- Category: Uncategorised
- Published on Wednesday, 08 May 2013 14:38
With the support of active citizens, the first non-citizen tent got built in Munich on April 25th 2013, in order to go to non-citizen (asylum seeker) camps in the federal state of Bavaria. The tent stood in two places; first, in front of Ludwig-Maximilian-University and after, close to Odeonsplatz. We stayed for 10 days in total.
Meanwhile the asylum court hearing, of a protesting non-citizen from the Munich tent, took place in Regensburg on April 30th. Around 70 people were present in court in support. This time, based on his engagement in the non-citizen struggle during the last year, the protesting non-citizen got accepted. This is a victory, that in the understanding of the protesting non-citizens is a right for any non-citizen.
The same day a demonstration with 300 people took place in Regensburg. Here non-citizens announced their position about this kind of court hearings and their processes. Also they stated their will for continuing the struggle until all non-citizens achieve the right to citizenship - the possibility of a life just like anybody else. Unity within non-citizens, it was stated, is the strongest needed force.
On May 1st a meeting with active citizens took place. Discussions on the theories, the structure of the struggle and future plans took place. In the end, workgroups for realizing the next steps got formed.
Having as a first goal communication and exchange with fellow non-citizens, during a 10 day tour, protesting non-citizens started going to all non-citizen (asylum-seeker) camps for passing on information to fellow non-citizen on the current non-citizen struggles on the street. After covering all non-citizen (asylum-seeker) camps in Upper Bavaria a meeting with non-citizens of the region took place on May 4th in front of the Munich protest tent. This meeting tried to open the topics 'Why are we protesting?' and on how to connect non-citizens to the very base of the struggle. The meeting continued out of the isolation of the camps which opened the space for the subjects of non-citizen struggles to discuss themselves how self-organizing can take place.
After the area of Upper Bavaria was covered, the protesting non-citizen tent moved to Augsburg on May 6th, to cover non-citizen (asylum-seeker) camps in the Swabia area.
During the process of obtaining the necessary permission for having a tent in the city of Augsburg, the Augsburg administration used all possible restrictions for breaking the will of protesting non-citizens and the continue of their struggle. Now, not as requested two, but only one tent for 10 protesting non-citizens and only 3 beds, officially without the permission to sleep, have been granted.
The protest tent of non-citizens continues its struggle at Rathausplatz of Augsburg stronger than before!
Protesting Non-Citizen Tent in Augsburg
Name: Streitberger Refugee-Congress
Institut: Sparkasse Regensburg
BLZ: 750 500 00
IBAN: DE 417505 00 00 00 2647 9584
BIC: BYLADEM 1 RBG
Telefon: Omid Moradian: 0152 33706273
- Category: Uncategorised
- Published on Tuesday, 07 May 2013 17:51
Gestern, am 6. Mai 2013, ist das Protestzelt der Non-Citizens von München nach Augsburg gezogen!
Für eine bestimmte Zeitspanne werden wir uns am Rathausplatz in Augsburg befinden, um in engeren Kontakt mit allen Non-Citizens innerhalb und um diese Stadt herum zu treten, sowie mit allen Citizens, die sich solidarisch mit unserem Kampf zeigen.
Unsere erste Erklärung zu den neuen Non-Citizen-Protestzelten findet ihr hier.
Telefon: Omid Moradian: 0152 33706273
Und unser SPENDENAUFRUF
- Category: Uncategorised
- Published on Tuesday, 07 May 2013 17:31
Yesterday, on the 6th of May, the Non-Citizens' Protest Tent moved from Munich to Augsburg!
For a certain amount of time, we are going to stay at Rathausplatz in Augsburg to get into closer contact with all Non-Citizens in and around this town as well as with those Citizens in solidarity with our struggle.
Please find our first statement about the new Non-Citizens' Protest Tents here.
Phone: Omid Moradian: 0152 33706273
... and our DONATION CALLOUT
- Category: Uncategorised
- Published on Friday, 03 May 2013 15:45
The continuation of the non-citizens struggle needs your support.
After one year of self-organized non-citizen struggle in several German cities, we will not take a step back away from our position and count on our collective will, until our demands for such basic human rights are achieved.
To realize this we begin our protest on the streets of Munich as a 24-hour strike, on April 25th 2013. To establish non-citizen resistance cells we will visit all asylum seeker camps in Bavaria in the first phase. To make this self-organization and self-empowerment possible, which simply means that non-citizens as subjects of this struggle get empowered, your financial support can facilitate this difficult road ahead.
