Archive for Bristol

Brussels No Border Camp Infonight

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on Thursday, 26 August, 2010 by bristolnoborders

This Tuesday there’ll be a chance to find out more about what’s planned for the No Border Camp in Brussels and talk with other Bristol folk thinking of going. We’ll also be showing some short films about the European migration regime. And there will probably be snacks.
7pm – Tuesday August 31
The Smiling Chair
40 Stokes Croft

No Border Camp Poster

Please note that the venue has changed due to trouble at the Factory

No Borders Report From Bolivia

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on Wednesday, 21 April, 2010 by bristolnoborders

The article below is taken from where a couple of bristol no borders activists are reporting from the World Conference on Climate Change and Mother Earth Rights in Cochabamba, Bolivia, 19-22 April 2010. See more here.

19th April – From the Migration and Climate Change Working Group
April 20, 2010

The first day of the Climate and Migration Working Group finished today after four hours of comments, proposals and questions around the existing text. It began by ‘electing’ a bilingual International Secretary and two Presidents, one man and one woman, from the audience. While there were around 400 people registered online as part of the working group, there were around 50 people here today, and we were all given an opportunity to present ourselves. The group included academics, activists, representatives from social and environmental organisations, unions, farmers, community activists and local students. Countries of origin included all parts of Bolivia, Argentina, Ecuador, Chile, Brazil, Panama, Italy, The Basque Country, England, Scotland, Norway, US and Switzerland. It was noticeable that there was no one from Asia, Africa, Australasia, Eastern Europe, or the Middle East. It’s not clear if the participation would have been wider if it were not for the volcano cancelling flights, as we know this has affected both Europeans and those travelling from Asia who would have had to transit through Europe.

The International Organisation for Migration or IOM were visible from the moment that we arrived. Their logo is on the poster advertising the working group, they have a banner in the doorway of the meeting room, and there are two Bolivian employees in the audience.

We have always expected that they would be here, and because of our understanding of their activities and what they represent, we have been concerned about the implications of their presence for the outcomes of the working group. Having worked on raising awareness of this organisation and campaigning against them it feels uncomfortable to be in a space where they are sitting in the row in front of us.

The IOM manage migration, for the benefit of nation states, particularly those of the global north. Their policy of managed global migration is not concerned with the well being of people, despite how they might at first appear, but the well being of economies. One of their main activities within the UK is the management and provision of so called Voluntary Returns programmes. People are offered flights and financial incentives to return to their country of origin, and a welcome provision of basic housing and sustenance until they leave. Although there are some cases where this is indeed a choice, the overwhelming majority of “voluntary” returns are in fact a result of well planned and executed coercion. States are actively encouraged to make the conditions intolerable for those who are refused permission to stay and therefore the carrot of the IOM only works with the stick of the UK Border Agency’s policies of enforced destitution (no housing and no money) and indefinite periods of detention. In a powerpoint presentation on their website they explain that voluntary returns are cheaper, less administratively cumbersome, and more palatable to the wider population than forced removals, as well as laying out the conditions necessary to make people choose to leave in this way. While it is a few years old, you can read more about the IOM here.

Don’t fear though, we were hardly going to leave them unchallenged. Another European No Borders activist got in before us and spoke about structural causes of migration, the development of Frontex in Europe, and the role the IOM has in training some of the world’s border police with the worst human rights records. We followed with a question to the organisers of the working group about the role of the IOM here, and our associated concerns. While it is clear that there is some relationship between the IOM and the Bolivian state, we wanted to know if their support of the working group went as far as financing, and highlighted the fact that many of the social movements in Europe are struggling against the IOM and the policies that they are responsible for. This certainly caused a little bit of tension, and was responded to by both one of the organisers of the working group, and an employee of the IOM. In short, we were told that the entirety of the conference was funded by the Bolivian government, and that the IOM work for the Bolivian government and not the other way round. While we weren’t able to further expose the real nature of the IOM, and who they really represent, it was clear that a point had been made and aside from this response there were no interventions made by their employees within the debates that were had throughout the day.

The nature of most of the discussions today were for the most part really quite exciting and engaging. It seems so strange to be at a state sponsored event with a genuine political space opened up for social movements to meet, debate and find common ground. Further, our No Borders political position has not before been aired and engaged with in a global south context and we have not been sure what the nature of migration related discourses would be here. The context and position is so very different to that of ours in Europe. A clear difference for us to think more on is the way in which our northern borders are used to keep out and “protect” us from the poor of other countries, while here in one of the poorest nations of the world there is a border policy that aims to keep out the rich, the speculative, and the capitalists. Nonetheless, the majority of the early interventions had us nodding heads vigorously, and restraining ourselves from doing “wavy hands”.

