In the mutilated discourse called ‘immigration’ the false binary of the ‘open’ or ‘closed’ border is often posed absent any discussion of the colonial and imperialist wars that shape these vast movements of people. Whenever one speaks of attacking the legitimacy of fortress Europe, the United States’ militarized border with the global south or the complex of security barriers that isolate the state of Israel, one is immediately said to be in favor of ‘open borders’ and then the resultant chaos such a calamity would bring. I am opposed on principle to the way those borders structure and deform human life–creating categories such as ‘migrant’, ‘immigrant’, ‘refugee’, ‘asylum seeker’, ’emigrant’ and my favorite, with all its racist and colonial baggage, ‘expat’. But even when one takes the high road and insists on ‘asylum seeker’ rather than ‘migrant’ the trend of upholding this vast movement of people as the problem remains.
The ephemeral exigencies of American electoral politics play only a minor role in this. Obama deported–what is that number?– 2.5 million souls? We must explode this absurd binary of open and closed borders. The European Union does not represent ‘open borders’ but rather the Troika managed regulation of human labor and bio power which must meet the demands of capital–austerity and restricted movement for the many, flexible and brutally disciplined labor markets to prop up the few. When ‘borders’ are discussed as ‘facts’ that cannot be challenged, as ‘reality’ or a feature of the ‘national question’ which must be observed and accepted, lest one engage in ‘aspirational’ politics, or wishful thinking, the door to fascism gets propped ajar as it cannot be with a political program of socialist internationalism, rooted in solidarity. To effectively fight fascism we must attack the very foundations upon which borders are maintained. But not all borders, just those that are essential to neoliberalism and fascism alike. The anarchist slogan of no borders is correct, it just needs better focus.
The only way to break free from the straitjacket of ‘migration’ as an ‘issue’ and the endless racialized taxonomy that goes with it is to stand steadfast on the principle of internationalist solidarity. The perimeter and internal borders that structure our lives are essential to both neoliberal and fascist domination. Any analysis or discussion that begins by accepting as legitimate that which is illegitimate simultaneously upholds a right to regulate human labor and bio power through its endless categories of fully or lesser humans. This process turns our gaze from the juridical, material and political constructs of borders to the question of whether those intent on breaching those borders have a right to do so–whether they have a good reason to ask for asylum. But it matters not at all why people from the global South are moving north, only that that are moving north and that there are people helping them do so. At this historical juncture the most radical and far reaching act a revolutionary within the global north can take is to materially support that flow of humanity, not only because it is the right thing to do, not only because it is a good thing to do, but because it is the first necessary detonation of a 21st century socialist revolution–it is both a signal that it is underway as well as the concrete expression of the direct action needed to bring it about.
It will only be through the successive development of the Four Loci Of Attack (or something like it) and their expression as a concatenation of mutually reinforcing events that any one locus comes into being; that these agents of history become classes for themselves. Each social class cannot come into being separate from the other three.
Border attacks need manse occupations. The next complimentary phase will be housing and rent protests–mass non violent direct action aimed at palatial estates, penthouses, resorts, yacht and golf clubs. Anywhere the elite live, reproduce and recreate.
From the NYT
“But Mr. Trump’s dystopian imagery has clearly left an impression with some. Carol Shields, 75, a Republican in northern Minnesota, said she was afraid that migrant gangs could take over people’s summer lake homes in the state.
“What’s to stop them?” said Ms. Shields, a retired accountant. “We have a lot of people who live on lakes in the summer and winter someplace else. When they come back in the spring, their house would be occupied.”
Oct. 22, 2018
My response, from the film Almost Mercy:
One day we will look upon these fortresses as so much concrete and steel that had to yield to the far more powerful force of human freedom. Walls are never a guarantor of freedom, but a singular impediment to that freedom.