Sorry, this entry is only available in German.
+++ 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.
+++ Roll Back in the Aegean? +++ Resistance from Chios to Idomeni +++ Thousands reach Sicily +++ From 15 to 18 April ‘No Frontex Days’ in Catania +++ 23 April in Padborg: Cross the Border Denmark +++ Call-out for Trains of Hope +++ Must-read Book: Die Bleibenden (The Stayers) +++ Reviews: overthefortress, NoBorder Action Days Freiburg-Basel +++ Previews: Welcome2stay Summit, ‘Defencing’ at the Slovak-Croatian Border, NoBorder Camp Thessaloniki, No Stress Tour… +++
Fourth of April 2016: the so-called ‘Turkey Deal’ is starting on the fast track. More than 200 refugees are pushed back to Turkey from the Greek islands of Lesvos and Chios, the operation being carried out by Frontex and stage-managed in the mass media as an exemplary action. With disregard for the overt breach of the Geneva Convention, determent at any price. After the closure of the Balkan Route, will we now get to direct mass expulsions? The ultimate roll back in the Aegean?
That is how they would like it and the antiracist movement should be on its guard against reproducing the demonstrative power of the border regime. Without a doubt, the Fourth of April marks a major incident, as well as the brutal attempt to break the dynamics of the refugee movements with every available means. But the daily struggles will decide about the social reality in the near future, that is how it has been in the past few years. Also the greatest successes until now in the struggle for freedom of movement in the summer and fall of 2015, were the result of the tenacity of the social movements of refugees and migrants.
For many years – and also in the ‘record year’ 2015 – October has been the month during which the most people arrived on the Greek islands. That still gives us seven months. So seven months at least during which the solidarity and the common struggle for a different, more open Europe, are needed more than ever, and during which it will become clear whether, and to what extent, the rulers will succeed in permanently stabilizing their new racist regime of migration control.
The EU-Turkey agreement was executed rashly; whether and how long it will remain in force may already be questioned in many ways. It is true that a new break-through along the Balkan borders is not to be expected at this moment and it would immediately be blocked with military force, but the potential resistance of the refugee and migration movements remains permanently strong in hard-won places across Greece. In the camp in Idomeni and during blockades on the highway to Macedonia, in the dozens of new camps on the mainland, as well as during protests on the islands of Lesbos or Chios, during street demonstrations and in newly squatted houses in Athens and Thessaloniki: “Open the borders” is the slogan shouted everywhere by thousands of people, the echo of which will keep Europe moving in the next weeks and months.
In this respect the NoBorder Camp in Thessaloniki from 15 until 24 July (see below) may– as a booster and catalyst – take place at exactly the right moment.
The Kompass Team
P.S. concerning our newsletter: Kompass is urgently seeking translators, in particular for French. Please contact us.
+++ Balkan route closed – up to 15.000 refugees in Idomeni +++ Deal of Turkey and NATO-Operation in the Aegean +++ AntiRa manifestations in several cities +++ 12.3. in Cologne: Our Feminism is anti racist +++ 12.3. Freiburg: For unlimited human rights +++ 19.3. in Hannover: Fight against racist mobilization +++ 2.4. in Bielefeld: Freedom of movement instead of deportation camp +++ Freiburg – Basel, Italy – Austria: Actions at the borders +++ WatchTheMed-Alarmphone: Video clips and campaign newspaper +++ Review: Conference in Hamburg; Safe Passages; 1. March action day against border regime and precariousness +++ Prospects: Defencing from 27. to 29.5. at the Slovenian-Croatian border and Nobordercamp mid of July in Greece; 10. – 12.6. in Leipzig: Welcome to Stay-Summit +++
7 March 2016 – a new round for polarization. The Balkan route is so to say closed, NATO ships are in the Aegean, Calais vacated, the Asylum package is rushed through and the extreme right-wing persons of the AfD rise – on all levels we are confronted with a racist rollback. The EU-border regime should be straighten up with might and main and the control over the flight and migration movement should be restored at any cost.
