Call for a NoBorders Convergence - London, 13 - 18 February 2012
London NoBorders, along with Goldsmiths students and other groups, are
organising a week-long convergence to be held in London between 13 - 18 February 2012. The aim is to get together to share our knowledge and experiences in relation to people's freedom of movement and the restrictions on it, and to share skills, network, strategise and take action. We seek to create a temporary space for the production of counter-narratives and practices to the very idea of governing people's movement through border controls.
Why a convergence
As the global economic crisis deepens and runaway climate chaos and energy and food crises loom ever closer,the borders of Europe are being fortified even further to protect the interests of the privileged few at the expense of the rest of us. A range of worrying developments can be observed: discriminatory point-based visa systems for overseas students and migrant workers, increased use of detention and deportation in inhumane conditions, military-style operations in the Mediterranean sea to intercept migrant boats, often leading to deadly tragedies, high-tech surveillance and intelligence gathering, externalising Europe's borders by bribing neighbouring countries to act as the EU's border police, and so on and so forth. For most migrants from the global south, Europe is increasing looking like a fortress and a labour camp.
At the same time, there has been a wave of grassroots movements around the world demanding radical changes to the current economic and political system that is responsible for the suffering of the majority of the world's population. From the Arab uprisings, through students' and workers' protests and riots, to anti-capitalist occupations across Western 'democracies', more and more people are realising that this mode is no longer tenable, and are taking things into their own hands. Migrants' struggles are also part of this awakening and the very idea of Europe is being redefined as a result of these struggles and the new policy developments mentioned above.
Like capital, the nationals of the EU and other 'first world' countries are free to travel wherever they want. Yet those on the wrong side of artificially erected borders, whose countries are often torn apart by capitalist and imperial conquests, are illegalised, criminalised and prevented from doing what humans have done for thousands of years: moving in search of a better life, to escape poverty, abuse, discrimination, persecution, gender oppression, war and so on. The right of everyone to travel and live where they want is denied for those with the 'wrong' skin colour, passport or bank account.
This inherently racist system of border controls not only creates hierarchies of 'good' and 'bad' migrants, useful and unwanted, it also subjects those rendered 'illegal' to repression and exploitation, legitimised by increasingly racist and right-wing political rhetoric and media coverage.
What, where, when
The No Borders Convergence, to be held in London between 13 - 18 February 2012, will include seminars and workshops on a wide range of topics, from immigration detention and forcible deportations, EU immigration policies and its border agency (Frontex), through institutional racism and social services provision, the exploitation of migrant workers and students, to No Border camps, radical solidarity, direct action and much more.
However, we don't want to just talk; we hope that during this week people will also get together to plan and take action against various aspects of the border regime in London and the surrounding areas.
The convergence will be what people make of it, but we would like it to be a laboratory of radical thoughts, discussions and actions; a convergence of many different people brought together through a common struggle against borders, both external and internal.
Join us in London from 13th-18th February 2012. We will endeavour to provide a video link so that people who can not attend in person can still follow and participate in the discussions. More information and details here.
Freedom of movement and equal rights for all!