The monthly Kompass-Newsletter is now available under http://antira-kompass.info
+++ 8.4. in Berlin: Take back the future – International Roma Day +++ 7./8./9.4. in Hamburg: preparatory conference against the G20 summit +++ 14.-17. April: Action days at the French-Italian border +++ 18.4. in Hungary: transnational demo at the border/Röszke 11 solidarity +++ 22.4. in Athens: City Plaza anniversary/eviction of squatted houses +++ Central Mediterranean Sea: Report Alarm Phone, statements of civilian rescue ships +++ Struggles against Dublin regulations +++ 5. – 7.5. in Osnabrück: Kritnet conference with solidarity city +++ 6./7.5. in Bielefeld: Get Together4We`ll Come United +++ 13. Mai in Pforzheim: country-wide demo against detention +++ Book recommendation: „This is how we can make it“ +++ Reviews: 8.3. Global Womens Strike, 18.3. transnational action day against the border regime, 31.3. protest in front of the Tunesian embassy in Berlin +++ Previews: 17.-21. Mai 2017 in Cologne: NSU Tribunal; 10.-14.6. in Dresden: JoG against IMK; 19.-25. Juni 2017 in Kassel: Documenta – 20 years of no one is illegal; 16. September 2017 in Berlin: big demo We`ll Come United; 6.-8. Oktober 2017 in Leipzig: conference on migration, development, ecologic crisis +++
„This is how we can make it – civil society in a spirit of new beginning“ („So schaffen wir das – eine Zivilgesellschaft im Aufbruch“). This is the title of a recently (in Germany) published book well worth reading which determines: „Between 2015 and 2016 around 15000 projects which found creative replies to the manifold challenges of immigration came into being.” It goes on: “In this research project we attempted to take stock of the potentials of the movement on the basis of the analysis of 90 case studies. We asked which specific challenges there exist in 13 different sectors – like housing, health care, judicial advice and education – and how they were addressed. It became clear what great energy for handling social problems there is in current civil society. The projects reveal the potential for a new cooperation not just in dealing with immigrants but within civil society. It became especially obvious that these projects are more than the sum of isolated humanitarian initiatives. On the contrary they are a social movement with a unique profile. It is best characterized as a ´movement of citizens´. Its political core is the formation of political society on a local level.”
This book supports the thesis that on the local and everyday level a network of self-organization and support initiatives has become permanent. Diverse projects – “from sea rescue to solidarity city” – hold their ground against racist repressive poli-tics and right-wing populist medial domination. “While deportation, closing-off and demoralization are the only answers in politics, the movement of citizens out of their own initiative has demonstrated feasible paths to a more open society.”
At the same time the authors name their limitations: “The strengths of this move-ment are its weaknesses as well: The lo-cal and practical nature of the citizens´ movement makes it remarkably sustaina-ble and stable. But it also leads to it being hardly visible on a transregional and na-tional level. Locally and in practice criti-cism of refugee politics is practiced but it is not articulated enough on a transregional and national level.”
But this might change in the months to come. “Get together”, a young federal network of the antiracist movement has recently agreed on a large common mobi-lization for September 2017. On 2nd Sep-tember it will start with various decentral actions which will recall the historic breakthrough against the border regime of two years ago in Hungary. The March of Hope and the Refugee Welcome of 2015 became points of reference for making public and transnationally connecting initiatives and struggles for two weeks according to local conditions. Afterwards, on the 16.9. – and therefore one week before the federal election in Germany – Berlin will be the focal point of a germanwide mobilization. “We´ll come united” is the slogan for the planned mixture of a large demonstration, a parade and a political Community Carnival in the capital city. There will be intense mobilization over the next months, espe-cially on a local level, but there will be transregional opportunities as well: from the church congress in May in Berlin and 20 years of no one is illegal at the docu-menta in Kassel in June to the G20 sum-mit in Hamburg in July.
It seems bold and ambitious to suggest travelling to Berlin on chartered trains – new “trains of hope” – on the 16.9., but we will need exactly this kind of ideas to cre-ate dynamics in this mobilization for the antiracist movement to unfold its potential in everyday struggles for an increased public visibility.
