Category Archives: border

New Scanner for Student monitoring to be introduced (by your border-agent-tutor)

Trinketization must-have item of the week! this new electronic gadget from Opticon: website http://www.opticon.co.uk is a barcode scanner about to be rolled out at Queen Mary, to be used by seminar leaders to register attendance at seminars by scanning students’ ID cards.

[i am reliably informed from deep inside the administrative apparatus]

forget the new iphone five, this is the trinket you need for the proper management of scholarship in the knowledge economy

its sleek design makes it an oh so slick silver status object, with curved corners™

first an arm and a leg in fees, then electronic tagging as the staff are made agents of UKBA. FFS.

A reminder of the Centre for Cultural Studies position against being agents of the Border regime here.

Update:

—– Forwarded Message —–

MESSAGE FROM CCLS Director and Head of Dept, Laws

Dear all,

As a result of the tightening of immigration rules, from this academic year
onwards all universities must monitor students’ lecture attendance on an
ongoing basis. This encompasses students from all postgraduate taught
programmes. The attendance monitoring exercise will require the assistance
of academic staff members and guest speakers teaching postgraduate modules.
We have purchased scanners that read students ID cards. There is one scanner
per module. Each module convener must ensure that the person responsible
for the weekly lecture brings the scanner into the class, gives it to
students to record their attendance and brings it back to CCLS/Mile End
reception as appropriate.

It is VITAL that this is done every week as continuity is required when
checking for absence.

Scanner control

Modules taught at LIF OR CH SQ can collect and return scanners to LIF
reception.
Modules taught at Mile End OR at IALS by department staff can collect and
return scaners to Mile End Law Reception

We will start the monitoring exercise from week one, although for the first
two weeks it is trial run as class lists are not yet known. Your help in
implementing this is very important. As you know, foreign students are vital
for us and we must do what is required by the authorities to ensure our
right to sponsor student visas is not affected.

If you have any queries please contact Aqib (Ext. 8091 A.Khan@qmul.ac.uk or
Wendy Ext 8104 ccls-helpdesk@qmul.ac.uk).

There are some basic guidance notes attached -

Many thanks in advance for your collaboration with this task.

Kind regards,

Spyros and Valsamis

Australia tries out new cleansing immigration form…

A friend is applying for residency in Australia – the glorious points based immigration system.

She writes:

“I included a picture of this because I could not stop laughing when I saw this,  the government requires a “character assessment” to insure that you are “of good character”.  They have you get police reports for the last 10 years, and all sorts of nonsense.  Among the biggest pieces of nonsense is the form itself.  Question number 6,  after name, gender,DOB, and  the like is “Are you of Arabic descent?”.  RIght after asking you if you are a Chinese businessman.  Whether or not you are of Arabic descent is apparently crucial for the Australian government to determine if you are of good character”

 

Here is the relevant page of the form:

Beyond Borders – order here

Berlin detention centre march 8.9.12

Refugees and asylum seekers in several German detention camps have gone on
strike in order to draw attention to and protest the inhumane predicament
they have found themselves in. 8 September 2012 marks the
beginning of their march from the detention center in Wuerzburg to Berlin.

http://asylstrikeberlin.wordpress.com/

Beyond Borders

With Jon Sack and Ewa Jasiewicz, authors of the graphic chapter in our Beyond Borders book – out now: pavementbooks.com/beyondborders… http://fb.me/Z9Ck13zL

Comply – UKBA job is very well named

We wrote Beyond Borders against this:

here for full add

Job Details
UKBA Compliance Officer
Location: New Cross, London
Contract type: Permanent
Salary: £34,607 to £38,597 pa incl
Date posted: 02 August 2012
Recruiter: GOLDSMITHS UNIVERSITY OF LONDON
UKBA Compliance Officer
£34,607 to £38,597 pa incl New Cross, London Working within the Quality, Planning and Academic Governance Department, you will be responsible for ensuring that Goldsmiths maintains its status as a Highly Trusted Sponsor under Tiers 2, 4 and 5 of the United Kingdom Border Agency’s Points Based System. Key tasks will include advising academic, professional and administrative staff across the institution on Tier 2 and Tier 4 PBS sponsorship duties, reporting and auditing requirements, and working with senior managers to ensure that appropriate systems and processes are developed and that the day-to-day operational activities at Goldsmiths comply with all relevant aspects of UK Government legislation in relation to international student and staff recruitment.

You will have a detailed knowledge of UKBA sponsor guidance requirements, excellent written, oral communication and influencing skills, an analytical approach to evaluating processes and policies, and will possess the initiative to work without close supervision.

