avgust 3, 2016

Open letter to Alexis Tsipras and his government


We share with you the open letter from the comrades of Nikis squat in Thessaloniki, that was evicted during the big police operation last week. For many years, Nikis was a well known Social Center directly at the inner-city promenade of Thessaloniki. For us and many of our friends, it has been a place of vivid solidarity in times of a general social crisis. Over the last months, the organizers there were hosting refugees. Here you can read our press release on the evictions.


At the dawn of the 27th of July, you and your government invaded three squats which hosted refugees and immigrants in Thessaloniki. At the same time you arrested 75 sympathizers from Greece and Europe while you sent the refugees to concentration camps, some of which did not accept them due to full occupancy. So you left them in the middle of nowhere.

Because the squats of “Orfanotrofeio” and “Hurriya” have their own political voice, and we don’t want to displace it, we will remind you as the squat of “Leoforos Nikis 39”, some facts that we are sure you already know.

The “Leoforos Nikis 39” squat was born trough the revolt of December 2008 and it was the first housing squat for people who took part at this political movement and had real housing problems. Integrated in these breadths it claimed, through an abandoned building, the decent living for those who participated, reappraising the meaning of public space. For this reason it accommodated all these years hundreds of activists and demonstrators, not only from Greece, but from the hole world. When the refugee crisis occurred, it opened in order to greet and cohabitate coequally with the most vulnerable of them, families with children. At the same time it acceded into a system of medical and alimentary care which had been created from the beginning of Eidomeni. Against these people at the dawn of Wednesday the 27th of July you reserved for one more time the nightmare they tried to avoid, crossing as thousands others, the Aegean.

Before you took the power, we welcomed you to its hell, from where unable to escape you accepted the responsibility to conduct it. Saturated by statism and governism, you duplicate the ruins of loyalist policy, because you did not manage to achieve anything new. This state of emergency conquered you because it can’t be reestablished. The moto “left for the first time” it’s true, but not in the way you were selling it bravading abroad and infield but in the way we experience it. Whatever the rightwing didn’t dare to do, you committed to do it bearing the cost of the apologies. Not only you are every word of the constitution but you grow rapidly in every word of law and order.

For these choices you have allies and many of clowns to accept this role. With your view about Evros fence, your acknowledgement of Turkey as a safe country, with the governmental administration of refugee crisis in the way of concentration camp, you liberated the disputatious and ultraconservative reason. Boutaris, Kaminis, the deanship of A.U.TH. and church, appeared in agreement in order to support you.

Besides, it’s not the first time, because we saw you when the war against the solidarians blew up in the middle of the refugee crisis. Then you realized that solidarity take forms far from you, from state and the nongovernmental organizations and you immediately attacked it. But the deaths and the infection take place at the governmental structures. What did you not understand by the death of the 27 year old girl at the “SOFTEX” concentration camp?
We are aware that the invasion against the squats was the states answer about the “No Border” Festival. We also know that you want to bring solidarity under the rules of concentration camps and that’s the reason you placed a implausible warhorse (Toskas) to give us hints and tips. But you probably ignore that we are neither romantics nor life style rebels.
Self-management and its structures, the participatory and coequal solidarity for a world which cannot exist without the “others”, direct democracy, social justice, and the struggle for social antiauthority, it’s alive and it’s here opposing you.

See you at the streets.

P.S.: What can we say about these who alter from political personalities to authority’s pragmatism sidekicks.

Squat of ” L. Nikis 39″

Mihalis Haritelis
Odysseas Dermatas
Sandra Hook
Dionisis Koutloglou
Grigoris Tsilimantos
Nikos Hatzis
Niki Dimitriadi
Anna Karageorgiou
Xanthi Parashidou
Olga Papadimitriou
Mihalis Vlahos
Markos Proveleggios
Vasilis Papadopoulos

september 30, 2016

A Call to join the protest march from MÜNCHEN to NÜRNBERG

14289917_549168215273973_38850603260851863_o.jpgFrom 7th of October, 2016, the protesting refugees at Sendliger Tor in Munich will start a new mode of protest against the inhuman living circumstances and the dreadful  asylum law in Germany. Right now, there is a protest camp at Sendliger Tor – München. We’ll send you as an attachment the press declaration of the strikers announcing a protest march from München to Nürnberg in order to continue the protest together.

The purpose of this protest form is to mobilize refugees living in Lagers to join in. After an intensive debate, the protesting refugees and supporting groups decided to establish 5 working groups. Every group or individual who is willing to make this protest a success is invited to support us for the whole protest as well as for parts of this march. There are already some supporters, but we still need everyone for succeeding in our big plans. The focused quantity will increase the protest’s quality, thus the collective character of the aim is on the shoulders of the all of the participating and supporting groups, means all are responsible for this success. The workgroups will work on different areas of responsibility. To get a clearer picture we’ll introduce their tasks in the following part.


1. Start contacting groups and individuals in the cities which we’ll pass along our rout to Nürnberg to activate local support. In the following we’ll give you a few examples. It is important to ensure the safety e.g. by having security guards furthermore solidarity is very welcome. The group has to write a list with of all active groups and individuals so that the logistic group can use this information and structures.

2. Connect to lawyers who are familiar with the asylum laws or/and the rights of assembly – to solve problems quickly.


Refugees as well as activists form this group. This group is responsible to solve all logistical issues on both tracks.

1. For this protest march we need different permissions – it has to be registered. We need places to rest; we need to hold local demonstrations… to ensure safety to all refugees this part is really important. Parts of the protest march can/should be registered by local groups.

2. We need cars for all the material and baggage of the refugees as well as a caravan with a toilet… in case we can’t find a service area.

3. Important things in both routes are: 1. Places to sleep 2. Tents and sleeping bags 3. Food and drinks 4. Escort car 5. Toilettes and the possibility to take a shower 6. Electricity (especially on countryside) 7. First aid and medical support 8. Transpis, Flyer, megaphone… 9. …(list is open – if you see other support which is needed feel free to say so. Just contact the group)


1. Right now most of the journalists know the reasons for the refugees’ protest camps and spread the news in accordance to their press declarations. Since we need the truth to be published it is really important that we’ll take care of the presswork. We need a list of freelance journalists and press contacts to tell them new information. It is also important to initiate contact to Journalists which are interested in the refugee issues to join into the protest march to create a steady publicity. This website will be administered by refugees to publish their point of view. Therefore, it’ll become the mouthpiece of the protest and should be spread. Each involved group is welcome to write its own articles to spread the refugees protest. BE ACTIVE!!

2. Furthermore there will be press conferences in different cities which have to be organised to ensure local press activities. Organise places for the press conferences, inform the local press and use your contacts!


1. It is very important that this protest march is accompanied and documented by photographers, journalists, film-makers etc… everyone who is experienced or knows someone who is experienced is needed!


1. This protest still exists although we had many huge repressions and problems. Now it is moving, together with refugees and activists, to another level. Therefore we need financial support. We ask every organisation which condemns the inhuman laws and the isolation of refugees for support. Please contact our financial group and make a donation to the following banc account.

Donation-Akkount: Account Name: Refugee Struggle for Freedom BIC: GENODEM1GLS IBAN: DE 97 4306 0967 8229 1322 00

We invite every group, individual and activists to show their solidarity with the refugees and their demands. Write a solidarity letter, organise some solidarity actions or join us!!!


Source:Refugee Movement

september 6, 2016

The current situation of the röszke11


          solidarity banner on the highway

more info: http://freetheroszke11.weebly.com

The trial of ten people accused for „illegal border crossing and participation in mass riot”

After the end of the trial on „first level court” most of the people were sent to Bicske, that is an open camp near Budapest in Hungary. At the moment seven people are in Western Europe. The other three people are still in Hungary.

Yamen A., whose verdict was three years imprisonment and 10 years expulsion from Hungary is currently in the prison of Szeged. We are trying to get in touch with him, but the procedure is quite complicated.

Farouk A. is in a detention center in Kiskunhalas. After the end of the trial he was sent also to Bicske, but a few days later he was moved to Kiskunhalas. The pretrial detention has to be renewed in every two months, the decision will be reviewed in September by the Immigration office (BÁH).

Kamel J. is in the detention center of Békéscsaba and his application for family reunification is in progress. Apart from Yamen, he is the only person who was not in Bicske after the trial, he was immediately moved into the detention center. After two months he requested his relocation into open camp, but the Immigration Office refused it justifying the decision with his lack of identity documents and prolonged his detention. His lawyer argued that until the decision of the family reunification most probably they will not be able to achieve his relocation. They are waiting to receive the decision in the middle of September.

In the „first level court” verdict people got 2-10 years of expulsion from Hungary. The phrasing of the decision is really obscure, with some legal twist it could mean expulsion from the Schengen Zone. According to the lawyer of Kamel J. , probably if people leave Hungary before the verdict come into force, the decision can be applied just on Hungary, not on the whole Schengen Zone.

The „first level court” has sent the verdict to the „second level court” recently, most probably the trials on the „second level” will not start before 2017. People who are already abroad do not have to attend the trials personally, their lawyer can represent them.