But also the social and political resistance is not broken yet. 15.000 people stay in tents and mud in Idomeni. They demand open borders while thousands are looking for new ways to the north. And until now the cross overs to Greece, which has been ongoing the whole winter, are especially braking by the bad weather. Simultaneously up to 2000 activist have meet in Hamburg, mainly self-organized groups of refugees. Never before there were such a good visited conference in Germany, also the antiracist movement is better organized now.
Hard confrontations are foreseeable for the coming weeks and month: heavy defencing actions on the outer borders, fights for the right to stay and socio political and antifascist resistance inside. Whole Europe will become a highly competitive space, the question is how will the continent look like in future? The Research Institute for Flight and Migration express it like this in their worth reading comment:
“The number of migrants in itself is not the problem, also 5 or 20 million would not have to starve and could be provided in a dignified way. The political and medial production shows the importance of the subject and asks questions about the character of the prospective Europe. It will be either the opening of the borders or a fortress of prosperity, it will be either an open society or militarisation and firing order. This questions are asked because the migrants are coming. They move Europe and they don’t will vanish, we have to act!“ („Europe in Limbo“, look at http://ffm-online.org/category/kommentar/)
Let’s get involved, let’s mobilize! For an open Europe from its bottom, by any means necessary!
Your Kompass Team
26.-28.2.: Refugee conference in Hamburg +++ Aegean in January: High arrival numbers, many dead +++ 13./14.2.: Several coordination meetings concerning the Balkan Route +++ 1st March: Transnational decentralize action day against border regime and precariousness +++ Stop asylum package II +++ Against the racist-populist discourse +++ reviews: summer of migration, actions in Calais +++ Preview: regional conferences in Frankfurt, Ferries not Frontex campaign, Welcome to stay conference…
in the first newsletter of 2016 we want to emphasize three points:
First: Go to Hamburg!
There will be an international conference of refugees and migrants from 26 to 28 February. “This self organized gathering shall tighten existing networks of refugees and contribute to develop new ones. Furthermore the conference offers the possibility to analyze the current situation in Germany and Europe. Our aim is to concentrate on what we could to together and to give as much space as possible to all the voices, experiences and perspectives.”
Facing the present struggles which coming to a crisis and the polarization within society – from the outer borders until to the countries of destination – we have to very welcome this initiative for a common ‘space’ of discussion of the anti racist movement. We hope strongly that the precise title „The struggle of refugees. How to go on? Stop war on Migrants“ will become a powerful signal for the ongoing struggle for freedom of movement in 2016 (see more below).
Second: “Upper limit, we don’t get it”
This is how the ‘Stern’, a weekly newspaper, is headlining an article on 28 January 2016. The article describe that it’s actual impossible to close the borders around Germany for refugees effectively. In view of the general medial roar which oscillates between “Sexmob” and “use of firearms at the borders” is it a considerable sober analyse. Because at the latest after Cologne (below more) a new and old mixture of “racist agitation and laws” dominates the public discourse. We quote again the ‘Stern’: “The policy of Angela Merkel might have pushed the stream of refugees, but she neither causes nor initiated it. And by saying yes to an upper limit we can’t stop it.” Who wants to know it in more detail: activists from the project moving-europe.org took the trouble to convert the unbelievable successful “long summer of migration” into a detailed chronology. It’s very recommended to read it and to remember the dynamics nobody judged to be realistic – and which will keep Europe busy! In January 2016 over 60.000 people arrived with boats in the Aegean, in the middle of winter and as many as in July last year. Simultaneously 250 people died there at sea, more than ever in one month. More intensification at the outer borders, along the Balkan route into the target countries are predetermined for spring and summer of 2016.
Highly embattled spaces and Europe 2016 facing crucial decisions! „Orbanisation” with high security fences and firing order at the borders, state of emergency, more right wing governments and racist pogroms? Or new breakthroughs in the refugee movements fight for freedom of movement, transnational de-fencing actions (see below), for an open Europe from the roots, a new socio-political raise? Everything seems possible…
Third: Solidarity for All – against that racist roaring!
“Will the momentum of the autonomies and fights of migration spread into other social issues? Will the marches of hope bolster to arouse a new dynamic in Europe’s social fights? … “Solidarity for all”, seize this slogan of emancipatory networks in Greece, to openly fight all attempts of division and ‚normality of austerity‘, to attack precarity and severe reduction of social contribution. Affordable living space via new residential building programmes, access to health care and education for all, unconditional basic income and higher minimum wages: those social claims may and must be filled with new life, by social acquirement and social strike, local to transnational.”