Interested in this job?

Go to the GOLDSMITHS UNIVERSITY OF LONDON website to view more details about this job.

UKBA Compliance Officer jobs, New Cross, London
Apply for UKBA Compliance Officer in New Cross, London on Guardian Jobs.
Full Time position working for GOLDSMITHS UNIVERSITY OF LONDON.

Beyond Borders book cover (book available soon)


and discount pre-order here.

book blurb and contents list here:

http://www.pavementbooks.com/beyondborders

Beyond Borders book in the shops soon… here is the postcard.

Immigration themed Op Ed from India that should be noticed.

This Op Ed appeared in The Statesman newspaper in Kolkata, and skewers the madness of Tory immigration/xenophobia/economic jingoism on this boggy Isle. The writer is a staffer on that paper – jolly good to see that the rest of the world notices your crap Cameron. ‘Independent ethics advisor’ my arse – he is called Sir, which means he’s hardly independent, nor ethical. And anyway, as an advisor, his job is to tell Cameron what he can and can’t get away with. Not a brake, more an alibi.

The moral netherland

2 June 2012

UK’s increasing non-EU visa restrictions and requirements are symptomatic of a country that has not yet found the means or the will to articulate its ever-decreasing position in the world pecking order, writes lara choksey

Of all the things that the Leveson Inquiry into the ethics of British Press has exposed, perhaps one of the most remarkable is that British Prime Minister David Cameron has an ethics advisor. Responding to the possibility of being called up in front of the Inquiry, Mr Cameron said that should any evidence against him suggest the breaking of ministerial codes, he will call in Sir Alex Allan ~ his independent ethics advisor ~ for consultation.

On one level it seems sensible to have someone in or around Downing Street who can determine the ethical dimensions of political quandaries. On another, it is disturbing that the leader of a country that has not ceased promoting itself as a moral leader in the world needs someone else to distinguish between right and wrong.

In terms of the international Press, there are two stories dominating discussions of the UK. The first is the Leveson Inquiry, which started off as a simple matter of investigating the hacking of celebrity phones by itinerant news agencies, and which has now begun to expose the sordid nature of Downing Street’s relationship with the Murdochs under the Cameron, Brown and Blair leaderships.

This in itself is nothing new; anyone who has watched an episode of Yes, Minister! would expect nothing more. But when placed parallel to the second story circulating across the globe ~ that of implemented and threatened restrictions on UK visas for those who do not meet specific economic requirements ~ the hypocrisy and shortsightedness at Westminster’s rotten core becomes ever clearer.

There are two issues at stake here. The first concerns Downing Street’s idea of Britain as a moral leader in global politics. The second concerns Downing Street’s idea of what constitutes Britain’s nationhood. The discursive frame through which Mr Cameron and his ministers frame Britain domestically and internationally reveals a central administration willfully ignoring the economic and cultural heterogeneity of the population under its control, as well as the hypocrisy of its justifying its actions to the rest of the world on the grounds of moral superiority.

Above any other nation ~ in terms of pure numbers ~ India is the country likely to be most affected by the UK’s increasing non-EU visa restrictions and requirements. According to the International Passenger Survey, Indian nationals made up the largest percentage (11.9 per cent) of immigrants granted entry to the UK in 2010-11. Of these Indian nationals, a large number entered the UK on student visas. Those entering in 2010 would have been granted a two-year post-study work visa.

Fast forward a year, and there has been more than a 30 per cent drop in the number of Indian nationals applying for student visas, with many choosing the United States, Australia and Canada as alternatives. This is partly because the post-study work visa was scrapped this April, and partly ~ according to some British university professors ~ due to the increasing hostility and suspicion shown by the UK border agency towards non-EU students, particularly those from South Asia. This observation is compounded by the fact that the total number of student visas granted by the UK to non-EU residents dropped by 62 per cent in the first quarter of 2012.

We could easily leap to charges of xenophobia, and speculate about a small island closing its borders as a four-year recession refuses to budge. The residual prejudices of post-9/11 homeland security become an increasingly convenient justification for reinforcing national borders. Yet, this logic ignores the pre-Olympic pro-investment road show that various British foreign diplomats have been charged with promoting in their respective countries over the last 12 months, encouraging non-EU businesses to invest in the UK.

