French PM to visit Calais Jungle

Tomorrow Manuel Valls will visit the day centre Jules Ferry, arriving at 10 AM.

http://www.gouvernement.fr/partage/5029-deplacement-a-calais

We invite the citizens and the whole of the press to a public reading of “authentic speech by Manuel Valls, the one we want to hear” and a festive time from 12:30 Place Foch, before the Richelieu Park. https://goo.gl/maps/n8S0b

https://passeursdhospitalites.wordpress.com/2015/08/30/31-aout-valls-a-calais/

Who are the criminals in Calais?

Where are they to be found? Do they live in the jungle or stay at the hotel? Do they stand next to the road watching the traffic or at a podium spouting poison? Are they the friends, mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers boosting one another over the fences, or the ones standing on the other side with the gas, the sticks and the dogs?

In May and Cazeneuve’s newest statement great efforts were made to demonize ‘the smugglers and traffickers’ while lip service was paid to ‘protecting the vulnerable’ and ‘improving the humanitarian situation’. This is tired rhetoric; the purpose of which is to try and fabricate groups deserving of all the increased repression and security prescribed by the state while ever playing the role of the humanitarian. Behind these lies they try to hide their hypocrisy. Those stuck in Calais are not vulnerable, the situation they are forced into by the border regime creates their vulnerability. Adding security denies them the way to remove themselves from those who are taking advantage of their position. The police and smugglers continue to prosper from each other at the expense of those just looking to exercise the right to move which has been taken from them.

The governments are greatly exaggerating the level of ‘smuggling’ that happens here. Contrary to what the governments are saying, most of those in Calais are not making use of professional agents in their attempts to pass the border. They are just friends and family who go together and help one another try to cross. Rather than disrupting organized criminal networks profiting off the situation here, the new measures that the governments are implementing will simply criminalize solidarity for those helping one another escape Calais. Don’t be fooled when the state begins to parade people through the courts as hardened criminals who have just closed the door on the truck for friends or given someone a lift over the fence.

By their own standards the governments are the largest gangs involved in the trafficking of people against their will into dangerous and deadly circumstances. Just yesterday France deported one man to Afganistan who had not lived there since being orphaned at age four, who has no family, friends or any other connections to the country, and who suffers from mental health problems. This was also despite him having an appeal in the administrative court of Lille on Wednesday which was his last chance to stay the deportation. This is just one case of forced removal of which there were more than 1,700 from Calais in 2014, and of which they have vowed to do many more. We urgently have to find new ways to resist and stop these deportations, particularly as they start now by targeting the most vulnerable people first.

The gangs that really need to be investigated and dismantled are the UK Border Force, the PAF, the CRS, and the Cabinets. With them gone, no one would be dying on this journey or in the country of their birth after a deportation. With a safe way to cross there would be no market for smugglers or others who look to exploit a trapped population. Families would not have to stay in overcrowded and unsafe camps, and from one day to the next the humanitarian crisis in Calais would cease to exist.

La solidarité signifie lutter contre les frontières

Au cours des dernières semaines, des milliers de personnes ont relevé la tête face à la misère causée par les frontières. Emparons-nous de cette énergie et faisons lui prendre de l’ampleur pour se transformer en un mouvement de solidarité et de rébellion contre le système des frontières. Abattons les murs.

Nous croyons en la solidarité, pas en la charité. La charité est une relation inégale. Une personne est le donateur actif, l’autre est un bénéficiaire passif. La charité, à Calais, maintient vivante la division entre Européens, puissant, actif, principalement blanc et avec des passeports, et des Africains et des Asiatiques, sans défense, victimes passives, sans papiers. Il contribue également à consolider les profondes inégalités de ce monde d’États, de frontières, de colonialisme et d’exploitation capitaliste.

La solidarité tend à être une relation d’égalité. Nous nous battons les uns aux côtés des autres. Comme le dit la célèbre phrase « votre libération est liée à la mienne ». Bien sûr les frontières affectent certaines personnes plus que d’autres. Mais elles sont un affront à chacun et chacune d’entre nous, et font partie d’un système malade qui nous attaque tous et toutes.