We already formulated this in our Newsletter of October 2015 and can only reiterate it here. We should not allow the new wave of racism to force us onto the defensive. The successful struggles of the refugees and migrants have vigorously put the social question on the agenda again. We have to zero in on the full scale of these struggles and in doing so develop new alliances. The transnational action day on 1 March offers the first opportunity at a decentralised level “to make several precarious realities visible and bring them together in a joint communication process” (see below). In early March the title of a regional conference in Frankfurt will be ‘Solidarity for all’, similar initiatives will be organized in several other cities, and a big ‘Welcome to Stay’ conference is being planned for May (see below).
In this frame of mind: the struggle goes on!
Your Kompass Crew
P.S.: On the occasion of the Hamburg Conference, this Newsletter will also be available in printed form and in three languages (English, French and German).
+++ Action Day 18 December 2015 +++ Moving on – One Year Alarmphone +++ Idomeni and the Balkan Route +++ Beyond Welcome: Socio-Political Offensive? +++ Asylum Laws tightened +++ Oury Jalloh-Demo 7 January 2016 in Dessau +++ Commemoration Day from Rabat to Berlin 6 February 2016 +++ Blockupy Conference 5 to 7 February 2016 in Berlin +++ New Journal and Film by Afrique-Europe-Interact +++ Reviews: Refugee Demo Hamburg, Occupation of Sudanese Embassy; School Strike Berlin, 10 Years of Jugendliche Ohne Grenzen +++ Previews: End of February 2016 Refugee Meeting in Hamburg; Transnational Social Strike Action Day on 1 March 2016 +++
“Anything is possible, strong social movements can change everything. That’s what we learned once again, through the experiences of our Alarmphone project and in an incredible year of successful struggles for freedom of movement”. These are the first sentences of the introduction to the brochure ‘Moving on – One Year Alarmphone’ (see below), which documents the impressive stories and developments from the entire Mediterranean of this truly historical year.
In 2015 the external borders of Fortress Europe were more than ever being demolished, at first the massive crossings of the Aegean extended into breakthroughs along the Balkan Route, followed by corridors into the very centres of the EU. Along the entire route ‘Welcome’ initiatives were spontaneously established and later on evolved into permanent support structures. To be sure: in September the ‘long summer of migration’ reached its dynamic zenith and now is increasingly being confronted by ‘a winter of reaction’. But even in mid-December the numbers of arrivals in the Aegean are comparatively high, with thousands of people still moving every day through the (controlled) corridor to the north. The most recent struggles at the Greek-Macedonian border moreover show (see below), that the Balkan Route remains a hard-won space. It is far from clear how things will develop there in the forthcoming weeks and then in the spring of 2016, when in all probability the numbers of refugees will start increasing again…
We mentioned it in our last two issues as the main challenge and are therefore more than delighted that in many places the necessity of a ‘Beyond Welcome’ is increasingly being elaborated; that at conferences and in seminars the discussions and first practical activities focus on how to develop common social struggles that go beyond the ‘Welcome’ initiatives. An example is the heading ‘Frankfurt for All – Solidarity City’ of a statement from Rhine-Main concerning the International Day of Human Rights (see below).
The squatting of a house on the same day for the Shelter Project in Frankfurt may at first have failed, but then in Göttingen and later also in Cologne the self-organised appropriation of housing could be maintained (see below).
In early February Blockupy invites people to a conference in Berlin at which, among other things, the possibilities for a socio-political offensive will be investigated jointly with the new citizens. And when these initiatives increase in dynamism, the ambitious call for an action day ‘towards a transnational social strike’ on 1 March 2016 might be well-timed: “We call up all ‘precarity’ workers, migrants and refugees, activists, autonomous groups and unions to turn 1 March 2016 into a day of decentralised and coordinated actions and strikes, by disturbing the regular production and reproduction procedures, by creating an exchange between different labour realities and by making the often hidden conditions of exploitation visible, as well as by attacking the border regime and those institutions that are responsible for this management of mobility and precarity” (see below).