In February, the UK immigration minister Mr Damien Green announced that from 2016, people not from the EU and not earning at least £35,000 will not be able to apply to be a permanent resident in the UK. The message is clear: the UK welcomes big business and high salaries, regardless of ideology or investment ethics. Diversity is embraced, as long as it comes with a thick cheque book. In return, multinational companies benefit from tax evasion and low borrowing costs on international financial markets. It is undeniably ~ at least for the moment ~ a mutually beneficial arrangement. Prosaic questions of ethics are put out of the window ~ Britain is in a recession, and dog will eat dog.

Why does this matter to India? Apart from the fact that Britain is still considered to be a desirable place to visit, study and live (although this view is undoubtedly changing), this matters because Britain is behind the times. Specifically in the context of India’s increasing importance on the world stage ~ both economically and diplomatically ~ Britain’s restrictions on non-EU immigration seem ridiculous. Such restrictions are symptomatic of a country that has not yet found the means or the will to articulate its ever-decreasing position in the world pecking order.

For the sake of argument, let us just speculate that Britain once had a right to claim moral superiority over other nations (we need not go very far back in history to look at the violence of such a claim). But as the Cameron government decimates the welfare structures that might have once allowed Britain to claim a certain moral superiority with regard to providing the infrastructure (if not always the materialisation) of holistic care for its population, the claim becomes increasingly fragile.  A national heath service, financial support for people at the bottom of the food chain, and ~ perhaps most pertinently in the context of the visa discussion ~ open borders for economic migrants and political refugees: these are some of the structures that might convincingly constitute the discourse of moral superiority.

Yet, in the last twenty years, these structures have become dirty words in Downing Street, replaced by privatisation, austerity and border security, seemingly in direct spite of the increasing scale of global poverty and warfare: so many people have never been so poor, and genocide has never been simpler. India should take heed: there is a fast-appearing vacancy in the global moral high-ground market that needs prompt filling. In an interview published in The Daily Telegraph on 25 May, 2012, British home secretary Ms Theresa May responded to a question on curbing immigration by saying: “The aim is to create here in Britain a really hostile environment for illegal migration.” We might ask, what constitutes an illegal migrant? The term suggests an international law preventing movement between countries. However, while the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights decrees that a country should grant entry to its own citizens, there is no international law that prevents a person from entering a country in the first place.

Immigration laws are national laws, coded by national interests and national understandings of who should be allowed entry. Thus, we learn much about the way in which a country understands itself by the way in which it categorises those who arrive on its shores. In the UK, the terms of ‘illegal migration’ are clear: it has everything to do with economic status. Those who are not considered fit to make a significant economic contribution to the UK, quite simply, become illegal ~ outside legitimacy ~ and vulnerable to any form of physical or mental subjugation. The right to claim access to Britain is based on purely economic terms: this is the new model of national belonging.

Downing Street has thrown off the mantle of social responsibility, both domestically and internationally. Internationally speaking, its participation in Libya on the grounds of humanitarian intervention is laughable when we consider that there is a British Ambassador ~ Nicholas Ray ~ permanently stationed in Khartoum, Sudan. His purpose is to perform diplomacy with the al Bashir government, an administration currently carrying out ethnic cleansing operations on its borders. Domestically, the British government’s claim to provide for its population (as opposed to its citizens) is being made forfeit by the systematic destruction of structures built on the ideas of a common right to life, and the responsibility of government to provide for its population. The Cameron government’s policies are regressive to a Dickensian degree, and increasing internal unrest ~ characterised by last year’s riots ~ will only be kept at bay by Jubilee morale boosting for so long.  With the removal of welfare structures, Downing Street would model Britain as nothing more than a vast, transnational bank, complete with hordes of the hungry standing outside. From an international perspective, this is the only form of diversity Cameron’s government is currently interested in promoting.
The writer is on the staff of The Statesman

 

[10.6.2012 Lara adds: Clarification: I take it for granted that ‘morals’ are socially-inscribed codes, whereas ethics - broadly speaking - are a means of defending concepts of right and wrong actions. My use of the phrase ‘moral superiority’ is therefore performative - the description or impression of a national discourse, as opposed to ‘ethical behaviour’. A longer piece might make this distinction clearer, but I did not feel it was necessary to point out the ethical importance of, for example, the NHS etc.

To clarify my argument and take it forward: firstly, that Britain’s claim to moral superiority is being made forfeit not because it ever had a right to make this claim in the first place, but because the infrastructure supporting this claim (class/gender/race equality and equal opportunities and so on) is being dismantled: the discourse, or performance, can no longer support itself.