Greetings in solidarity from the Kompass Team
+++ Times of Struggle: (No) Libya Deal, Ceuta and Barcelona, Migrant Strikes, Afghanistan Deportations +++ 8.3.: Global Women Strike +++ 18.3. from Athens to Hamburg, Frankfurt and Berlin: Transnational Action Day against Border and Crisis Regime +++ 25./26.3. in Berlin: Get-Together 2017 +++ 30.3. – 2.4. in Frankfurt: 3. Fo-rum about the ‘Right to Choose your City’… Workshop about City Solidarity +++ 8./9.4.: Preparatory Conference against G20 +++ 14.-17.4.: Action Days at Franco-Italian border +++ 22.4.: Happy Birthday to City Plaza Athens +++ Central Mediterra-nean: Against the Criminalisation Attempts of Frontex +++ Update Röszke 11 +++ First Newsletter Transnational Social Strike & Conflict Corner +++ New Publications: ‘Grenzregime III’ and ‘Globale Bewegungsfreiheit’ +++ Reviews: Protest in front of Malian Embassy in Berlin, Expulsion is Torture… +++ Previews: 17.-21. May 2017 in Cologne: NSU Tribunal; 19.-25. June 2017 Documenta Kassel: 20 Years No-one is Il-legal; October 2017 in Leipzig: Conference on Migration, Development, Ecological Crisis +++
Let’s start with a short chronology of the last four weeks, which again show through what times of struggle we are living:
Spotlight 1: Central Mediterranean. On 3.2. the heads of state and government of the EU met on Malta and one of the major issues was the attempt to inflate the Libyan phantom government into being a partner in the warding off of refugees. On the same day 1,300 people entered boats on the Libyan coast, followed by 600 people on 4.2. and 900 more on 5.2. Thus the number of arrivals in Italy has again increased in comparison with the same period in the record year 2016. A few days later several heads of government acknowledged that a ‘Libya Deal’ cannot be realized at this moment.
Spotlight 2: in the morning of 17.2. up to 1,000 migrants stormed the fence of the Spanish enclave Ceuta in various places.
Approximately 500 of them managed to get across. One day later, 18.2., Barcelona experienced the, to this day, “largest demonstration in Europa for the acceptance of refugees and for open borders. According to police statements 160,000 and according to the organizers approximately 500,000 people flooded the Catalan metropolis on Saturday”.
Only two days later, on 20.2., another 300 people scaled the stronghold fence of Ceuta. The shout of triumph ‘boza’ (I did it/ I succeeded) was again resounding in the streets.
Spotlight 3: ‘A day without us !’ With this slogan migrant groups in the UK called out for an action day on 20.2. against the exclusion policy of the Brexit government.
In the days before, several cities in the US experienced migrant strikes and demon-strations under the same motto, with tens of thousands taking part in the protests against the racist decrees of the Trump government. The next mobilizations are being prepared for 1.5.
Spotlight 4: while the first German federal states postponed the deportations to Afghanistan for at least three months, the third charter of airline Meridiana started in the meantime for Kabul on 22.2. This time departure was from Munich and instead of the planned 50 persons eventually 18 were deported.
Earlier, on 11.2., twenty-three cities throughout Germany experienced simultaneous protest demonstrations, which in many places were carried by Afghan communities. First calls for a ‘civil asylum for Afghan refugees’ are circulating and also in the media criticism of the deportations into the civil war remains predominant.
On the roads was well as in the cities of arrival, the four spotlights clearly demonstrate the variety and simultaneity of the resistance against the globalized border regime. Yes we have been confronted with racist offensives everywhere. We experience each and every day how much suffering and death the prevailing exclusion politics produce, how many wounds are opened up by the increasingly higher walls. We also know that the conditions as well as the forms of struggle will remain dissimilar. Yet, the more important it seems to us to retrace again and again the connecting lines and to reinforce the shared struggles for freedom of movement and for equal rights. From local to transnational, from the external borders to the inner cities, in everyday life and during campaigns: a tenacity and a continuity of structures and mobilizations have developed, which will certainly make new dynamics possible. As said before, times of struggle.