The trial of Ahmed H., who is accused for „the crime of terrorism and other crimes”

Ahmed H. is in the prison of Venyige street in Budapest. He is remanded in custody until his next trial which will be on the 23d of September in Szeged.


Join the international solidarity campaign

source: http://freetheroszke11.weebly.com/join-the-campaign.html

In 2015 September, was the time when the Hungarian border fence to Serbia was closed violently and it became from one day to the other illegal – by criminal law – to cross. The fence, which until now grossly violates people’s right to move and seek asylum was put in place. So, while the government was transporting people themselves to Austria by busses the day before, on September 16th the police was using tear gas and water cannons against people who wanted to do so. Out of the place of the protest, they arrested the 11 accused completely randomly, among those people who could not leave that quickly when the counter-terrorist police force attacked the demonstration. Among them are very young and very old people, sick people, a person in a wheelchair.

After nearly 10 month of detention, in horrible conditions, after the falsification of translations and the biased refusal to take into consideration important video material and the brutal use of tear gas of the police, the accused were found guilty – while the  international media didn’t pay attention and covered the trial 10 of the accused got prison sentences between 1 and 3 years and expulsion from Hungary for up to 10 years, while one, Ahmed H., accused for terrorism – for throwing stones – is facing up to 20 years of imprisonmen. the decision is not the final one,  the prosecutor announced to go into revision and demanded harder punishment. The accused and their defense lawyers also appealed against the decision. So due to Hungarian laws the case is escalated to second level court in Szeged.

While most of the accused had already served the prison time they have been sentenced to and are now either in open camps, soon to be released from detention or have left Hungary already, for two this is not the case: Yamen A., who was sentenced to 3 years of prison in Szeged, and Ahmed H., still waiting for his verdict in prison in Budapest, are still kept in long-term physical detention. While the main focus of the campaign at the moment is on the immediate freedom of the Ahmad H. (20 years) and Yamen A. (3 years) it’s also important to  consider how the criminalization and the stigmata, the massive psychological trauma, the threat of expulsion separating them from their families in the EU, is something that prolongs, even after the physical release. The lives of the 11 people are used to state an example, with which the Hungarian state wants to create an atmosphere of fear and criminalize movement as such.

The Röszke trial is revealing the reality of a system in which state and police violence is never put in question, and in which money and goods can move freely but not people. The trials are happening in an increasingly repressive context. They are happening in a context of militarized European borders, in which people get pushed back multiple times violently at the Serbian-Hungarian border, robbed and beaten up by paramilitary groups, while Hungarian majors proudly post pictures of people at the border tied up in dehumanizing poses before they get pushed back to Serbia. They are happening in a context in which the legal frameworks get shaped in a way that such violence is legitimized and in a context full of racist propaganda, in which theHungary holds a referendum (on October 2nd), symbolically letting Hungarian citizens chose between the forced relocation scheme of the EU and the ‘Hungarian solution’ of fencing off people completely.
This case is one of many horrible cases within the ongoing European migration policy. But it is crucial not only because it reveals the absurdity of European politics of migration, the repression of the EU border regime and the oppressive politics which lie behind the ‘innocent’ idea of state institutions particularly well, but also because those repressive politics are also this time pushed forward at the massive cost of individuals lives.

We invite everybody, individuals and collectives to join and support this campaign in all possible ways. Spread information, organize solidarity actions and join the two demonstration in September! Let’s unite and fight the repression of borders and states!

Dates and locations of the protests:

22.09.2016 Budapest, in front of the Venyige prison (1108 Budapest, Maglódi u. 24), where Ahmed H. is imprisoned
23.09.2016. Szeged, in front of the court (6720, Szeged, Szechenyi ter 4.)


NoborderSerbia, 29th of August 2016

september 5, 2016

Report: Recent repression on people on the move in Serbia

Since the 15th of July, the day that prime minister Aleksandar Vučić held a speech [1] about the problems Serbia is facing at the moment, the situation in Serbia for people on the move has become more and more tense. The speech was an awaited response to the legal changes made in Hungary on July 5th (“8 kilometer” push-back law [2]) which set a legal frame for the Hungarian authorities to push back thousands of people to Serbian territory.

Among other points, Vučić mentioned in his speech that migrants are one of the biggest problems Serbia is facing at this time and that more repressive measures will be taken in order to gain control over the irregular movement of people. One of the measures put into practice has been a “joint venture” of police and military in order to guard the southern borders towards Macedonia and Bulgaria. As of August 30, 4,428 people have been kept from entering Serbia by military and police units, while within the same operation 673 who were encountered on Serbian territory have been brought to official reception centers [3]. The military officials don’t use the word “push-back” or mention any direct contact with the groups, rather they state that people “gave up” when they saw the Serbian forces. Thereby, Serbia maintains its humanitarian vocabulary used to distinguish itself from other Balkan countries like Hungary and Macedonia who boast with numbers of people they successfully pushed back. Which methods were used to deter people and why these 4,428 people did not apply for asylum in Serbia but instead went back is not mentioned. Probably the mere sight of a police officer is not enough to stop people from moving on, yet their stories and voices remain silent and invisible.

On the one hand, this increasingly repressive policy changes can be seen as a national answer to the reality that was created by the northern neighbour Hungary and to the fact that from one day to the other people got stuck in Serbia with no option to move on. On the other hand, these changes can also be seen in the frame of a European Border Regime that consists of more than just the legal closure of European borders. This will be elaborated in the following.


Ever since Hungary launched the push-backs, the number of people stuck in Serbia has been increasing on a daily basis. According to the Hungarian police, from July 5th to August 31th there have been 4,937 official incidents of prevented entries at the border and another 3,486 people who made it across the fence and got pushed back to Serbian territory [4 / 5]. Many of them came back to Belgrade and reported horrible experiences of violent encounters with the border police and private border patrols. Reports included tear gas, hand-cuffs, feet-cuffs, dog bites, pepper spray, shootings, and personal indignations (such as having to strip naked before being beaten up).

Officially, there are now around 4,400 people stuck in Serbia [6]. This number might seem confusing compared to the total number of 8,423 failed attempts mentioned above but it’s important to remember that one person can be pushed back many times. People arrive in Serbia, try to go to Hungary, are pushed back to Serbia, and then try again repeatedly. And while a small number of people always manage to cross, there are also new people who arrive in Serbia.
These days, even more people can not afford a smuggler to Hungary. If there is one fact about migration, it is that a closed border most of all means rising prices. Therefore, just a small “elite” of those who can still pay the dictated price are able to move on with smugglers. But prices are skyrocketing, standing around 1500€ for one person only as far as Hungary which used to be 150€ some months ago.

At the same time, with the establishment of joint police and army patrols on the southern borders, the amount of people who reach Serbian territory in the first place is decreasing significantly, from an average of 300 to 200 daily arrivals, according to UNHCR estimates [7].  However, for those stuck in Serbia, the conditions have become very humiliating and devastating.


The most visible measure against migrants in the city center is the ongoing destruction of the parks, which they use to meet, exchange information and obtain aid. For months, the Commisariat made tedious efforts to chase away anyone who set foot on the grass. This came to an end on July 25 when big machines entered the park and dug up the whole ground. Officially, the objective was to “renew the grass” – which is obviously nonsense in summer season with temperatures around 38°C and too dry of a climate for plants to grow. Some officials openly admitted that the goal of the action was “to keep away the migrants” – and more than one month later still no grass has been planted.

In a second step, the devastated areas were fenced off with head-high (ca. 1.80m) orange plastic fences. For those still sleeping in the parks, only the concrete walking paths were left available. Even worse, the municipality sometimes waters the parks at night (the concrete, not the soil) making it impossible to sleep there. By these measures the accessible space is very limited and the fences not only became a barrier but also dividers in a very literal sense. If the government intended to make the parks look as if migrants were a problem, then they succeeded. Now, neighbouring people gather every evening in the park, exchanging and complaining about the migrant community, a visible sign to make people feel unwelcome. The once open and public space used and inhabited by an ever changing community of people transiting and by local people going to university or walking their dogs has been made unlivable and unenjoyable for everyone.

park-1-768x576_1Park 1

park-2-768x576_2Park 2

park-4-768x576_3Park 3

park-5-768x576_4Park 4

It is important to bear in mind that all of this is happening right in the district of Savamala, the area of the planned “Belgrade Waterfront” investment project. According to their plans the whole area will be changed completely in a high-speed gentrification process, involving evictions of the local population and destruction of a whole part of the city to make space for hotels, shopping malls and office buildings.


Belgrade Waterfront as model


The repressive presence of police and Commissariat is increasing in both numbers and in behaviour almost on a daily basis. Their actions turned into a constant harassment against migrants. People have been prevented from laying down on the grass (before it was destroyed), have been asked for papers every morning and been pushed to go to the camps continuously, have been poked with flashlights in order to leave the grass, bench or wherever, and even have been threatened with deportation to Macedonia or Bulgaria for not following the orders [8].

The behaviour changes significantly with presence of international and local volunteers in the parks who monitor the situation and interfere in case of violence, false promises or lies. When they are not around the behaviour becomes even more rude and disrespectful. People have repeatedly reported that Commissariat workers kick and push people who lay down, shout at them in a dehumanizing manner and express racist comments.