Or so it would seem from one perspective. However, taking this forward, I would suggest that if Britain maintains its performance of ‘moral superiority’ on an international stage, then the discourse (and infrastructure) of ‘moral superiority’ is now based on codes of economic viability. To be ‘moral’, in the context of Downing Street’s national aspirations, one must be financially solvent. Foreign investors are invited to buy a stake in moral superiority.]

Bangin’ on the walls

Commented to a friend: Faced with the dubious, bogus, offensive statements of Cameron and Theresa May on immigration yet again, can we insist that even left and activist types, learned professors many of then, not automatically use political asylum as a defence, when all migrants, including so-called opportunist economic and ‘poor’, should be free to move. If capital can cross borders at will, why not labour? Sure, the point is that this is a game of labour flow control, but there are also needs, wants and desires, and a hierarchy of exclusion that must be beaten down. ‘keep banging on the walls of Fortress Europe’ sing ADF. It was not so long ago that the UK was all open armed about commonwealth, or even Eastern European, workers. And the US used to have a slogan ‘give us your poor, tired, weak and hungry’. This was already hypocrisy, but to adopt the language of Labour Party and Con-Dems and talk of asylum rights is to cede the ground and only defend ‘legitimate refugees’ which then means its OK to lock up and deport all the others. It is not OK. As stressed by the anti-deportation campaigns and actions of the No Borders London group etc.
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
This quote comes from Emma Lazarus’ sonnet, New Colossus, which she wrote for a fundraiser auction to raise money for the pedestal upon which the Statue of Liberty now sits. 

New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Forensic Oceanography

Please find below (and at the following link) the latest news release from Goldsmiths, University of London announcing a report from the Forensic Oceanography team which has shed light on the fate of the ‘left-to-die’ boat which saw 63 migrants die while trying to flee the war in Libya last year:

http://www.gold.ac.uk/news/pressrelease/?releaseID=936


Goldsmiths research sheds light on ‘left-to-die’ boat tragedy

Research carried out by the Forensic Oceanography team at Goldsmiths, University of London has shed light on the fate of the ‘left-to-die’ boat which saw 63 migrants die while trying to flee the war in Libya last year.

The report was carried out by Charles Heller, Lorenzo Pezzani and Situ Studio, and is part of the European Research Council (ERC) project ‘Forensic Architecture’ carried out at Goldsmiths’ Centre for Research Architecture.

The report, which employs a wide range of emerging mapping and visualisation technologies, has been provided to a coalition of NGOs that have been demanding accountability for these deaths.

Today, with the support of these NGOs, several survivors of the ‘left-to-die’ boat have convened in Paris to file a legal case, supplemented by this report, against the French Army for non-assistance to people in distress at sea.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than 1,500 people died in the Mediterranean while trying to leave Libya in 2011, and among these incidents the ‘left-to-die’ boat case, reported by the international press, provoked widespread public outrage.

A boat of 72 migrants fleeing Tripoli by boat in the early morning of 27 March 2011 ran out of fuel and was left to drift for 14 days until it landed back on the Libyan coast. A distress call was sent out via satellite telephone but the migrants were not rescued, and with no water or food on-board only nine of them survived.

Over the past four months, the Forensic Oceanography team provided technical expertise in the form of maps and visual material to Senator Tineke Strik, Rapporteur for the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) who has released an in-depth report on the issue.

The Forensic Oceanography report that is being made public today supplements the written documents produced by these organisations by bringing a wide range of emergent technologies together. It focuses specifically on the spatial analysis of the ‘left-to-die’ case, combining the testimonies of the survivors with several different kinds of data including Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery, geospatial mapping, and drift modelling.

Lorenzo Pezzani, PhD candidate and Research Fellow at Goldsmiths, said: “The research included a series of visualisations and maps that reconstruct, as accurately as possible, what happened to the vessel, and assess the involvement of a number of parties the vessel encountered during the time it was at sea. Using digital tools that have seen limited applications in the field of international law and human rights advocacy suggests new possibilities for documenting violations of human rights at sea, and increases the likelihood for greater accountability in the future.”

Notes to editors:
       The report can be downloaded here: http://www.forensic-architecture.org/docs/final_draft_public_optimized_0.pdf

       The link to the Forensic Oceanography page can be found here: http://www.forensic-architecture.org/homepage/fields/investigations/sea

       The link to the Forensic Architecture website can be found here: http://forensic-architecture.org/

       Images available on request (images to be credited to Forensic Oceanography: Charles Heller, Lorenzo Pezzani, and Situ Studio. Part of the European Research Council Project ‘Forensic Architecture’, Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths, University of London).


