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The immigrant war
A global movement against discrimination and exploitation

Vittorio Longhi
Hardback, 152 pages, 214 x 138 mm
05 Dec 2012


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North America customers can order this book here from the University of Chicago Press.

"A good introduction to the subject of global migration....succinct and compelling"
Migrants' rights network
"The immigrant war is one of the most insightful books ever written on global migration patterns and their consequences from a humane perspective. A must read."
Devendra Dhungana, UNDP's Livelihood Recovery for Peace Project
"Here is a book which truly takes forward the struggle for social justice. Vittorio Longhi's comprehensive and vivid study reveals a growing international movement that gets negligible coverage in the mainstream press but yet which requires a radical rethink of dominant approaches to immigration, development and democracy. 'The immigrant war' introduces us to a new generation of migrants who will shape the world in aftermath of neo-liberalism."
Hilary Wainwright, Transnational Institute, and co-editor of Red Pepper
"Longhi expertly combines scholarly analysis with sharp reporting, drawing on his detailed knowledge of the global labour movement and trade unionist activism. The material is admirably well-organized and well-assembled. I know of no other book like this."
Matt Carr, journalist

About This Book

The abuse of Asian workers in the oil-rich Gulf countries, the trafficking of undocumented latinos at the US border, the exploitation of African sans papiers in France and the attacks on Sub-Saharan farmhands by the mob in Italy. All these events show how migrants, especially those without legal documents, can be an easy target for violence and discrimination, often with impunity. At least, until they decide to fight back. In this original, accessible book, Vittorio Longhi, a journalist who specialises in international labour matters, describes an emerging phenomenon of social conflict, in which migrants are not conceived as passive victims of exploitation. Instead they are portrayed as conscious, vital social actors who are determined to organise and claim better rights. With a global perspective, The immigrant war highlights the 'struggle for human rights, citizenship and equality', in the context of a policy vacuum within the international community towards migration. He demonstrates how these emerging conflicts can break the chain of exploitation and contribute to rethinking failing migration policies and the role of migrants in contemporary societies. The book will be of interest to labour and migration specialists, students of social sciences, trade unionists and human rights activists, as well as a general readership interested in migration.

Author Biography

Vittorio Longhi is the Editor of the news and opinion website "Equal Times, News at Work". He specialises in international labour rights and policies and has held training courses for media professionals on behalf of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). He is also a contributor and blogger for the Italian daily La Repubblica and UK's The Guardian. He holds a Degree in Economic Sociology (University of Urbino, Italy) and a Masters in Society and the New Media (University of Leicester, UK).


Introduction: The war against immigrants
In the Persian Gulf
In the United States
In France
In Italy
Rethinking migration.


ReviewsOwn it? Review it!

The immigrant war
The immigrant war is the war against immigrants. In this short survey the Italian journalist Vittorio Longhi describes four migration routes; to the Gulf States from Nepal, India, and many other countries in south Asia; to the United States from Central and South America; to France and to Italy from north Africa, Eastern Europe and elsewhere; and the systematic ill-treatment that host governments and societies mete out to the migrants on which their economies depend. We are familiar with such stories: Longhi's achievement is to suggest the abuse of immigrants is an entrenched and global phenomenon., ,But the immigrant war is also the war against this abuse. Longhi describes the resistance offered by immigrants and their non-immigrant supporters: the networks of migrant organizations, NGOs, and, perhaps most hearteningly, trade unions that are mobilizing to improve the status and treatment of migrants. The 'day without immigrants' in the US in 2006 when over 1.5 million marched and immigrants went on strike to highlight the economy's dependence on their labour, to demand an amnesty for undocumented migrants, and more is only one of the more imaginative tactics such campaigns have used to get immigrants' contributions to host societies recognised.,,This accessible and informative book, based on first-hand reporting and knowledge of the academic literature, will interest anyone who wants to find out how some of the most vulnerable in society can and do organize to defend themselves. ,,Patrick Burke, Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster, London. ,
Reviewed by Patrick Burke

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