But their orientation in regard to that issue has never had majority support. The re-surfacing of the issue may lose them votes next month.

Six years ago Germany welcomed more than a million refugees from the Syrian and Iraqi civil wars. It urged other European countries to do likewise. But, according to the article linked above:

The issue nearly cleft Europe in two, with Eastern countries balking at accepting arrivals and throwing up barbed-wire border fences. Ethnonationalism pushed down new roots. Anti-immigrant parties — which also happened to be anti-European Union — threatened to fracture the EU bloc. “You can’t underestimate the trauma of that time,” Ms. Puglierin said. “It was a moment when the mainstream consensus imploded, when it felt like the project to consolidate Europe was hanging by a thread.”

* * * *

The immediate crisis needs to be addressed, and the compassion of the Greens should set the tone. But our movement also could give overarching context to the situation: Humanity faces the prospect of waves of migrants and refugees from failing states, social chaos, and ecological disruptions.

If our lifeways are unsustainable, then there will be a period of disorder and devolution as conditions deteriorate. The number of migrants and refugees will vary from year to year, even from decade to decade, but it will be a long-term indicator of breakdown. In area after area, region after region (starting at the periphery), there will be too many people and/or too few remaining resources and/or too much ecological degradation to support human life, and people will be compelled to try to go to more (temporarily) stable areas. But the latter gradually will diminish. The center will try to resist the immigration, but to no avail. And then the unfolding crisis will become generalized.

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Steven Welzer

The editor of Green Horizon Magazine, Steve has been a movement activist for many years (he was an original co-editor of DSA’s “Ecosocialist Review”).