With the increasing number of people stuck in Belgrade and Serbia, the authorities started to pressure people to apply for asylum and go to the camps. On a daily basis, buses leave from the parks to Krnjača (in a suburb of Belgrade) and to other camps all over Serbia. Until mid-July, it was fairly easy to either stay in one of the camps with the option of leaving it at any point or to stay somewhere in town. This policy changed after a meeting of the group for coordination of security agencies and the police and Commisariat are now showing more intention to actually bring the laws into practice. The pattern of behaviour is very obscure, and it is almost impossible to give advice to people these days.

For instance: Some people have been kept in Krnjača for days until they would register (fining those without registration with worse food and living conditions) and then sent to other camps. There is no chance to get “Krnjača,” “Šid,” or “Subotica” written on the registration paper, but people can go there and register themselves. As most of the camps are further away, the fear of being sent there makes new arrivals even more reluctant to register. In the beginning of August this led to the absurd situation of empty beds in Krnjača while at the same time people had a hard time finding a place to sleep in Belgrade.

Krnjaca-768x576.jpgKrnjača Camp

Sid-768x432.jpgŠid camp

Subotica-768x432Subotica camp


The official policies of the registration papers for the camps are also very intransparent and incoherent. Two different papers have been issued in the last weeks, one of them designating the exact camp where people have to stay, the other one not mentioning any specific place. As the directors of the camps are in charge of deciding whether or not people can leave during the day, there is no universal information regarding whether they are open or closed. Rather, in camps like Krnjača or Preševo the policy of leaving was changed several times, causing people who believed they were going to an open camp to be locked up inside for days. Those working with migrants have to call the authorities each morning to learn what the situation in the camps is – including official institutions like Asylum Info Center and Commisariat workers in the parks. Even the decision whether people are allowed in the public parks can change from day to day.

This strategy of intransparency leaves everyone in a state of confusion and insecurity since what you know today might not be valid tomorrow. The authorities manifest their hierarchical position of “being in charge” to the extent that the current legal grounds have to be requested on a daily basis. In this situation it is almost impossible for migrants to plan their actions and their personal capability to act is limited to a minimum. This leaves people with the option of complying with anything that is decided from above or staying outside of all official support.

Technically speaking, applying for asylum has only minor influences on parallel asylum processes in other countries as Serbia is not part of the Dublin agreement. Nevertheless, most people have had bad experiences with police and other officials and simply do not want to go to the camps in the outskirts of Belgrade or in the middle of nowhere where they are invisible and without the facilities they need.

Having been displaced several times, the attempt to keep every migrant in camps is a measure of dehumanization and indignity, turning them into objects of control and “removing” them. Locking them up in invisibility, Serbia is restricting the Freedom of Movement of all migrants in a very literal way.


On August 11, the police and Commissariat made use of the free capacities in Krnjača and evicted both parks in Belgrade in a joint action. That day, the parks were surrounded by four buses and 20-30 police officers accompanied by a bunch of Commissariat workers. Everyone was told to enter the buses and go “to the camp” (not knowing which one). People also reported that they were threatened to be deported to Bulgaria or Macedonia if they refused to get on the bus. Furthermore, the parks were declared as off-limits, “locked” for everyone without paper and it was said that anyone who steps over this rule would be brought to jail. This day, around 400 people were moved to Krnjača which was subsequently completely overcrowded. A video published on facebook provides testimony of the situation [9].

The police also visited other more invisible places and formerly tolerated venues where people stayed and showed extremely disrespectful and threatening behaviour towards both migrants and citizens. In the same vein large number of hostels in vicinity of the parks have been raided and some of them shut down.

Preposterously, on August 13, 150 people were then kicked out of Krnjača in the middle of the night. The busdrivers that conduct the line to Krnjača were told not to take any migrants back to the city, thus leaving those kicked out with no other option than to walk three hours back to the city.

This contradictory behaviour only depicts meticulously the arbitrary strategy of the Serbian authorities. There is a clear attempt to push people out of sight, into the invisibility of the camps, but there is no real capacity of doing so. This leaves migrants and supporters in a limbo situation that is hard to cope with. The insecurity of what will happen the next day is having a significant influence on the general atmosphere in the parks, causing stress, trauma, auto-aggression and (psychological and physical) violence.


Alongside the evictions of people from the parks, the structures supporting them have also come under strong pressure. Miksalište is facing complaints from the neighbourhood and sanitary inspection was postponed daily for three weeks. Info Park, which has already been under strong pressure from Commisariat to move out of the park in April and May, when old Miksalište and No Border Hostel were evicted and destroyed, got a new and final notice to leave the park on August 22 [10]. Providing around one thousand meals a day, Info Park is a big support for people on the move and the eviction decreases support in the parks tremendously.

miksaliste-1-768x432.jpgMiksalište shortly before it was destroyed

Miksaliste after the destruction


New Miksalište
No Border Hostel working

No-border-2-768x576.jpgNo Border Hostel after the destruction


Having been one of the countries where the situation for people on the move was considered less tense and more easy to rest in and travel through, Serbia is now making up big steps to get in line with the other countries on the “Balkan route“ – implementing strong control and repression on people on the move.

Transforming from a short-time transit country into a place where people are stuck for longer time, the Serbian government is having a hard time controling the bigger number of people and implements policies that appear blind and incoherent. Since people are not transferred throughout the country by busses but redirected into the camps that stood empty since 2015, Serbia is (re-)constructing a category of “residing asylum seekers” that are to be processed in a governmental asylum process, thereby ignoring the reality that people intend to move on as soon as possible and that there actually is no bureaucratic apparatus to handle thousands of asylum processes. This goes along with growing racist tendencies in the population, officials and media, that used to be more neutral or at least indifferent. Removing people out of sight into remote camps is presented as an intermediate “solution“.

Following the example of other countries of the European Border Regime, Serbia also finally introduced stronger border controls in an attempt to decrease the number of illegal arrivals. Since the number of people in Bulgaria might increase therefore, there is a stronger pressure for Bulgaria to control its borders as well. This lines up in a number of steps of the Border Regime to locate its physical outer land border on the Bulgarian-Turkish border such as increased Frontex operations in Bulgaria [11].

The current attempts of the Serbian government to regain control on the situation can be read in context of the visit of an EU mission in the beginning of September to evaluate the progress in the EU integration process [12]. The current chapters 23 and 24 deal amongst other with basic and humanitarian rights where the recent efforts on migration management can be used as an example of Serbia displaying European values and practices.

Refugeesupportserbia and Bordermonitoring Serbia, 1st of September 2016

link: http://bordermonitoring.eu/serbien/2016/09/recent-repression-on-people-on-the-move-in-serbia/

avgust 31, 2016

Budapest Degrowth Conference opens with clear solidarity message for refugee struggles

While generally introducing the term “degrowth” and its history, Demaria stressed that in a post-policial space and within neoliberal conditions, the aim of degrowth must be to re-politicize the debate on sustainability by identifying and naming different socio-environmental futures. In this context, the question “How can degrowth gain legitimacy in the public debate” must play an important role. He suggested a multi-dimensional definition of degrowth and even talking about different degrowths. Such definition comprises of critique by “challenging the hegemony of growth” and proposal by “calling for a democratically led redistributive downscaling of production and consumption in industrialized countries as a means to achieve environmental sustainability, social justice and well being.” In this sense, Demaria described degrowth as a politicized framing process for a social movement set up by diagnosis (What are the social problems? Who is responsible?) and prognosis (What can we do about them? How shall it be done? Who is going to do it? For whom?).                

Allies for degrowth

By naming a very broad range of possible allies of degrowth, Demaria stressed the emancipatory, inclusive and diverse nature of degrowth as concept and movement:

– LGBT+, feminists and the ecofeminists
– La Via Campesina
– Zapatistas and Kurdish in Rojava
– Those who struggle for Environmental Justice including Climate Justice
– Anti-colonialists
– Anti-racists and those who are for open borders
– Those who believe in the sacredness of nature
– Those who in their own religion find a place for Degrowth and for environmental justice
– … and all the oppressed and subalterns fighting for justice

On another note, Filka Sekulova gave a quick overview of the broad but dispersed and scattered degrowth-movement itself, stating that the overall movement is growing and that there are various degrowth-hotspots in almost all European countries and some places outside Europe such as India, Canada, Mexico and Brazil. Particularly Germany, after the large Degrowth Conference in Leipzig two years ago, has seen an explosion of degrowth-related projects captured in the Stream towards Degrowth.

Academic challenges and, again, a claim for open borders

In the academic arena, Giorgos Kallis, identified three main intellectual battles over the last two years. These were:

  1. Debunking the illusion about decoupling and green growth
  2. Defending the name of degrowth
  3. Denaturalizing the concept of economic growth


Regarding the first point Kallis particularly mentioned the very comprehensive study “The material footprint of nations“, proving that absolute decoupling is still far from happening – despite contrary claims in the context of last year’s climate summit in Paris.

