The Rents of Xenophobia

By chance, on the day chosen to write this article, in the middle of the Purísima bridge, I had two interesting conversations with two people who more or less explained the same thing to me. On the one hand, Farida tells me that Julia, a friend of hers, had complained bitterly to her that Moroccans monopolized much of the aid provided by social services. Today, Julia tells him, you have to put on a scarf before going to visit the social worker. After calming her down and asking for an explanation, Julia tells her that X (a Moroccan woman) had been given a voucher to exchange for shoes while her husband is showing off, keys in hand, a car that she cannot afford.

For her part, Marta, a retired woman who spends part of her time collaborating with Cáritas, tells me that there is a perception that immigrants are given more help than the rest. And they are not always the most needy.

These two conversations have reminded me of the words of SH Foulkes, an expert group psychoanalyst. He said that the foreigner awakens in the depths of our being the rivalry that the child experiences with the arrival of a brother.

This is one of the feelings that both the xenophobic party Plataforma per Catalunya (PXC) and the Popular Party (PP) have tried to exploit. Judging by the results, they have not done all that badly. Plataforma has been on the verge of getting into the Catalan Parliament (it has obtained more than 75,000 votes) and the PP has achieved its best results in a Catalan election and increased by four seats the 14 it had won in the previous elections.

PXC is a clearly xenophobic fringe party that blames the immigrant for all the ills of Catalonia. First els de casa (first els de casa) has been his slogan in these elections. And the PP has decided to test in these elections the strategy that Le Pen used in France at the time to contest the vote to the left in the poorest neighborhoods. They are very happy with the results and no one doubts that, if necessary, they will do it again in the next general elections.

Alicia Sanchez-Camacho, the PP candidate to preside over the Generalitat de Catalunya, with the endorsement of the party’s national leadership, has made statements throughout the campaign that could well be the outbursts of any racist person. And as for the proposals, he had the happy idea of ​​proposing a coexistence contract, which would link the renewal of the residence permit to the certificate of good coexistence that will have to be issued by the municipalities and in which it would be taken into account, among other things , that they had no complaints from their neighbors.

Are we not in a democratic state? Don’t we have a whole legal framework to mediate between the parties in minor conflicts and to convict those who commit crimes?

Mariano Rajoy, for his part, supported these measures because they were exactly the same as the ones he proposed in the 2008 general elections, also including, as in these last elections, the commitment of the immigrant to return if for a time they did not get a job .

And the sinister anecdote has been the video game – finally withdrawn – in which Alicia Sánchez-Camacho, under the alias of Alicia Croft, killed illegal immigrants and pro-independence activists.

Of course, let it be clear, as the president of the Catalan PP has repeated ad nauseam, they are not xenophobic, they are sincere. All they do is say what people think. PP is not PXC. In my opinion, the case of the PP is more serious because it aspires to govern this country. It should measure your speech much more. If he cared about social cohesion, he would not throw himself as he has done at the hands of García Albiol, a second-rate populist politician, primary and who seems to be a bad copy of Anglada himself (the leader of the PXC).

In times of crisis it is especially important not to add fuel to the fire, because many people compete for the same resources.

Although part of the rivalry evidenced by the examples discussed is due to subjective perceptions rather than reality, we do not have to deny that this perception is sometimes real. In my opinion, some of this aid seeks to compensate for the marginalization to which we condemn minorities. The result could not be worse: people are not helped to get out of marginality, rather the opposite. They are subsidized to remain in it and disputes between the most humble people are encouraged.

Can the left compete with the xenophobic discourse of the PP? Can the left do something to combat this rivalry, which can be very damaging?

In an article in this same section published on November 29, Professor Carlos Mulas-Granados, director of the Ideas Foundation, made proposals that I found extremely interesting. He said that the new social agenda must progressively move from a logic of protection to another of reactivation. It is necessary, he added, that the employment services are agents of opportunities and not mere processors of subsidies and he proposed to increase the number of unemployed who receive training courses so that 50% of the unemployed carry out training activities. I would add that social services must be very transparent with the criteria followed to dispense aid, however miserable they may be and, above all,

The inevitable jealousy of siblings is made more bearable and better overcome when the parents are fair and clear.


Saïd El Kadaoui is a psychologist and writer

Illustration by Iker Ayestarán

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