The recent anti-migrant demonstration by the National Front and other assorted fascist backwash is among a rising tide of violence against migrants. People asserting their freedom to move across borders are met with a mix of state and fascist aggression. Around fortress Europe, borders are institutions of crisis and conflict. As the force of migration clashes with a border regime in panic, the social contradiction in Calais and elsewhere is tightening.
On January 27th, the EU parliament in Brussels gave the Greek government three months to sort out “grave deficiencies” in its border regime – or otherwise be excluded from Schengen for a disciplinary period until it does. The move comes as Greek migration minister Yiannis Mouzalas publicly repeated the advice of his Belgian counterpart Theo Francken to “push them [migrants] back into the sea” and build concentration camps for up to “400,000 migrants” across Greece.
In a month in which 257 people have died crossing the Aegean sea into Greece, the blatant racism and hatred of the Greek and EU authorities seems even more extreme. However this is a pattern repeated throughout Europe. On January 30th in Calais, police fired into a van carrying a dozen migrants after it did not stop at a checkpoint. Fascist gangs roam the streets around the Jungle, regularly attacking migrants and accomplices.
The complicity of organised fascists and state mechanisms, such as the police and border agencies, is consistent with a border regime aware of its own internal crisis – reaching to the nearest extreme to legitimise its violent response. Not only in Calais, but nearby in Dover police again went to extreme lengths to facilitate an anti-migrant demonstration by the National Front. Regular fascist demonstrations are facilitated by police in Germany too, where there were more than a thousand attacks on centres or squats housing migrants last year.
The border regime in panic is therefore functioning in three ways: violent suppression and incarceration of migrants, including the planned eviction of sections of the Jungle; facilitation of fascist violence against migrants; and a parliamentary move to punish countries seen to be more lax with their borders. More specifically, the third is drawn as a public solution to the crisis created in large part by the former two. The state must create a crisis in order to build a public mandate to “solve” it. This solution is phrased as internationalism through EU policy – littered with the ideology of a cooperative Europe – while instead enforcing the racist pan-nationalism of fortress Europe.
Despite the increasing violence, resistance to borders is happening everywhere. Migrants continue to disrupt the motorways around Calais. Anti-fascist militants and community organisations fought fascists in Dover and successfully defended themselves when attacked in Maidstone. On January 15th another UKBA raid was sabotaged and a van attacked in Camberwell. More and more people are resisting the border regime, recognising our everyday lives to be spaces of social conflict. The border regime is in violent panic and solidarity and autonomy are fast becoming our organic response.