Also Kallis, like Demaria, defended the moral obligation to open borders from a degrowth perspective, thereby disagreeing with ecological economist Herman Daly who claims that rising immigration rates to industrialized countries lead to the “tragedy of open access commons” and thereby to an increased overall environmental footprint. Kallis stressed that, when using the picture of life-boats, the whole Earth is one life boat where we cannot differentiate between people. He also added that including immigrants in the societies of the global north can be a means to repay our ecological debt to the south.

Degrowth in semi-periphery context

For the first time a degrowth conference is taking place in an Eastern European country which is a very interesting setting: on one hand Eastern Europe is home of degrowth pioneers such as Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, Karl Polanyi and Ivan Illich, and on the other hand it is a post-socialist region where degrowth ideas have a difficult stance. So the task of the opening panel on degrowth in semi-periphery context was to highlight the obstacles and chances for degrowth in this specific situation.

Hungarian Political economist Zoltán Pogátsa explained why it is so difficult to talk about degrowth in former socialist countries: The overarching narrative in Hungary for example was that of a linear development towards western capitalist lifestyles and consumption patterns that were highly desired After the transition from communism to democracy all available narratives were about catching up with western countries. In such setting it was very difficult to come up with alternatives. However, over the last years this has changed because the linear narratives of capitalism being the superior system have crumbled. Young Eastern Europeans travel more, read the internet in English language and read about ideas of sustainability, social equality and big businesses controlling states. They realize that their countries might be closer to the so-called developing world than Austria for example, and that Austria has its own problems and is not as attractive as everybody was imagining.

Danijela Dolenec, Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Political Science of the University of Zagreb, explored the question whether the European semi-periphery has any agency in building up alternative structures or whether it simply follows along. She emphasized that these countries combine features of both the industrialized West and the global South as well as modern liberal ideas and traditional ones, and added that by definition semi peripheries are geopolitical spaces that are open and can very quickly move. From her perspective, it is time to acknowledge that semi-peripheries have interesting experiences and knowledge to offer to the degrowth movement: for example the tradition of growing one’s own vegetables, sharing practice outside the market and convivial ways of spending time together. In addition, the areas of  former Yugoslavia for example have good practices and experiences in self-management. There’s as well a widespread egalitarian orientation in the region which is also important for a degrowth context. This could help debunk the thesis that only the materially prosperous show environmental concern because social equality is the missing link here..

“The moment where democracy really challenged the status quo it was crushed.”

Giorgos Kallis spoke about the Greek experience which, for many people in Europe, was a breath-taking moment where a country in the periphery was going to take a different path by claiming an alternative. This alternative, of course, was not degrowth, but it was at least an opening. On important lesson learnt from this is, however, that the material neoliberal structures in place must not be underestimated and that people might have to pay a very high price to escape from them. Another one is the difficulty to start a fundamental change from the periphery, as the EU for example treated Greece differently from how it treats the UK now. Therefore, such changes need to start in the centre, Germany or France for example.

Kallis also stressed that it is obvious that degrowth was only a very small part of these alternatives and that its main objectives were to bring growth back to Greece. This is why the degrowth community might have to make strange compromises amidst confusing political dynamics and why a distinction between degrowth and recession is needed. He sees no way that degrowth just comes along as an alternative vision and considers it much more likely that the transition will happen through stagnation. Therefore the important question is how stagnation can become degrowth?

Danijela Bosanic added from her side that the failure of the Syriza project in Greece was a crucial moment of defining how we see things: “The moment where democracy really challenged the status quo it was crushed.”

Author Christiane Kliemann is freelance journalist and degrowth activist. She is part of the editorial team of this degrowth web-portal
avgust 30, 2016


Izjava Avtonomnega kulturnega centra Metelkova Mesto po napadu neonacistov

V noči s sobote na nedeljo (27.-28. avgusta) je bila AKC Metelkova Mesto tarča zahrbtnega napada organizirane skupine neonacistov, ki je na navzoče med vzklikanjem fašističnih parol začela metati kamenje, steklenice in petarde, nato pa strahopetno pobegnila. Neonacisti so pri tem zadeli in poškodovali več ljudi – eden je moral zaradi poškodb glave v bolnišnico. Ko je na Metelkovo prispela policija, je nasilno nastopila tako do tistih, ki so naključne mimoidoče branili pred nasiljem neonacistov, kot do samih poškodovancev.

Napad neonacistov razumemo kot nadaljevanje politike izrednih razmer in strahu, s katero oblast med ljudi vnaša razdor in sovraštvo, medtem ko v ozadju pod pretvezo varčevanja in kriznega menedžmenta nemoteno pustoši družbo. Politika aktualne vlade, ki je kot odgovor na stiske migrantov na Balkanski poti gradila bodečo žico, je v Sloveniji ustvarila ozračje, v katerem so neonacisti zgolj ulični odraz tovrstne politike. Sovraštvo je postalo legitimno, tarča pa vsi, ki se nočejo pokoriti enoumju izključevalne in klavstrofobične politike, s kakršno se na rob družbe potiskajo revni, zatirani, »drugačni«.

Napad na Metelkovo je že tretji napad na avtonomne prostore v zadnjem letu: najprej so neonacisti s svastikami in molotovkami udarili po Sokolskem domu v Novem mestu (povod: zbiranje hrane in oblek za begunce), nato pa v začetku poletja še po Avtonomni tovarni Rog v Ljubljani (povod: obramba avtonomije pred rušenjem). Ne pozabimo, da so se tovrstni napadi dogajali že prej, tudi na Metelkovo, najbrutalneje pa v primeru LGBTQI skupnosti in lokala Open leta 2009. Jasno je, da avtonomni in drugi odprti prostori, ki so v poplavi vedno bolj gentrificiranega mesta in represivne policije še zadnji otoki svobode in kreativnega izražanja, predstavljajo simbol boja za svet radikalne enakosti onkraj kapitalizma in drugih oblik zatiranja. Ni naključje, da je bila Metelkova napadena isti dan, ko je bil v Ljubljani shod proti beguncem.

Čas je, da se vprašamo, v kakšnem mestu in družbi hočemo živeti. Bomo svojim sošolcem in sošolkam ali učencem in učenkam povedali, da njihove ideje sovraštva v razredih niso sprejemljive? Bomo s strahom pogledali v tla, ko neonacisti stopijo na avtobus, ali jim bomo jasno pokazali, da v javnem prostoru niso zaželeni? Bomo dopustili, da po stenah pišejo sovražne grafite? Bomo zgolj zgroženo opazovali, ko s svojo nestrpnostjo paradirajo po ulicah našega mesta, ali bomo pokazali, da je mogoč tudi drugačen svet, drugačna politika, ki nosi sporočila antifašizma, solidarnosti, svobode, odprtosti? Bomo po napadu na avtonomne prostore ostajali doma v iluziji varnosti, ali bomo pokazali, da nas ne morejo prestrašiti in bomo s svojo navzočnostjo podpirali vse tiste, ki se jim zoperstavljajo z vsakodnevnim delom in ustvarjanjem v avtonomnih prostorih? Jim bomo prepustili naše ulice, ali bomo jasno pokazali, da je naše mesto antifašistično mesto, kjer za sovraštvo in nasilje ni prostora?

Pred nasiljem, ki se napaja v najbolj uničojočih ideologijah, nas ne bodo zaščitili nobena policija, varnostniki, politične stranke, župani ali zakoni proti ekstremizmu. Te procese lahko ustavimo le mi sami, z odločnim NE nacionalizmu, sovraštvu, rasizmu, izključevanju in strahu. In to povsod, kjer se družimo, ustvarjamo, živimo, delamo, študiramo.

Pokažimo solidarnost z avtonomnimi prostori in ustavimo sovraštvo!

Uporabnice in uporabniki AKC Metelkova

julij 29, 2016

Opening of FACK Borders Meeting


On 3 – 4 August, within the frame of the 2016 FACK MSUV NEW mUSEeum event, we call for a FACK BORDERS MEETING against closed borders policy and in support to migrants.

OPENING of FACK BORDERS MEETING on Wensday 3.08 at 6pm in the hall of MSUV – with interventions by No Border Serbia, report from No Border Camp Thessaloniki and Defencing festival, projections and documentation.

All interested individuals, activists and volunteers, independent groups, artists and other realities active in and around no border movement, working in direct solidarity and in support to migrants’ struggle or interested in doing it are invited to take part in FACK BORDERS meeting. FACK BORDERS proposes to use the museum in any way that might be useful for their struggle and activities, for networking, work meetings, discussions, workshops, performances, projections, presentations, assemblies. This is the occasion for an experiment in NEW USE of a cultural institution, by opening it to the migrants’and revolted EU citizens’ struggle for the freedom of movement and against closed borders policy and for sharing reflections and practices among activists, artists and cultural workers to implement the struggle.

Individuals and collectives that are willing to collaborate in the preparation and/or to propose interventions & activities in the FACK BORDER meeting are invited to join the general FACK assembly on Saturday 30 July in Kino sala in MSUV – Dunavska 37. For any questions contact 063 7434197.

Please come and share info!

julij 29, 2016

Statement of one of the hungerstrikers at the serbian-hungarian border

28072016solidarnost sstavkajociminahordos

 Why did you decide to start a hunger strike?

