Venice Climate Camp – In the workshop proposed by Melting Pot Europa and the Alto Vicentino Balkan Routes Collective we placed freedom of movement as a necessary claim in the fight for climate and social justice. Above all, we talked about how to unite struggles that sometimes seem not to overlap, yet are in opposition to the same capitalist model, manifest in different forms and spaces but with the same mechanisms of domination, hierarchization and exploitation. In fact, today Europe’s borders are a place where the brutal expression of these mechanisms takes shape, as shown by the extreme levels of violence, and the systemic suspension of the rule of law. Frontiers can therefore be thought as zones of sacrifice, extending a concept usually restricted to the environmental debate. They are delimited spaces produced by the same system of death that places profit before our lives, and sacrifices bodies, lands and ecosystems.After addressing the issue of intersectionality, we moved on to describe in more detail the European policies of militarization and externalization of borders, in particular focusing on the Balkan context. We defined push-back, and we discussed how Frontex’s role in coordinating border police not only in Europe but also in external countries is growing, as well as that of large companies (i.e. Leonardo) that make profits in the sale of high-tech military and control devices. We discussed in-depth the evolution of control techniques, now based not only on drones and sensors but also on the collection of biometric data, photographs and personal information from social networks-according to a design to improve the efficiency and integration of European databases, previously fragmented between individual states and different agencies. We then linked the technical information to the narration of stories of people encountered during our experiences in the region, in the attempt to give a tangibile example and subjectivity to notions that otherwise risk remaining statistics.
We continued the workshop by analyzing the multiplicity of the border system, which sees only one of its aspects in the militarization of borders. In fact, the asylum system itself is a colonial device of selection between “real and false migrants”, a way of categorizing people according to Western criteria by Western people, who claim the power to decide on the life of others. We paid particular attention to the emergence of the “camp”, as shape and structure that is being increasingly used both at internal and external borders, as structures of geographical restriction and detention of people. Examples of this being Greek hotspots, Libyan concentration camps, and CPRs in Italy. We also talked about the colonial genealogy of the “camp”, which in its essence is a producer and reproducer of differences between those who must / can be interned and those who don’t. Subsequently, we discussed the role of universities and foundations such as MED-OR (by Leonardo) which finance research functional to the border regime, as in the case of the collaboration of the Polytechnic of Turin with Frontex, and promote mobility and exchanges for “excellent” researchers and students from North Africa and the Middle East – in the context of the global race for talent, as written in the European Pact for Migration and Asylum. Once again, we all noted the differentiality of freedom of movement, defined by its functionality for capital.
Finally we discussed the practices of the no border struggle, starting from the experience of the Collective, which in recent months has been carrying out solidarity projects in Bihac and Subotica, respectively in Bosnia and Serbia. We emphasized the radical nature of care work and of supporting people’s movement across borders, as well as the importance of building horizontal relationships that prefigure the borderless society we are fighting for. We cited some examples of mobilizations carried out in the first person by people on the move, especially in the so-called “containment countries”, to dismantle the narrative of “depoliticized migrants” and highlight the importance of supporting the self-organization of grass roots struggles and build joint battles. Among the examples we found, the recent protests by the inhabitants of Eleonas Camp in Athens, who have been resisting the eviction of the last city camp for months, and the refugee movements in Libya and Tunisia, which for months have garrisoned the UNHCR offices in Tripoli and Tunis, suffering the violent repression of local authorities and international institutions that should instead protect it.
The morning ended by emphasizing the urgency of acting intersectionality in the same conflict, which holds together the different lines of oppression and converges the struggles by building ever wider spaces of resistance and autonomy, at the borders as well as in our territories.