Archive for January, 2010

Autonomous Space For Migrants and Supporters in Calais needs Help

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on Saturday, 30 January, 2010 by bristolnoborders

As you might have heard, a few days ago, activists from the transnational NoBorders network and the French organisation SôS Soutien aux Sans Papiers have opened a large warehouse for migrants in Calais as a response to the ongoing repression against the migrants in
Calais by the authorities. [1]

The building is to be an autonomous space for migrants and activists struggling for the right to freedom of movement. It will be host to information-sharing, debate and practical solidarity. The Kronstadt building is located in the town that has become the symbol of Fortress Europe, a place where police arrests and beatings of migrants are a daily occurrence, and where night-time pursuits are relentless.

By this act, they stand in solidarity with those for whom border and immigration control is a discriminatory, oppressive and unjust reality.

The space is not, as the conserative press has dubbed it, a “new Sangatte”. It is a self-organised space. ( see Brighton NoBorders response to the article in the Daily Mail from yesterday: [1] ) Of course, help is needed. If you want to support the space by either travelling to Calais or otherwise, please contact:

for more information and updates, see

about the situation in calais, see

press release :

No Borders Global Round Up: Haiti, Calais, Italy, Switzerland, London…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on Friday, 22 January, 2010 by bristolnoborders

As the dubious motives of the U.S. led aid effort in Haiti are revealed, it’s become clear that the issue of “security” and “migration management” are much higher up the agenda than any humanitarian motive. : the U.S. has stated it will accept no Haitian refugees, and a Naval Blockade, including an Air Craft Carrier has been set up to stop fleeing Haitian’s reaching the coast of Florida, where , just in case any do make it immigration authorities have cleared space in a 600-bed detention center in Miami, and the naval base at Guantanamo Bay is also being prepared to hold those who try to flee. Some may say that since the U.S. has been continuing meddling in Haiti’s affairs  for most of the 20th and 21st Centuries-  including Coups’ and support of dictators –  it should bear some extra responsibility for what happens next. It  may turn out that it does – buit in the guise of  a U.S. military-corporate invasion on the scale  not seen since Iraq. See “>Seamus Milne’s analysis for a  broader overview of the situation.

Meanwhile in
Calais: “On January 19th tents were distributed to migrants because the cold weather plan was suspended and the BCMO gymnasium closed. migrants launched a movement protest on the morning of the closure by burning a few blankets and banners, so the evening after the distribution of tents they decided to sleep next to BCMO. half an hour later fifty uniformed police riot made a line outside the camp, saying that if migrants do not leave they would destroy everything .After negotiation they agreed that migrants could leave with tents in the direction of the old jungle and they would not stop anyone and destroy any tents … migrants and activists were going to install the new camp escorted by the Police who showed us the place where they would not intervene… Yet they arrested 6 people at 2 am and came back at 7am” An urgent appeal has been issued for anyone who can to  to Calais to try to stop the authorities worst behaviour. More at:

In Rosarno, Italy at least 37 we’re  wounded,in a migrant revolt, including 18 police officers.

In one of the “worst-ever incidents” of racial unrest in Italy, the violence broke out on Thursday evening after white youths in a car fired air rifles at a group of immigrants returning from working on farms.

“Two immigrants were slightly injured by the gunfire. ‘Those guys were firing at us as if it was a fairground,’ a Moroccan identified as Kamal told La Repubblica newspaper. ‘They were laughing, I was screaming, other cars were passing by but nobody stopped.’

In Zurich, police raided and demolished an autonomously run school where undocumented migrants held language classes. The raid came as the Swiss government admitted that its harsh treatment of undocumented asylum- seekers has partly failed, and following an announcement that it is again planning a revision of federal asylum law. Several police officers, half of them in riot gear, stormed the Autonomous School Zurich (ASZ) Thursday. After chasing away the squatters and holding off protesting supporters with pepper spray, officers started confiscating teaching materials and technical utilities. The police partly demolished the single-storey building and removed its windows, leaving it uninhabitable. The ASZ had started operating at the Allenmoos School on Zurich’s outskirts last April, when activists squatted the empty building. The autonomous school operated according to do-it-yourself principles. Anyone could take, or offer, courses for free. As a result, a broad variety of training ranging from open-source computer courses to classes in solar energy fundamentals was available.

London: On Saturday 23rd January there will be two demonstrations called by London No Borders  in London. One will be at St. Pancras, where the UK (e-)border agency put up their controls in the middle of London. The second one will be at Piccadilly Circus where, while commuters, tourists and clubbers stare at the never-ending stream of commercials at ground level, they themselves are under constant observation by security and police in their cosy CCTV headquarters below ground.

Divide and Rule:Re-Post

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on Friday, 15 January, 2010 by bristolnoborders

I re-post this post because of the recent statement by John Denham that “ethnic  minorities are no longer always automatically disadvantaged”, which if you look at the comments on the BBC news website is full of racist postings.  This excellent Reader on this issue cuts the crap.

Working Class Youth - according to the The Daily Telegraph

Working Class Youth - according to the The Daily Telegraph

Over it’s eight essays, it shows how good old divide and rule tactics are still being used by the ruling classes and their acolytes to unfortunate good effect.

The themes include educational attainment, housing and the portrayal of the white, working class as a ethnic minority, rather than part of a multi-ethnic working class.

In the opening essay, Wendy Bottero makes the observation that the “white” working class are portrayed “as a council estate dwelling, single-parenting, low-achieving, rottweiler-owning cultural minority, whose poverty, it is hinted, might be the result of their own poor choices…and have the epithets ‘chav’, ‘asbo’ and ‘pramface’ (and hoodies) applied to them. While the very same commentators are also at pains to portray them as victims of a liberal conspiracy to promote the interests of (non-white) immigrants over theirs.