All the best,
the Kompass Crew
+++ 4.2. in Frankfurt: Demo for living space for everybody +++ 10./11.2. in London: Meeting of the transnational social strike platform concerning the Migrant Strike on the 20th of February in UK +++ 11.2. in front of the countries parliaments: Demos for an immediate deportation stop to Afghanistan +++ 13 more charter flights planned to Kabul: Stop deportations to Afghanistan! +++ 8.3. Global Women Strike +++ 18.3. Transnational action days against the border- and crisis regime +++ 25./36.3. in Berlin: Get Together 2017 – for a common AntiRa Conference in autumn 2017 +++ storming the fences in Ceuta +++ Central Med/Alarm Phone: “They want the Sea to kill – We want a bridge to Life!” +++ Welcome to Europe about the situation in Greece +++ Balkan Route: Push Backs, family reunification, Macedonia/Serbia +++ Taz-Dossier-Migration Control +++ Place of refuges – Solidarity Cities +++ Reviews: New Paper from Afrique-Europe-Interact; Oury Jalloh Demo Dessau; AntiRa-Action conference in Karlsruhe; Refugees Black Box Jena +++ Outlooks: Against the G20 in Hamburg +++
The new years begins in the same way as the old one ended: the mass dying in the Med continues, a second deportation flight went from Frankfurt to Afghanistan, Dublin readmissions to Greece are supposed to start again. The cruel attack on the Berlin christmas market serves as a welcome new reason for right-winged agitation and new security laws …. and then Trump! Can it get even worse? It can, as we know from the last 25 years of fight for asylum rights and freedom of movement. In the 90s there were racist propaganda and attacks even worse in Germany, deportations ended even deadly and keeping people in detention was usual.
In 2008, numbers of people who made it at all to claim asylum in Germany dropped under 30.000 and until the end of 2010 deportations to Greece were normality. From a migration-political perspective and in a longer-term review the years 2011 to 2015 may be stand for a phase of breakup. The arabic spring made an end to the time of externalisation to northern Africa, and also in Germany it led to a series of political-medial moments of success from flight movements (like for example against the residence obligation and the march from Würzburg to Berlin), to jurical improvements (for example social welfare in accordance with ALG II and against detentions) up to the breakthrough of the Balkan Route. There, the EU-border regime has been overrunned for a few months and therefore challenged like never before.
You can see that until today in the official statistics, a look in the “Report of December 2016” of the federal office for flight and migration might be worthwhile. It is said: “In the year 2016 all in all 695.733 decisions have been made. Total protection number of all countries of origin is 62,4% (433.920 positive decisions from a total of 695.733).” Thus more than 430.000 refugees – the majority of them have themselves fought through the borders in 2015 – received residence permit status. That topped all the numbers of the last 30 years and also shouldn`t be underestimated in its perspective effect. Flight-migration is enshrined in a new dimension in local realities.
We can and have to take this up, even if the signs for 2017 point in a direction towards more roll back.
Neo-liberal governments have decided – in case they are still in charge – for a more aggressive externalisation (have a look here: taz.de/migrationcontrol) and are acting – driven by right-wing and populist spectrums and campaigns of fear – especially with a so-called security policy.
If the right-wing parties are in power, like in Hungary, or will be in power, like now in USA, then an open racist exclusion is escalating. If in spring in France Le Pen wins the elections then we have to fear a new wave of structural racist violence in Europe. And even if an election victory of the AfD seems to be impossible in Germany, it is a difference if that rush party goes into the german parliament with 15 or 25 %.
Flight and migration are, and will be in the foreseeable future, a central political theme along which polarisation in society will increase. Our anti-racist movement – in its whole spectrum from enduring welcome initiatives to self-organised refugee groups, from refugee councils to noborder groups – has the potential to form a progressive pole and to contribute to a social mobilisation for an open Europe.
For this we firstly need a much tighter process of trans-regional networking and coordination. Until now only a small part of the movement seems willing to contribute, but below we name the efforts to increase momentum for this process, with decentral days of action (beginning on March 18th) and a potentially bigger conference in autumn.
Secondly we need a more comprehensive vision, a concrete design of everyday practical solidarity that must be tied to local structures. As an example of this we quote from an event announcement in Freiburg from mid-January 2017:
“Freiburg: a sanctuary city which protects all its inhabitants! Cities like Freiburg are committed to the well-being of all inhabitants, not just German citizens. Citizenship and residence titles should not lead to there being second- and third-class citizens. For this reason a movement of sanctuary cities has developed in the US, Canada, and the UK. Several hundred cities have announced themselves to be sanctuaries which provide access to public services for all and refuse to participate in repression against the undocumented and in deportations. One of them is Freiburg´s partner city Madison in the US. Madison declared in November 2016 that despite Trump´s threats against sanctuary cities it will not change its policy. In Europe a network of sanctuary cities including Barcelona and Oxford has developed. The city council of Barcelona, led by mayor Ada Colau, demands the formation of a European network of rebellious sanctuary cities.