Un million de couvertures ne résoudrons pas les problèmes de Calais. La violence et la pauvreté existant ici sont le résultat direct de l’existence des frontières. Tant que la France et l’Angleterre continueront à utiliser les fils barbelés, la police, les matraques, les gaz lacrymogènes, les médias de la haine et autres armes, pour arrêter les gens qui essaient de traverser la frontière, il y aura de la souffrance. La seule manière de résoudre ce problème est de se rebeller contre la frontière.

Les actions contre la frontière peuvent prendre de nombreuses formes. Toute personne qui traverse la frontière l’affaiblit. Chaque trou dans les barrières la fragilise. Se défendre l’un l’autre face à la violence de la police contribue à la déstabiliser. Partager des informations et des idées contribue à l’endommager. Contester la propagande raciste des médias et diffuser notre vision de la solidarité et de la rébellion contribue à l’ébranler.

La frontière n’est pas seulement ici, à Calais. Les frontières traversent toute l’Europe et pas seulement dans aux points de passage et d’entrée, mais partout il y a des rafles contre les immigrés, des checkpoints, des centres de détention, des centres d’inscription, des contrôles d’identité sur les chantiers ou dans les maisons, des attaques racistes, etc. Beaucoup de gens nous demandent : que pouvons-nous faire ? Notre réponse est : lutter contre les frontières où que vous soyez. Recherchez où sont les lieux de contrôle de papiers près de chez vous. Passez à l’action. Contribuez à créer une culture de la solidarité, un monde où les frontières ne sont pas acceptables. Un monde où personne n’est attaqué-e ou bloqué-e à cause de sa couleur de peau, du pays où il/elle est né-e, ou du morceau de papier qui est dans sa poche.

Nous encourageons tout individu ou groupe d’agir contre les frontières. Nous sommes également intéressés à prendre part à une coordination avec des personnes en France, en Grande-Bretagne et dans le reste de l’Europe, pour mener des actions et des manifestations contre les frontières. Contactez-nous avec des propositions. Et restez à l’écoute des annonces dans les jours à venir.

Solidarity means fighting the border

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In the last few weeks, thousands more people are waking up to the misery caused by the borders. Let’s take this energy and grow it into a movement of solidarity and rebellion against the border system. Let’s tear down the walls.

We believe in solidarity not charity. Charity is an unequal relationship. One person is the active giver, the other is a passive beneficiary. Charity in Calais keeps alive the division between powerful, active, mainly white Europeans with passports, and powerless, passive, African and Asian victims without papers. However well meaning, it helps cement the deep inequalities of this world of states, borders, colonialism and capitalist exploitation.

Solidarity strives to be an equal relationship. We fight alongside each other. As the famous quote says, because “your liberation is bound up with mine”. The borders certainly hit some people much harder than others. But they are an affront to all of us, and one part of a sick system that attacks us all.

The problems in Calais will not be covered by a million blankets. The violence and misery here are a direct result of the border. As long as the French and British states keep on using razorwire fences, cops, batons, tear gas, media hatred, and other weapons to try and stop people crossing, there will be suffering. The only way to address this problem is to rise up against the border.

Action against the border can take many forms. Every person who crosses undermines the border. Every hole in the fences undermines the border. Defending each other against police violence helps undermine the border. Sharing information and ideas helps undermine the border. Challenging racist media propaganda, and spreading our own visions of solidarity and rebellion, helps undermine the border.

The border is not just here in Calais. The borders run across Europe, and not just at the crossing points but wherever there are immigration raids, street stops, detention centres, reporting centres, workplace or landlord ID checks, racist attacks, etc. Many people are asking us: what can we do? Our answer is: fight the border wherever you are. Find out where are the border controls and flashpoints near you. Take action. Help create a culture of solidarity, a world where borders are unacceptable. A world where no one is attacked or blocked because of the colour of their skin, the country they happen to have been born in, or what bits of paper they have in their pocket.

We encourage all individuals and groups to take actions against the border in your own ways. We are also interested in being part of coordinating mass actions and demos against the border with people in the UK and France and across Europe. Do contact us with suggestions. And stay tuned for announcements in the next few days.