“You know, its a global issue, the issue of refugees, there are now 3800 refugees here in Serbia, most of them are in the parks and in the streets, most of them covering somewhere, and many of them they live in camps, they have applied for asylum and they are waiting. In a legal process that is initiated by the Hungarian government on daily bases they receive 15 people from Horgoš camp and 15 people from Kelebija. To the issue of entering is very much slow when looking at the huge number of refugees although there is tough security system in Bulgaria and over here at the Hungarian border as well.

Personally I think that there are certain powerful nations that have turned a blind eye towards them (the refugees), I think they are fleeing their responsibility because whenever there is a crisis there is the responsibility to come forward and address the challenge. The world is sliding towards intolerance, insecurity is on the rise, people are being divided even if the the issue is the same: there is the few ones who want to create chaos, and they are winning the war. They are just few ones, and we are billions. Humans. And if they succeed in creating ruptures, intolerance , hatred, it means that this planet will no more remain a beautiful place and a secure place and in that case we will not be in the position to give a beautiful and peaceful tomorrow for our children.

When I came to Belgrade and saw that the refugees are stuck here, waiting under the sun to pick up some , I asked myself , for how long it will remain like this? There have been many people there, sitting and discussing the situation. It was my first day and I got interested and gave my ideas for what we should do. I thought doing something together is the only way from which we could successfully deliver the message: by creating fences we will not achieve anything in Europe. Its a kind of escape. Why not to stop wars?why not to stop violence? By stopping wars and violence , you can successfully address this issue instead of creating new fences or buying someones loyalty in the sense of “Ok, dont let them enter to your territory” and taking money for that. Turkey and Bulgaria are also having a business with this.The refugee crisis has become an operative sector these days.

So our second objective was: to show to the world, what the real troubles of the refugees are, when they leave their countries of origin and come through the “jungles” walking for days and nights, what we actually go through. They are beaten, jailed, dogs are unleashed on them, their money is snatched, and they are ordered to go back by foot. So this is something , we feel, its totally out of the sight of the world. Because journalists can not go to the jungles , or they have no access, or they are not allowed, I don’t know what is the reason. So because of inaccessibility something was hidden from the eyes of the world.Personally I did not eat anything for 2 days and 2 nights when I was in Bulgaria, only a bottle of water was offered to me. I was not even allowed to go out for urination, I had to urinate inside the prison. Inside my home country I was considered by the security forces a criminal because I had spoken out against the policies of the state. But why a person should be treated like a criminal when he was fleeing violence and war? The third object is: they have to rewrite, rethink, refugee policies. Because by creating just fences you are dividing the beautiful world and this is not a solution.”

Did someone come from the official side to talk to you for negotiations?

“We were told that somebody would come tomorrow, but nobody knows who that man is and what kind of capacities he or she has. Until now we were only in contact with the serbian commissariat and they kept asking us , what is your plan, what is your next step? They just appeared for a few minutes and then left.                                                                 Millions of dollars are creating fences and tightening security. So we can not just come and say “open the door”. This is not my uncles house. You know, I can not force anybody. I dont want any anger from a third country. When I am in a secure position, lets say I am settled somewhere, working as a journalist, then I am in the position that I can again take the hammer and start to criticize the policies . But given our position, we can just ask to have a second look at your policies. If the people could chose, they would not come this route. They would come by planes.                                                                                                     What we need today is unity, solidarity , love and peace.”

The talk happened on 28th of July 2016.



julij 21, 2016

Info Park in Belgrade with fences! Down with the fascist fences and borders!


Solidarity and support need ASAP!!!

Down with the fascist fences and borders!

As a sign of solidarity, resistance and common struggle- the banner was set up in Info Park tonight arround 11pm.
Today, workers of the City greenery set up fences around almost the entire Info park park,so “migrants would no longer be able to stay there and sleep in the park on the grass” ( statement from a City Greenery worker).
Apparently they received such an order from the city authorities.
The same they did last year at the end of the summer
On the same day the tents were removed from the park and the inscriptions “No camping” were set up in several places.
Repression, criminalization and illegalization continue!
But you know what ?
We will resist stronger and stronger!!!
Also, today we witnessed police violence in Afghani park-
a cop rudely dragged the young Afghan for unknown reasons, he put him behind the door of police van, hit him three times with his fist on back of the head, yelling at him and cursing ( for such a bad ,bad words there is no translation from serbian to english-than the literal translation):
“I will fuck your mother, you fucking runt, we will kick you out from here” and ” All of you came to Serbia and and you didn’t learn serbian language, you mother fuckers”.
Also, at one point we saw one of the cops returned baton to his casing but we didn’t see the punch!
We reacted immediately and demanded to stop the violence and racist insulting!!!
We asked for a cop identification number but they immediately moved away, so we had to follow them and in the end we managed to write identification number.
They asked two times for ID card from one of our comrades.
Three of us were present whole time during the police violence, while members of some NGO’s were sitting in nearby cafes, drinking coffee, pretending that they have seen nothing.
Also, a few days before we were witnessing a xenophobic statements of one worker from Doctors Without Borders who shouted very loud-
“Among these (migrants) are the Talibans and terrorists”.
We have verbally informed the coordinator of their team.
Never anything like this has happened for three years since Doctors Without Borders have teams in Serbia.
Because of all this that is happening, as well as the announced complete militarization of the border with Macedonia and new implemented repressive measures against our brothers and sisters- WE URGE FOR MORE SOLIDARITY, RESISTANCE AND COMMON STRUGGLE!!!



Belgrade, July 21, 2016




Dole sa fašističkim ogradama i granicama!

Solidarnost i podrška potrebni ODMAH!

U znak solidarnosti, otpora i zajedničke borbe- postavljen je baner u Info Parku večeras oko 23h!
Danas su radnici Gradskog zelenila postavili ograde oko gotovo čitavog Info parka, prekopali su zemlju kako “migranti više ne bi mogli da borave tu i da spavaju u parku na travi” ( izjava radnika Gradskog zelenila).
Isto to su uradili prošle godine krajem leta.
Istog dana su i šatori uklonjeni iz parka i postavljeni su natpisi “ZABRANJENO KAMPOVANJE”.
Represija, kriminalizacija i ilegalizacija se nastavljaju!
Ali znate šta?
Prućažemo otpor sve jače i jače!
Takodje, danas smo prisustvovali policijskom nasilju u Afgani parku-
policajac je grubo vukao mladog afganistanca iz nepoznatih razloga, iza vrata marice ga je udario šakom tri puta po temenu glave, vikali su na njega i psovali:
“Jebem li vam mamu, stoko jedna, proteraćemo vas sve” i “Došli ste u Srbiju a nisi naučio srpski da pričaš mamu li ti jebem”.
Takodje, jednog momenta smo videli da jedan od policajaca vraća palicu u fotrolu ali udarac nismo videli.
Reagovali smo momentalno i zahtevali da odmah prestanu sa nasiljem i vredjanjem, rasističkim psovkama!!!
Tražili smo broj značke policajca ali su se oni odmah udaljili, tako da smo morali da idemo za njima i na kraju smo uspeli da zapišemo broj značke policajca.
Jednog našeg drugara su legitimisali dva puta.
Nas troje smo bili prisutni sve vreme tokom policijskog nasilja, dok su članovi nekih NGO-a sedeli u okolnim kafićima i ispijali kafe, praveći se da ništa ne vide.
Takodje, nekoliko dana ranije smo bili svedoci ksenofobične izjave jednog radnika Doktora bez granica koji je vikao glasno-
“Medju njima ( migrantima) ima talibana i terorista”.
O tome smo usmeno obavestili koordinatora njihovog tima.
Nikada se ništa slično nije desilo za tri godine od kada Doktori bez granica imaju timove u Srbiji.

Zbog svega ovoga što se dešava, kao i zbog najavljene potpune militarizacije granice sa Makedonijom i novih represivnih mera koje se sprovode protiv naše braće i sestara- APELUJEMO NA VIŠE SOLIDARNOSTI, OTPORA I ZAJEDNIČKE BORBE!!!



julij 13, 2016

Borders and Migration. Emerging Challenges for Migration Research and Politics in Europe



[June 23, 2016, “Berlin Lecture 2016”, Berliner Institut für empirische Integrations- und Migrationsforschung, Humboldt Universität. ]


To the “community of struggle” of the City Plaza Hotel, Athens

No pool, no minibar

No room service, but still



I would like to start this talk by warmly thanking Wolfgang Kaschuba and Manuela Bojadžijev for their introductions. More generally, being based at the BIM since last October, allow me to say that I have very much enjoyed this truly unique academic environment, where the multiple challenges posited by contemporary movements of migration are investigated in ways that combine quantitative and qualitative research, breadth and depth, civic engagement, critical commitment and scientific rigor. I am therefore particularly honored and pleased to have the chance to address you tonight within the challenging framework of the “Berlin Lecture”.