People spoke of the fact that climate related displacement and associated migration is not a new thing, especially here in Bolivia. During the early 1980s there were a series of droughts that forced many Quechua people from the Potosi region into the cities. What was spoken of was the need to make these displacements visible, and one of the major debates that will continue to be had is that of the pros and cons of defining climate migrants within a legislative framework, as well as the inherent problems of categorisation.

For some, finding consensus around definitions and terminology for people migrating as a result of climate change is fundamental. A need to name what is happening at both a national and international level. However, many know that any attempt to label a new class of migrant is likely to be limiting, and asserting a definition within a legal framework could be an error. Will a “climate refugee” or “climate migrant” classification include those people who are forced to move as a result of economic problems. Within a climate justice framework there could be space to include people who move as a result of forced displacement, a lack of work opportunities, a lack of food and water sovereignty, and impoverishment as a result of capitalist models of production that are the root cause of climate change. However, if we are to narrow merely to those affected by natural disasters, the category will never be satisfactory, and will only serve to exclude the majority of affected peoples. Capitalism itself is disastrous, and any actions must be to open up spaces to discuss all people who are forced to migrate, both internally and across borders.

Another key debate was had around the use of projected figures for just how many people are, and may be on the move as a result of climate change. Discussions were had as to where the figures used in the current working group document have come from, and how they can exist at all if there is no shared definition of climate migrant/refugee. There was also debate about the uses and risks of such figures. Some stated that they are necessary to make the issue visible, while others pointed out that the figures could easily play into the hands of states and authorities who can use them as an excuse to tighten their borders and immigration policies.

Nonetheless, it was clear that equally the work is to name and have clarity on the structural causes and consequences of climate change, namely neoliberalism and industrial capitalism. Further, within a discourse of historical climate debt it is the most polluting countries of the north that must take responsibility for the futures of displaced peoples. The struggle must be located against the current economic and political systems of the most powerful countries, against private property and against multinationals. It was felt strongly that our work is not solely about “picking up the pieces” with regards to forced displacements, but about tackling the root causes and within this promoting peoples right to stay in their home lands. While it was generally felt that there was a need for social movements to force governments to take concrete actions around these issues, it was strongly felt that the proposals need to come from the grass roots, that the process of change does not come from technical people and officials. The struggle must be not only to protect the planet, but to construct societies based on principles of solidarity, respect, integration, sovereignty and cultural recognition of different communities.

While class has not been discussed explicitly, one person spoke of the need to build movements and affinity between campesinos, migrants and indigenous communities. Another person stating, “for indigenous communities, borders do not exist.”

The other thing here is the 10th South American Conference of Migration, also including some IOM involvement, which is going to take place here tomorrow. This isn’t something we had heard of before but with a quick look at the declaration from last years summit in Ecuador it seems to be looking for some regional integration of migration policy. The language of freedom of movement is used, perhaps within a programme of regional integration like we have in the EU.

Tomorrow the working group is not reconvening until later in the afternoon, as the morning is filled with the Inauguration Ceremony and is followed by a panel specifically on climate migration on which one of us will be speaking of the European context. It will be interesting to hear from the other speakers who appear to have very similar politics to us…. the IOM, it appears, actually have the minority position.

No Borders Round Up: Yarls Wood, Calais, Bristol, Cardiff, Dale Farm

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on Monday, 8 February, 2010 by bristolnoborders

Hunger Strike: Yarls Wood Immigration Prison, Bedfordshire

Yarls Wood On Fire during previous resistance in 2007

Since the 5th of February 2010, we the residents at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre are on hunger strike which involves over 84 + women, who are protesting against the period of time spent in detention and the treatment that they receive while being detained.The strike was sparked to protest and demand that the frustration and humiliation of all foreign nationals ends now.

A full statement of demands by the Women can be found here

Calais – Kronstadt Hanger Eviction

Arrested for helping migrants

Brighton No Borders Writes: Since the news of the impending opening of the Kronstadt Hanger, a self-organised resource centre for activists and migrants alike, the police had closely monitored the building and effective mounted a blockade of it since last Friday. On Saturday, people managed to circumvent the 3 police lines blocking access to the front door (they did not force their way in as Besson has claimed). Their numbers were swollen with migrants who were once again shelter-less following the closure after 2 days of the cold weather shelter at the BCMO…full report here A number of Bristol No Borders activists were present.

A statement from Sos Sans Papier can also be found (in french only)here: here.

Bristol Immigration Raid:

The UK Border Agency raided the Glassboat in Welsh Back during a lunch service and closed it off as officers arrested a Jamaican kitchen porter and Peruvian sous chef. Mr Lee, the owner said the Jamaican woman had been working at Glassboat since 2003 and that in 2008 the restaurant wrote to the Home Office to support an application to extend her visa.

