DESTROY THE BORDERS AT BRENNER
Why does Austria, with the compliancy of Italy, want to close the Brenner border?
Because men and women become “immigrants” when millions of human beings are uprooted from their lands and forced to move away. The causes aren't mysterious and do not always have the brutal characteristics of a bombing. An entire community of Senegalese fishermen has no more means of subsistence, because the intense activity of the huge fishing boats has left no more fish. A nomad Indian community of shepherds must transfer; once abandoned their traditional way of life to become sedentary, because of the diesel-powered wells of the so-called “green revolution”, they are no more able to survive the scarceness of water (as they had done for centuries) when the aquifers dry. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese peasants are coerced into transferring to the city because the construction of an enormous dam has flooded their farmlands.There are more and more strangers in the world, whose forced mobility involves all the continents. Only a small percentage tries to reach Europe. The containers for asylum-seekers at the frontiers between Austria and Slovenia, or between Greece and Macedonia, as the recently manu militari demolished “Jungle” at Calais, bring in the heart of Europe the conditions of a billion of persons which live in the slums of the rest of the world. A world which is a enormous accumulation of ghettos. Borders render explicit, what the capitalistic social organization is in fact.
Contrary to what the ideology of progress affirms, nothing in history is outclassed; contradictions are redistributed, elements of the past are integrated and modified.
When certain totalitarian solutions are adopted, even if they seem to disappear for a short period, sooner or later they reappear, more or less masked. As the gigantic military-industrial apparatus created by the so-called free-world against the nazifascist barbarity has produced the bombing of Dresda and the atomic destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, so have returned the impositions of democracies on colonized populations, just with a little make-up on.Between the end of the '90s and the beginning of 2000, various States have introduced administrative detention in their territories. A typical colonial mechanism. Without having committed any crime, thousands of foreigners have been interned for months or years because poor and with no documents. They have become undesired. As in South Africa or in Cuba at the end of the 19th century. Like in Germany in the '30s or in USA in the '40s.If western democracies -right and left winged governments the same- have copied the administrative detention measure from Israel, why should we now be surprised if they copy their walls, the barbed wire and the steel barriers? Few -very few- have felt involved, while jurists asked themselves just how legal it is to imprison human beings who haven't committed any crime, and while the “guests” destroyed their cages and fought courageously in the “Centri di Permanenza Temporanea” (Temporary Permanence Centers, in the technical euphemism of the totalitarian language). Every measure of containment and repression obtains space and power, if it doesn't meet opposition. At the same time, when abjection masks itself as “technical solution”, and politics presents itself as mere administration, the only logic which prevails is that of the accomplished. In front of the executed fact, presumed differences between Right and Left are reduced to grotesque ballets.Following this line of reason, we have passed from administrative detention – introduced in Italy by a left-wing government in 1998- to the acceptance of the closure of the Brenner border wanted by Austria. In fact, ministers and police chiefs of North Tirol have declared that barriers and wires are precisely this: a technical solution.Like that guy used to say, only the sword cuts the knots that indifference has permitted to form.
Because “to govern refugee fluxes” is a ruthless Risk.