I will take this occasion to share with you some of the hypotheses that have been guiding my work on borders and migration for several years now. I undertake this in a situation characterized by an unprecedented politicization of the “borders and migration nexus” in Europe. Tens of thousands migrants and refugees stranded in camps in Greece, mass deportations, shipwrecks and deaths in the Mediterranean, fences and walls across the “Balkan route” as well as at the border between Turkey and Syria, proliferating controls within the Schengen space (from Brenner to Calais), EU and NATO naval operations: these are some of the images we immediately associate with the topic of my talk today. At the same time internal politics in many European countries tend to revolve more and more around the questions associated with the nexus between migration and borders. New social and political polarizations emerge, which end up raising anew and re-qualifying fundamental questions about the kind of society in which we want to live, the nature and subjects of social cooperation, the very meaning of democracy. In this lecture I will firstly aim at providing a general framework for an attempt to critically make sense of the political stakes surrounding borders. Secondly I will share with you some hypotheses regarding what is currently called the border and migration crisis in Europe, particularly emphasizing the ensuing challenges for migration scholars in this part of the world.


Borders, Étienne Balibar wrote at the turn of the century, no longer exist only “at the edge of territory, marking the point where it ends” but “have been transported into the middle of political space” (Balibar 2004, 109). This is particularly apparent today in Europe. In a book I recently co-authored with my Australian colleague and friend Brett Neilson, Border as Method, or, the Multiplication of Labor (2013) we try to demonstrate that the proliferation, mobility, and deep metamorphosis of borders are key features of “actually existing” processes of globalization. The very relationship between capitalism and “territorialism”, which underwent multiple transformations in modern history while continuing to take the territorial state as its main reference, seems nowadays challenged and continuously disrupted by processes of financialization, digitalization, and new logistical arrangements. Capitalism produces its own multiple spaces according to logics that are far from being grasped by the simple opposition between a “space of flows” and a “space of places”. These logics rather “hit the ground” in complex, often violent, and always crucially important ways. Nevertheless the expansion of contemporary capital’s “frontiers” negotiates and imposes its territorial assemblages in ways that challenge and often eschew “territoriality”, understood as “a legal construct that marks the state’s exclusive authority over its territory” (Sassen 2013, 23). This is not to say that territoriality – and the territorial state – withered away. It is rather to point to a set of gaps, disjunctions, and frictions between different forms of production of space that make up the global. The multiplication, mobility, and “heterogenization” of borders, as well as the more and more intense and vital character of the struggles surrounding them must also be understood against this backdrop.


It is easy to see that the modern notion of the border as a line dividing discrete territories in clear-cut ways, as a simple margin limiting their extension, is historically and conceptually connected with the legal construct of territoriality. A line – something mundane and ultimately banal, the job of land surveyors. And nevertheless we should be aware of the fact that in ancient times in Western and particularly in Roman history, the land surveyor was considered a sacred figure, whose task was close to a goddess’s task and whose field of action was circumfused by fog and dirt, violence and magic. This comes again to the fore if we think of Kafka’s K’s gesture, which raises the question of checking and tracing boundaries beneath a Castle where the voice of the Law keeps repeating that all is in order, since boundaries are well established and recorded. Repeating this gesture, which means considering the border from the point of view of its tracing, it appears clear that the border itself cannot be considered a merely “negative” limit. It rather takes on peculiarly productive, even “creative” characteristics, being the condition of existence of the two “things” it separates and distinguishes.


Just think of the notion of “territoriality” mentioned above. Could a “territory”, in the legal and political meaning of the term implied by that notion, exist without the tracing of a border surrounding and distinguishing it from other territories? And what about private property, especially once we pay attention to the role played by landed property as an influential model in the historical development of this crucial legal institution? “It was necessary to set up boundaries to the fields”, writes Giambattista Vico in his Scienza nova (1744), “in order to put a stop to the infamous promiscuity of things in the bestial state. On these boundaries were to be fixed the confines first of families, then of gentes or houses, later of peoples, and finally of nations” (Vico 1984, 363). Forget for a moment the lexicon and preferences of this 18th century Neapolitan philosopher, and you will grasp the essential core of his striking description of the continuity between the establishment of private property, the cultural practices and “order” of the family and the house, and the formation of the state from the angle of the productive nature of the border.


While this entanglement of private property, family, and the state is particularly important for any critical reading of modernity, there is a need to add that the productive nature of the border is an epistemic principle that allows us to make sense of a series of crucial developments in other, seemingly more elusive fields. Just to give a couple of examples, scholars of linguistics and comparative literatures have convincingly shown over the last years that modern languages and national literatures could only develop with the establishment of bordering devices to enable and manage their distinction as well as the communication between them. Or, to pick up a question that continues to trouble anthropologists as well as theorists and practitioners of “multiculturalism”, can we speak of an “ethnic community” or a “culture” without having previously traced a boundary that distinguishes them from other “ethnic communities” or “cultures”?


These are just scattered snapshots, but they allow me to make two important points for a critical understanding of borders in our contemporary global predicament. Firstly, borders appear to limit, constrain, and contain movement, in often arbitrary, violent, even “necropolitical” ways (Mbembe 2003). Nevertheless, in order to grasp their operations – and to effectively criticize their violence – we must also look at their “productive” functions, which means, simply put, at the specific forms of “order” they enable within the space they appear to merely circumscribe. I speak of a “productive” and even “creative” nature of borders in only analytical terms, of course, without implying any axiological “positive” evaluation of this nature (a simple overview of the global history of the modern notion of border as a line, in its inextricable connection not only with nationalism but also with the history of European and Western colonial and imperial expansion, would suffice to clarify this point!). Secondly, the semantic field of the border is densely heterogeneous, its symbolic meanings are multiple and span from ethics to culture, from languages to economy. The history of the modern “geopolitical” border as a line can also be understood as a process through which these disparate meanings of the border have been steadily attracted within a magnetic field crisscrossed by vectors of unification that ended up becoming processes of “nationalization” – with the “geopolitical” border at least in tendency circumscribing a discrete national society, culture, language, and economy. The gaps, disjunctions, and frictions between different forms of production of space that nowadays make up the global point to a situation in which these heterogeneous meanings of the border also diverge from each other and the principle of their unitary articulation is placed under increasing duress.


At least a third point has to be added in order to advance toward a critical theory of borders and also to foreshadow the relationship between borders and migration. The fences that close off migrants and refugees from a national space or a migratory route – say, in Idomeni, Greece – can certainly be seen as crystallizations of power, sealed by violence. Nevertheless the border can never be identified with a “thing”, be it a fence, a wall, or a bridge. Not least at the border, as we have learned both from Karl Marx and from Michel Foucault, power is indeed always a relationship. And the border itself must be analyzed in terms of the social relations that it encapsulates, enables, and articulates while being constituted by them. To adapt the words of Pablo Vila (2000), an Argentinian ethnographer who has worked for many years on the U.S./Mexican borderlands, borders are complex social institutions, marked by tensions between practices of border reinforcement and border crossing. These tensions lie at the root of specific forms of subjectivation that the border contributes to produce. And they provide an effective angle for the analysis of the conflicts and struggles that nowadays surround in particularly intense ways specific borderscapes in many parts of the world, including Europe.


Some of the most significant of these conflicts and struggles – from the border between U.S. and Mexico to the one between India and Bangladesh, from the Northern shores of Australia to the choppy waters of Southeast Asian Oceans – are associated with the movements of migrants and refugees. I think it is important to emphasize that this nexus between borders and migration, which seems so evident to us, has its own history and must be grasped in its distinct and conjunctural novelty. I am not simply referring to the point often made by historians, according to which migration control has only quite recently become a prominent function of political borders. Just to mention a symbolic date, the immigration station at Ellis Island was established in 1892, just two years after the Federal government assumed control of immigration in the U.S. In Europe the turmoil, nationalist agitation, and political conflicts surrounding Polish migration to the Eastern provinces of Prussia in the 1890s is often mentioned as a turning point with respect to the establishment of the nexus between migration and borders (with a series of selective measures of opening and closing of the Eastern border to balance the needs of the Junkers’ landed property for seasonal labor force and the “national” interests of the new German Reich). It is important to keep in mind this relatively recent historical origin of the “borders and migration nexus”. But it is even more important to be aware of the fact that the contemporary manifestations of this nexus are in turn particular and quite different from the ones that characterized such important moments in the history of migration, as for instance Transatlantic migration to the Americas at the turn of the Twentieth century, postcolonial migration and recruitment schemes of “guest workers” in Western Europe after World War 2, or even the “White Australia policy” and its adaptations until the early 1970s.


These moments in the history of migration have also been crucial both for the emergence of the definition of “international” migration in terms of border crossing and for the forging of the theoretical paradigm of migration studies. Just think of such influential contributions as the ones made in this respect by the founding works of the “Chicago School” of sociology or by critical analysis such as the one pursued by Stephen Castles and Godula Kosack in their Immigrant Workers and Class Structure in Western Europe (1973). I would like to call your attention to the fact that even a cursory review of this literature demonstrates that the topic of the border, although as I repeat it was crucial for the very definition of “international” migration, did not figure prominently in the table of topics and tools addressed and employed by migration scholars. The situation today is completely different, the nexus between migration and borders is widely acknowledged both as a crucial problematic in itself and as an effective epistemic perspective on migration (with such important questions as gender and race being for instance increasingly analyzed in terms of bordering devices cutting through and hierarchically articulating migratory experiences). What does this dramatic difference say to us in terms of the underlying transformations of migratory landscapes, patterns, and experiences in our age? My tentative and necessarily schematic answer to this question is that this difference points to the fact that the “encounter” with the border, its crossing, can no longer be simply considered as the inaugural moment and primary condition of the migratory experience, to be accomplished once for all in the biography of a would-be migrant. It rather tends to reproduce itself across large part of that experience and biography, with multiple manifestations of the border haunting migrants in their negotiations with citizenship and labor markets, in the urban as well as “national” spaces they inhabit and they contribute to transform and produce.