Name: Streitberger Refugee-congress
Institute: Sparkasse Regensburg
BLZ: 750 500 00
IBAN: DE 417505 00 00 00 2647 9584
BIC: BYLADEM 1 RBG
Unfortunately we can not issue a donation receipt
- Category: Uncategorised
- Published on Monday, 29 April 2013 12:18
After the first Non-Citizen Congress took place in Munich from March 1st to March 3rd 20131, we2 (Action Circle of Independent Non-Citizens' Struggle) received a lot of feedback3 from people who participated in the congress or from those who had heard about the political discourse on 'citizens'-/'non-citizens', which was made public at the congress.
We believe that the following text is an attempt to open a space for dialogue. This space can help us clarify political discourses and actions based on dialogue. We also hope that by deepening our written discussions, all of us will get closer to a process of learning from each other and that in the end this will bring us closer to success in our struggle. For us, this is the main goal of these discussions.
General critiques of the congress can be grouped as follows:
1- critiques of the political discourse and 2- critiques of the way the congress was held.
1- Critiques of the political discourse:
Firstly, we have to say that before bringing the discourse to the congress, we were aware that the discourse might be quite challenging. It was not hard to predict the probable discomfort of people who are active in the so called ''asylum-seeker'' context, which include activists from the so called anti-racist, anti-fascist and leftist scene, same as some human rights organizations, NGO's, charitable groups and so on. From the beginning, there was one common point among most of the present activists; most of them stepped into the struggle with ''prepared answers'', while, at the same time, the majority of these activists never experienced the non-citizen-subject's daily life.
First: what exactly are we fighting against in this struggle?
As the subjects of non-citizen struggles (asylum-seekers, illegalized and paperless people), we give ourselves the position to outline our very own struggle based on the knowledge of lived experiences and our awareness of power structures. This struggle is necessarily bound to our daily lives.
To outline this, we must analyze who is an asylum-seeker, what the position of this person is, and what kind of structures target the life of an asylum-seeker. In order to avoid repeating what we have already said about this issue, we ask you to check out the essay: 'On the position of “Asylum-seekers” and Asylum-seeker's struggle in modern societies'4 (we strongly recommend reading this essay before continuing this note because its content strongly links to it).
Second: ''all together'' is a non-ideological slogan
The political discourse introduced on the congress was an attempt from our side to develop non-citizen struggles to become more than JUST an anti-racist struggle. We tried to show the structural and institutional racism, where non-citizens, like other subjects of an anti-racist struggle, should take part in fighting it. However, non-citizen struggles are subjected to more forms of oppressive structures than just racism, for example, by classism (amongst other structures of oppression). Analyzing these kinds of other structures next to racism didn't even get attention by activists within the so called anti-racist scene before. Yet most of the critiques to the discourse were based on exactly this argument, saying that this discourse will bring more separation within ''our own forces''. Finally these arguments lead to the following: all activists in this context, without regarding their positions within society and the color of their skin, are all fighting in one line and any theoretical definition, which disturbs this line, this big ''we'' (those who believe they are fighting against racism), can accordingly be side-lined or destroyed.
Even though leftist terms are used inside of these critiques, we see basic differences between our own political ideas and the argumentational paths of the critiques stated above. We believe that it is a contradiction to affirm: within capitalist society, people's position, based on labour force in the economical structure, is NOT an issue and that everyone, taking on an anti-fascist or any other 'anti'- slogan, can actually do political activities with equal positions.
Our point of view is that those who believe in this kind of “equality”, don't have a clear concept of class issues and consequentially don't have a clue about antagonisms within the class struggle. On the other hand, how is it possible to close our eyes on white supremacy and euro-centrism, which function as a fertilizer for neo-colonialist discourses. Again, how is it possible that some people, in the context of an anti-racist movement, are shouting: white and non-white, we are all equal?
Undoubtedly, one of the achievements of our discourse is understanding and differentiating between unequal positions and analyzing inner structures based on inequalities.
On the part where critiques are coming just to save the unity within this big “we” (our own forces), who exactly do you mean with this “we”? While there are non-citizens who fled their countries of origin because of rockets and bombs, produced (and still being produced) in this country, where the profit of exactly those bombs brought a whole welfare system to life for these first-world-citizens; what kind of “we” are you talking about exactly? Isn't it, that from hundreds of years of oppression, which the history of colonialism and exploitation are a testimony of, with imperialist wars in the name of “Humanitarian Interventions”, the life of citizens in first world countries became this highly developed? With the 'kindness' of globalization and the neo-liberal policies of WTO and IMF, the fridges of these citizens are being filled with cheap products without borders, while there are still people dying because of hunger in the exact regions where these products are produced. Isn't it, that the income-tax of citizens provide the expenses of powers ruling the whole world nowadays?
No, we, non-citizens fleeing from the so called “underdeveloped countries”, do not form an equal big “we” with first world country citizens who have privileges of health insurance, unemployment pay, neat education and thousands of other advantages.
There seems to be a misunderstanding. If the door of the congress was open for the citizens, it was only because we believe that active people in this context, are citizens who are trying to draw clear boundaries towards the existing power and, while having class benefits, being aware of the structure of discrimination and willing to share some of the privileges they have on the basis of exactly this discrimination. Of course this does not mean that a collective identity between us and them exists. This moralism in political activities, which believes differences based on political principles can get solved by dreaming and shouting “unity!”, forgets that fundamental differences have no way to get solved unless theoretical discussions and political boundaries are drawn, even if some people don't feel comfortable with these boundaries.
There is no doubt that the non-citizen/citizen dichotomy, as any other category, is the result of domination and oppression structures and is based on discrimination and inequality. Other parts of the critiques stated that this supposedly newly created dichotomy, opens categories which will only make the struggle more complicated than before. Yet, how is it possible to get out of categories which are foundational for our social realities, as well as for our political, economical and cultural positions and relations within the hierarchy of society. How can we do political activities without taking these categories into consideration? For sure, all of us are trying to bring down the existing categories and need to bring down the fundaments these categories are based upon. Yet what we understand from these kinds of critiques is rather a closing-eyes-attitude on the existent gaps and categories, instead of fighting their producers. The disaster is that the proposal of going beyond these categories mostly comes from those people who find themselves in the upper categories. In fact, this is arrogantly erasing the problem, not solving it.
The perception of non-citizens' social position is a result of our one-year-long attempt to understand the structure and function of the oppression we are experiencing every day. Finally, we went beyond general terms such as immigrant/asylum-seeker/refugee, which in practice were just unclear names with the capability of keeping their subject in ambiguity. With our own definition on “what the struggle is about” and “who the subject in this struggle is”, it was made possible to bring a more concrete definition for our own situation to the table. It's interesting that our theoretical researches, which got done in a practical process, got interpreted as a prevarication.
It is not an 'independency mask' (as stated in the critiques), but it states a will for accepting a big responsibility in the process of the empowerment of the subject. With not having access to the needed ressources and a constant loss of support because of being so focussed on the empowerment of subjects, we face a difficult situation and a high responsibility because one can fail just because exactly this access to resources is cut and one finds oneself alone. By taking back our own subject-position and increasing our belief in ourself and our abilities, we will continue the tradition of our struggle which aims to reclaim the street. The street, the exact place where our oppressed bodies will bond with each other and where we will become People. The place (the street) who's name many activists have left to the books, is the place we are trying to stay loyal to since one year; to its significance, because we believe that just on the street, we can bring politics back to its real owner.
2-The way of holding the Congress:
Concerning the way of holding the congress, most of the critiques focused on the following:
- The organizers' monopole on the microphone.
- The organizers' reluctance to use and learn from the experiences of citizen-activists.
First, we have to say that the congress took place based on the organizational timeframe published one month beforehand. With the timeframe, the schedules of all three congress days as well as the content of some schedules as planned by the organizers were published. The congress took place on three days – Friday, Saturday and Sunday. In total, the congress took 20 hours, six hours of which were planned in advance. Four hours of these six hours were spent on the oral history part about the one year struggle (including translation of Farsi to English and after that simultaneous translation into Urdu, French, Arabic and other languages). The remaining two hours were spent on the introduction of the non-citizen term and struggle by the organizers. This was the very first time the concept was publically discussed.
During the first hours of the second day, there were questions and answers on the oral history part and on any untold parts of the one year. It continued with an open microphone session. During the 'Common Struggle' part (second day) again, we had an open microphone for any non-citizens who had experiences to share. Due to the large numbers of speeches (by non-citizens), even the lastly scheduled event of the second day got cancelled.
At the beginning and during the congress we announced that this congress was organized with the idea of a group who passed several levels of struggle in the past year. We never said – and will never do – that we are the only active non-citizens or that we are the only voice of non-citizens. Yet there was critique that during the congress no other non-citizens went behind the microphone for talking about the different steps of last year's struggle. This critique came from non-citizens and citizens alike.
