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Authors

Woods

Abstract

In May 1979 the French National Assembly passed legislation giving the government sweeping powers to expel foreign workers. Yet neither the government nor the employers really want to send most of the immigrant workers home, and thereby lose them as a source of cheap labor for both public and private enterprise. It is likely that the employers hope to use the new legislation to keep foreign workers in a state of permanent insecurity, to discourage them from protesting against their low pay, poor working conditions and the racism they encounter daily. Indeed, employers would like to see foreign workers treated as a separate caL._gory of second-class citizens, without the rights of French citizens. This attempt to divide the workers is a subtle attempt to confuse French workers into believing that French society is providing charity to support foreign "intruders" and that this in turn is the cause of the current economic crisis.

This effort contends that the plight of the "guestworker" can be applied toward clarifyin the political-economic and social contradictions inherent in crises of "late-capitalism."4The ratioiale for what follows lies in the argument that the "problems" of foreign workers in Western Europe do not remain solely relevant to or caught within a particular geographical or conceptual frame. A better understanding of the "guestworker" can conceivably shed light on inter-linked policies of the extant system of inequalities within which international labor migrations obtain.

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