24 hours without us! Call for a 1st of March against borders and precarization, towards a transnational social strike
Europe is at the moment ruled by a permanent state of emergency: border guards filter migrants who arrive everyday at the external frontiers under even harsher criteria. Documents are controlled more indiscriminately. Security measures against the inhabitants of urban peripheries are on the rise. Municipalities forbid public demonstrations. Nationalist and racist discourses grow. These policies, however, are not new to capitalism as we know it: the institutional and social state of emergency has been integral part of European austerity and government of migration for years. Migrants, refugees, unemployed, precarious and industry workers are living in a state of deep social crisis: labour rights are under brutal attack, the welfare state is dismantled and the borders are used simultaneously as a tool of exclusion, selective inclusion and exploitation. There is for sure something like «us» and «them» nowadays in Europe. The opposition, however, is not between democracy and terror, but rather between those who are exploited and those who exploit, those who move in search for a better life and those who organize walls, barriers and borders. This is the «state of emergency» we want to put an end to. On the 1st of March we will practically show that it is possible to overcome hierarchies and divisions by being united on the side of migrants for a common struggle.
We want to say it loud and clear: the border regime is not only a migrants’ concern, but it affects all of us. Through mobility, migrants are refusing both war and exploitation, and challenging austerity measures, precarization and institutional racism. The EU institutions are trying to control this mobility only for the sake of profit: lowering wages, dismantling labor and welfare rights and undermining the very possibility of organizing against exploitation for all.
We want to say it loud and clear: the border regime is not only a migrants’ concern, but it affects all of us. Through mobility, migrants are refusing both war and exploitation, and challenging austerity measures, precarization and institutional racism. The EU institutions are trying to control this mobility only for the sake of profit: lowering wages, dismantling labor and welfare rights and undermining the very possibility of organizing against exploitation for all. Even the distinction between economic migrants, good and fake refugees is a powerful tool used to produce fragmentation and weaken solidarity. Nowadays all those who live in Europe are experiencing what migrant labor means: citizenship does not guarantee proper welfare benefits, a job position does not guarantee a proper salary, work does not grant a better life. Internal migrants, though they have a European citizenship, can be treated as «welfare tourists», denied their social rights and be «expelled» from the country if they are deemed unemployable, do not work enough or are without papers. EU-citizenship turns into a laboratory for experimenting new workfare policies that bind any social rights to employability and wage labour. This makes the struggles of migration a politically central issue for all.
If we want to end this state of emergency, we have to turn the incredible solidarity raised by migrants movements all around Europe during the last months into a concrete political connection among different conditions of labor; we have to recognize that «welcome policies» concern the housing, wages and incomes of all the workers. If we want to fight austerity, we have to establish strong communication channels among those who work along the same transnational chains of exploitation under different conditions of wage, and build the possibility of disrupting the production of profits. If we want to oppose every nationalism or right wing politics, then we have to acknowledge that migrant labor is about all of us. What we need is a transnational social strike. The strike is transnational and social when it is able to cross the established borders of activism and syndicalism, countries and sectors, moving across society and workplaces outside the traditional forms of organization, addressing the political conditions of exploitation and the social questions. What we need is to take back the strike as a weapon of insubordination. The first step in this direction is to be now on the side of migrants in order to fight against divisions in the workplaces and against those laws that, across Europe, enforce this exploitation and weaken us all.
For this reasons we call all precarious workers, migrants and refugees, activists, autonomous groups and unions to make the 1st of March 2016 a day of decentralized and coordinated actions and strikes, aimed at disrupting regular production and reproduction, producing communication among different working conditions, making visible hidden situations of exploitation, targeting the border regime and the institutions that govern mobility and precarity. On the 1st of March 2010, after a call from France to organize a migrants’ «24 hours without us», in Italy a nationwide political strike against the immigration law was organized by a broad coalition. From that day, we take the strength of migrant labour and its capacity of being the point of connection among different places and conditions. On the 1st of March we want to take back the idea of the migrant strike and extend it to all the social figures that are suffering the austerity measures and border regime today, since only creating a large social front we can have the strength to fight for our rights. Be the 1st of March 2016 the day when we take a clear stance against a government of mobility that produces precarity for all. A day when we find common demands and claims. These claims can be a European minimum wage, a European basic income and welfare system based on residence, a European residence permit independent from labor contract and income levels. From the neglected peripheries to the city centers, from the factories to the dispersed working places, for all precarious workers starting from migrant labor, towards a large and powerful transnational social strike. We have neither identity nor a past to defend, but just an open process to storm the present.
Transnational Social Strike Platform