We would like to start a debate how Freiburg can be turned into a city for everyone. We are calling on local politicians, local institutions (kindergardens, schools, businesses, chambers, hospitals…) and civil society to make Freiburg part of the sanctuary city movement. We would like to discuss what communal leeway we can use. What could be included in an agreement on a sanctuary city Freiburg?”
Around 300 interested people came to this event in Freiburg, and in many places there are signs of communal initiatives and sanctuary projects, which are tied into a more universal perspective for an open and solidarity society.
“What kind of society do we want to live in?” – this social global question is always implied, and these approaches make the struggle for equal rights for all to an everyday practice by developing concrete alternatives to neoliberal and right-wing populist politics of separation and exclusion.
In that sense – towards a solidary and open year 2017!
The Compass Crew
+++ From 6.12. in Göttingen, Köln, Lübeck, Hamburg, Kiel and Berlin – Hotel City Plaza on Tour II +++ 10.12. in Frankfurt, Hildesheim, Bremen, Berlin: Demos against deportations to Afghanistan +++ Balkan route: Pushbacks everywhere +++ Röszke 11: 10 years of prison in show trial +++ uprising in Bulgarian refugee camp +++ escape after fire in deportation prison in Istanbul +++ Campaign: You can`t evict solidarity! +++ Central Mediterranean Sea: record year for arrivals +++ New map of internment camps and hot spots by Migreurop +++ 7.1. in Dessau: Oury Jalloh – not an isolated case +++ 14.1. in Göttingen: Welcome2Stay +++ 21.1. in München: For a big unified AntiRa conference 2017? +++ 28.1. in Karlsruhe: countrywide refugee conference +++ Reviews: Protest against Valletta process, protest against interior minister conference in Saarbrücken +++ Previews: 10/11.2. Action days for right to stay, call for action day on 18th March +++
When we spoke about “sanctuary cities”, the matter of safe refuges exemplified by the United States in our last edition, we didn´t seriously expect Trump to win the US presidential election. He announced the deportation of two to three million illegalised persons from Mexico as one of the first actions of his office, a crisis which will challenge sanctuary cities especially. Trump´s win will also further encourage European right-wing populists. The polarisation of Europe – currently in Austria and Italy, in France in spring – will in all likelihood increase further. At the same time the Turkey-EU deal is about to collapse and all military build-up in the Central Mediterranean did not prevent the number of arrivals to exceed the 2014 record by the end of November already. Over 170 000 people have made it to Italy in 2016 while the Dublin laws are being reinstalled forcefully there and in other places. Dublin IV is supposed to tighten this “European compulsory residence” immensely in 2017, and since once again refugees and migrants will not adhere to it and will continue to exercise their right to freedom of movement, a chaos of deportation attempts and mass deprivation of rights is inevitable.
EU citizens who migrate northwest from the southeastern countries of crisis are threatened by the same if they can´t find work immediately: they will be excluded from all social benefits according to plans by the SPD minister of labour Andrea Nahles. The scene of the near future: hundreds of thousands being pushed back and forth, in a racially structured multicosmos with few or no social rights, oscillating between poverty and lowest wages…
“What kind of society do we want to live in?” In the face of social crisis this simple yet fundamental question should be asked in a new and stronger manner and across movements. We can and must fill the answer with positive, attainable outlines and position openness, inclusion, social and climate justice against neoliberal austerity and right-wing populist nationalism. This can only be achieved if we connect our mobilisation – locally and transnationally, wherever possible – with practical initiatives for everyday life. Our anti-racist field has several approaches: from campaigns for the right to stay – like currently for Afghanistan – to flight support, from – mostly invisible community solidarity to numerous church asylums, from medical offices to the best hotel in Europe.
“We live together, we fight together – this is not just a slogan on a flyer. It is more a description of our everyday reality in City Plaza since seven months. It is an actual example of solidarity actions and at the same time an experiment of political and social emancipation for us all”. This is how the delegation from Athens described the everyday challenges on their magnificent journey through their series of events in the south of Germany and Switzerland. In the following days they will be on tour through six cities in northern Germany and there they will present their suggestions for a European day of action on March 18th.
It is not only the first anniversary of the EU-Turkey deal as well the complete shutdown of the Balkan Route but also the second anniversary of the Blockupy mobilization to Frankfurt against a policy of austerity. Comrades of City Plaza say that “there are no other options, this story will yet again presented to us when it comes to the current crisis and border regime. We think that we can show with actual fights and demonstrations that there are alternatives and we can make them happen”.
