Monday, 17 August 2015

Just Giving to Certain Causes

To no-one's great surprise my campaign to raise funds to repatriate the illegal immigrants currently at Calais was not published by Just Giving. The original rejection email simply said that my page did not meet their guidelines, and when I asked for clarification I was told that the crowdfunding platform enables people to deliver a social good, and this campaign did not fit their criteria for this

Now while I clearly don't fit the social justice warrior profile of your typical Just Giving crowdfunder and my campaign was tongue-in-cheek I genuinely would be interested in how exactly this idea does not constitute a social good. It would be helping them to comply with the laws of two democratic countries, to whom they would be free to apply for asylum or work visas through the proper channels, it would be alleviating their immediate hardship which will only worsen as the weather turns colder and the authorities harden their stance, and it would take away the impetus for increasingly hardline attitudes in both Britain and France against all immigration and asylum.

According to the other campaigns already running on JG, these migrants barely have the money for the bare essentials. In fact, they even need to be given bicycles in order to get around Calais. We know that these people are not being allowed into the United Kingdom and that many are already illegally in France where surely their presence in large camps around Calais is disruptive. With no funds to return to their countries they are completely stuck in limbo. In what sense is providing them passage home not a genuine kindness?

Or perhaps it's just not the right sort of kindness. From the links above they obviously believe that sending basic necessities is a social good, keeping these people in a miserable half-way house. Looking elsewhere on their site they clearly have no objection to raising money for Islamic Relief, a charity that was has been accused of funding Hamas by several governments.

So it's obviously something about helping stranded refugees to get home that doesn't fit with their ethos.

There would seem to be two obvious possibilities - Firstly that Just Giving is actually pro-immigration and is happy to help keep these migrants illegally squatting in Calais in the hope that European governments will eventually relent and allow them to settle. The other being that Just Giving is a commercial organisation who charge 5% of the money raised, and this campaign simply wouldn't fit with their branding. As only a mild cynic, I'm probably more drawn to the second possibility but wouldn't rule out a heavy dose of both.

As a libertarian, I'm bound to say that Just Giving are quite entitled to support any cause they wish and refuse and cause they wish and don't own me any explanation as to why. It sticks in the craw a bit that they have this veneer of being all about helping people when they are in fact a profit making the venture, but that's by the by.

The real point here is the way in which a certain strand of the left has been allowed to dominate the charitable sector so totally. This does not need to be the case. Voluntary action by private individuals is not an inherently socialist idea. In fact quite the reverse.

So let's try next.