Some links and ideas for action in the UK

“Bordered London” map of agencies and companies involved in the detention and deportation system in London

Some upcoming events in the UK in solidarity with Calais

Article with some more ideas about fighting the border regime

Antiraids Network: resisting immigration raids in London

Unity Centre: solidarity with migrants in Glasgow

SOAS detainee support: London students supporting people in detention

Right to Remain: campaigning for people facing deportation

Movement for Justice: organising with people in Yarl’s Wood and other detention centres

No Borders Leeds

Motorway blocked! – The Jungle’s answer to Theresa May’s visit to Calais

Today Theresa May and Bernard Cazeneuve came to town. They told some lies, spilled some ink, and took a walk. Of course, they made sure to get no where close the Jungle or speak to any of those people who would be directly effected by their malign decisions. However, people here were not going to let their visit pass without making a statement.

There was a demonstration held in the city center. Local Calaisiens and people from the Jungle got together and tried to get close to the Prefecture and express their disgust with the so-termed “solutions” to the crisis in Calais that were being presented today. Although few, they were able to get quite close to the Prefecture before being met and forced back by CRS.

Meanwhile, people from the Jungle were continuing to try to come and join the demonstration. A group were walking in the road with a banner from the Jungle before being stopped by a van of Gendarmerie Mobile. They were told that they were holding an illegal demonstration and were prevented from continuing. For the next hour there was a stand-off with no one from the Jungle being able to go to the town; whether they intended to join the demonstration there or not. Many people claiming asylum in France had appointments that they were prevented from attending, and one man was ripped from his bicycle as he casually cycled past.

As more and more people were stopped and the group grew, the decision was made to walk back toward the Jungle, taking the road, stopping oncoming traffic. At the junction with the motorway, they held a sit-down protest for around half an hour. At this time they made the decision together to move up the ramp and take the highway. At first only a few took the 200815jungle6road, but then as they shouted down to those staying in the Jungle, numbers began to swell. They held the highway for close to an hour and then those who were on their way back from the demonstration in town were able to join. There were about a hundred and fifty people on the bridge above the Jungle stopping traffic. Chants of “We are human beings!, “Open the Border!”, “Stop the violence!” and “We are hopeful!” were being shouted. This action was able to bring the endless flow of goods to the UK to a grinding halt, create a traffic jam through which a lot of people were able to try and hide themselves in UK bound lorries, and gave a strong voice to those stuck here in Calais. Even if May and Cazeneuve could not hear them from whatever hole they’d crawled in, the disruption that they caused was certainly felt.
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After about an hour of occupation the CRS arrived in force to try to take back the highway. People shouted at them and were able to resist the initial police charges. When these intimidation tactics failed, and more people joined the fight, the CRS got their CS gas and batons out. Only with these weapons were they able to force people off the highway, bit by bit forcing people off the highway. People helped each other recover from the attack and, reorganising just inside the Jungle, moved back to face the CRS again. For an hour and a half more than one-hundred people continued in a demonstration on the road at the entrance to the highway, always threatening to take it again.

200815jungle3These actions show that while the politicians try to find new way of enforcing segregation, people continue to fight for open borders!

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Autoroute bloqué ! – La réponse de la Jungle à la visite de Theresa May à Calais – 20 août 2015

Aujourd’hui, Theresa May (ministre de l’intérieur du Royaume-Uni) et Bernard Cazeneuve venus en ville. Ils ont dit des mensonges, renversé de l’encre, et fait une promenade. Bien sûr, ils se sont assurés de ne rencontrer personne près de la jungle ou de ne parler à aucune de ces personnes qui seraient directement affectée par leurs décisions malignes. Cependant, les gens ici n’allaient pas laisser passer cette visite sans s’affirmer.

Une manifestation était organisée dans le centre-ville. Calaisiens et des gens de la jungle se sont réunis et ont essayé de se rapprocher de la préfecture et d’exprimer leur dégoût des soi-disantes « solutions » à la « crise » de Calais présentées aujourd’hui . Bien que peu nombreux, ils ont été en mesure d’approcher assez près de la préfecture avant de rencontrer et d’être chargé par les CRS.

