Over the weekend (23-24th January 2016), thousands demonstrated at the North-Eastern Greek border with Turkey (Evros) against the fence which forces thousands of refugees persecuted by war and famine to put their faith into people smuggler’s hands and attempt to cross the Aegean Sea.
During the recent and ongoing drama of the increasing waves of economic and war refugees, the EU remains a spectator while more than 3700 people (among them countless children) are known to have drowned in the Mediterranean sea in 2015 alone. In response, the actions taken to date are the establishment of fences around borders preventing migrants and refugees from crossing the South-Eastern borders as well as the collaboration with the Erdogan regime, in order to promote the establishment of a “Europe-fortress”.
We see responsibility in the wars and uprooting, caused from the imperialistic policy of international capital that is embodied by the decisions of the governments of the EU members, the US and Russia. Through military interventions, bombings, fomenting of religious and racial conflicts, and the dissolution of a number of countries of the region of Middle East, they compete for economic and political control over those areas. Even the “Islamic State” was born and rose in line with the “war against terrorism”. In fact the repulsive attacks in Paris are massively due to the imperialist intervention in the Middle East and Africa. Grounds should also be seen in racism and islamophobia that have been cultivated within Western countries.
On top of this, the economic and political refugees are turned into scapegoats and presented as a threat to the so-called “European security”. This is in line with the general attitude of capital exploitation where the criminalisation of refugees is the vehicle of profiting from labour cost reductions, from dividing the working class and from imposition of authoritarian and anti-immigrant policies, rights exemptions and abatement policies of everyone’s freedoms.
Fences around Europe, and especially the one in Evros, force refugees to diverge on to dangerous and deadly passages across the eastern Aegean. The apparent result is thousands of deaths while the survivors face appalling reception conditions with complete lack of welfare structures and services. The respected input of solidarity groups is admirable but undeniably insufficient to cover the increasing requirements.
It’s worth paying attention to the role of the EU that not only has been actively contributing to the continuation of the war but over the last months has focused in upgrading and increasing the authorities of Frontex and establishing the so-called Hot Spots. In fact, through the recently introduced “Poseidon Rapid Intervention” operation, Frontex attempts to “control” the flows by pushing refugees back to Turkey, to be held at dreadful detention centres. Complementary, the Hot Spots act as a mechanism of dilution and exclusion of human rights based on arbitrary, legally groundless and racist criteria. The refugees that are detained, are then seen as de-legalised cheap labour units without “legal documents” vulnerable to employers’ blackmailing and social exclusion.
The only ones who can prevent this new form of “massacre” are the united people who fight for their rights. The necessity of a strong international anti-war message is crucial and we have to enhance the solidarity to the thousands of economic and war refugees who fight for dignity, freedom and peace. We need to oppose the transformation of Europe into a fortress and defend our rights and freedom for a society with no wars, exclusions, racism and exploitation. We resist the new attack on the political rights of the peoples of Europe in the name of “security”, the militarisation, the fear and racism.
In solidarity with the Evros demonstrations, we demand:
- the end of military interventions in Middle East and the withdrawal of all British forces immediately
- the demolition of any kind of fences. We fight for open borders and secure/free passages to all kinds of refugees whether they are economic, political or war refugees
- the end of funding towards Frontex and Hot Spots. Use these public funds to establish public structures and social support services for all the kinds of refugees
- the end of fear and hysteria from the self-grown terrorists that act as an excuse for increased authoritarianism
- an end to refugee criminalisation, isolation and discrimination
- the scrapping of the £35k threshold for non-EU citizens settling in the UK
Solidarity doesn’t stop at any borders and “fortresses”. It is durable, practical and not trapped in any kind of differentiation (refugees – migrants). No solution can be temporary since the problem did not appear now but has been formed for years by the international capital. Social solidarity among the oppressed wherever they are from is our weapon against the exploiters. We need to organise and fight – natives and immigrants together for a society of equality and freedom.