Beyond State and Market:
perspectives of social movements in Europe

Forum Migration and Globalisation
No Border Camp Strasbourg 2002

I - Introduction

At the beginning of the new millennium capitalism is in the middle of new phase of global extension, which the traditional organisation in Nation States couldn't support anymore. The signs of world wide social resistance, generalised economic crisis and economic restructuring are becoming increasingly obvious. Capital's necessary thrive for expansion is reaching limits of physical, social and environmental order, and is imposed upon the increasing resistance of social movements.

From Argentina to Afghanistan, from the Andes to New York, from the mountains of the Lacandonian jungle to the streets of Genoa and Strasbourg, this expansion is met with increasing resistance as the logic of merchandising englobes new areas of life such as the water we drink, the food we eat, our genes or when it implies the loss of standards of the welfare State in Europe or in worse cases when it simply means forced displacements, destruction of livelihoods or forced economic migration.

There are three general intertwined tendencies which could roughly characterise the current political moment we are living in:

1.-) "with us or against us"

In order to keep accumulating and expanding, capital sees itself forced to impose its neoliberal agenda, meaning new "free" markets, economic restructuring in the process of world wide production, privatisation of fundamental areas such as water, genes, health and education. The use of military force in order to impose this development is increasing, same for the spreading of fear and an increase of social control, especially in the occidental societies. Racism and authoritarian law and order policies are intensifying all over the place. Since September 11th the process is being ideologically backed up by the "war against terrorism", "the war on drugs", and similar draconian attempts to impose a generalised state of emergency and artificially divide the world into the good defenders of western values and evil people refusing to accept them.

This neoliberal capitalism often depends on migration and it's criminalisation in order to have cheap labour force and reduce production prices to remain competitive.

2.-) "another capitalism is possible"

Others hope for the stabilisation of the capitalist crisis through neokeynesian policies, meaning the redistribution of wealth through the State or through global governance bodies in order to reduce social inequalities, stimulate mass consumption and preserve the acquisitions of the welfare State. These tendencies often come along with protectionist measures, state regulation theories and a dose of nationalistic arguments.

These two tendencies are not always in contradiction as they often even complement each other, and move within the same framework. For instance when governments subvention products and protectionism while preaching open and free market policies.


Beyond that framework, there is an increasing number of social movements and people worldwide that are exploring new worlds outside the logic of State and Market. Either because do not believe or would like to overcome both tendencies described above, or simply because they are left with no other choice in order to survive.

The crisis, the changes, the economic restructuring, the oppressions are being perceived differently by everyone of us, by different social movements, by different subjects in struggle.

Whatever our perceptions are, it is pretty obvious that the existing lines of conflict are and will be increasing in the coming time rather then diminishing.

The global days of action and counter summit mobilisations of the last couple of years, by consequently attacking the legitimacy of multilateral bodies such as the WTO, the IMF or the EU have managed to break the myth of "the End of History", which claimed after the end of the Cold War there was no other possible way of organising societies but in capitalism. The collective capacity to imagine a world beyond capitalism became possible. Besides that, in the process, diverse emancipatory networks began communicating and organising around a philosophy based on autonomy and decentralisation, and a spirit of direct democracy and horizontality.

At the same time many other people and social movements have been increasingly fighting racism and consequently attacking the legitimacy of the border regime, as one of the fundamental contradictions of neoliberalism which gives more freedom to the movement of capital but needs more prisons and control for certain people. The struggles against the border regime, the detention centres and racism have also significantly contributed to challenge the legitimacy of the EU and government migration policies.

Both struggles overlap already but need to converge and be linked much more. The freedom of movement has to be anchored in a "globalisation of rights", and the autonomy of migration, its character as a social movement, has a special importance, when we speak about "globalisation from below". In order to reject all tendencies of nationalism and protectionism the movement against neoliberalism and capitalist globalisation is dependent on antiracist struggles for free movement and equal rights, led by refugees and migrants and their selforganisations on one hand, by antiracist activists and (supporting) initiatives on the other hand. Vice versa the migration- and antiracist movement depends on a close networking with other social and emancipatory struggles, including the anticapitalist movements.

II - The Forum: "migration and globalisation"

The No Border Camp in Strasbourg will provide a good space for exchange and getting to know each others work and organisations.