Behind this ubiquity of the border one can of course see many factors, including the multiplication and fragmentation of migration patterns and schemes and the disruption of their spatial and temporal coordinates, which have, for instance, been carefully mapped by Stephen Castles and Mark Miller in the several editions of their standard reference work, The Age of Migration (2013, fifth edition). More generally, as several scholars have demonstrated, global migration is increasingly characterized by “turbulence”, “unpredictability”, and “autonomy”, which challenge established legal arrangements (as in the case of asylum) and governmental regimes (see for instance Papastergiadis 2000; Bojadžijev and Karakayali 2010; Mezzadra 2011; De Genova 2013). What had been foreshadowed in particular and uncanny ways by movements of population in the wake of decolonization and anti-imperialist wars (just think for instance of the “partition” of the Indian subcontinent or of the so-called “Indochina refugee crisis”) seems to have turned into a distinctive feature of migration writ large in the global age. At the same time it is important to emphasize that this turbulence, unpredictability, and autonomy of migration intertwine with profound transformations of the economic and social systems within so-called countries of destination (not only in the “global North”).


The moments in the history of migration that I previously mentioned (be it in the U.S. in the early 20th century or in West Germany in the 1950s and 1960s) were connected with specific processes of “mass industrialization” and with the generalization of “free” wage labor as a standard reference for the working of the labor market. Under these conditions the recruitment of migrants implied a subordinated inclusion within that standard, with a huge deal of discrimination and even “overexploitation”, which, however, did not challenge the stability of the standard itself. Migrant workers were managed as a “supplement” to the autochthonous labor force, in an attempt – to put it in the words of Michael Burawoy in his classic essay, “The Functions and Reproduction of Migrant Labor” (1976) – to bridge the gap between the “two functions” of the reproduction of labor force in a given capitalist economy, which means its “maintenance” and its “renewal”. The situation could not be more different nowadays, when the flexibilization of production connected to processes of financialization and digitalization is prompting an explosion of the standard of “free” wage labor and complex dynamics of precarization, multiplication, and diversification of labor. The implications for migration management are momentous, as it can be easily grasped considering the fantasy of a “just-in-time” and “to-the-point” migration, which nurtures the evolution of migration policies in many parts of the world – including Europe. Ever more sophisticated “point-systems”, an obsession for filtering and selecting migrants according to their “skills” and “human capital”, the multiplication of temporary, seasonal, and circular recruitment schemes are among the most prominent manifestations of that fantasy (see for instance Xiang 2012; Latham, Preston, and Vosko 2014).


While old and new forces of the right increasingly politicize the difference between “us and them”, a process of fragmentation (and potentially of erasure) is silently at work both regarding the “us” (the figure of the citizen) and the “them” (the figure of the migrant, or the “foreigner”). It is in this situation that multiple internal borders are infiltrating formally unified political and social spaces, challenging established patterns and mechanisms of integration and blurring the boundary between “inclusion” and “exclusion”. Migrants experience both inclusion and exclusion in differential and selective ways, which are more generally symptomatic – to recall once again the lesson of the great Algerian migration scholar Abdelmalek Sayad (1999) – of wider social transformations. With their movements and with their (border) struggles they politicize the very boundary between inclusion and exclusion, demonstrating in very mundane and “vernacular” ways, that no “integration” is worth struggling for if it is not understood as a profound renewal of the very conditions of “living together” – as the invention of a new commonality. It may well be at this point that the concept of “post-migrant” society, developed by Naika Foroutan and other scholars in Germany, comes into play. As Manuela Bojadžijev has emphasized in several writings we are confronted here with a deep challenge to our own understanding of the political – as well as of its boundaries (see for instance Bojadžijev 2011). This is why such experiences as the occupation of the City Plaza Hotel in Athens, where 400 refugees are gathered under the motto “we live together – solidarity will win” are so important to us. They politicize a specific border that is becoming more and more important in migratory experiences – the temporal border, the temporality of waiting, of living suspended in holding camps, “hotspots”, and other structures – and they transform it into a chance for a new democratic invention and imagination.


This concept of temporal borders has several implications. It allows us for instance to grasp the particular condition of “generations” held within the cultural category of “migrants”, for instance through the German administrative category of “Migrationshintergrund” (migration background). Moving toward a more detailed analysis of developments surrounding “geopolitical” borders, the concept has been key to the analysis of the interrelated dynamics of acceleration, deceleration, and block that shape migration and its “management” in many parts of the world. Migrants’ routes to Europe, in particular, are dotted by “waiting rooms” in transit countries and cities as well as in the desert, be they self-organized within migratory networks, arranged and managed in often carceral modes by smugglers and traffickers or by governments and even NGOs. These “waiting rooms” can be considered as part and parcel of the specific “border regime” that has been emerging since the early 1990s in and around the European Union.


The notion of “border regime”, which has been recently developed by several critical migration and border scholars (see for instance De Genova, Mezzadra, and Pickles 2015, 69-70), deserves careful consideration here. To put it shortly, this notion underscores the heterogeneity of actors (from governmental agencies to the multifarious instantiations of the booming “migration industry”), discourses (from an emphasis on security to economic consideration and humanitarianism), technologies of surveillance and control (from digitalization to militarization) that are at the same time confronted by diverse actors in their attempts to cross borders or to facilitate their transgression. Speaking of a European “border regime” does not obscure the unbearable amount of violence and the “necropolitical” effects connected with its operations. It rather aims at shedding light on the dynamic, contested, and even contradictory nature of the assemblages of power deployed at the border – once again: on the multifarious relations that constitute them.


The emergence, periodic crisis and transformations of the European border regime can be taken as particular instances of what I was calling before the “productive” nature of borders. Far from being a marginal aspect of the European integration process the border regime has played crucial roles in the establishment and constitution of the European space since the birth of European Union. The heterogeneity of this space, often emphasized by scholars, has been enabled and “mirrored” by the multiple scales of operation of the European border regime. Articulating “freedom of movement” within the Schengen space with a variable geometry of control of the “external frontiers” this regime has always also and simultaneously been a mobility regime. “Externalization” of border control, which means involvement of “neighboring” and “third countries” in the management of the European borders, has been a key feature of this regime at least since the agreements between Germany and Poland in the early 1990s. While it is important to critically emphasize the (often lethal) processes of exclusion of migrants and refugees the European border regime has prompted, it is even more important from an analytical point of view to focus on the processes of selective, differential, and hierarchical inclusion it has enabled. The European border regime has built over the last two decades the overarching framework within which multiple vectors and practices of mobility (internal as well as external, even in illegalized forms) have traversed, constituted, and materially transformed the European space.


It may appear counterfactual to consider the European border regime as a mobility regime while we are overwhelmed by the images I evoked at the beginning of my talk – images of fences and walls, with around 60.000 migrants and refugees stuck and stranded in holding camps in Greece, which seems to be doomed to become a huge “hotspot”. Nevertheless I am convinced that it is precisely these images that bear witness to the fact that what continues to be discussed in the media and in public discourse as a “migration” or “refugees crisis” is indeed a deep crisis of the European border regime (Bojadžijev and Mezzadra 2015). This crisis has its own genealogy, which includes such important moments as the economic crisis (with its implications particularly for Southern European countries like Italy or Spain, where illegalized migrants had found employment in several economic sectors in previous years) and the uprisings in the Maghreb and Mashreq (with the fall of such regimes as the ones of Ben Ali in Tunisia and Gaddafi in Libya, which had played key roles in the processes of externalization). On top of but certainly not independent of these developments, the “summer of migration” in 2015, with the unprecedented and uncontainable challenge posited by hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees to European borders across and beyond the “Balkan route”, has definitely accelerated and dramatized the disruption.


The crisis of the European border regime is far from being limited to what is happening at the “external frontiers” of Europe. Its backlash within the European space has been momentous – with effects ranging from the reintroduction of controls and checkpoints at several Schengen borders to the establishment of a set of limits to the freedom of movement and settlement of European citizens (particularly those coming from the South) in Northern European countries. More generally, the deep divisions within the European Union in front of the challenge posited by migrants and refugees – mainly but not exclusively around the East/West axis – have further prompted what today appears to many observers as an “existential crisis” of the integration process as a whole (see for instance Balibar 2016, 7). The border provides us in this respect with a particularly effective angle on a situation in which not only tens of thousands of migrants in Greece, but the European Union itself appears to be stuck and stranded in a profound impasse.


