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Why the left should unite behind open borders

By: 
Lea Ypi

Left-wing scepticism about open borders and migration may not be rooted in racism and xenophobia, but it takes the same troubling form as its right-wing counterpart.  

The left-wing case against immigration hinges on both a pragmatic and a principled argument. The former appeals to the constraints of electoral politics in representative democracies. Across Europe, in working-class strongholds that have become increasingly susceptible to anti-immigrant rhetoric, the left is losing votes to the far right, who point to the failures of globalisation and blame liberal elites’ relaxed stance to open borders. In response, the left becomes complicit or confused.