by Daniel Pitt.
The expected influx of Romanians and Bulgarians to the United Kingdom has failed to materialise, but there remains a pervasive atmosphere of intolerance towards the Roma with uncomfortable historic parallels. During the Second World War more than 800,000 Roma were executed and an elaborate raft of discriminatory legislation introduced by Hitler to encourage the persecution of this community. Subsequently, Stalinist Eastern Europe targeted Roma with poisonous social policies to settle them forcibly, and remove ‘anti-social’ traits; the majority of Roma still face segregation in housing and education. They continue to face a great deal of prejudice and have been further marginalised by poverty, inadequate housing, poor health, low literacy rates and violent racism in countries where extremist parties have gained prominence on the political scene.
Ten million Roma live in Europe and they are still the most disadvantaged and alienated community. There is an open war against them where self-proclaimed vigilantes harass and threaten them. Walls are built around towns they live in and their homes are burned to the ground. They come to countries like ours to seek refuge from this unspeakable cruelty and make an honest living for themselves, but often end up in low-paid jobs. Some resort to begging or even stealing to feed their families.
Our own government has taken a hardline stance on Eastern European migration to attract the right-wing populist vote, and directly compete with UKIP in who can appear ‘tougher’ on immigrants. The inconvenient truth of it however is that the ruling-class depends on scapegoats to conceal the failures of capitalism by dividing communities with sinister propaganda while our collective liberty is eroded.