With this in mind we wish a good start into a new year and come back with a new edition of Kompass in the end of January 2017.
+++ Beginning of November: Hunger Strike and Eviction of the self-organized Refugees in Munich +++ 11.11. in Berlin: Bus-demonstration – Stopping Valetta +++ 19.11. in Hanover and Frankfurt – (Further) Demonstrations against deportations to Afghanistan +++ 19./20.11. Meeting in Frankfurt – possibility of a common AntiRA conference in 2017? +++ Starting 22.11. – The Best Hotel of Europe on Tour! +++ 25.-27.11. in Osnabrück: Network meeting – Germany as a part of the ‘Balkan Route’ +++ 30.11. in Szeged/Budapest – Free the Röszke 11! Next day of hearing – Solidarity with imprisoned refugees in Hungary! +++ 3./4.12. in Hamburg: Conference against G20 in July 2017. Invitation to the action conference +++ After the eviction in Calais +++ Greece: Impressions from Lesvos +++ Sea Watch about the training of the lybian coast guard: +++ WatchTheMed Alarm Phone: Balance and an appeal for funds +++ Retrospect: Transnational Social Strike in Paris +++
“We might see it happen that ,Sanctuary City’, ,Welcome City’, as a place of asylum and the right to stay becomes a term for itself in Europe, from Barcelona to Hamburg and from Calais to Berlin. First it has to get filled with life from migrants and supporters, from churches and associations. There is significant progress to see when it comes to schools, there is church asylum, medicine for migrants and medical counseling points, supporters groups and several squats as well as sometimes even a growing tolerance from the police for the migrant reproductions sphere. All of this could get more dense and strengthen itself as a response to the failed migration policies”.
This is a quote from an article of the „Research Association for Flight and Migration” which deals with more and more examples of „sanctuary-cities“ in the United States and Canada. For us this approach is another challenge for the anti-racism movement which is being confronted with the aggressive and European wide deportation and determent policy, combined and carried with racist smear campaign.
It also correlates with the announcement for a series of events that will take place at the end of November and beginning of December in 11 cities in Germany and Switzerland with activists and migrants, who together had occupied the Hotel CityPlaza in Athen: „How to start processes of self organising in transit and beyond – and how to support them with transnational networks of solidarity? … Did we already start to build an ´underground railroad` for freedom of movement? Do we need safe spaces or even sanctuary cities all along migration routes as practical opposite pole to the racist and repressive political mainstream?”
In the invitation for a network meeting end of November in Osnabrück further is asked: “Which possibilities do we have to fight for the rights of those (legalized and threatened of deportation) people? How we can create new perspectives beyond asylum? How can we destroy the image of the criminal illegal? How can we make it happen that solidarity is widely shown in the public and not just by a few in clandestinity?”
The ‘Jungle of Calais’ was cleared with a huge presence of police to destroy the dreams of a life in Great Britain. Lesvos, which in 2015 was the transit station for many thousands of migrants and of which inhabitants were listed of potential nominees for the Nobel Prize of Peace, should step by step be declared as the island of hopelessness. The borders in the balkan route multiply and become higher. And right to stay-demands of the hunger striking protesters in Munich only face ignorance from authorities. There is a specific focus of the technocrats on the central Mediterranean: while the European military trains libyan border patrol units of a „phantom-government“, the German secretary of the Interior Maziere demands prompt pushback of all boat people to Tunisia and Egypt. More than 180.000 people will reach Italy until the end of the year, if the migrations movement takes place in the same frequency like of the last weeks. This marks a new record year inspite and against all the militarization and an all-time high of more than 4000 victims of the EU visa- and border regime in 2016.
“There is only one way to stop death at the sea: the creation of safe and legal means of entry”. In the beginning of November Sea Watch put emphasis on their demands of a #safepassage. The hashtag is also shared by other civil actors like ‘Doctors Without Borders’ or ‘Jugend Rettet’. They also were on permanent rescue missions near the libyan coast to save lifes. Their presence not only saved those in need, they also create transparency in a zone that is strictly surveillanced and guarded but at the same time is left for the arbitrariness of the political-medial tactics of European border policy.
Following the same path the WatchTheMed Alarmphone as a hotline for people in distress at sea was created to help those in need. Since its foundation it was in contact with over 1750 boats.
