Around 1000 people currently live in a camp near Dunkirk in France. Many of them are Kurdish, fleeing either ISIS in Syria, the Iranian state or the Turkish states war against the Kurdish part of its population. Some families have already spent 10 months in the camp.
Many hope to get to the UK just a short and very famous journey away across the sea. There is a motorway near the camp and when traffic slows down some in desperation try and leap onto passing lorries. Sometimes people get killed doing this.
It’s an all too familiar story and there is a liberal tendency to paint the people living in these conditions as victims requiring our charity. What we want to talk about here is how this isn’t the case, that instead people in the camps are self organising with solidarity activists and in the most difficult of circumstances taking some control back over their lives. It's solidarity we need to talk about, not charity.
Two different futures are fighting to be born in this moment.
One the future of more effective border guards, of dragging refugees off trains and herding them into camps, of war without end, of hatred for the 'other', of wealth for a privilege few and immiseration for the masses.
The other future is glimpsed in the people quietly organising our own aid convoys to Calais, of solidarity with Rojava, of fighting for an equality that will be global in scope and from which no one will be locked out.
Which of those futures will you choose to feed?
A photo of the body of 3 year old Aylan Kurdi, drowned on the beaches of Fortress Europe has gone viral and appeared on the front pages of many papers across the world. Aylan died with his brother and his mother. All were apparently fleeing the murderous ISIS onslaught on Kobane
Let's not send gunboats to rescue the drowning, let's send ferries to provide safe crossings for the living.
Let's not build detention camps on Greek islands, let's remove the requirement that airlines check visas before people can board.
ANARCHISM AND DIRECT DEMOCRACY
1. Anarchists are generally hostile to decision making mechanisms that demand people put their faith in others to make decisions on their behalf without mandate or recall. We favour systems of direct democracy where the people either discuss and vote on an issue directly, or delegate other people to meet up for such discussions but these delegates are both mandated and recallable.
2. However, we insist that even a perfect democracy has no right to oppress a minority. There can be no democratic mandate for racism, sexism or homophobia.
True to their word, French forces are proceeding with their planned assault on the refugees of Calais, destroying the homes and shelters, beginning the re-displacement of thousands. The goal, as stated by Fabienne Buccio, head of Police management: to reduce migrant numbers to a “manageable” population of 2000. “There is a largely unseen, or little reported battle of Calais” she said, “which the French government is beginning to win. We must remain humble. The problems are very great. But yes, I think we are starting to make real progress”.
French authorities have decided to bulldoze the homes of up to 3,500 refugees living in a section of the Calais camp. A court in Lille made the ruling today, one which Refugee Solidarity activists plan on ‘appealing immediately’.
27 Feb at the Ha’penny bridge, as part of a European-wide day of protest, a crowd gathered to make a public display of resistance against the closed borders and direct provision policies of Ireland. The people refuse to silently tolerate the way mothers, fathers, sons and daughters who find themselves attempting to escape war and/or poverty are treated by and in our comparatively affluent society.
As the massive rebellion against the racist borders of Fortress Europe rolls from Spring through the Summer to Autumn & now Winter conditions are becoming very much more dangerous. According to Al Jazerra since the photos of the drowned today of Alan Kurdi shocked so many into action at least another 71 children have died on the route.
Tens of thousands are still on the road, many are even now attempting the crossing from Turkey to Lesvos, a crossing that becomes more dangerous as storms increase. Others are camped out in cold and wet conditions along the route while at Calais the death toll of those hit by cars and lorries contain use to rise.
Make a donation at https://www.gofundme.com/xy74whj4
The phrase ‘European Values’ has been a staple in the lexicon of ‘high-end’ European political discourse for fifty years. Always drivelled with unabashed self-righteousness and conceit, these values, which Europe supposedly espouses, include tolerance, liberalism, solidarity and a steadfast commitment to human rights.
Of the places in Europe I have visited, in nowhere more than the ‘Calais Jungle’ has it been so evident that these lauded values stand in stark contrast with reality.
The first solidarity convoy from Ireland to Calais returned a few days ago and Mairead Mary Frances Healy posted a great report on what was done (below) that has now been turned into this graphic. We applaud this solidarity with those who have spent the summer fighting the racist border policy of Fortress Europe through the direct action of breaking down the fences.