Monday, 10 November 2014

NO borders, a revolutionary slogan

For many years I was told that having a no borders position was wrong and not even possible under the current world we live in under capitalism. They may be right but a lot of our demands and positions we stand for are not realisable tomorrow but we still do strive for them. For me and many others who believe that capitalism needs removing for good and that a new society is not only possible but actually necessesary for the survival of many people on this planet a future where borders are broken down and solidarity forged between peoples is key. As Karl Marx correctly said the working class has no nation. “The Communists are further reproached with desiring to abolish countries and nationality. The working men have no country. We cannot take from them what they have not got. Since the proletariat must first of all acquire political supremacy, must constitute itself the nation, it is, so far, itself national, though not in the bourgeois sense of the word. National differences and antagonisms between peoples are vanishing gradually from day to day, owing to the development of the bourgeoisie, to freedom of commerce, to the world market, to uniformity in the mode of production and in the conditions of life corresponding thereto. The supremacy of the proletariat will cause them to vanish still faster. United action, of the leading civilised countries at least, is one of the first conditions for the emancipation of the proletariat. 'In proportion as the exploitation of one individual by another is put an end to, the exploitation of one nation by another will also be put an end to. In proportion as the antagonism between classes within the nation vanishes, the hostility of one nation to another will come to an end. [“ There is a huge crisis on our borders which has gone unnoticed by many in our poor excuse for a media and this is just on our doorsteps. Almost 100,000 boat people have made the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean to Europe this year, a roughly 60 percent increase on the whole of last year, and about 800 have died in the attempt, the U.N. refugee agency said on Thursday. It is not unthinkable to imagine many bodies washing up in our medetarianian shores very soon given how the EU is washing its hands of helping migrants who risk it all to try to achieve a better life. The exodus has surged this year, as far more migrants put their lives in the hands of smugglers or unseaworthy vessels in a desperate attempt to reach Europe. Rescued refugees and migrants have reported handing over their life savings to smugglers More than 75,000 made the trip in the first six months of the year, landing up in Italy, Greece, Spain and Malta, the UNHCR agency said. Their number included 10,500 children, two-thirds of them unaccompanied or separated from their families. The number of the whole of 2013 was around 60,000. The UNHCR also said that this year the numbers are accelerating: 21,000 have reached Italy since the beginning of July. Meanwhile, more than 260 people have died or gone missing in the past 10 days, bringing to 800 the total number of deaths so far in 2014, compared with 600 in the whole of 2013 and 500 in 2012. "Europeans need to take urgent action to stop this catastrophe getting worse in the second half of 2014," U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said in a statement. Many of the migrants are fleeing violence in Eritrea and Syria, and most travel from Libya or elsewhere in North Africa. "Rescued refugees and migrants have reported handing over their life savings to smugglers, in order to travel in unseaworthy and overcrowded dinghies, packed into a few metres of space without food, water or life jackets," the UNHCR statement said. This is clearly a tragedy and only in the last week or two the United Kingdom via Teresa May the Home secretary has made it clear Britain will not commit to helping those who are willing to risk their lives trying to cross from Africa towards Europe. This is essentially saying we are happy to see many more die as a consequence as the Tories look to see of UKIP to their right who are posing a bigger problem for them by the week. The Tories feel they need to appear tough on immigrants to face off UKIP but in reality all they are doing is fuelling hatred of those who are not of this land. As we go forward into the future decades Africa’s population is set to double while Europe’s is set to fall. There is a huge pull towards Europe from Africa with a lot of troubles there and scarcity of resources is only fuelling this. In recent months the mainstream media has focused on the crisis at Calais in France where a lot of migrants attempt to cross the channel to make a better life for them. In a recent excellent piece over at Novara media By Ruth Ciara and Daniel Martin “Coming from Syria, Eritrea and everywhere in between, the migrants in Calais are fleeing war, persecution and exile in their own countries. Most endure harrowing and life-threatening journeys across the Mediterranean; from covering vast deserts with no water, to being cramped in small sailing vessels for sometimes days at a time with hundreds of fellow migrants, many of whom die from heat exhaustion or drown in the sea. Eventually, they reach Europe and make the journey to Calais, which for many is the last stop before crossing the channel into Britain – a journey which also tragically costs some their lives. Migrants typically pay smugglers to get them across each stage of the journey with funds coming through relatives who all hope for a better life. Some of the migrants had jobs, some were aid workers, and others were students. Due to the British border controls, some have previously gone to the UK to study only to be deported back when their visa ran out. A common question is: “is the UK good?” within which lay their hopes and dreams. Wanting to get across to build a better life for themselves – indeed many will proclaim that being in Calais is no life at all – they yearn for the opportunity to be educated, start a family and work. These rights, though seen as universal in the West, are denied to those in Calais. The hostility of the police and the constant fear as a result means any rights they do or should have are further abused. The migrants have fled severe persecution in their countries of origin, only to be dehumanised, oppressed, and forced into poverty in this town where they remain trapped, desperately waiting to succeed on the last leg of their journey. 3. What is daily life like? Each day is a struggle for survival. Forced into a constant game of cat and mouse with the French police and local fascist group Sauvons Calais (‘Save Calais’), the migrants seek refuge where they can; many stay at the squat, and those who can’t often come during the day before returning to their respective crossing points at night. Food is cooked by migrants at the squat, provided by organisations such as Calais Ouverture et Humanitie (COH) and more recently Emaus, whilst donations are regularly received from locals and a food distribution centre is run by Salam. Activists provide English classes and legal workshops to prepare the migrants for when they arrive. However, due to local mayor Natacha Bouchart they face constant police brutality, with many being found whilst trying to cross and returned, some are bought back multiple times each night having been unsuccessful. Occasionally, an effort is successful and a migrant will manage to board one of the lorries in one way or another, only to find several hours later that the lorry has driven to some other European destination as opposed to crossing the channel. They will then have to once again travel hundreds of miles back to Calais, in order to pursue their relentless efforts to reach the British coast. 4. What are the solutions? Calais is a humanitarian disaster, and the future for its migrant population remains bleak. Bouchart’s reasoning is that the migrants shouldn’t be Calais’s issue, it should be Britain that adapts its border policy, thereby allowing Bouchart to disrespect, abuse and deny any rights the migrants had or should have. In contrast, over 500 people and many local and national organisations rallied to support the initial opening of the Impasse squat – proving the scale of support that exists. This support has to continue if the migrants are going to survive with an urgent appeal for people to come and support both squat and occupants. Britain’s border policy needs to be more flexible and move away from legislation which hampers asylum efforts and forces migrants to cross illegally, such as the Dublin II regulation. Adopted in 2003 as a way of monitoring and controlling asylum access throughout the EU, the Dublin regulation states that the country responsible for the asylum claim and process should be the first EU member the claimant reaches. However whilst long term solutions can be proposed, an immediate solution has to be found: Bouchart needs to offer more asylum applications or at the very least provide housing, food and resources to these people.”

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