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No Borders Ireland Gathering

category national | rights, freedoms and repression | press release author Tuesday August 23, 2011 14:56author by No Borders Ireland Report this post to the editors

August 26 - 27, 11am - 7pm, Seomra Spraoi, 10 Belvidere Court, Dublin 1

On Friday 26th and Saturday 27th of August, Seomra Spraoi will be host to the first gathering of the No Borders network to take place in Ireland.

No Borders campaigns struggle alongside those effected for freedom of movement, for the freedom for all to stay in the place which they have chosen, against repression and the many controls which multiply the borders everywhere in all countries. This gathering is working towards establishing a network of individuals and grassroots organisations within Ireland and abroad who are working on the questions of migrants and asylum seekers.

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The No Border network was born of the convergence of campaigns in various European countries at the moment when undocumented foreigners had started to get self-organized, to get together and become visible to all, to take their struggle into their own hands - in short, to be autonomous.


At a time when the question of economic recovery dominates the political landscape and fiercer cuts are applied to public spending, issues such as these tend to become ever more marginalised. One counter-narrative to the celebratory account of the Celtic Tiger was that during the boom years, Ireland became one of the most unequal societies in the world. One manifestation of this has been the way in which the state has responded to an influx of asylum seekers for the first time in the country's history. Though the phenomenon of immigration has been a relatively new experience in Irish society, the Irish state's reactionary response to those most vulnerably seeking refuge here fits into a wider trend of categorical denial of basic human rights to an entire underclass of people, who encounter increasingly aggressive controls at Europe's external and internal borders.


The myth of the migrant threat has provided an easy political scapegoat throughout the broader shift to the right in European and American politics, lending more legitimacy to the militarisation of borders and ever-growing security systems which are supposed to quell our fears. While the project of neoliberalism has thrived at demolishing any kinds of limitations on the movement of capital, the reverse is the case when it comes to the movement of people. As the global economic system becomes more interconnected and interdependent, more and more people become sucked into the volatility of capitalist crises. Concurrently, the intensifying ecological crisis has seen a huge rise in the number of environmental refugees today forced to flee their homeplace in search of the basic conditions of a normal life. A decade of imperialist wars in the Middle East and the continued propping up of dictatorships in this region on the part of western democracies have further added to the reasons why so many are consigned to migrate to Europe especially, in the hope of a safer environment in which to live.


In the midst of the current crisis and the assault on public institutions that any IMF-guided austerity measures entails, it is crucial that people start to organise together, to work alongside those most obscured and repressed by the current social order.


While the appalling conditions of Ireland's direct provision system have begun to gain more attention in recent years, these are still issues which remain in their infancy. Little is known of those migrants who survive in Ireland without any papers, and thus without any kinds of rights. While the lobbying and campaigning from NGOs has ensured that such issues are given some attention in the media, and state practices are monitored, the best that many such campaigns call for are moderate reforms to the existing policy.


The No Borders call for freedom of movement for all envisions a society in which the right to live with dignity in a place of one's choosing is not hindered by the classification of one's place of origin. The practice of organising along grassroots lines and alongside those directly struggling against the current regime of border controls is one which does not seek to make those marginalised people simply dependent on a different system to the current one, but to facilitate their self-empowerment and autonomy.


This event has come about through Irish-based activists with an interest in working in this area, many of whom have been involved sporadically in No Borders activities in Europe. We hope that this first gathering will create an open space in which we can discuss these topics and look to coordinate activity around these issues. The programme will consist of talks and discussions on EU internal and external security, border restrictions as human rights infringements, accounts of various grassroots and NGO campaigns from Ireland working on migrants' rights and providing support to migrants, Ireland's asylum seeker system from a legal perspective, feedback from various No Borders campaigns, camps and actions in Europe, the migrant experience in Ireland and film screenings on migration in Europe and the Irish asylum seeker system.


Alternatively, we will try to accomodate space for spontaneous discussions, presentations, workshops etc over the two days. If people can only attend part of the event, please feel free to come by whenever suits.


