noborder-protests: discussion on eastern/western relationship (vom 15.02.2005),
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[15. Feb 2005]

noborder-protests: discussion on eastern/western relationship

This article was published in Abolishing the Borders from Below (ABB) issue # 12 in 2003. It is stil relevant. During the enlargement of European Union, Fortress Europe went east. Many noborder protests took place in Eastern European countries during the last years.

Proposal for next year No Border camp

Proposal for a stronger network between western and eastern european activists by doing a bordercamp together in eastern europe

There took place a workshop concerning this issue on the bordercamp in Cologne (2003) and I try to give a brief summary. About 20 people who joined this workshop agreed that relationships between eastern and western european activists should become stronger. One reason which was mentioned was that the EU border regime is strengthening its borders by EU east extension. The effects that this will have on the people in east european countries will increase more and more. This development seems not to be effecting the political strategy of the bordercampers in cologne and also not of that in Straßbourg (2002) and Frankfurt (2001).

On the workshop was discussed a proposal that western europe (especially german) anti border activists should make efforts to support initiatives from east european activists, set up the bordercamp in eastern europe, and make more propaganda for this, in order to motivate more people from western europe to join the east european camp with the effect to strengthen the relationships.

There was a lot of critisism on this proposal. It was critisised that this project would be so big, that it would be very difficult to find a local group who would organise the local stuff for this camp. Furthermore it was mentioned that there is a big probability that the activists of eastern europe are more interested in building and increasing eastern european networks. Perhaps through debating about political issues that concern only east european issues and not so much about the relations between eastern and western parts of europe, like EU east extension and the resistance against EU-border-politics. Another criticism is that it would be senseless to motivate western european people to join a bordercamp in east europe. Evidence for this was the no border tour this year. It was well supported with propaganda, but with not so much success, if you look at the number of western european people who take part in east european camps.

Nevertheless, there are already efforts to give the next bordercamp an input in this direction. There are discussions to set up the next bordercamp in Vienna or directly at the border between Austria and Slovakia. But this depends on the possibilities of the local groups in Vienna and Bratislava. It was noticed that a camp in EU countries like Austria make big problems for eastern europe people to join, because of visas and high costs. So therefore, it would be good to set up the camp in an eastern europe country, to avoid these problems a little bit.

The workshop stops with the exchange of positions, but for the next step it would be good to get comments from east eurpean activists and local groups:

1. If they see a sense in making a border-camp about problems due to the EU-east-extenion and strengthening relationships between eastern and western activists;

2. If they can imagine to set up a camp with these issues in their area. (as Vienna/Bratislava option is only a proposal, not more!) [ note: this proposal was never discussed seriously]

It would be good, if a debate will start on different east european meetings, mailing lists, magazines, like Abolishing the Borders from Below and so on.

In this situation we feel provoked to write here a few words. At first as our magazine still remains a BI-MONTHLY publication we dont think it is the best idea to lead a discussion on AbolishingBB pages as it would be a very slow process. Of course we are interesting in publishing the most interesting statements, critics, developments and decisions. So what we can do right now is to call all persons/groups from Eastern Europe which would like to take a statement on above mentioned topics to send them for a next issue of AbolishingBB. But as a main field for discussion itself we would rather suggest more direct ways.

Regarding to the main topic we see one problem in it. Among east-earopean anarchist/anti authoritarian groups there are many differences considering noborder issues. We don’t believe it is possible to find a model, space and character of camp which would satisfy most of them. In last weeks we notice that there was born very interesting and strong ideas of organizing next years camp in one of the east-european countries which has never guested such an event and where any political action in contemporary situations has a very special meaning. However it does not look like this camp would have a strict anti-border character. It could remain open for such issues as well as for many others. Eventually positive development of that project would probably give the whole discussion an interesting direction. Unfortunately, the process of evaluation of that idea is not clear so far. We need to wait a bit for some more specific info.


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