One could say that in the wake of the “summer of migration” a clear tendency towards the renationalization of border controls and policies has gone hand in hand with processes of further Europeanization. The latter can be instantiated by the direct role played by the European Union in the agreement with Turkey, by the strengthening of Frontex and its development into a “fully operational European Border and Coast Guard system”, by the EUNAVFOR operation in the Central Mediterranean as well as by the EU backing of NATO’s presence in the Aegean Sea. It may be possible to discern in the plans of logistical reorientation of the border regime through the establishment of “hotspots” and corridors the governmental rationality, or fantasy shaping these European interventions. But it is easy to see that this logistical reorientation is far from being “smooth”, on the one hand because it is predicated upon coercive policies of control, block, diversion, and manipulation of migratory routes, and on the other hand because the parallel processes of renationalization of border controls in several European countries obstruct “relocation” and mobility across “hotspots” and corridors. In such conditions emergency management stands out as real unifying thread running through European interventions and measures in face of the crisis of the border regime (Kasparek 2016).


Several scholarly analysis have demonstrated that no naval operation in the Mediterranean – in spite of the humanitarian rhetoric often employed or of the declared aim to target “smugglers and traffickers” – has made passage more secure for migrants (see for instance Heller and Pezzani 2016; Garelli and Tazzioli 2016). We are now confronted with the fact that even crossing the border between Syria and Turkey may be lethal for people fleeing from war, as a direct consequence of the agreement signed with the Turkish government by the European Union. Besides disrupting the foundations of the right to asylum, indeed, this agreement objectively implies a legitimization of the authoritarian nationalism of Erdogan’s regime within Turkey and its regional role and ambitions in the framework of the Syrian war. The management of the crisis of its border regime therefore also has paramount implications for the European Union with respect to its external politics (while we witness particularly in Germany its implications for internal politics in the wake of the “Armenia resolution” of Parliament).


The emergency management of the crisis of the European border regime has led to a situation in which tens of thousand of migrants and refugees are stranded in Greece and Turkey, in which crossing the Mediterranean has become more and more dangerous and expensive, in which the power of blackmailing of the Turkish government has been further entrenched, and in which the proliferation of fences and walls at the “external frontiers” of the European Union has been met by the dissemination of a set of limits to freedom of movement within the Schengen space as well. There is a need to denounce the huge amount of human suffering and violence connected to each of these moments of the crisis. But once again, consistent with the theoretical framework for the critical analysis of borders I sketched out in the first part of this talk, I do not think that what is at stake in the current crisis is simply an attempt to “seal” European borders and to keep migrants and refugees “out”. Sure, many of them are and will be kept out! But the crisis of the European border regime will not be over unless the border regime itself is reorganized in ways capable of restoring its function as a mobility regime. This is, very simply put, because Europe needs migration – as is again and again confirmed by demographic as well as economic reports produced at every institutional level across the continent. “Die Abschottung ist doch das, was uns kaputt machen würde” (sealing-off would kill us), declared Dr. Wolfgang Schäuble with his usual sharp clarity in a recent interview with Die Zeit. This need has to be addressed, at least in the medium term. This is in my opinion a first crucial challenge for migration studies against the backdrop of the current crisis of the European border regime: to read this crisis “against the grain”, attempting to discern the contours of emerging forms of mobility management and “inclusion” in a situation characterized by images and realities of immobility and “exclusion”.


What I was calling before a project of logistical reorganization of the border regime through the establishment of “hotspots” and corridors points in this direction, because it seems to correspond to the flexible, temporally and spatially calibrated pattern of migration management that is increasingly predominant in the present. I have already mentioned the obstacles and frictions for this project arising from processes of renationalization of border control. What is to be added now is that such a project of logistical reorganization has also to confront the challenge posited by migrants themselves, by the turbulence, stubbornness, and autonomy of their movements. And we must emphasize that it is no paradox that these movements compose a force that, through an elementary but no less radical claim and practice of freedom, points toward a different kind of Europeanization – different than the one I referred to speaking of the policies of the European Union. The meaning of Europe itself emerges therefore once again as a crucial stake in the tensions and conflicts played out in the crisis of the border regime.


Migration to Europe will continue over the next years – both because of the push of migrants and because European economies and societies need migration. “Stopping migration” is a reactionary and ultimately racist fantasy that produces concrete effects in the everyday life of thousands and thousands of men, women, and children on the move. While we denounce this fantasy we must insist upon the fact that it is not a realistic prospect. It rather contributes to increasing the severity of conditions under which migration will happen in the near future as well as of the lives of migrants already based in Europe. In both our scholarly work and our civic and political engagement, in the multiple domains of cultural life as well as in the media, we must cultivate an awareness of the fact that the clashes and conflicts surrounding the crisis of the European border regime reverberate within the cities we inhabit and even within the concepts and words we use to “speak” migration. These reverberations imply a dissemination of “fault lines, conflicts, differences, fear, and containment” (Mohanty 2003, 2). But they also challenge us to invent new forms of social exchange and cooperation, solidarity, commonality, and institutions – beyond the idea of an existing social, political, and legal order within which migrants simply would have to “integrate” or “be integrated”.




Balibar, É. (2004), We, The People of Europe? Reflections on Transnational Citizenship, Princeton, NJ – Oxford: Princeton University Press.


Balibar, É. (2016), Europe, crise et fin?, Paris: Le Bord de l’Eau.


Bojadžijev, M. (2011), “Das ‘Spiel’ der Autonomie der Migration”, Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften, 5 (2): 139-146.


Bojadžijev, M. and S. Karakayali (2010), “Recuperating the Sideshows of Capitalism. The Autonomy of Migration Today”, in e-flux journal, 17, http://www.e-flux.com/journal/recuperating-the-sideshows-of-capitalism-the-autonomy-of-migration-today/  


Bojadžijev, M. and S. Mezzadra (2015), “’Refugee crisis’ or crisis of European migration policies?”, in Focaalblog, http://www.focaalblog.com/2015/11/12/manuela-bojadzijev-and-sandro-mezzadra-refugee-crisis-or-crisis-of-european-migration-policies/


Burawoy, M. (1976), “The Functions and Reproduction of Migrant Labor: Comparative Materials from Southern Africa and the United States”, American Journal of Sociology, 81 (5): 1050-1087.


Castles, S. and G. Kosak (1973), Immigrant Workers and Class Structure in Western Europe, Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Castles, S., H. de Haas, and M.J. Miller (2013), The Age of Migration, fifth edition, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.


De Genova, N. (2013), “The Perplexities of Mobility”, in Critical Mobilities, ed. O. Söderström et al., London: Routledge: 101-122.


De Genova, N., S. Mezzadra, and J. Pickles (eds), “New Keywords: Migration and Border”, Cultural studies, 29 (1): 55-87.


Garelli, G. and M. Tazzioli, “Warfare on the Logistics of Migrants Movements: EU and Nato Military Operations in the Mediterranean”, Open Democracy (June 16), https://www.opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/glenda-garelli-martina-tazzioli/warfare-on-logistics-of-migrant-movem


Heller, Ch. and L. Pezzani, “Ebbing and Flowing: The EU’s Shifting Practices of (Non-)Assistance and Bordering in a Time of Crisis”, in Near Futures Online, 1 “Europe at a Crossroads”.


Kasparek, B. (2016), “Routes, Corridors, and Spaces of Exception: Governing Migration and Europe”, Near Futures Online, 1 “Europe at a Crossroads”

Latham, R., V. Preston, and L.F. Vosko, eds (2014), Liberating Temporariness? Migration, Work, and Citizenship in an Age of Insecurity, Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press.


Mbembe, A. (2003), “Necropolitics”, Public Culture 15 (1): 11-40.


Mezzadra, S. (2011), “The Gaze of Autonomy. Capitalism, Migration, and Social Struggles”, in The Contested Politics of Mobility: Borderzones and Irregularity, ed. V. Squire, London: Routledge, 2011: 121-142.


Mezzadra, S. and B. Neilson, Border as Method, or, the Multiplication of Labor, Durham, NC, and London: Duke University Press.


Papastergiadis, N. (2000), The Turbulence of Migration: Globalization, Deterritoralization, Hybridity, Cambridge: Polity.


Sassen, S. (2013), “When Territory Deborders Territoriality”, Territory, Politics, Governance, 1 (1): 21-45.


Sayad, A. (1999), La double absence. Des illusions de l’émigré aux souffrances de l’immigré, Paris: Seuil.


Vico, G. (1984), The New Science of Giambattista Vico. Unabridged Translation of the Third Edition (1744) with the addition of “Practic of the New Science”. Transl. Thomas Goddard Bergin and Max Harold Fisch. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.


Vila, P. (2000), Crossing Borders, Reinforcing Borders: Social Categories, Metaphors, and Narrative Identities on the U.S.-Mexico Frontier, Austin: University of Texas Press.


Xiang Biao (2012), “Labor Transplant: “Point-to-Point” Transnational Labor Migration in East Asia”, South Atlantic Quarterly, 111 (4): 721-739.



The second part of this talk is based upon two workshops held at the welcome2stay meeting (Leipzig, June 11, 2016) and at the occupied City Plaza Hotel (Athens, June 17, 2016). I thank all the participants for their contribution to the discussion and for the “good vibrations” that shaped both meetings.

Download this article as an e-book