He added: “The way they operated was a little shocking and heavy- handed. They didn’t ask to see the documents we had – and the office where I have copies of their documents is 100 yards away. They weren’t interested at all. They were like Stormtroopers as they made their way into the restaurant at the beginning of service at a time we had customers waiting to be seated.The “full” story and the normal racist comments can be found on the This is Bristol website: here

Meanwhile, Alberto Durango, persecuted by his employers and UKBA for his union activism has been sacked (again) by the Lancaster Cleaning Company in London. Background can be found here

Demo last year for AlbertoMore background and details of solidarity demo here.

Cardiff – Anti Mass Deportation Demo

Last Wednesday (3rd Feb) Bristol No Borders joined their Comrades from South Wales in a picket outside the Regional UKBA headquarters in Cardiff to protest against a mass deporrtation to unsafe Nigeria. A full report can be found here.

Dale Farm Travellers

Hanningfield - Wanker

On a lighter Note, Traveller-hating posh-knob-scum-bag Lord Hanningfield is one of four politicians who face prosecution for the parlimenatry expenses scandal. Hanningfield is presently charged with making thousands of pounds worth of false claims for overnight accommodation while allegedly being chauffer-driven home from parliament.

It was he who wanted to tear down Dale Farms’s community centre and Chapel and had been the Queen’s Deputy Lieutenant of the county when in 2004 bailiffs and riot police stormed the Meadowlands caravan park,burning homes and evicting Travellers onto the road in freezing winter weather.

A interesting ariticle by Gratton Puxton about Dale Farm and “Irish” Travellers can be found here. An impending eviction attempt still looms for Dale Farms residents.

Eyewitness Gaza 2009

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on Saturday, 2 May, 2009 by bristolnoborders

free gaza boat arrives

Public meeting with Ewa Jasciewicz
7:30pm, May 12 2009
Easton Community Centre, Easton, Bristol

Paramedics, prisoners and border communities under fire

EWA Jasiewicz has been on the ground in Gaza since November, having arrived on the siege breaking Free Gaza boat. She has been working on ambulances and reporting the reality of lives under siege and under military assault. She is currently in the UK to highlight the ongoing situation in Gaza and encourage links between communities here and in Gaza

Since August 2008, the Free Gaza Movement has sailed from Cyprus to the Gaza Strip on several successful voyages bringing in medical aid and solidarity workers. Ours are the first international boats to journey to Gaza since 1967. In May a flotilla of boats will sail to Gaza carrying people and medical supplies to break the siege once again. We have not and will not ask for Israel’s permission. It is our intent to overcome this brutal siege through civil resistance and establish a permanent sea lane between Cyprus and Gaza.

Ewa Jasiewicz is a co-co-ordinator of the Free Gaza Movement, based in Gaza. An activist, union organiser and journalist, she has worked with oil workers in Iraq from 2003-2004 and paramedics in Gaza throughout Israel’s recent war on the territory. Her current focus is on co-ordinating siege breaking delegations to Gaza and building twinning relationships between schools, ambulance stations, and ER departments.

Picket Trinity Rd Police Station

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on Sunday, 8 March, 2009 by bristolnoborders

Next Picket Tues 17th March 10.00-11.00am


Trinity Rd Cop Shop

Because instead of signing at the immigration office, Those resident in    Bristol without secure immigration status, are forced to sign at Trinity Rd   Police Station. They do this weekly, fortnightly or monthly. Sometimes whole   families have to attend. However, some of the migrants never come out after   signing. This is beause immigration enforcement officers are hiding behind   the  desk at Trinity Rd , initially to detain those whose presence has been   suddenly declared illegal in the UK. They are then either taken to a  detention   centre, for later removal, or in some cases, taken straight to the airport to face   an uncertain future, possibly to a country where they are in danger.

On a number of occasions, people have accompanied those who are in danger   of removal to the police station. We think that a large number people greatly   reduces the risk that this will happen, as probably neither Avon and Somerset   Police nor the British Immigration Agency want to provoke a public order   situation in the middle of an area with a relatively high migrant population.

However, by our regular presence outside the Police Station we simply   want to  show our solidarity with all who are forced to sign their – we   want to tell them  they can fight deportation if they want to stay.

Brigitte & family safe (part II)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on Wednesday, 14 January, 2009 by bristolnoborders

Quick update on what happened yesterday morning (tues 13th jan): Again, with 30 plus people escorting Brigitte into trinity rd police station to make her weekly signing there was barely enough room for us all to fit in! And certainly no room for any immigration officers to take her away! The judicial review has been lodged,which should in theory protect her, and husband Bernard, and daughter Lizzie from being removed, in the short term at least.

Anti-Deportation Campaigners should be aware that the rules governing removals procedures when a Judicial review has been lodged have changing as of 30th Jan, so removals can still take place if BIA decide that no new evidence has been presented, or that the evidence could have been presented before.”