Academic journal article Refuge

Editorial: Why No Borders?

Academic journal article Refuge

Editorial: Why No Borders?

Article excerpt


This editorial article argues for No Borders as a practical political project. We first critically examine borders as ideological, generating and reinforcing inequality. We consider some responses to injustices produced by borders: the call for "human rights" attempts to make immigration controls more "humanitarian" and trade unions" organizing and campaigning with undocumented workers. Recognizing the important contributions of some of these responses, we argue that nevertheless they have often been limited because they do not question sovereignty, the territorializing of people's subjectivities, and nationalism. No Borders politics rejects notions of citizenship and statehood, and clarifies the centrality of borders to capitalism. We argue that No Borders is a necessary part of a global system of common rights and contemporary struggle for the commons. The article concludes by highlighting the main themes of the papers that make up the Special Issue, a number of which explore practical instances of the instantiation of No Borders politics.


Le present article de tete presente le mouvement No Border comme projet politique pratique. Les auteurs examinent d'abord de fafon critique les frontieres en tant qu'ideologie produisant et renforcant l'inegalite. Ils considerent quelques reactions aux injustices produites par les frontieres : appels aux << droits humains >>, tentatives de rendre les contro1es d'immigration plus <>, mouvements syndicaux d'organisation et de lutte avec les travailleurs sans-papiers. Reconnaissant l'importante contribution de certaines de ces reactions, ils soutiennent qu'elles sont neanmoins souvent limitees parce qu'elles ne mettent pas en cause la souverainete, la territorialisation des subjectivites individuelles et le nationalisme. Le mouvement No Border rejette les notions de citoyennete et d'Etat et met au grand jour le ro1e central des frontieres au sein du capitalisme. Les auteurs soutiennent que No Border est un didmerit necessaire d'un systeme mondial de droits communs et de lutte contemporaine pour les communes. Ils mettent enfin en evidence les themes principaux des articles qui composent ce numero special, dont plusieurs etudient des cas pratiques de la manifestation des politiques No Border.

Only the battles which aren't even begun are lost at the start.


--Madjiguene Cisse spokesperson for the Sans-Papiers in France

Across the world, national states, in especially in what the Economist likes to call the "rich world", are imposing ever more restrictive immigration policies. Such state efforts are being enacted at precisely the time when migration has become an increasingly important part of people's strategies for gaining access to much-needed life resources. These may be a new livelihood, closeness to significant persons in their lives, or escape from untenable, even murderous, situations, such as persecution and war, as well as the opportunity to experience new people, places, and situations. That the greater freedom of mobility granted to capital and commodities through neo-liberal reform has taken place alongside this lessening of freedom of mobility for people has been analyzed by many as constituting one of the great contradictions of the present era.

In contrast, in this Special Issue on the emergence of a No Borders politics, we show that the simultaneous process of granting more freedom to capital and less to migrants is far from a contradiction and is in fact a crucial underpinning of global capitalism and the equally global system of national states. The growing restriction on the freedom of people to move has not led to fewer people crossing nationalized borders. Exactly the opposite: today more people are doing exactly this than ever before. The United Nations Population Division currently estimates that there are now about 200 million international migrants each year. …

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