The 24th of February this year, the Austrian government has invited to Vienna spokespeople of the Balkan States (Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, Macedonia), in order to repel the refugees and block the so-called Balkan route. No Greek delegate was invited. A week later, the 1st of March, the police chiefs of the Western Balkans (Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia) met at Belgrade with spokesmen of the governments of Holland and Hungary. These meetings answer to the needs of the UE States to have safer outer borders, patrolled by different national police corps, and the economic needs of the Balkan States towards the richer uncle. In particular, how a letter from Skopje to UE reveals, Macedonia has requested, in order “to protect its outer frontiers”, technological equipment and engineering structures to fortify its southern border, materials for the construction of a 300km-long barrier and of a detention camp for 400 refugees, equipment for “crowd control” such as sound grenades, rubber bullets, pepper sprays and other, not better specified, dissuaders. Between the Macedons, the worry is that this equipment may be used for internal repression, in view of the political elections of June and the strong tension between Government and opposition.In the meantime, at Dimitrovgrad (Serbia), access point of the Balkan route especially for the Afghans, the Identification Centre has stopped working the 20th of February. At the present, when the Serbian police stops the immigrants, they resend them to Bulgaria. They do the same at the border with Macedonia, where 700 persons are blocked in the Tabanovce camp, because Greece does not reaccept them. From the closure of the frontiers, the camp of Idomeni has reached the frightful number of 14 thousand persons. At Idomeni there is no camp controlled by the government, like the one, for example, in Athens, built inside the old airport abandoned in 2001. There, more than 3000 persons live in precarious conditions, far from the eyes of the city. It's the Calais of the south. Greece refused to participate at the 1st March meeting, and has started to organize buses which will not have direction Idomeni anymore, but Albania. Refugees will try to reach North Europe from there, and through Italy, at the Brennero. The Italian police has already sent 30 policemen to Tirana in order to collaborate to repel the migrants. For those who will manage to cross the sea between Albania and Puglia, the Government is planning to open camps at Otranto and Melendugno, the closest ports. In Otranto camp Don Tonino Bello has operated in the past and continues to exist. Irony of destiny, let's say, Melendugno is the arriving point of the TAP, Trans-Adriatic Pipe-line. As to say: we've closed our eyes in front of the massacre of the Syrian people so we could continue to make profit and buy gas, but we block who runs away from that war, and from others, when we have to cope with the consequences of our affairs.
Goodbye Balkan Route, welcome Adriatic route.
Because it’s a dirty business but someone has to do it.
The 15th of June 1990 the European community has signed the Dublin Convention, for a better coordination of the ‘asylum policies’. The convention was replaced in 2003 with the Dublin Treaty II and later on in 2013 with the Dublin treaty III. Its subheading reads :-‘ Criteria and mechanisms of determination of a member State competent for the examination of a request for international protection from a citizen of a third country or with no country’. It has nothing to do with ?? of the asylum procedures but is, in fact, a way of settling controversies between still quarreling States on who should take care of the people fleeing from the horrors they have created. The two modifications of the Dublin convention and recent events- suspension of Schengen from many European states, the ‘barbed wire’ policies that these have been carrying on for months, the EU/Turkey agreement- let us understand just how much, both the claimed objectives and the real ones haven’t been reached. The application of Dublin has brought to a pointless and discretional obstacle course for those running away from wars, or from persecution for religious or political reasons; red tapes, detention, separation from other members of the family and complete loss of freedom. Clearly, the definition of who is forced to run from war or persecution is decided in any case by International right. Which has established iron clad clauses to define a country at war: if a country isn't recognized as such, a person arriving in Fortress Europe becomes just another deportable ‘illegal’. The woeful attempt to make rights of the wrongs through Right has brought back internal borders, barbed wire, soldiers carrying out facial recognition and a new all out plan of deportation and concentration, which is the EU agreement with Erdogan’s fascist regime. Because for Europe, Turkey has never been democratic enough to join it but remains a precious ally when it comes to taking back people expelled from the Fortress. And all this with a compensation of 3 billion euros, in a perspective of badly hidden wrangling. Since the Union can’t do the dirty work, in order to maintain what is left of its good name, it needs someone who doesn’t need to hide their lack of scruples, shameless use of violence and open disregard to freedom.
Because we live in a world at war.
Three simple reasons are enough to understand why millions of men and women flee their native countries tired of war and suffering. The first example is the situation in the Niger Delta, an exploited region since 1956 because of its huge oil reserves. ENI is one of the enterprises responsible for the environmental, economic and social devastation. There have been endless massacres, rapes and pollution since then. The constant spillages of oil and the scarce maintenance of the plants of ENI(and other companies) have polluted the waters so much that the local fauna, primarily fish, has been killed, consequently leaving the local tribes without their main food source and causing starvation for the whole population of the area. After the armed resistance of the local population and other parts of Africa the US created AFRICOM, the regional command for the defence of the oil rigs. Italy is the state that hosts the soldiers assigned to these tasks in Vicenza and Sigonella, where there are counter-insurgency training camps.