In this sense we already wish you all a very good start of the new year.
the Kompass team
+++ Europe at the crossroads – Balkan – http://moving-europe.org and http://live.w2eu.info +++ As of 11 November in Lesvos: Sea Watch in operation +++ 11 November in Berlin: Anti-Military Action +++ 14 November in Hamburg: Preliminary Meeting for Refugee Conference and Demo +++ 19 November in Berlin: Refugee School Strike +++ 20 and 22 November in Magdeburg: Networking Meeting for Refugee Women +++ Services for Refugees in Germany +++ Alarmphone is receiving 100 distress-at-sea calls per week +++ Reviews: Jury Jalloh, Ohlauer School +++ Previews: Transnational Social Strike Action Day on 1 March 2016 +++
“… Meanwhile an autonomy of migration has evolved, partly as a consequence and continuation of the Arabellion. The new assertiveness of migrants, and the strength with which they enforce their freedom of movement, their right to move, will no be easily crushed by the EU and its policy of fending off migrants….If the Fortress Europe is to be defended, it cannot be achieved peacefully anymore.
Europe is at crossroads: Are hundreds of thousands at the external borders to be condemned to die, to be detained in camps or even to be shot at? … Europe will change, but it must not fall back into the old patterns of deportation, detention and repression. Instead, Europe could open up and allow a process of re-orientation and pluralisation which would be be fitting of the 21st century. …
Will all those people that have welcomed migrants enthusiastically be able to withstand the increasing attacks from the political right and the blowbacks that the next months will inevitably bring? Can we communicate that austerity and precarity goes hand in glove with competition and racist division? And will we be able to develop processes of solidarity and common struggles? Are we ready and willing to not merely ‘integrate’ migrants, but to allow and foster more drastic changes that will also re-align our own lives?…”
http://moving-europe.org is the name of the co-operation project which, with practical emphasis on the Balkan (see below), was initiated at the end of October and with these few lines try to find a political assessment.
And yes, the situation is and will remain contradictory and open.
On the one hand: the right and the racists sense a new opportunity and mobilize, no longer only in Dresden. Simultaneously the EU Governments – and also “Mama Merkel”- step up the control regime at all levels. Accelerated asylum laws, announcement of fast-track proceedings and mass deportations, of deprivation of rights and registration zones: there is no lack of ‘clear terms’ expressing the racist public authority. Reluctant improvements in residence law of recent years are being abolished again with one stroke of the pen.
On the other hand: the rulers know that most of their right-wing populism only feigns legal competence and will remain deterrence rhetoric. The announcement for instance that Afghan asylum seekers will be mass-deported, will not be enforceable, but also rumours can and do make people insecure.
The social movement of migration is and will remain unstoppable though. The institutionalised corridor of trains from Serbia to Austria and then on to Germany is not a favour, but has been set up in reaction to the big flights being unstoppable. “The EU Commission is expecting the arrival of a further three million refugees in Europe until 2017” (5.11.15). This sounds as if fences and the military offer no alternatives and that – at least until now – a majority of the rulers wish to avoid the dissemination of ‘Orbánism’. They know that it would mean the irreversible end of the European promise of freedom.
Besides, the support for refugees from civil society remains perseveringly strong along the entire route: Sea Watch is currently starting sea rescue operations on Lesvos, in the Balkan dozens of local and transnational projects are operative, many on-the-spot welcoming initiatives are becoming permanent, the support chain reaches up to Scandinavia (see http://live.w2eu.info/ ).
In the previous Newsletter we already emphasized it: for the coming months the challenge and outlook are in the development of coordinated, common social struggles. This means the development of a solidarity with the new citizens, which demands the same social and political rights for all. Or as aptly expressed in the closing sentence of the mission statement of the abovementioned project: “In this way we want to contribute to keep open a path into a new Europe – for those that are arriving as well as for ourselves.”
