In Italy people are working hard on a national demonstration for the immediate closure of migrants' detention centres and for freedom of circulation. Organizers are thinking that it will come out as a big initiative against the new immigration policies of the present government and against the European process of borders externalisation, as well as a call out for an European citizenship based on residence.
Towards the repeal of Bossi-Fini Law. First step: the closure of all detention centres.
Some reflections leading to March 3rd demonstration in Bologna.
Struggles against detention centres have started back in 1998. And they've set at top of movements' agenda. Many hoped that Prodi's government would have immediately started to change politics in migration flows management. Unfortunately it did not. Anticipations concerning how Bossi-Fini Law is to be reformed establish that detention centres will not be abolished. They are to be confirmed, financially supported and diversified in "respect" of all migrants' typologies, and this refers to asylum seekers as well. Members of the government have many times declared that "detention centres are fundamental". De Mistura Commission final report suggests to "empty" centres. The reports" words are tenuous and contradictory since administrative detention remains applicable to some migrant citizens. For instance, to whom voluntary repatriation does not sound appealing!
Not only future holds improved and extended detention centres here in the peninsula, but it also holds centres in EU borderline countries. Where migrants pass through in their journey to Europe. These places are Eastern Europe and Northern Africa where costs are reduced and controls are harder. This is why left wing government chose not to disrupt agreements sing by Berlusconi with Libya. Not did it disrupt cooperation with Spain, Senegal and Malta in the military surveillance of Western and Northern Africa.
Detention centres have changed in functions since their opening. They originally were set to expel migrants. But today they've become an instrument to manage migrations. They therefore serve to exploit migrants' labour.
Italian government's reform does not wish to change the link between work and residence papers. Exploitation stands within this link.
The fact that left wing government will not radically change Bossi-Fini law pushes movements to again reclaim freedom of movement. The proposal is that all migrants living in Italy should be regularized. Access to labour market should also be simplified via the opening of European borders.
Resistance against frontiers has grown here and everywhere in the world since 1998 initiatives that lead to the closure of the first Italian detention centre in Trieste. The struggles against detention of immigrants have set in a European scenario. Initiatives and actions are often coordinated. Many symbols of exploitation have recently been targeted by real European campaigns. I.e. the campaign Deportation Class that denounces the role of dozens of air companies in deportations. Another example is the July 2004 assault at Bari Palese detention centre from where fifteen migrants managed to flee away. Struggles as well helped the building of a common European critic on precariousness in labour. The claims are: permanent regularization, European citizenship and universal income.
These struggles are everyday growing and past October 7th ? third European day of action against detention centres ? initiatives took place all over the continent from Russia to Poland to Spain and Africa, where mobilisations continue nowadays. In USA the extraordinary latinos movement is shaking the country, the home of global war. Subcomandate Marcos from the wall of Tijuana has proposed to schedule migrants struggles in Otra Campana agenda.
In Bologna mayor Cofferati cut on welfare expenses. This caused the increasing of deportations. At the same time Via Mattei's detention centre controls migrants' labour and lowers salaries. Irregular migrant are subjected to worst sorts of precariousness under the threat of detention centres. There's an objective connection between exploitation and detetion management. Police catches are planned so that every month specific parts of migrant communities are seized.
In Bologna movements have been opposing ethnic jails since 1998. They invaded and dismantled it. They supported migrants and they attacked businesses involved in detention-deportation chain.
This is why we propose to all the ones that did not stop struggling to together build a demonstration next March 3rd in Bologna. Against exploitation of migrants. In the name of a different Europe, where every woman and man have the right to decorously exist independently from nationality.
We wish to build a mobilisation that makes governments close all detention centres, our century's concentration camp.
centro sociale TPO Bologna, February 2007
One comment to this article by www.no-racism.net: we don´t think, that detention centres can be called "our century´s concentration camps". Nazi-concentration camps were used for industrialised mass murder of millions of people, detention camps have a different function and history.
But for sure we are supporting the intention to close all detention camps in Italy and worldwide.