The second example is the deployment of 450 Italian soldiers at the Mosul dam on the Tigri river in Iraq. The dam is of vital importance for the economy and politics of the area. Its destruction would mean the fall of the capitalists' interests in the region. Controlling the dam means having power over the majority of Iraq’s water reserves. The reconstruction of the dam will be carried out by a giant cement enterprise called Trevi, based in Cesena.
The third example is Beretta, that sells assault rifles to Bahrein, and Finmeccanica that sells a wide variety of armaments to Saudi Arabia and other dictatorships. The bombs in Syria, Pakistan, Brussels and Paris make arms-manufacturers jump for joy. It doesn’t matter where the bombs fall. If they end up in conflicts far from Europe a certain type of weapons will be needed, if its here in Europe the demand will fall on security systems, video surveillance, facial recognition etc. All this means, on one hand money by the bucket load for those which offer these services, and on the other hand escape and misery for millions of the Wretched of the Earth. Control and militarization for all the rest.
Because a border is functional for the management of immigrant labour force.
For a big part of the immigrants, the Brenner border will consist in another possibility of arrest on their journey towards north. Once blocked, they will be identified and directed to the so-called “reception” structures, on the basis of their country of origin. The more immigrants are interned, the more these structures earn, thanks to the public funds. “Illegals”, “refugees”, “asylum-seekers” are categories built to separate different businesses in the circuit of administrative detention. “Illegals” go to the Identification and Expulsion Centres (CIE), the “refugees” to the first-aid centres, the “asylum seekers” to the CARA. Who isn't imprisoned has to work, but not legally. The direct consequence of this is that amounts of human beings in extremely precarious conditions are formed, ready to be blackmailed. None of these persons end in the white-workers' reserves, but are destined to those areas where no experience or visa is required, only submission to hard jobs, and badly-paid, treated like objects, considered as slaves. Borders unhinge the old fairytale of immigrants which steal jobs from regular workers: the market which uses immigrants doesn't want to hear about working and wage conditions, even if only decent. These are work paradigms useful only to the few which have access to them. The immigrant-workers' market will look only to the production; exploitation and slavery will be causes and consequences at the same time.The agricultural entrepreneur is assured workers available to work for 10 or 20 euros a day; the building one, workers not incline to protest for a poor and late salary, or for unsafe scaffoldings or for a 12-hour day; the house owner, ten tenants in unhealthy flats with the toilet outside. Not one of them wants to “close the borders”: the mincemeat of the borders, and the blackmail of a permit, produce assets. Not too keen to rebel. And if it does rebel, like what happened in Rosarno, there are the mafia and the police to put them back into their place. The States build barriers to stop, as they say, the advancement of these people; what they don't say is that they perfectly know, at least in Italy and in the case of the Brenner, that their economy needs all that low-cost labour force that immigrants guarantee as well. The State doesn't have to justify this exploitation: these persons will never appear in the statistics about working conditions or in the employment rates. They will simply be other invisible workers, of that special invisibility that everyone knows about and that is based on the fact that it isn't important who is exploited, since these persons are all perfectly interchangeable and indistinguishable, just like slaves.
Because capitalist war roars when social peace triumphs.
During 2011-2013 revolts and insurrections crossed the planet. Regimes with which the western states had done business for decades crumbled under the weight of popular rage. From Tunisia to Mauritania, passing through Egypt, barricades have redefined the urban geography and Communes have occupied the squares. Anticipated by the social clash in Greece, those uprisings have had significant correspondences in Europe: in France, England, Scandinavia, Albania, Slovenia and, for a few days, even in Italy.
