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(en) Claaacg8 Journal No.2: Justice for the "sans-papiers"

From CLAAACG8 <claaacg8@claaacg8.org>
Date Wed, 21 May 2003 07:21:43 +0200 (CEST)

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

The struggle of non-nationals to improve their situation and to
come closer to the European standard of living have been going
on now for three decades.
> Foreigners: the protagonists of social change
In the '60s and '70s, their struggles were mainly for housing
and a decent wage. Since the late '70s they have been part of
the struggles for citizenship, for the right to association, for
access to the political debate and against the series of
measures whichg have affected them for the last 25 years
(reduction of the right to stay, the right to French
nationality, to the right of asylum, to access to education,
etc). These claims are vital to them since France and Europe are
at present subject to a wave of racism that has not dared show
its face to such an extent since the end of World War II.

Such indignation!

Allow us, then, to choke with rage when our dear elected
officials justify the exclusion of newly-arrived immigrants or
asylum-seekers claiming compassion for those excluded from this
country. Obviously, this excuse does not wash with many: for 20
years now European States have been multiplying the obstacles
foreign people face should they wish to seek to enter - waiting
areas, specialized police to hunt immigrants, holding centres,
restrictive interpretations of the Geneva Convention on the
right of asylum, common visa policies.

Immediate and general regularization

Admittedly, nearly 80,000 people benefitted from the
introduction of regularization following the Chevènement Order,
but their situation remains uneasy. Their status vis-à-vis the
right to remain in the country is for many very fragile (they
get a renewable 3-month permit or a 1-year permit which can be
revoked in the absence of a steady income), without mentioning
the precariousness of their life. However, another 60,000 people
were refused a permit by police, not to mention all those who
did not ask to benefit from the Chevènement Order, either
through ignorance, through fear of drawing attention to
themselves, or because they arrived after the end of the
regularization period.

Free circulation and settlement

Apart from the demands of the sans-papiers for complete and
permanent regularization, anarchists also defend the idea of the
freedom of all people to move and live where they like.

The freedom of movement for people and ideas is a basic Human
Right. In official texts, it regards the freedom of movement
within a State, a right which did not exist in Eastern European
countries or countries like South Africa. Today, with the
enormous development in the means of communication (the
transport of people and information), it is technically
possible. The principal obstacle remains a human one - prejudice
"against" foreigners is always to hand, suspicions of any wish
to settle permanently are the reason borders remain closed. That
said and despite everything, the freedom of movement of people
is a right which, in theory, should no more controversial than
sliced bread.

And it is precisely "bread" which is the obstacle to the freedom
to live where one chooses. Only an ultraliberal could approve of
a situation where some people are collapsing under the weight of
their wealth while others are collapsing under the weight of
their poverty. By making it possible for someone to live
permanently in some town, region or State, we make it possible
for him or her to provide for his or her needs and, if needs be,
provide him or her with the minimum necessary through acts of
solidarity. And for us, the minimum is economic equality between
individuals, between areas, countries and continents.

The obstacle thus consists in the uneven manner that wealth, and
the work necessary to create it, is distributed. Today, it is
through the labour market that wealth is created and
distributed, and its distribution passes the channels of
solidarity and social protection by more and more often. Another
obstacle to freedom of settlement is the official machine, that
cold monster for which "to govern means to foresee" - for a
State, to permit freedom of movement and settlement for people
is to permit the unforeseen in its operation and in its role of
social pacification. In short, it is to risk its power being
questioned. And that, for them, is impossible.

Text taken from Claaac Journal No.2
May 2003 - 1 euro - 8 pages

Convergence des luttes antiautoritaire et anticapitaliste contre
le G8
(Convergence of Anti-Authoritarian, Anti-Capitalist Struggles
Against the G8)

c/o La plume noire,
19, rue Pierre Blanc
F - 69001 Lyons

website: http://www.claaacg8.org
e-mail: claaacg8@claaacg8.org

[translation - nmcn/ainfos]

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