Some friends on the other side of the Atlantic are trying to organize solidarity with the migrant caravans arriving in Tijuana. This is a callout for people around the world to come to the region and to help out or to support the project from afar. You will find the callout in different languages on the website of the initiative. Please share it widely among your networks, groups and organizations!
Callout for the Free Movement of People
From its watchtowers, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has been mapping the desert. Its surveillance sees drugs, smugglers, and cartels in every man, woman and child who approach the southern border. We do not wish to live in a world where security strangles freedom. In 2018, the American political imaginary was focused on the caravans. We fear 2019 will follow with new walls, deportations, detention centers, separations, ankle monitors, camps, and deaths. We do not wish to live in a camp. We desire a world without borders.
In the most recent caravan, about 7,000 people joined together to endure the perilous journey north to present themselves at the San Ysidro port-of-entry. Their motivations were similar to the 1.3 million who filed asylum claims in the EU in 2015, the hundreds of thousands of refugees who have lived in Calais alone, and the thousands who died in the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas. The members of this caravan primarily traveled from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. They have organized together, publicly and as a political force.
At the same time, thousands have made the journey on their own, hidden from sight and braving even greater risks. In the past, hundreds of thousands more have taken this same surreptitious and dangerous path, riding La Bestia and risking everything at the hands of gangs, human traffickers, and police.
This is neither the first nor the last caravan. This model of collective organizing has been in development in Central America for at least a decade. It has opened up a new political potential for Central American Migrants—-by creating a safe means of transit without collaboration with human traffickers. Doing so constitutes a refusal to cross the desert alone and in secret.
A number of us live on the US-Mexico border. We provide jugs of water, food, socks, and blankets, and offer shelter, warm meals, and needed medical attention. We resist militarization of the borderlands. We also mitigate its effects: by working in detention facilities to help the incarcerated recover their belongings from the border patrol, by training ourselves in the legal processes necessary to stop raids and deportations, and by searching the desert for those who have disappeared. The government criminalized these efforts.
In Tijuana, we organize around the needs and desires of the caravanerxs to facilitate their autonomy from state structures, for example through assisting with the defense of the migrants’ warehouse and occupied camp, running supplies across the border when supplies can’t be sourced locally, and fundraising and building kitchen and tech infrastructure with and for the migrants’ use. In an effort to raise awareness of these issues, we have published articles, wheatpasted posters, and put together a website, commotion.world.
Fascism in the US has advanced to the stage where the government separates migrant families and imprisons them in camps. In response, we occupied Immigration Control Enforcement field offices and immigrant detention centers across the country. Now, as fascism progresses and imprisons the people who try to help the people in the camps, we realize we need help. With its terrifying sovereign power to assign rights and deprive dignity, the US government has defined the migrants from Central America as a class of invaders. The nations at work in San Ysidro and Tijuana are attempting to transform the 2,000-mile border into a permanent impasse for certain people, certain classes. There has been a proliferation of places of internment, which are maintained by drones, GPS, infrared scans, and a variety of products from the booming border technology industry. How long before there is no refuge?
We’re reaching out to you, our comrades in Europe—those of you who have been mobilizing in support of migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers, who have been agitating for the free movement of bodies and the habitation of the world, and who have been waging war against the enemies of those people whose livelihoods and conditions of survival have been destroyed, shipwrecked, turned to rubble.
We write this letter to formally invite you to participate in our struggle: to join us here in Tijuana. You have already participated in a border struggle with similarities to our own for many years. We would benefit from your experiences building an infrastructure of resistance and rebellion to the border regime, and we hope to collaborate on long-term perspectives.
If you cannot come, please support us from afar. Contributions will be used to help meet basic needs, such as renting large houses, warehouses, or other collective living spaces for those who travel in the caravans and who travel to Mexico to help; buying food, medical supplies, and communication devices to facilitate the migrants’ autonomous control over their media and messaging; purchasing bus or train tickets for caravanerxs to move back and forth across Mexico to circulate knowledge and techniques between the caravans; and paying unavoidable bail and other legal fees.
Please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have anything to share.
We’re looking forward to learning from and with you.
“In truth, the problem is not migrants, refugees or asylum seekers. The [problem is the] border. Everything starts from it and everything brings us back to it.”
– Achille Mbembe, “Le Grand Debarras”
“The precariousness of migrant groups means they would always need to develop new ways of organising in order to survive. The loss of old ties and certainties encourages new ways of thinking and acting.”
– A No Borders manifesto