The Kompass Crew
+++ Refugees Welcome +++ bordermonitoring.eu-liveticker and w2eu-live-blog +++ On Hope: fights of flight and migration on the balcanroute +++ On Challenge: social expansion! +++ Hamburg: Roma-occupation against deportation +++ 2.-3.10. in Frankfurt, Köln, Bremen – Against the unit celebrity, for freedom of movement +++ 2.-4.10. in Poznan: Conference towards the social transnational strike +++ 15.-17.10. in Brüssel: Action days „Oxi! Basta! Enough! Build another Europe!“ +++ 16.-18.10. in München: 2. International border smugglers meeting +++ Planned day X in Oktober! +++ Review: Wittenberg Refugee Bike Tour against racism; Alarmphone receives Taz Panterpreis – Laudation from Mely Kiyak +++
“Drowning, ladies and gentleman,
is a silent process. In contrast to the panic, the crying, shouting of the threating death the last moment of life on the sea is that silent that you dont hear anythting but swell … “ Thats how the disturbing–impressive speech of Mely Kiyak begins which she hold on the 19th of September concering the award of the Taz Panter Price to the Watch The Med Alarmphone.(http://taz.de/Laudatio-von-Mely-Kiyak/!161089/)
Without long political explanations the laudation becomes to a harsh accusation and also to a current one. More than 50 people – women, men, children – have drowned within the last two weeks, only in the Aegean Sea. As a “silent process”, which one wants to scream into the faces of the responsibles ones in Brussels and Berlin.
In Edirne/Turkey thousands of asylum seekers protested in the last weeks for a flight route overland. They called for a march to the EU-borderline to Greece because they didnt want to risk the dying on sea any longer. The turkish government reacted as a watchdog: Refugees were not allowed anymore to leave their place of registration and to use busses. They were pushed back and supporters criminalised. Many have to take again the route via the sea in direction Lesbos and other greek islands, risking their lives if they want to reach Europe.
But once they made these way over the sea for most of them the way then to Germany or even Sweden is possible within 10 or 20 days. Because the balcan route has been fighted free in the last weeks. No government from Macedonia, Serbia, Croatioa, Hungary, Austria and Germany dare to stop them. The fear of new mass protests give these refugee movements an enourmos power so that between Croatioa and Serbia is practised a huge flight help deal over the green border.
Budapest, the”March of Hope”, on the 4th of September is still in memory, it marked a new peak in the struggle for freedom of movement. Thousands were on their way by feet when they were refused to the trains. “Inspired by that there was a boost of Refugee Welcome Initiatives, linked with a huge medial attention which was not only in Germany and Austria mostly positive for the refugees. Regarding all the ‘ambivalences of hegemony’ – from paternalism or the discourse of usefullness inclusive the distinction into good and bad refugees – we see an increased potential for a transnational anti-racist movement which will flank successfully the ‘summer of migration’ ”, formulates the network transact in a current text. “Keep open the flight routes” is demanded and at the same time there are two more central challenges: The adressing of the flight reasons and the development of comprehensively social fights:
“How does it go on in Europe and in Germany? Will the ruling ones be successful in the containment of the great refugees struggles? Do they make a pact if necessary with right-populist and racist parties and organisations? Succeeds a social division on the bottom?
Or is it possible that the impulse of autonomies and fights of migrations overlaps into other social questions in Europe? May the marches of hope make courage and start another dynamic of social fights in Europe? Freedom, dignity, democracy, social security for themselves and their children … Thats what the people on their flight protest for and they dont get stopped by fences and borders. They want to arrive at the place of their choice, mostly at their relatives and friends all over Europe, learn the language, living good, work, live. “Solidarity for all”, the slogan of emancipatory networks in Greece, is to be picked up to struggle against the attempts of division and to fight at the same time the “normality of austerity”, the politics of social cuttings and precariousness. Payable flats for all through new housing programms, acces for all to health service and education, basic income and increased minimum wage: these social demands can and must be filled with new life, through social appropriation and social strikes, local to transnational. The successful fights of refugees and migrants push the social question again on the agenda. Lets take it, tear down the borders, in all countries, in all heads!”
And so we wish you energetically weeks!
P.S.: The official motto of 3rd of October, germans “day of unity”, is “overcoming borders”! It was and is pure mockery concerning the deadly policies of ecxlusion for which Germany stands for centuries. But now the slogan fits because every day the slogan is practised by thousands of people who actually should be ecxluded …
P.P.S.: We are very happy that also cheap airlines get into the solidarity