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(en) Italy, No-Border camp in Puglia (26/7 - 3/8)

From dr.woooo@.SYNTAX-ERROR
Date Mon, 21 Apr 2003 22:07:45 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E

> Proposal and request for support and further contributions
09.Apr.03 - The "Immigrati in Movementi" collective in Naples and the "Tavolo
Nazionale Migranti" have decided to organize a 'no-border' camp in Puglia
around the two themes of border controls and migrant work. The initiative is
part of a series of proposals and campaigns launched at the European Social
Forum held in Florence last November. Puglia has been chosen due to its
position on the edge of "Fortress Europe" and because of the presence of
thousands of migrants who work under conditions of total exploitation,
especially in the agricultural sector.

The themes of the "No-Border camp"

The growing fortification and militarization of national boundaries,
exacerbated by harsher measures of expulsion and administrative detention and
by the introduction of new criminal offences, has led to the
increasing "clandestinization" of immigration and, as a direct result, greater
exploitation of migrant workers. Behind the rhetoric of "firmness" against
clandestine immigration, the country is guaranteed a quota of workers who are
forced to endure conditions of total exploitation without any protection of
civil and social rights. The recent changes to the immigration law in Italy -
the so-called "Bossi-Fini" law - have introduced the "contract of residence"
which rigidly links the possibility of residing in the country with regular
employment. Linking the resident permit to the place of work transforms
individuals into a "workforce" of "disposable" commodities. Thus in the
particular case of irregular immigrants who have no form of legal protection in
the work place, reporting conditions of exploitation often means running the
risk of expulsion from the country.

Who should particpate in the "no-border camp"

The camp - which is also supported by the 'no-border' network which in the last
few years has conducted campaigns against the politics of closing borders and
has organized "no-border camps" in many European countries - is part of a
number of initiatives which aims to involve organizations and activists from
across Europe in the creation of an international anti-racist movement. Given
the fact that the directives on immigration controls are decided by the
European Community, it is fundamental that the movements which oppose such
policies co-ordinate their activities at a European level. However, the camp
does not want to just involve anti-racist organizations but other social
movements and workers organizations as well. The politics of closing borders
has the effect of fragmenting the job market into different segments, and
drastically reduces the possibilities for entire groups to aspire for better
working conditions. Such politics aim to radicalize a system which, far from
being a guarantee for the national workforce in the face of presumed
competition with immigrant workers, produces negative consequences for all
workers. The protection and the improvement of working conditions depends on
the bargaining power wielded by workers united together and the fragmentation
and increasing precariousness of the job market can only weaken this strength.

Work plan:

The camp intends to be a moment of discussion of the proposed themes through
the organization of seminars and workshops, but also part of the process of
identifying a series of concrete actions with the involvement of activists and
We believe that we need to define together a programme which accompanies the
workshops and actions. The following three topics have been singled out: the
crossing of borders, the presence of administrative detention centres, and the
forms of exploitation of immigrant (and in particular irregular immigrant)
workers. We would be pleased to receive proposals around these themes

Puglia is significant for a number of reasons: it is a coastal frontier of
Fortress Europe, the home to numerous detention centres and the seasonal
destination for thousands of migrant and above all clandestine migrant workers
who work on the tomato harvest. On this last point, we would like to already
propose to all the organizations and individuals interested an investigation
into the various aspects of immigrant employment We believe that the camp is
particularly important as an occasion for European and migrant activists in the
antiracist movement to meet, to confront experiences of self-organization and
to exchange information and expertise in the fight against legal and material
apartheid. The aim is to consolidate the active elements of the antiracist
movement within the "movement of the movements", and to move away from
delegated and specialized forms of action which still today regard a minority
of comrades and which are inadequate to confront the questions in hand.

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