An activist from Cardiff recently attended the No Borders Camp in Koeln/Dusseldorf. Here is a write up of his experiences:
The third convergence this year of the No Borders network in Europe saw a camp on the River Rhine attended by hundreds of activists from around Europe and beyond. The camps are a chance to network with other activists and host and attend workshops to learn about other people’s experience and projects. As well as the usual discussions and info-sharing there is also the opportunity to disrupt the increasingly privately militarised border
regime. Despite the camp having some conflict over people’s positions and ideals, which centred on a criticism of the level of institutional racism in the movement and the tendency of people to speak for people rather than engage with people’s dis-empowerment, the camp was able to take action to support local struggles.
The office of the local Green party was occupied due to their reluctance to support an ongoing hunger strike of refugees, and practical solidarity was shown to the refugees themselves by attempting to stop their harassment by the police. There was also an action at the British consulate in Düsseldorf in protest at the attempted deportaion of Tarik, a torture surviver who was on hunger strike against his indefinate detention in a UK detention centre (something which is contrary even to UKBA guidelines) and an occupation of the French consulate on the same day which lasted for four hours and highlighted the repression of refugees in Calais to many, and called for justice after the death of popular Calais refugee Noureddin Mohammed. More information about this action can be found here:
The final day of the camp saw a day of action against Düsseldorf airport authorities’ collaboration to deport refugees to countries where their lives are at risk. Hundreds of activists from the camp took trains together to the airport and despite heavy police repression, many manged to get inside the airport itself to take the message about Fortress Europe direct to the airport staff and passengers.
The No Borders camps are a big part of the movement’s calendar and a chance to bring the movement together for a few weeks of the year. Next year sees possible camps in the South-West of Europe and a possible camp again in Central Europe, and occasionally activists plan to hold events in other cities in co-ordination with the camps for those that can’t make it to the main events, and it’s always great to host an event in new places so there’s always a chance to be a part of the struggle.
Freedom for all!
Keep banging on the walls of Fortress Europe!