The youth that destroyed entire sections of the CIEs in Italy from 2012 to today have learnt courage and the capability to organize themselves during the revolts in Maghreb. And they certainly did not wait for our revolutionary theories to fight back. At the same time, the mass exodus of people from the areas touched by the so called Arab spring is tied to the reactionary outcome of those uprisings, to which the maneuvers of the old colonial powers contributed: better a military regime or an Islamic government than a people in arms. In that sense, armament and reinforcement of groups like Is, mass fleeing and walls at the borders are (also) the intertwined fruits- and rotten- of an interrupted and smashed insurrectional movement. And no solution will present itself on the horizon without an upswing of International revolutionary struggles.
Because power is more and more in the hands of the Single Party of the Police (military if need be)
Closing the borders is an integral part of repressive renovation from the European States. Police and soldiers at the border are now presented as a necessary consequence of the particular and contingent needs to control the front, outside the walls of Fortress Europe. They are, in fact, ready to be deployed, if needed, inside the States themselves. In this way, we assist to a process that is gradual but relentless in which control in everyone’s life grows and will pass from being justified with ‘emergency’ to being considered normal. Do you remember operation ‘Strade sicure’(safe streets)? Begun in 2008, it foresaw the use of military personnel to support patrolling operations and surveillance over shelters for refugees and other sensible targets done by Police and Carabinieri. In a few weeks, it had become normal to see camouflaged Apcs and soldiers in uniforms in the streets, markets, in front of train stations. The dangerous ease with which it became routine allowed the operation to be prolonged until 2015, and is still in course. With the declared necessity to form a common front in a moment of ‘crisis’, the acquiescence towards the military, the racially based stop and searches in train stations, the containers and the mass registering and the self-justification represent a dangerous precedent for the moment when the search for an enemy shifts to the internal front. Well aware of the psychological need of the population to have military presence on the ground, OTAN has made the creation of the demand from society for ‘rapid and decisive action’ one of its main goals, and has listed it in the report UO-2020 (Urban Operations in the year 2020). Another significant passage has been the cretaion in 2010 of the European Gendarmerie Force( Eurogendorf or EGF), with total disregard from the media. This new police corp is formed by detachments of military police from five european countries (France, Italy, Holland, Portugal and Spain, after joined by Romania in 2008 and Poland in 2011) but is completely independent from EU institutions. It is stationed (not by chance) in Vicenza, city that already hosts both Camp Ederle ( US military base) and the excellence SWAT police training centre (in Italian COESPU). L’EUROGENDORF is structured to operate under a military chain of command as much as under a civilian one. Until now, like COESPU, it has been deployed only abroad, but it has the power to act within the borders of sovereign states part of the EU, of ONU and other not better specified ‘International coalitions’. Among its tasks, there are public order maintenance, border patrolling, surveillance activities and penal investigation in support or in the place of international polices. Emblematic is the fact that members of the EGF are not subject to control of the institutions of the countries they operate in; offices and archives can’t be inspected, communications can’t be intercepted, agents and officers can’t be inquired upon or put on trial and they answer only to a committee of foreign and defense ministers of member countries. With the fore-mentioned elements, the entry of such an actor on the European and international scene is an important sign of the direction taken in the sphere of repression. There is a growing symbiosis between the militarization of the territories (and the liberty of police in them) and the constant work to create emergencies and the consequent fear. In this way, the muscular and visible exercise of power is constantly legitimized from the population.
Because capitalist war roars when social peace triumphs.
During the period 2011-2013, revolts and insurrections crossed the planet. Regimes with which the western states had done business for decades crumbled under the weight of popular rage. From Tunisia to Mauritania, passing through Egypt, barricades have redefined the urban geography and Communes have occupied the squares. Anticipate by the social clash in Greece, those up risings have had significant correspondences in Europe: In France, England, Scandinavia, Albania, Slovenia and, for a few days, even in Italy.
