No-Border camp in Puglia-Salento(21/7 - 27/7)

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 migrants.
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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