So : “…comparison to other groups is always in terms of their ethnicity, with Bangladeshis in Tower Hamlets, or Pakistanis in Oldham. The distinctive social position of these groups is presented in terms of their ethnic identity, as cultural or religious difference, rather than by the very marked class inequalities that they also experience. This exaggerates the differences between ethnic groups and masks what they hold in common. By stressing the whiteness of the white working class, the class inequality of other ethnic groups also slips from view. This sidesteps the real issue of class inequality, focusing on how disadvantaged groups compete for scarce resources, rather than exploring how that scarcity is shaped in the first place. If we really want to understand disadvantage, we need to shift our attention from who fights over the scraps from the table, to think instead about how much the table holds, and who really gets to enjoy the feast.” Quite.

Shortage, or rather unequal distribution of social goods, such a educational resources, is one pressure point to divide the “white” and “non-white” working class.

… Just 24 per cent of disadvantaged white boys
now leave school with five or more good GCSEs.
This compares with 33.7 per cent for black
African boys from similar low-income households.
There were fears last night that the figures
could hand votes to the far-Right British
National Party because additional funding is
available to help children from ethnic minorities.
(Daily Mail, 13 January 2007)

As David Gilborn comments:

“There are several things to consider here. First, the misleading assertion that ‘additional funding is available to help children from ethnic minorities’: in fact, local authorities (LAs) and schools have to bid for dedicated funding towards minority education projects: the additional funds are not simply handed out, automatically privileging minoritized children as the story seems to suggest.

Second, the story argues that the results could fuel support for extreme political parties like the British National Party (BNP). This
repeats a line of argument that has featured in British political discourse since the late-1950s – when riots by white racists led to the first major immigration controls (Sic).

By warning of the danger of inflaming support for racist parties, what actually happens is that politicians and commentators invoke the threat of racist violence as a means of disciplining calls for greater race equality . Official statistics reveal that most groups in poverty achieve relatively poor results regardless of ethnic background… the achievement gap between white students in poverty (in receipt of free school meals – FSM) and more affluent whites (non-FSM) is more than three times bigger than the gaps between different ethnic groups who are equally disadvantaged… And yet it is the race gap that is highlighted both in the Daily Mail story (above), which warns of BNP mobilization, and in the attendant story in the Times Educational Supplement.It is significant that despite the larger class inequality, media commentators and policy advisers do not warn of an impending class war…”

Social Housing is in crisis.
The crisis is not, as the right-wing press would like you to believe one created by a influx of scrounging foreigners, but of a chronic shortage, created by the Thatcherite policy of “right to buy” and an absence of major new public housing projects.

Tensions between the indigenous (not necessarily) white population and recent immigrants is often exploited where housing is concerned:

“…there is always far more demand than
supply of social housing, and only people who are technically homeless, and/or have multiple social problems, disabilities, or dependent children, can aspire to be housed by local authorities in the short to medium term. The chunk of working-class families on low to medium wages who used to be relatively certain of getting access to council housing in the period up to the 1980s are now unlikely to enjoy that luxury…allocation is based primarily
on points systems like ‘needs’ and ‘bidding’.”

The upshot of this policy, combined with low social housing stock means that only the poorest 20% of the population ever can get social housing. The very poorest people are often the most recent immigrants. From the viewpoint of the established residents, for instance, on Bristol’s Barton Hill Estate, it may seem that new immigrants are given higher priority than people who may have been waiting longer. Some are, but on basis of need and income, rather than race. It is those politician’s (and those who voted for them?) who systematically dimnished available social housing who are to blame.

Other contributions include Becky Taylor’s and Ben Rogaly’s look at over simplifications of both the class-basis of racism – as likely to be found on a playground in an affluent middle class area as in a ‘sink’ council estate comprehensive – they mainly concentrate, however, on questioning the  over simplification of a white working class identity, stating that:

“Migration out of the United Kingdom is as important as migration into it in the making of its constituent nations and of the idea of Britishness”

“The essay draws on oral history interviews with 73 people who were (former) residents or workers in three social housing estates in Norwich. In it we use the term ‘indigenous’ transnationalism to
refer to the transnational practices of people who have not moved away from their place of birth but are related or otherwise connected to people who have done so.”

The complete set of essays is available at:

Cinema Klandestino and Bristol No Borders present: 7 Suns (2008).

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on Monday, 4 January, 2010 by bristolnoborders

Sunday 10th of Jan 2010. 7 Suns (2008). 7pm.

Cinema Klandestino and Bristol No Borders present: 7 Suns (2008).

Sunday 10th of January 2010 @ the Cube Cinema

Tax: £4/3
Doors: 7pm
Film: 8pm

7 Suns film, music, info night!
7 Suns film, music, info night!

To kick off the new year on Sunday 10th of January 2010 Cinema Klandestino returns to the Cube Cinema and team up with Bristol No Borders to present: 7 Soles (2008).

Cinema Klandestino joins with Bristol No Borders to bring you 7 Soles (7 Suns) the 2008 Mexican feature film from writer-director Pedro Ultreras. Based on true stories, the drama follows a group of Mexican migrants attempting the death-defying journey across the US border through the Sonoran Desert.

The screening will be accompanied by Latin American music, with slideshows and info stalls from No Borders, highlighting the injustices meted out daily upon migrants attempting to cross borders in Europe and the Americas. Yasmine Brien who has worked with No More Deaths (a US campaign group working on the US-Mexico border) will present the film and guide a discussion round the issues.

Tax: £4/3
Doors: 7pm
Film: 8pm

film info:…m.php

directions to the cube:
cube website:

Related Link: