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No Borders Ireland Gathering
national | rights, freedoms and repression | press release Tuesday August 23, 2011 14:56 by No Borders Ireland
August 26 - 27, 11am - 7pm, Seomra Spraoi, 10 Belvidere Court, Dublin 1
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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