In response to this critique, we have to say that in the oral history part, our goal was to tell how the ideas developed during the last year in various situations and levels, and to clarify the way of self-organizing and decision-making that took place accordingly. However, non of the non-citizens who criticized the congress process of the oral history, participated in even one organizing meeting of the 'Refugee Tent Action' or the 'Refugee Protest March to Berlin'. Undoubtedly these friends participated in making these steps happen and their role was a crucial one in it, but the goal of the oral history part was retelling the taking-decision structures and the independence of thought and action of the 'Organizing Committee of the Strike' as the organizers. Meanwhile, we invited most of those non-citizens who were active in these two projects (Tent Action and Protest March) to participate in organizing the congress together but unfortunately none of them took part in the organizing and planning of the congress.
Maybe our general view on this issue, can bring more transparency on our way of operation.
Of course, we are against any kind of struggle which follows identity politics. We believe that there are some people who actively reproduce cycles of oppression, in different contexts. For sure, there are non-citizens who reproduce nationalism, racism, sexism, homophobia, patriarchy and so on. In standing for our own political principles, we have created boundaries with ideas and behaviours which reproduce discrimination. These boundaries will get recognized in practice; one example would be how we planned to do the congress. Following this, some critiques reproached us of having hierarchical structures. We find it important to shortly explain that 'organizing from below' in theory, as an alternative in the face of hierarchical structures, is only possible based on political trust and mutual agreement on political principles. Unfortunately in some cases, we can not create political trust and agreement with some ideas and activities that above all reproduce a right-winged discourse, and even have an antagonistic relation to the struggle. For a better understanding we ask you to have a look at an interview (5) with one of the non-citizens, a self-identified “Iranian”, who participated in the strikes. He talks about his pride of the “holy Flag of my motherland”. And how some radical leftist non-citizen (meaning us) confronted his nationalist discourses and didn't let him inject his nationalist beliefs into the movement. He feels manipulated by left discourses of the movement and gives advice to other non-citizens to be aware of this. He gives an interview to a media which supports the son of the Iranian Shah as an alternative within Iran's oppositional atmosphere, with the goal of reclaiming the 'Persian Empire' in future.
However, as we said before, the ideology of the congress organizers, as well as our one-year path of struggling and the consequential political discourse are transparent and visible. Based on all of this, we listen to all non-citizens of any political tendency speak, but it does not necessarily make us bond our discourse together with some reactionary discourses of some non-citizens.
We believe that the growth and reproduction of oppression and the lack of class consciousness shows the victory of the Right Wing (with its power in the education system and mainstream media) in hegemonic fights on the one hand, but on the other hand, we also see the lack of consciousness as a result of cultural capital which citizens of so-called first world countries have the most access to and benefits from.
Undoubtedly, there are critiques that we don't politically argue about. One of these critiques is the absence of women in the struggle. Definitely not a response but an analysis of this critique is the following:
Having grown up and being socialized in a patriarchal world, being in an oppressor's position as male bodies and having the privileges and benefits of this patriarchal discrimination structure, and thousands of consequential issues based on this discrimination structure, we learned that the field of the struggle is conquered by male bodies and that spaces for the presence of femalized bodies are hard or even impossible to find within our structures and within society in general. Collectively trying to gain knowledge and consciousness of the issue of patriarchy, reading and researching, we believe that the mere presence of one or two femalized bodies (non-citizen) could be used as a justification of being anti-patriarchal. The mere presence of women, does not necessarily mean that anti-patriarchal discourses and activities take place. And this is what we strive for.
Rather, we believe that spaces have to get created in which women* can independently organize and empower themselves until they get back their voice and subjectivity. To make this possible, the masculinist atmosphere needs to be smashed and male bodies must leave the dominant positions they inhabit. Through the independent self-organizing and empowerment of women* and trans* people, based on the independence of the subject, women* and trans* people may create their safer spaces in the struggle for getting their right to becoming citizens on the one hand, and organize their own struggle as subjects against gender-dualistic heteronormative patriarchy beyong the non-citizen/citizen dichotomy on the other hand.