For the evening forum on Tuesday 23rd we are asking some organisations and/or networks that have been involved in anti-capitalist protests, PGA related activities and No Border Camps and related activities, to make short input presentations.

Are or have been approached so far: Ya Basta (Italia), Eurodusnie (hosts of the upcoming PGA conference in Leiden, NL), Movimiento por La Resistencia Global (MRG Catalunya, PGA convenors), No Border Kiew, MIB (Mouvement de l'Immigration et des Banlieues), Publix Theater Caravan (Vienna), the French non-réseau Sans-Titre, a group from Kein Mensch ist Illegal (Germoney).

Rather than having long presentations of who we are and what we do, we would prefer to concentrate our efforts in sharing our analysis and perceptions of the lines of conflict described above, the oppression and the struggles in order to get a better multilateral collective understanding of the current political moment we are in.

Together we can complement our visions, learn from each other and draw new conclusions of how to go on. Through exchange and discussion we would like to mutually re-enforce and cross pollinate our hopes and ideas. We would like to find ways of empowering our struggles and co-ordinate our efforts. Let us improve our collective articulation in a spirit of autonomy and decentralisation.

Based on what has been said before, the following two sets of questions will be addressed to the organisations

Beyond State and Market

Analysis: How do you evaluate last years of struggles against capitalism and the border regime you have been involved in ? Which limits have been reached, which possibilities have been opened, what can we learn from them? Are there any qualitative changes in the struggles since Genoa and September 11th? What are the current political and social mechanisms that re-enforce power structures ? What do you think are the main challenges we face ?

Action: Can struggles that oppose racism, social control and fight for freedom of movement complement anti-capitalists struggles ? How can struggles that seek social change NOT through State power, but rather through the construction of diverse horizontal social relations outside the logic of State and Market co-operate? How can we confront the legitimacy of power ? How can we act against it ?

Groups will individually be asked to make a little emphasis on the experience made in the political context they act in (France, Austria, Italy...).

The Forum on Tuesday 23rd will be mostly an input session for the No Border Camp. By the end of the camp, probably on Friday 26th, a discussion meeting to evaluate the discussions, proposals and further steps will take place.

The outcome of our discussions should be carried on and taken to other forums for further development, for instance to the upcoming Peoples Global Action European Conference in Leiden, NL 31.8-Sept 4th.

Throughout the Strasbourg-noborder-camp there will be several presentations, discussions, workshops and actions. Some events are already fixed, some others are still in preparation and last but not least we hope for more spontanous activities coming out of the dynamic of the camp itself.

Friday, July 19th, the opening day of Sttrasbourg, will coindice with the mobilisation to Genoa to commemorate last year's mobilisation. Efforts to link the events (through video conference, phone contact etc) are being made and it would be important to refer to the day of migration with 50.000 participants in the streets in Genoa last year. It was the first time, that the demands of migrants played such a central role during an anti-summit- mobilisation.

On July 19th too, a convoi for freedom of movement will come from the noborder-camp in Jena /Germany, where a lot of activities will taken place in the days before. The convoi will start in the morning, and will stop at Frankfurt air-port. There will be a short rally, with speeches against deportation and detention at this airport, but also refering to Genoa. Something similar could be done in Strasbourg.

Monday late evening, July 22nd, a slide show will be presented, combining pictures about the development and mobilisations of anticapitalist movement during the last years on one hand, and photos about the struggles from migrants and antiracist initiaves in europe on the other hand. It could be seen as an introduction, as a starting-point for common discussions within the next days. The slide show will be prepared by brian holmes from the group 'ne pas plier' and the 'no one is illegal'-group hanau.

Tuesday evening, 23rd of july, a (central) cross-over-discussion

We hope, that some more workshops will follow after the Monday and Tuesday input events, that this first input will open more space for cross-over-discussions. And some more presentations and workshops are already announced in the same context, but not yet fixed to a special date and time: - presentation and promotor-meeting for the european social consulta - presentation and discussion about the coming pga-conference in leiden/netherlands at the end of august - presentation/discussion about coming european social forum - meeting in florence at 7th until 11th of november - post 11th of september-workshop - workshops of water privatisation - etc

individuals from
kein mensch ist illegal Hanau
no border coordination assembly Freiburg

Migration |