They see their project in the same context: “We understand the Alarm Phone as a concrete enactment of solidarity with those in transit, as part of what has come to be called the „underground railroad“ of flightmovements. We see ourselves as a transnational and multilingual node with varied connections to a growing network amongst those struggling for the freedom of movement.“
With anti-racist regards,
+++ Starting 8.10. in Bavaria: March From Munich to Nuremberg +++ Greece: „Hotspot“ Moria Burnt Down After Protests +++ Balkan Route: March (attempt) from Belgrade and renewed Live Feed +++ Worsening Situation in Calais +++ 21. – 23.10. in Paris: Transnational Social Strike Conference +++ 28.10. in Budapest: Demonstration in Solidarity with Röszke 11 +++ 29.10. in Nuremberg: Demonstration „Fighting Causes of Flight” +++ Welcome to Greece Guide – New Edition +++ Valetta Process +++ Reviews: Pro Asyl Award for Human Rights for Father Mussie Zerai, Alarm Phone Meeting and Ferry not Frontex in Tanger, Strike Conference Frankfurt +++ Outlook: 19./20.11. in Frankfurt about the Possibility of an AntiRa Conference in 2017; 3./4.12. Conference in Hamburg against the G20 in July 2017… +++
scandalous deportations from Italy to Sudan, an extortionate remission agreement between the EU and Afghanistan, a planned new deal with Egypt – hardly one day passes without disturbing news and plans of deterrence from the various levels of a completely ruthless border regime. But at the same time, there is no day passing by without confrontations and struggles for the freedom of movement either! While the EU is trying by all means to equip Libya to be the new watchdog, on the two days of the 3rd and 4th of October alone 10,000 people entered the boats towards Italy. While ministers of Syriza in Greece maintain the “island detention” as demanded by the EU, the largest “Hotspot” on Lesbos burned down. While the very few holes on the Balkan Route are getting closed down by even more fences and military, more than 400 Refugees try out a new “March of Hope” from Belgrade. Fierce conflicts from Ceuta to Calais, and in Bavaria self-organized refugees start a protest march from Munich to Nuremberg on the 8th of October…
Straight through Europe spaces were and are fought for. Migration and the question of (equal) rights permanently determine the discourses of society. The following little example shows, that not everybody is moving to the right on these polarizing issues: On the strike conference at the beginning of October in Frankfurt, the chairwoman of the union NGG (which is not exactly known to be specifically radical) was asked how she coped with members voting for the AfD. Her answer was something close to this: “Of course we are having a substantial debate about it. But when single colleagues resign because of our clear position against the AfD, then” – literally – “fuck it!”.
Along these lines, with anti-racist regards,
+++ 10.9.: Action day for the Info Tent by Lampedusa in Hamburg +++ 10./11.9. in Bochum and Wuppertal: solidarity networking of refugee communities +++ 17.9. in Düsseldorf: demo for the right to stay +++ 22./23.9. in Hungary and everywhere: Free Röszke 11 – solidarity actions +++ Welcome2Stay – what’s next? +++ Central Mediterranean: persistently high numbers of people arriving +++ Greece: protests in the camps +++ 29.9.: strike and action day at schools and universities throughout Germany – No border lasts forever +++ 30.9. – 2.10. in Frankfurt: conference about “Renewal by strike action” +++ 30.9. – 2.10. in Cologne: conference about “Perspectives of solidarity against the grasp of technology” +++ 1.10. in Heidelberg: demo “against any form of racism and exclusion” +++ Newspaper Daily Resistance No.2 +++ Update Welcome2Europe +++ Reviews: Noborder Thessaloniki, Blockupy +++ Preview: Transnational Social Strike Meeting in Paris in October +++
On the occasion of the 4th of September, many media tried to reconstruct the days of the opening of borders in 2015, from Hungary via Austria to Germany. As interesting as the layout of some chronologies may have been, the central historic actor far too often disappears behind the details of political decision making. It were the refugees and migrants who – with their persistent month-, even year-long, social struggle – in those days literally overran the EU border regime on a central route and inflicted a defeat upon the Dublin Regulation. During the following months hundreds of thousands of people could continue their journey to the north-west of Europe relatively easily, until the virtually military closure of the Balkan Route in March 2016. Against the odds of persistent exclusion, most of them managed to ‘grow roots’: only in the first six months of 2016 more than 200,000 refugees were granted a protection status in Germany. In the future they will contribute to the political landscape and they will become the motivation and the material support factor for future generations who want to, or have to, come. Neither laws, nor smear campaigns can reverse these achievements.