To the critique of us not giving the microphone and substantial space to citizens to express themselves, we need to clarify our position in response:
For years and years, citizens (white or non-white) are giving speeches for non-citizens, giving interviews with media about non-citizens, workshoping them, writing essays about the measure of the pain and suffer of non-citizens, analyzing the oppression and inequality-reproducing structures in this context and based on their own analyses, till today, they, citizens, define what the struggle of non-citizens is about.
But today, there is a group within the non-citizens who believe that microphones and cameras were directed at citizens, who are not the subjects of this struggle, for too long. They are even part of the reproduction of the oppression against non-citizens and their class privilege rose because of this oppression. Now it is time for the subject, with all of the difficulties, to take take back the struggle and take back their subjectivity from citizens who have occupied the field of a non-citizens' struggle, in which the weak voice of non-citizens is not heard. The voice which has to be the only voice of a non-citizens' struggle. Before telling the oral history at congress, we announced that whatever we presented as oral history, we would not do for showing off but to show other non-citizens that it is possible to organize themselves for their struggle, to change their situation.
We understand that there is a racist and humiliating behaviour to non-citizens from so called “underdeveloped countries” that makes it seem like these people are unable to create by themselves We told the oral history to prove that we could make the Protest March to Berlin happen by believing in our abilities and knowing our inabilities, and of course with the solidarity and support of some active citizens, while some citizens (autonomous and organizations) deemed it impossible.
It is time for the subject to talk about their pain, their experiences and details of struggle – and for others to listen. Those watching the disastrous situation and sometimes their activities don't go beyond having pity with a 'victim' and doing charity. The others who are sitting and watching the suicides and deportations and each time, after couple of hours walking on street as a demo, they go back to their houses and talk about their revolutionary actions for the 'comrades', till morning.
No, our eyes and ears are not waiting to learn from these kinds of citizens, because we believe that:
many interpreted the world, but the point is to change it.
The Action Circle of Independent Non-Citizens' Struggle
2 Throughout this essay, whenever there is the reference to a 'we' (without quotation marks), it is the authors, the Action Circle of independent Non-Citizens' Struggle, who are collectively positioning themselves.
4 ON THE POSITION OF ''ASYLUM-SEEKERS'' AND ASYLUM-SEEKERS' STRUGGLES IN MODERN SOCIETIES:http://refugeetentaction.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=208:on-the-position-of-asylum-seekers-and-asylum-seekers-struggles-in-modern-societies&catid=2&Itemid=133&lang=en, last accessed on 25.04.2013.
5 The video of the interview of a self-identified “Iranian” in farsi:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=WZpWm7G1G5Y, last accessed on 28.04.2013.
- Category: Uncategorised
- Published on Friday, 26 April 2013 11:19
We are those human beings who have suffered from wars, sanctions, colonisation, occupations, repressions and poverty due to the geographical regions we were, out of coincidence, born in. We have managed to leave those places and have arrived here. Here, the place that people call "safe countries". “Safe countries”, which have created those wars, colonisation, poverty and all of the other terror which we experienced in our places of birth. Safe countries, which in the moment that our feet touch their sacred soil, call us "asylum-seekers". Asylum-seekers, or those human beings that are not allowed to work or study, who are forced to live in isolated camps, waiting for police to come to their rooms with deportation notices (in the past 2 days only - 23rd and 24th of April -, around 100 asylum-seekers in Baden Württenberg and Nordrheinwestfalen were deported to Belgrade). The human beings who are breathing in society but are not living are like ghosts; it becomes impossible to see them anymore. The "asylum-seeker" label was put on us by these governments that set the discriminatory laws. A label which makes others think of us as poor people who can't even do the easiest of tasks.
We are Non-Citizens
Today we came to the streets to shout, that in a first step, we want to choose our own name. We believe we are non-citizens, non-citizens who get excluded from accessing the rights a citizen, has in this society. From all the basic rights of human beings, we non-citizens, only have a place to sleep, food packages to eat, nightmares of deportations and living in fear and terror.
Today we came to the streets of Munich, building a non-citizens' resistance tent to announce that we don't accept this discrimination. To change the situation, we just need the will of struggle of all aware non-citizens. A struggle that believes in non-citizens becoming citizens, regardless of gender, language, nationality or culture. It's any non-citizen's right to make this happen. Non-citizens have to get organized – and this organizing has to be: for ourselves by ourselves.
To those non-citizens who can hear us: becoming citizens is our right, even if the German government and citizens think we aren't worth enough. We say: we are!
Let's gather and fight to get our rights and become citizens!
The Protesting Non-Citizens in Munich
Phone: Omid Moradian: 0152 33706273