Our camp in Puglia from 21st to 27th July 2003 is around the themes of border controls, migrant work and citizenship rights.
The initiative is part of a series of proposals and campaigns launched at the European Social Forum held in Florence last November. Puglia has been chosen due to its position on the edge of "Fortress Europe" (its territory is characterized by a strong militarization and the presence of administrative detention centres) and because of the presence of thousands of migrants who work under conditions of total exploitation, especially in the agricultural sector.
The camp wants to involve anti-racist organizations as well as other social movements and workers" organizations. It is the first experience of this kind in Italy, while similar experiences are common in other European Countries. In the area where we intend to locate the camp (Frassanito, Puglia) there are numerous centres for the administrative detention of migrants and, during the summer, the region is characterized by the presence of many migrants working in agriculture. It is important to remember that during the last few years the number of legal admittances to work in Southern Italy has been ridiculously low due the Italian government"s preference for an agricultural development based on the exploitation of clandestine migrants and black-market work.
The programme of the camp includes a series of workshops as well as direct actions and initiatives. Our goal is to share the knowledge acquired within the various anti-racist movements, as well as the legal expertise around, for instance, the protection of migrants" and refugees" social rights (e.g. health), but also practical knowledge developed during direct actions against the expulsion of aliens, administrative detention centres and mechanisms of social exclusion. During the camp we want to organize demonstrations and interventions against the administrative detention centres and the militarization of the territory, and an investigation into the various aspects of immigrant employment in Europe. We also want to agree with migrant workers on direct actions against labour exploitation. One of our objectives is to expose the connection between expulsion programmes and activities of NGOs, with special regard to the conduct of the IOM.
However, this camp does not want to involve just anti-racist organizations. One of the main goals is to favour cooperation and awareness among all the individuals and groups acting in social movements. It is necessary to overcome the actual situation where, except in the case of mass demonstrations, the daily struggle for migrants" rights is delegated to specialised anti-racist activists.
Another important theme is the growing political self-organization of migrants, and we intend to debate this issue throughout the duration of the camp. However, apartheid policies can only be defeated if the social movements become aware of the central role that these policies play within the neo-liberal agenda. We have to defeat the isolation of migrants" struggles. For this reason, we propose that the camp be developed in cooperation: a) with activists working in the field of communication, so as to break the wall of indifference around migrants and to expose the hypocrisy and hostility of the mass media; b) with organized workers" movements and unions, so as to investigate and confront the political and legal mechanisms that govern migrants" work. We propose to hold during the camp a European meeting in order to continue the debates and campaigns commenced in Florence.
Programme for meetings and actions:
- 21 welcoming day
- 22 meeting of the Comitato Immigrati in Italia (Italian Immigrant Committee)
- 23 action against borders
- 24 actions related to migrant work (to be decided)
- 25 meeting of the Euro-Mediterranean anti-racism movement
- 26 demonstration against a centre for administrative detention
- 27 meeting of the Italian anti-racism movement
workshops on 4 themes:
- Border control and action against it.
- Migrants work.
- European policies
- Communication (concerning also freedom of movement/freedom of expression).