Pendant ce temps, des gens de la jungle continuent d’essayer de rejoindre manifestation. Un groupe qui marchait sur la route de la jungle avec une banderole a été arrêté par une camionnette de la gendarmerie mobile. Ils leur ont dit que leur manifestation était illégale et les ont empêchés de continuer. L’heure suivante les personnes de la jungle étaient empêchées d’aller au centre-ville qu’elles veulent rejoindre la manifestation ou pas. Beaucoup de personnes qui demandent l’asile avaient rendez-vous et ont été empêchés d’y aller.
Comme de plus en plus de gens étaient arrêtés et que le groupe grossissait, la décision a été prise à revenir à pied vers la Jungle, en prenant la route à contre-sens, provoquant l’arrêt de la circulation. A la jonction avec l’autoroute, les manifestants ont organisé un sit-in pendant environ une demi-heure. À ce moment, ils ont pris la décision ensemble de descendre sur l’autoroute. Au début, seules quelques personnes ont pris l’autoroute, mais en appelant ceux qui sont restés dans la jungle, leur nombre a commencé à grossir. Ils ont tenu la route pendant près d’une heure, rejoint par ceux qui revenaient de la manifestation au centre-ville. Il y avait environ cent cinquante personnes arrêtant le trafic et criant « nous sommes des êtres humains », « ouvrez la frontière », « Stop à la violence! », « Nous sommes pleins d’espoir ».

Cette action a été en mesure de stopper le flux incessant des marchandises vers le Royaume-Uni, de créer un embouteillage grâce auquel beaucoup de gens ont été en mesure d’essayer de cacher dans des camions a destination du Royaume-Uni, et a donné une voix forte à ceux qui sont coincés ici à Calais. Même si Mays et Cazeneuve ne pouvait pas les entendre, la perturbation qu’ils ont causé s’est certainement fait sentir.

Après environ une heure d’occupation les CRS sont arrivés en force pour essayer de reprendre la route. Les gens criaient et ont été en mesure de résister aux premières charges. Lorsque leurs tactiques d’intimidation ont échoué, et que de plus en plus de gens rejoignaient le blocage, les CRS ont utilisés leurs gaz et matraques. C’est seulement avec ces armes qu’ils ont été capable de repousser les gens hors de la route.
Les gens se sont aidés les uns les autres à se remettre de l’attaque, se sont réorganisés à l’intérieur de la Jungle, et sont retournés à nouveau face aux CRS. Pendant une heure et demie plus d’un centaine de personnes a continué à manifester sur la route d’accès à l’autoroute, menaçant toujours de la reprendre.

Ces actions montrent que tandis que les politiciens essaient de trouver de nouveaux moyens de renforcer la ségrégation, les gens continuent à se battre pour l’ouverture des frontières !

Call Out: Against Air France and KLM involvement in Deportations

On 21st August 2014 a 51-year-old Algerian man was killed at Roissy  Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris during a deportation attempt.

One year later, people are calling for a day of protests to demand that  Air France and KLM stop all deportations.

One way (but not the only way!) that you can protest is to contact Air France and KLM via  social media channels:

https://www.facebook.com/airfrance

https://www.facebook.com/KLM

https://twitter.com/airfrance

https://twitter.com/KLM
For more information about deportations by Air France and KLM, please go to:

https://network23.org/klmdeportations/air-france-klm-deportations/
https://www.facebook.com/stopdeportationsairfranceklm

Stop all deportation flights! Freedom of movement and settlement for all!

Our solidarity is stronger than the border

solidarity fence

It’s been beautiful to see all the messages and acts of support coming in over the last couple of weeks, from the UK and from all over Europe. We are pretty well swamped with emails offering donations of materials or time, so apologies if we don’t get back to you immediately, but please do keep ’em coming.

What we’ve seen in recent weeks is how a crisis, if that’s what it is, brings out both the very worst and the very best in people. Solidarity is our weapon, and it is stronger than their barbed wire and fear.

A lot of the same questions keep coming up when people write to us, so below are a few common answers.

Q: Are you receiving donations of materials for migrants in Calais?

Humanitarian aid will not end this “crisis”. Only getting rid of this vicious border will do that. The situation in Calais is a deeply political one, and we believe the response to this goes further than the provision of blankets. We do not see it as our role to manage donations or be involved in distributions, there are many humanitarian organisations  and individuals operating in Calais who can do this. There details are included below.

Q: Are you receiving donations of money?

