After putting together the Conference on Terrorism on March 11th 2005 attended by Kofi Annan and 32 heads of State my foundation worked on the idea of starting a political party. Now I know it´s crazy for a foundation to start a political party, but that´s what we researched.

My basic idea here was that there are huge unrepresented masses of people in the United States and Europe -immigrant, legal and ilegal- and having been one myself, both in America and in Europe, I felt that it was about time that somebody started a political party that represented them. I believe this should be done regardless of the fact that so many of them can´t yet vote. Recently looking at the massive immigrant demonstrations taking place in the States, it is clear to me that a “political entrepreneur” should occupy this political niche. What would the Immigrant political parties fight for? First of all, for the rights of immigrants to gain citizenship and vote. Other than that, for all the key issues that concern immigrants regarding housing, health, education, cultural issues.

Once I googled immigrant party and google replied “do you mean anti immigrant party?”. If the forces against immigrants are so well organized it is time that the forces for the fair incorporation of immigrants to society organize. For Europe I chose the domain and registered it. Interestingly, while there´s a European Parliament there are no European Political parties. A party linking immigrants to Europe to the Europeans who feel that Europe deserves to succeed as a united entity, could become the largest political party of the European Union.

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Xavier on April 11, 2006  · 

In Europe can works, specially a global european party, that will have success for european elections, so probably you will reach until 3 euro-parlamentiers. (You should remeber that european citiziens who live in other european country can vote foe city and european elections)

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Adolfo on April 11, 2006  · 


Please start with Spain, because there is not even a political party here representing a huge mass of young people who want to have nothing to do with the traditional spanish distinction between right and left, nationalist or non-nationalist, inherited from our civil war through our parents and grandparents. We need new ideas, and to get rid of that scary provincial perspective, and look outwards more globally. GO AHEAD, PLEASE!!

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Diego on April 11, 2006  · 

This is an excellent idea Martin.

I feel that for some reason, people in the States (and in other nations as well) sometimes tend to forget that almost all of them have an ancestor who was an immigrant himself.

In Europe, they tend to forget that when things were not going well, millions of Europeans were hosted by many countries all over the world.

I am lucky to live in a city like Geneva, that is really cosmopolitan and where I would never feel “a foreigner”.

In the end, everyone is a foreigner; it only depends on where you are at a particular moment.

I wish you all the best with this new initiative.

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sara on April 11, 2006  · 

If you want immigrants to be better recieved by thier host countries,and to have better legal position, the hosts must see this as profitable.Legalizing a worker costs money to the employer. Change this in 3 ways.. 1)cheaper for employer to legalize,2) or maybe profitable to legalize, or 3) make it expensive to have illegal workers by fining employers.Its not aout rights but about money.Owners dont say we dont want to fiveyou rights, they simply are looking at their poketbooks. Find a way to make it good business practice to hire legals then there will be a big pish fromcompaniesin wash dc an elsewhereto open the gates and legalize as soon as possible.

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Ariel on April 11, 2006  · 

Yeah. Dream on.

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Henrik Ahlen on April 11, 2006  · 

My first reaction to this proposal: Yes, we need a totally new kind o fparty, the old left-right scale was founded in the 19th century and is now totally obsolete. Thera re no “workers” and “capitalists” anymore, the unions have very differents roles now and communism is dead.

But why focus on just immigrants? This is surely an important issue, but we need a borader focus. Instead I would rather see a party based on “local globalism”. Encourage immigration and emigration and multicultural workplaces, a global market as well as all the local cultures that we need to feel at home. It is time to start over with a clean slate, and do this with an exciting mixture of people of all backgrounds, races, nationalities, ages and cultures.

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Henry on April 12, 2006  · 

Actually, I have to disagree with having an Immigrant Party for either the US or Europe, a new party yes but NOT an Immigrant one. Here is my reasoning:

Politics is a purely numbers game. Who ever gets the most number of voters win. It’s just like number crunching in Marketing, you find out how many people you need to win and define a large enough target. If immigrants vote in a block, then politicans do not have to take them seriously, their numbers are never significant enough. Or as in the US, when a minority always votes for the same party unconditionally, then (i) the other party never has a need to please them, and (ii) the party that the immigrants favor unconditionally never has a real incentive to keep its campaign promises (what are they going to do, vote Republican?).

The problem in Europe is that people are unconditionally committed to certain political ideologies, be them socialist, conservative-religious, or regionalist. And just like in the US, in order to win you need to get your faithful to come out to vote. The question isn’t which is the more popular party, but rather whose voters come out on election day in the greatest numbers. Europeans are also more satified with the status quo. This means that regime change only happens when the incumbent has been involved in a big enough scandal so that its faithful decide not to vote.

In the US, elections are won based on one or two irrelevant issues (say abortion, prayer in school, who is tougher on terrorism, regardless of whether the winner is able to keep the promises). Americans tend to have a fair amount of confidence (or indifference) in the fact that change in leadership will not greatly affect the course of the nation (this also has to do with the fact that in the US there is a clear separation between the legislative and executive branches and the executive has limited power which does not exist in Europe). And in recent years, Republicans have been much better at getting their voters to the ballots on election day. Another interesting thing in the US is that, although minorities have traditionally voted in block, immigrants today do not all vote the same way. Not all immigrants stand the same on all of the issues. For example, the “Hispanics” come from many different countries and differ greatly along traditional party lines. This is why they have become much more important politically than say the African Americans who have always voted Democrat. Notice that Bush has been very pro-immigration, against some of his conservative base. He wants their vote! Plus, he’s a Texan with a huge Mexican-American minority. Why would he ever be anti-immigration? The meer fact that Hispanics do not ALL have the same political views makes them the most important voting minority in the country. Were they to unite under one single party, what would they stand for? Recall that the Elian Gonzalez (Cuban child who was sent back to Cuba) divided the Democrat leaders depending on where the immigrant constituents came from. Cubans wanted him to stay, Hatians wanted him to leave.

Rather, I believe what is needed in both the US and Europe is a new party that, as Martin correctly states, speaks to the interests of the masses. But, this party should play with the already existing ideologies and not geographic origin (either immigrant or regionalist, at the end of the day, what difference is their in Europe having an Immigrants Party and a say Pro-Catalunya Party?). What is needed is a socially liberal, fiscally conservative party, and a socially conservative, fiscally liberal party. Let’s divide the powerful parties bases into smaller pieces! What happened to Bush’s compassionate Republican?

Finally, I think that the EU should move to the US Federal model where the citizens vote directly for (i) a European Executive, (ii) say two European Senators for their home nation, and (iii) European Represenatives from their local community. What would be cool is if someone in Spain could vote for an Italian or Romanian candidate for European Executive. And could vote directly for their Castilla la Mancha rep in Europe without having their national government decide.

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Martín Varsavsky on April 13, 2006  · 

#6 Henrik,

My idea for Europe is not to focus just on immigrants. The plan would be to unite the people who are Pro Europe with the immigrant vote. The forces of diversity, as opposed to the forces of entrenched nationalism, which seem to be so well organized in an anti immigrant lobby.


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Michael Phillips on April 13, 2006  · 

Marin, I hope your research is current. The Russian Party in Israel died a few years ago and a new party has been born focused on senior concerns. The new party did very well in the election two weeks ago.

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