Yes, the roll back is and will remain awesome, in the literal sense of the word. New screening measures and AfD successes, planned tightening up through Dublin IV and unspeakable debates about the ban of burkas: it is difficult to assess towards which further polarization Europe is moving and how much more dangerous and lethal right-wing populism combined with the racist center may become in the near future. But we have no reason whatsoever to go in hiding. Our pole remains diverse and persevering. In every nook and cranny, from local to transnational, resistance is continuing. During the time this Newsletter is being produced, refugees in Munich call for a demonstration and the occupation of a city square, Lampedusa in Hamburg will protest next Saturday. The Women in Exile and NoStress Tour were, and still are, on the road crisscross through Germany and Oranienplatz activists in Berlin produce their own newspaper. The Voice from Jena organizes meetings of refugee communities in several cities, Refugees for Change again mobilizes people in August to attend a demo in Frankfurt.
In more and more towns and cities self-organized initiatives have sprung up, whereas simultaneously old and new solidarity structures are being perpetuated. The much used Welcome2Europe website offers updated and expanded contacts and information, the network Welcome2Stay meets to discuss new activities.
Transnationally there is no breathing pause either: during the Noborder Camp in Thessaloníki in mid- July very productive networking meetings were held by activist groups from all over the Balkan. In the refugee camps on the Greek islands – which are slowly but steadily filling up with newcomers – as well as in mainland Greece, protest actions are taking place permanently. In Calais the situation is aggravating again: almost 10,000 people are there trying their chances to get to Great Britain, and are allegedly going to be evicted. The number of boats leaving from Libya remains unrelentingly high, the reception centers in Sicily and the South of Italy are again overcrowded. Ventimiglia – the Italian city on the border with France – as well as Como – on the border to Switzerland – have meanwhile become new hotspots of resistance, where day after day the right to free movement towards the north is being claimed and until now being forced through. In this context we again ask the question, which we have already asked in the previous Newsletter: “Are the built-up and built-out of continuous every-day structures not the most enduring answer to a racist mainstream which seems to continue to worsen unrestrainedly?”,
With antiracist greetings,
The Kompass Crew
Kompass-NewsletterNr. 51 – July/August 2016 (pdf)
+++ 15/7 to 24/7: No Border Camp Thessaloniki … and Münster +++ From 15/7 in Berlin, Bielefeld, Brandenburg: No Stress Tour +++ 25/7 to 14/8: Summer Bus Tour by Wome in Exile +++ 4/8 to 7/8: Solidarity4all – Camp against the deportation camp im Bamberg +++ Central Mediterranean and Sea Watch Air +++ Push Back in the Aegean in the presence of Frontex +++Europe´s best hotel in Athens +++ Röszke II and situation in Hungary +++ Roma protests for the right to stay in Berlin and Regensburg +++ campaign by JoG +++ Petition for language courses for all +++ struggles against new labour law in France +++ Lexit not Brexit? +++ Reviews: Demo at embassies in Berlin, Welcome2stay, Defencing Festival +++ Preview for September and October: Blockupy blockade of the Labour Ministry in Berlin, Transnational Social Strike meeting in Paris +++
come to the No Border Camp in Thessaloniki! It starts next Friday (15/7) and it might be one of the biggest and most transnational camps in the history of No Border. Various convois from Spain, Italy, the Balkans, and Germany have announced themselves, activists from Turkey and Tunisia intend to join. Thousands of refugees and migrants live/survive in isolated conditions in camps and factory halls around Thessaloniki. Establishing contact collectively and encouraging self-organisation are central intentions of the days of protest in the „hotspot of the European border regime“. An exchange of initiatives along the Balkans route under the new and old conditions af migration movements being pushed into clandestinity, networking for new transnational projects for freedom of movement, discussions about social struggles and last but not least protests at deportation prisons and at the Greece-Turkey border: the 10 days program promises much practical encouragement in exciting combination. We will see…
For those who can´t or don´t want to go to Greece there will be the opportunity to get together for a camp in Münster at the same time – or to participate in the bus tour by women in exile across Germany, the No Stress Tour through Brandenburg or the Solidarity4all camp against the deportations camp in Bamberg. There are countless possibilities to contribute to the intensification of networks of contact and new local initiatives. Aren´t the construction and extension of coninuous everyday structures the most sustainable answer to the racist mainstream which seems to gather strength unchecked? From the German law for (prevention of) integration to the renewed attempt to outsource the EU border regime to war-torn and dictatorial countries of transit and origin; from Bulgarian and Hungarian militias hunting transit refugees to the xenophobis and racist Brexit campaign in the UK, the success of which will spur on all nationalist assholes: the “divide and conquer” is working out all too well. But in the social-political polarisations across Europe glimmers of hope are appearing. A special example are the mass protests against the new labour law in France which have been going on for four months. The connection of these protests, at least at certain points, to resolute strikes and blockades have made new dynamics and potentials become apparent in recent weeks…
There is more information and numerous links about all this, as well as all the activities listed in this introduction, in the following agenda and summaries in this summer newsletter.