Yes. You can send money to either our French account (in Euros) or UK account (in Sterling). All the details are on this page. Unfortunately we don’t do paypal.

Q: Can I come and help out for a few days?

We are not able to host or make introductions for new people who are just coming for a short visit. It takes up a lot of time and energy to introduce people to what is a complex situation, and we just don’t have enough to go round. Also, we are cautious, because we know there are lots of good-hearted people who want to do something but we’re also very wary of the danger of the Calais jungle becoming a kind of safari park for poverty tourism.

Of course, we don’t have a monopoly on Calais solidarity, and it is totally up to you if you want to come to the Jungle under your own steam, and organise your own activities and accommodation. There is plenty of room to pitch a tent, and people are generally very welcoming. Assuming, that is, that you’re not shoving a camera into their face or otherwise acting like a prick.

Q: Can I come and volunteer with you for a longer period?

We are not a volunteer organisation. We are interested in hearing from people who want to join our struggle, if you can make a minimum commitment of a week. (Of course, maybe you find once you get here that it’s not for you, in which case that’s fine, it’s the intention that matters.) However, please note: we are not a charity, NGO or aid organisation. We are a political group with a strong position against all borders (see this earlier post), and against other systems of oppression including capitalism, colonialism, racism, male domination, and the state. We want to work with people who share these views. We are looking for comrades rather than volunteers.

If you do not feel close to these ideas, there are other associations who are doing very good humanitarian work in Calais and these might be a better place for you to go. Here are three that we recommend. They are French, but all have English speakers.

L’Auberge des Migrants. A local association who do a lot of good work in the jungle.

http://www.laubergedesmigrants.fr/

laubergedesmigrants@hotmail.fr

Secours Catholique. Catholic charity that provides many services to migrants in Calais.

http://pasdecalais.secours-catholique.org/

pasdecalais@secours-catholique.org

Medecins du Monde. “Doctors of the World”, who are organising healthcare in the jungle, and also other social services.

http://www.medecinsdumonde.org/gb/En-France/Calais

migrants.npdc@medecinsdumonde.net

Q: Do you want people to come and take photographs in the jungle?

No. We don’t. There are a lot of photographers in the jungle already, and thousands of images out there now, and we don’t see a great need for more. We will not act as an introduction service for photographers and journalists.

The one use of photography we see as very relevant is recording police violence. But this needs to be done with great care  and we prefer to work with people we know and trust already for this, or who are introduced to us by trusted people.

If you do come to the jungle with a camera, please be respectful. Don’t photograph people without express consent. And be careful. Maybe you are very respectful, but the majority of the photographers around are not. They repeatedly photograph and film people without bothering to ask permission, and we have seen photographers barging into people’s tents, refusing to delete photos when asked, etc. As a result of this many people are starting to get very pissed off with photographers and journalists around, so you may not get a friendly reception.

Q: Can I interview you or help you get press coverage?

Unlikely. We rarely give interviews to the UK media. We may consider a particular proposal if you send us a detailed email explaining what your project is. We will definitely not talk to the Mail, Telegraph, Express or Murdoch owned press. In general, we prefer to express ourselves directly in our own words, such as through this website. Please feel free to quote anything you like from here.

Q: Can I do something where I am?

Yes, absolutely. For instance, we are glad to hear from people who want to organise info evenings, film showings, stalls, fundraisers, solidarity actions, etc., to spread the word about what is going on.

But maybe even more importantly, we encourage you to fight against the border regime where you are.

The border is not just here in Calais. If you are in the UK, not far from you migrants who have arrived from Calais and other places are being imprisoned indefinitely in detention centres, including the prison for families with children run by G4S and Barnardos. Or attacked by Home Office “enforcement” bullies in dawn raids at home, at work or in street checks. Or made destitute under the vicious law that refuses asylum claimants even the right to work. Or threatened with homelessness by a new law against “illegal” immigrants renting houses.

Here are just a few links to groups we know of in the UK, or search for others near you. Or take action yourself in your own way.

Antiraids Network: resisting immigration raids in London

Unity Centre: solidarity with migrants in Glasgow

SOAS detainee support: London students supporting people in detention

Right to Remain: campaigning for people facing deportation

Movement for Justice: organising with people in Yarl’s Wood and other detention centres

No Borders Leeds