Tagged: no borders

Solidarity means fighting the border


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

What is “No Borders”?


The name of our group is Calais Migrant Solidarity. But we are also widely known, particularly amongst people in Calais, as “No Borders”. This sometimes causes a bit of confusion: the thing is, really, “No Borders” isn’t a group or organisation, it’s an idea.

Calais Migrant Solidarity started in 2009. It was a project that came out of the “Calais No Border Camp” of that summer, in which hundreds of people from across Europe and further afield came to camp on the outskirts of the town, take action against the border and make connections with people without papers here. Other “No Border Camps” have been held over the years at important border points such as Lesvos, or at centres of the European Border Regime such as Brussels and Frankfurt. And there are various groups that choose to use the name “No Borders”, like No Borders Morocco or the “permanent No Border camp” at Ventimiglia. Some of these groups and individuals may have worked together, others not. There is no one No Borders organisation: anyone can use this name if they share the basic idea.

And the idea is pretty simple, it’s in the name: we are against borders. Borders create misery and death. They are a cruel fiction, a weapon of divide and rule. They serve the rich, who use them to protect the wealth hoarded by colonialism and capitalism, and to turn the rest of us against each other. (If you’re a millionaire, of course, you have no problem crossing borders at all.) In fact, borders don’t really stop that many poor people from getting into rich countries. And maybe that’s not really the point at all. Borders create an illusion of control, while setting up poor migrants as a cheap labour force of “illegals”, who can be both easily exploited and easily made into scapegoats.

Is a world of no borders possible? Is a world without tyranny, exploitation and oppression possible? Maybe not in our lifetimes, maybe never at all. But should that stop us from fighting against these things where we can?

For further reading, here is a No Borders Manifesto which was not written by our group.

Statement from No Borders in Calais

(French and Arabic below)

No Borders people are circulating this statement below in Calais, as one small move to help push political debate here. Hopefully other groups and individuals, especially from the migrant communities here, may also make their own statements.

This is an interesting time in Calais. The numbers of people trapped here are increasing very rapidly. The French state’s continuing attempts to control the ‘problem’ with repression —  beatings, gas attacks, evictions, more cops, more deaths … —  look ever more futile. There may be new opportunities to shift the political landscape here: when even the state is starting to talk about the need for ‘migrant houses’, and right-wing politicians are calling to break the ‘Le Touquet’ treaty with England, there are cracks emerging in the status quo. But we can’t hope for any positive change so long as we let discussions about this murderous border continue to be dominated by politicians and mainstream media.

So far this text is in Arabic, English and French. It would be great if anyone can help translate into other languages (particularly useful would be Pashto, Farsi/Dari, Tigrinya, Amharic). It would also be great if anyone of an artistic bent would like to help design posters using this text or a shortened version.


Why are the French police guarding the UK border?

There are now over a thousand migrants in Calais, and the number is growing. They don’t want to be here, they want to be in England. So why are the French police trapping them here? In 2003 the French Government signed the ‘Le Touquet Treaty’ with the British Government. France agreed to police the border in Calais. Britain pays them millions of euros to do it.

Why are there any borders at all?

Borders are not made for our safety. They are made by governments and their friends in business to separate us, to create fear and division.The same politicians and businessmen start the wars and famines in Africa, Asia and the Middle East that chase the refugees from their homes. Borders, like war and poverty, make profits for the rich, and keep us fighting amongst ourselves. The migrants are not our enemies. Our enemies are the politicians and capitalists who are a menace to us all.

What do we want?

1. We call for a safe place of welcome where migrants can stay in Calais, with proper shelter and hygiene, and free from violence including from the police.

2. We call for an immediate end to the Le Touquet treaty. Take the border away from Calais.

3. We call for an end to all borders. Let human beings move freely. Let us come together to fight our common enemies and make a new world.

No Borders.
Pourquoi ce sont des policiers français qui gardent la frontière pour le Royaume-Uni ?  