The event takes place in Seomra Spraoi, an autonomous social centre in Dublin city centre. The centre is run by a non-hierarchical, anti-capitalist collective on a not-for-profit basis. It hosts workshops, gigs, political meetings, language lessons, film screenings, a vegan cafe and lots more. The centre seeks to be a hub of positive resistance in a city and society where public spaces have been eaten away by consumerism, property speculation and the culture of the car.


Address: 10 Belvidere Court, Dublin 1


Directions:  Walk north along Gardiner St, past Mountjoy Square and turn right at the next laneway (Belvidere Court). Seomra Spraoi is about halfway down the lane on the right hand side.


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author by EmmyGrantpublication date Thu Aug 25, 2011 09:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"While the project of neoliberalism has thrived at demolishing any kinds of limitations on the movement of capital, the reverse is the case when it comes to the movement of people"

actually you are totally wrong on this point. it was IBEC who were pushing for the free flow of immigrants into Ireland in order to push down wages. Now the "tiger" has taken a shit and left, we are left with a bunch of people our floundering economy cannot afford to support (since we gave all our money to German banks) and of course IBEC are nowhere to be seen. Probably gone back under the rock they came out from.

All countries need borders for very practical reasons. Its utopian to think otherwise. However there is a danger that politicians will try to get us poor people to fight among ourselves to take the heat off them and prevent us organising in any coherent way against their policies. This organisation may have a role to play from that point of view. Immigrants currently resident did not cause our problems and shouldn't be scapegoated.

However neither is it a good idea in times of dire financial problems to take on more new immigrants straight onto our already creaking inadequate health and welfare systems. Thats just daft.

Especially since the more deserving cases are unlikely to be the ones able to hop on several expensive planes to get to Ireland!! Perhaps each year we should have a small quota of genuine refugees which we actually fetch ourselves from warzones etc. rather than giving these opportunities to less deserving cases who can afford to pay expensive airfares to come here themselves.

author by Liam (personal capacity) - No Borderspublication date Thu Aug 25, 2011 18:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The basic argument we're putting forward is we don't believe that anyone has an intrinsic right to prohibit another human being from pursuing their right to live and work in any place. I don't think that the conditions are there for us to start constructing a society on that basis tomorrow, but that is the moral argument that I support, that will underpin my assessment of rights regarding this issue, and those are the conditions that I believe a society should strive for.

You are quite right, that can be labelled utopian thinking, as once were the ideas of a post-slavery, post-feudal society with universal suffrage etc. etc.

We're not trying to put forward the argument that focusing and acting on these issues should eclipse the fact that capitalism as we know it is being propped up by the citizens of various states in order to feed its habit. But we won't suspend the belief in those principles of freedom of movement and residence while we wait to patch up the economy ("our" economy).

Yes, the history of migration is filled with cases of a capitalist class pushing to break the power of labour by sourcing and introducing migrant workers to a national economy. This has contributed to competition and the driving down of wages, always in the context of wider calculated, destructive assaults on the state's social arm.
Maybe neoliberalism alone is always too reductive a term for the political-economic systems and ideologies prevalent today.
We are living through a time of increased militarisation of the borders of territories, increased surveillance and data-sharing - Europe and the U.S. simply being two examples.
We are told that there is a migrant threat, an Islamic threat, a fundamentalist threat and so on.

But as you well point out, the real threat to our livelihood is the banking system and its rabid beneficiaries.

As for the method you suggest for assessing 'deserving cases', I'd rather respond saying that nobody deserves to be placed in a position of being assessed on whether they deserve the basic conditions of freedom of movement, of residence, security and so on. You're suggesting practical solutions that would seek to alleviate the suffering of those you see as 'most deserving'. I don't think anyone has the right to ascribe those categories - not "we", the Irish, or "we", the Europeans or anyone else.
As for the notion that the majority of migrants granted asylum simply 'hop on several expensive planes to get to Ireland', you obviously know or care very little about the process that most people get through for the privilege of sharing this island with you.

Well, maybe see you tomorrow for more discussion...

"ah but sure, that was different..."
"ah but sure, that was different..."

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