Barcelona 23-25 June: 2nd European Caravan for Freedom of movement
27.May.06 - In November of 2005, different activist networks from around Europe (especially from Spain and Italy) came together in Ceuta (a Spanish border city located in North Africa) for the first European Caravan against the "Valley of Death and for the Freedom of Movement". The Caravan was organized in response to the police murders of numerous migrants trying to cross into the European Union from Morocco. They were intense days of mobilization combining protest actions and public assemblies where Caravanistas exchanged experiences with migrants staying in temporary holding facilities.
But the border is not only in Ceuta. Borders are no longer simply geographic locations or lines separating one country from another. They are mechanisms of control that determine who has rights and who doesn't, at what price and at what moment. This process of control works in two ways. At the same time as the European Union leaves issues of border management to other countries (Morocco, Libya, Turkey...), the regime of control over migrant communities and individuals within Europe's metropolises is increasingly evident: check points and arbitrary detentions in train stations, post offices, and other public spaces, the proliferation of detention centers, constant threats of deportation, the denial of the right to formal salaried work...
Barcelona is no exception; the city is also run according to the economic s of transmetropolitan production and the development of contentious policies that deny rights to millions of people. In addition to having a large migrant population, Barcelona also has been one of the strongest sites of migrant political struggle and self-organization within Spain in the past several years.
Two important events occurring this year in Barcelona are worth taking into account: the city government recently passed a "zero tolerance" inspired law which further criminalizes the poor by sanctioning street vendors, sex workers, pan-handlers, other types of informal workers (windshield cleaners, street beer sellers...) and additional activities defined as "misuse of public space" (handing out flyers, postering, group s hanging out in the street, hanging banners from balconies...). Clearly these laws most directly affect migrant communities, representing a daily war against their means of survival.
Additionally, this year also marks the opening in Barcelona of the recently expanded detention center, La Verneda, which will now be the biggest in all of Spain. La Verneda has been repeatedly denounced by international human rights organizations and by a diverse array of social movement groups Despite this, the opening of the new center is being heralded as an "improvement" for immigrant detainees.
The Caravan is intended as a further step in the construction and strengthening of European spaces for the freedom of movement and the closure of detention centers. It's one stop along the path that passed through Ceuta last November to denounce Europe's migration policies of increasing control and deportation of migrant communities.
The Caravan is a gathering that hopes to connect the diverse activist networks that participated in last year's mobilization with networks of self-organized migrant groups in Barcelona. We see Barcelona, in the end, as a mirror that reflects the aforementioned dynamics and that the Caravan can influence and continue in other European cities.
the Fadaiat, an event that links the "freedom of movement and free access to knowledge", will also take place this year in Barcelona [www.fadaiat.net]. For an entire week Fadaiat will function as a space of reflection, the sharing of experiences, and as a media center connected to the Caravan.
We hope that between June 23-25, Barcelona will be full of actions, work to expose and confront internal borders, joint assemblies with the "precarious", migrants and local community members... all culminating in a major European demonstration with 4 principle demands:
-regularization without conditions for all migrants already living in Europe;
-freedom of movement;
-the closure of immigrant detention centers;
-an end to the externalization of border-related policies.
We look forward to seeing you.