Il y a actuellement plus d’un millier de migrant-es à Calais et le nombre est en augmentation. Ils-elles ne souhaitent pas être ici, ils-elles veulent être en Angleterre. Alors, pourquoi la police française les piège-t-elle ici ?

En 2003, le gouvernement français a signé avec le gouvernement britannique «Le Traité du Touquet». Par ce traité la France a accepté de servir en tant que police des frontières à Calais. La Grande-Bretagne lui verse pour ce faire des millions de d’euros.

En fait pourquoi y a-t-il des frontières ? 

Les frontières ne sont pas faites pour notre sécurité. Elles sont établies par les gouvernements et leurs partenaires en affaires afin de nous séparer, pour créer des peurs et nous diviser. Ce sont les mêmes politicien-nes et hommes-femmes d’affaires qui sont responsables du déclenchement des guerres et des famines en Afrique, en Asie et au Moyen-Orient et qui de ce fait chassent les réfugié-es hors de leurs foyers.

Les frontières, comme la guerre et la pauvreté, permettent aux riches de faire des profits, et nous entrainent dans des luttes entre nous. Ce ne sont pas les migrant-es qui sont nos ennemi-es. Nos ennemi-es sont les politicien-nes et les capitalistes qui sont une menace pour nous tou-tes.

Que voulons-nous ?  

1. Nous demandons un lieu d’accueil sûr où les migrant-es puissent rester pendant leur séjour à Calais, s’abriter, maintenir une bonne hygiène, à l’écart des violences, y compris policières.

2. Nous appelons à la fin immédiate du Traité du Touquet. Emmenez la frontière loin de Calais.

3. Nous appelons à mettre fin à toutes les frontières. Que les êtres humains puissent se déplacer librement. Rassemblons-nous pour combattre nos ennemi-es communs et créer un nouveau monde.

À bas les frontières.

لماذا تحرس الشرطة الفرنسية الحدود البريطانية؟

يوجد اليوم أكثر من ألف مهاجر في (كاليه) والعدد في تزايد مستمر. كلهم لا يريدون أن يكونوا هنا، بل يريدون الذهاب إلى إنكلترا. فلماذا تمنعهم الشرطة الفرنسية من ذلك وتبقيهم هنا؟

عام 2003 وقّعت الحكومتان الفرنسية والبريطانية (اتفاقية توكيه)، والتي وافقت فرنسا بموجبها على حراسة الحدود في (كاليه). وتدفع لها بريطانيا ملايين اليوروهات لفعل ذلك.

لماذا هناك حدود أصلاً؟

الحدود ليست من أجل أمننا. لقد وُضعت الحدود من قبل الحكومات وأصحاب الأعمال من أجل تقسيمنا وخلق الخوف والانقسام. هؤلاء السياسيون ورجال الأعمال أنفسهم هم من يبدأ الحروب والمجاعات في إفريقيا وآسيا والشرق الأوسط، والتي تتسبب في مغادرة اللاجئين لبيوتهم. والحدود، كما الحرب والفقر، صناعة مربحة للأغنياء وتبقينا نتصارع فيما بيننا. المهاجرون ليسوا أعداءنا. أعداؤنا هم السياسيون والرأسماليون الذين يتسببون في الأذية لنا جميعاً.

ماذا نريد؟

1. نطالب بمكان آمن يرحّب بالمهاجرين حيث يمكنهم الإقامة في كاليه، يؤمن لهم الحماية والنظافة، ويكون خالياً من العنف، بما في ذلك عنف الشرطة.

2. ندعو إلى إنهاء اتفاقية توكيه فوراً وإبعاد الحدود عن كاليه.

3. ندعو إلى إنهاء جميع أشكال الحدود. اتركوا الناس يتحركون بحرية. لنتحد ولنقاتل معاً ضد عدونا المشترك ونبني عالماً جديداً.

مجموعة لا حدود