The youth that destroyed entire sections of the Cies in Italy since 2012 to today have learnt courage and the capability to organize themselves during the revolts in Maghreb. And they certainly did not wait for our revolutionary theories to fight back. At the same time, the mass exodus of people from the areas touched by the so called Arab spring is tied to the reactionary outcome of those up risings, to which the maneuvers of the old colonial powers contributed: Better a military regime or an Islamic government than a people in arms. In that sense, armament and reinforcement of groups like Is, mass fleeing and walls at the borders are(also) the intertwined fruits- and rotten- of an Insurrectional movement interrupted and smashed. And no solution will present itself on the horizon without an upswing of International revolutionary struggles.
Because in the growing grey mist, it's difficult to see.
We live in a society in which it's getting more and more difficult to distinguish our enemies. It's more difficult to address our rage against the responsible of this misery, because of the advanced techniques of Power. But this isn't casual. The life of a State is complex and contradictory. Even if it's most violent expression, war, is it's vital lymph, every capitalistic-advanced State wants to appear in its interior as a sustainer of humanity and peace. Power needs this, that false peace, social peace, the peace of the governing class and of the rich. The only way to keep this peace, is that the refused part of the society, the excluded, compete among themselves and wage war against each other. Exploited that fight other exploited, that is every governor's dream. In name of Scare and of so called security, militarization of society is justified and at the same time the true problems are mystified. No revolutionary idea will exist and the heads of the exploited will stay down, if they are more occupied in surviving in the misery than in thinking of freeing themselves from it. For the States there is an ideal environment, when there are no declarations of war against exploitation and power. In this reactionary context, the extreme right groups of the democratic Europe make pogroms and fascist attacks against immigrants almost every day (in Germany, the fire attacks against asylum-seekers centres have been hundreds in a few months). They ride the waves of rancour between poor, and permit the calm of the power. They assume, more and more, the characteristics of servants and well know where they want to direct anger against. In this reactionary scenario, a wall at the border finds legitimation. We're going towards the same world in which the distinction between citizens and foreigners, between “normal” and “different” was the road that led to a lager.
Why do we want to destroy all borders, at the Brenner pass and everywhere?
Because we want the world of ghettos, war, exploitation, environmental catastrophe and social control over with. Because borders are a barrier and at the same time a reminder. A clear message sent to all those who don’t toe the line: against that humanity that is considered ‘in excess’ by States' and Multinationals' reasonings, but also against that minority of rebels that have no intention of taking their place in the ranks. The barbed wire and soldiers today are intended for them, but they’re going to be for us too. And the OTAN summits or the European Gendarmerie declare this openly.
Destroy the borders can’t be a slogan to acclaim the return of Schengen with, or a different policy of ‘hospitality’ from institutions, and neither a mere expression of solidarity towards refugees. It means struggling autonomously – with those that agree to- to subvert a social order which is rotten to the core. If every cop is a border for everyone that has a good reason for not getting stopped, then borders are also a way to control the flux of goods and human beings reduced to goods. And the first and most immediate message to send should be this: your iron barriers will cost you dearly. We will not give your market peace neither shall we halt the fight against your walls.
We are few and we know it. We would like nonetheless to suggest a certain way of being Internationalists today. Hundreds of men and women reach the borders after exhausting voyages, hardly knowing the areas they pass through or where they arrive; ignoring how much police they’re going to face in their path, if there will be rivers to cross or how many will make it alive.. Yet they still depart, with the stubbornness of desperation, and with stubbornness many others struggle, even bare handed.
We, that have the opportunity to eat every day, and are motivated by an ideal and not blind fear or stricken by hunger, are we the ones that need guaranties before setting off to assault this world and its wire fences?
If we want the border between them and us to crumble, we have to set sail from the lands known and familiar to us.
We want to accomplish a life with no power and money, neither States nor classes. Standing between us and that life are uncountable walls. The return of the borders is today one of the most unacceptable.
But what does it mean, in a time where words seem to have lost all sense and power, to say that something is unacceptable. How many times have things deemed unacceptable been accepted?
To try and abolish the borders is an effort to not accept this. It’s a practice of linguistic ethics, a practice of freedom, a possible encounter among comrades travelling a common route.
Volantino distribuito durante il presidio antimilitarista del 30 marzo in piazza D'Arogno a Trento: