Nationality is of crucial importance, at the heart of building the link between the State and its citizens. It is by this that membership of the national community is defined. Switzerland is one of the countries where its acquisition conditions are the most restrictive. It is based on the right of blood (the right of blood). It is by descent that one becomes Swiss, a patriarchal descent which, until 1952, caused Swiss women to lose their nationality when marrying a foreigner.
It also aims to keep away people deemed to be “non-assimilable”, Jews (in particular from Eastern Europe) and from the end of the 19th century immigrant workers; among them, the Italians who then suffer racism, rejection and violence. Working at will, immigrant workers respond to the needs of the labor market, playing the role of “cyclical buffer”, according to the phrase of the historian Brigitte Studer. The authorities control immigration and turn it back when it ceases to be of use to businesses. And yet… as Max Frisch wrote in the early 1960s: “They wanted arms and they had men.” Should we give them rights?