Greetings in solidarity
the Kompass team
+++ 9. 6. in Berlin: demonstration against the migration policy of the EU +++ 10.-12. 06 in Leipzig: Welcome2Stay summit +++ 11. 6. in Paris: Transnational Social Strike Meeting +++ 24.-26. 06 at the Slovenian-Croatian border: Defencing Festival +++ More than 1000 further victims of the EU border regime in the central Mediterranean +++ Eviction of Idomeni +++ Actions by Roma for the right to stay in Berlin +++ Newspaper “Daily Resistance” +++ Hotel City Plaza in Athens +++ Review: Ende Gelände +++ Outlook into the summer calendar until July and August: Anti-Ra festival in Athens, Nobordercamp in Thessaloniki , No Stress Tour, Summerbustour Women in Exile, Camp against the deportation camp Bamberg +++
the EU border regime has claimed more than 1000 additional victims in the central Mediterranean within ten days. Shortly before that, the camp in Idomeni has been evicted. And over here, the next curtailments as well as labor-law related disciplining measures of the asylum law are disguised as a so called “law of integration”. None of these are exactly encouraging developments in the fight for a freedom of movement and equal social rights.
The crew of Sea Watch recently went through their worst days at sea, and hence decided to publish a photograph picturing a drowned baby in order to call attention to the cruel border regime. Also the people of WatchTheMed Alarm Phone had to be earwitnesses of yet another tragedy with presumably more than 400 dead: the “calculated and monitored dying at sea”, as the project phrased it afterwards. And Moving Europe can’t do much more at the moment than document the disastrous conditions in the Greek camps and making it a scandal.
Without them it would be even worse! This may be cold comfort, but still it is true: Without the civil rescue ships of Doctors Without Borders, SOS Mediterranee, Sea Watch and Sea Eye, and without the helpline of the Alarm Phone there would be countless further casualties in the Mediterranean. And even less publicity – which is even more important when the dominating media discourse frames the deaths in the Mediterranean as a mere natural disaster and keeps blaming the “ruthless traffickers” for it.
The Alarm Phone puts it straight: “We scream out, once more and over and over again. About the dead of the past 20 years, about the dead of yesterday. Nobody would have to die at sea if legal and secure access paths existed. The dying at sea is neither a nature catastrophe nor an accident. It is in fact the calculated product of a EU border and visa regime. The dying at sea is man-made and could be ended by tomorrow as a dark chapter of history: by opening the borders and granting free access to ferries. The long summer of migration in the Balkans revealed it: open borders mean no more ‘traffickers’. Only people being forced by Frontex and the like will choose the costly and dangerous trip. A world without borders is possible: Frontex as well as the ‘traffickers’ will then have disappeared. In this sense: Ferries not Frontex.”
There is still hope: The persistent fight of the Roma people for a right to stay with current campaigns in Berlin. The squatted Hotel City Plaza in Athens, self-organized by Refugees and supporters. The successful civil disobedience of “Ende Gelände” in the Lausitz. And the ongoing social strike against the new labor law in France. There are moments of resistance – of “Daily Resistance”, as stated by the title of a new newspaper, organized by Refugees in Berlin – and there is living solidarity, which give hope and courage.
The next weeks offer two exciting transnational mobilizations within the anti racism movement – first the defencing festival at the Slovanian-croatian border end of June and second the no border camp in Thessaloniki in the middle of July (more below). This could be the beginning of more moments like the ones described above. At least they could help not to forget in these hard times that migrants and refugees struggled continuously and will do it in the future.
In this words: see you in Berlin, Leipzig, Paris, Ljubljana, Thessaloniki … and a lot of energy and power to those who run the fights locally.