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Overthefortress turns into a social and political campaign. First meeting with the "March #overthefortress", a collective trip from the harbour of Ancona to Greece and the Macedonian-Greek border. The departure is set for Friday, 25th March. Further info (administrative office)mail: firstname.lastname@example.org - Tel. 338.3933853 (ita) / 338.2921375 (eng)
Just 5 months ago the Solidarity Handover #overthefortress began. Since its very beginning, the idea of a solidarity action born from the bottom was shared by activists, students, and volunteers, who choose to support the migrants in their daily struggle against the internal and external borders of Europe, walking along with them. The Handover moved along the Balkans route and the Greek Islands in the Aegean Sea, up to Hungary.
Thanks to the help of many European groups and of many citizens active in this area, a constant monitoring system was built up in order to assess all the negative effects of the securitization policies. These policies, in connection with a discriminatory mindset, lead to open and to close the borders for unpredictable time-lapses, locking thousand of people in some countries, like in a open sky prison.
In the Balkans Countries the Handover faced the progressive imposition of a militarized “corridor” where the migrants are allowed to pass. This corridor made, on the one hand, more effective the control over the migrants, and, on the other hand, invisible to citizens the transfer of the migrants from one camp to the other. Plus, the corridor normalized the situation marginalizing the role played by activists and volunteers.
Given this situation, the Austria’s decision to block its borders “on the top” of the corridor and to limit the numbers of asylum seekers entering or passing through its territory, not only lock the transit but it is causing a direct domino’s effect in the neighbors up to Greece. There are thousands of asylum seekers locked at the borders and forced to live on the street or in extemporary camps.
The crisis of the European solidarity and the implementation of a complex European plan against the migrants are clear. Their signs are visible not only on the Balkans route or on the borders’ areas, but in the system itself. The actual system is made of hotspot (a new name given to the old practice of illegal detention) and emergency reception shelters, of entire border areas militarized, of a discriminatory differentiation in the access to the right of asylum, of national laws always more severe and strict in the recognition of protection for refugees, of cynical agreements about the fast repatriation of illegal immigrants with the African States and with Turkey, the new guardian of Europe.
In this period meetings and announcements followed one another, and the resources of FRONTEX and other military operations, like Sophia and Poseidon, were continuously strengthen. Even NATO took part in the “war against migrants” on the Libyan and Turkish shores. In the meantime the number of shipwrecks and deaths increase inexorably. In the first two months of the year 410 people died, but victims seem always less interesting.
The European plan against migrants, which is plain to see, emphasizes the power relations between the Member States of EU from north to south, from east to west, and gives rise to nationalist and populist policies and attitudes. These policies are strengthening the borders with the barbed wire, adopting more restrictive laws, and realizing xenophobic brutalities targeted against migrants.
European policies as well as the internal policies of the Member States are merging on the right wing, becoming a new block against the forced migrants. Nowadays these policies are the very essence of the European post-democratic governance.
In this patchwork made of duplicity and cynicism, the attention must stay well focus on the bodies of those people, who, despite all the legal and military operations trying to stop them, claim full access to the reception system and to the European citizenship.
In the last months the answers “from above” to the claims of migrants have been selfish, based on closure and exclusion. On the other side, “from the bottom”, the reactions have been characterized by an unexpected well spread solidarity.
Multiple and different ways supported the migrants’ cause, which all speck the universal language of rights and solidarity. This is something European leaders are afraid of. The excess of this politicized solidarity is not welcome, thus the European leaders have set laws to regulate it, and they even implemented measures in order to reduce this solidarity. It is the case of the Spanish lifeguards working on the Lesbos Island, or the Italian Activists of Calais, which have been arrested. Plus a new accreditations system has been created, allowing only big organizations to work, because these can guarantee a humanitarian and uncritical support. This will be a new battlefield, in order to do not destroy the meaningful experiences made of activism and solidarity.
Given the ongoing transformations, the Solidarity Handover #overthefortress must strength its action and become more structured, starting a social and political campaign open for all the people willing to join.
The objectives of #overthefortress are:
Reach, monitoring and report through the website Melting Pot Europa (www.meltingpot.org) the situation on the internal and external borders of Europe, on the places where the emergency reception is implemented, trying to enlarge the view on all the European and euro-mediterranean area.
support in all the possible ways the freedom of movement of people, offering them information, legal advices, wi-fi, basic necessities, donations, etc…
built a network with national, European and Mediterranean groups, which are active on the border, in order to organize activities and cooperate with them.
with the organizations present on the border areas, realize political and social actions in order to confront from the bottom the current European policies of exclusion.
In order to realize all these objectives the campaign #overthefortress will promote a crowdfounding. The funds will be used to buy essential goods and to rent the means of transportation to reach the borders.
A collection of article and report from monitoring activity on the Balkan route will be realized.