No Borders Convergence

also here

The Border at Night

A vicious wound that demeans us all –  Enis alerts me to this image from the film Abendland (see the trailer here) – its the aptly named Frontex border at Ceuta, Spain (between the EU and Morocco)

Beyond Borders.

Possible blurb for the book on borders (edited volume, nearly done, press details soon)

Beyond Borders – ed, John Hutnyk

This collection of essays, graphics and theatre displaces our understandings of borders so that we cannot look the same way at that which invades our everyday, that which kills and excludes, that which sounds out across divides and that which connects and soothes. Addressing activism, philosophy, film, art and music, the book includes a graphic essay on the Gaza Flotilla and an original play The Detention Centre. Essays by prominent scholars and writers address citizenship, visa queues, the home economy, philanthropy, student fees, transportation, terror, camps, poetic license and more. The book makes a virtue of the chance encounter of creativity with structure so as to invent new angles on the politics of borders and movement, breaking with regulatory thinking and always looking to slip under or over the wire. The border effect is everywhere, even between our pages. We are for rampant transgressions – and an end to borders of death.

 

And a first stab at an even more abstract longer rave for it:

 

> The border is not only geography and vision – though a line on the map and the sign at immigration control are our most immediate experiences of control – the border is also a process, an order, an iteration, uneven, performative and aural. The border is not just at the edge or boundary, it is also in the street, in the post, in the pub. The border operates between people. The hand raised to silence the offer of the migrant DVD salesperson who interrupts your quiet enjoyment of a beer – that too is a brutal moment of border control. Although of course we can insist that state boundaries are also porous, continually bypassed, more and less easily, in so many different ways; immigration control still stands as a block to movement and mediation.

>> The resonance of the war and power is strong here – echoing with the sounds of silence, dispossession and death to which our eyes become deaf, our ears have become blind. If we recognize the border is not just the port, but the entire city, as in “everywhere, in everything we do”, in each interaction between people related, somehow somewhere to belonging – how violent this is – if we recognize the border as a wall between us all, then we might see reason to have to reconfigure the very idea of nation, boundary and movement that so distracts us. Here, the border is not just at the edge, but at any port, at the immigration office, in the postal service that delivers the visa, in the police checks, the detention procedure – in the everyday reactions of people to each other even as they stand and stare. So, if we think of the way sound and meaning travels across the border, might we start to develop ways of thinking critically against this geographic boundary – and the old models of nation, culture, race that the border secures. What would it be to ask critically about, and so reject, the way we have fixed the border through property, maps, geography – and so leave that space that has been deaf to other movements, transmissions, resonances. Would this work things differently, otherwise?

>> Is our boundary prejudice built into the structure of the border control? A logic of presence, geography and vision govern the strong sense of truth that belongs to knowledge. We say knowledge is divided into fields (geography) and seem most often to register knowing through a confident designation. We indicate truths by pointing (vision), there is presence in understanding. Now perhaps there is an alternative in the metaphoric code with which we name movement and sound. It may be possible to hear a more critical tone, to raise questions about the assertions of certitude – when critical we say we are not sure we agree, we doubt, we say we do not like the tone. Can thinking through travel, time and sound suggest new ways of linking across the borders between us all – as sound crosses the border in ways that tamper with visual and geographic blocks (pirate radio, music, language, the sound of falling bombs…). But we also say, when critical, that we cannot see the point. Ahh, with this last the too easy divide of metaphor into those that point and assert knowledge through vision and those that question and challenge through sound does finally break down. But perhaps there is something in sound that can suggest more, that allows us at least to listen to another possibility, temporarily opening up ears and minds.

>> But borders are also blocks. And we are complicit in this myopia. The management of the border is a mass participation project operated absentmindedly by all of us all day. Through an overkill of commentary and a shifting, churning hierarchy, the profiles, stereotypes and judgements that are constantly made yet so often denied are the guilty enactment of this regime. Border Police do their work – spot check, detention, deportation – all the better because our everywhere everyday distracted border operation is there in all we do.

> It is often thought, but we could be more precise – that movement across borders of all kinds is a good thing, breaking taboos and genre rules is an unmitigated good. Of course, cross disciplinarity is claimed as a boon (in cultural studies for sure), but clearly other crossings – of capital, of weapons, of imperial power – are not so welcome. Capital moves one way, surplus value extraction another. Cross-border global movement (music distribution, television news, democracy) might not always be a boon. No doubt pirate radio enjoys much approval, but communications media also have a less favourable heritage (radio as used, say, by the National Socialists in Germany) and present (the contemporary normative narrations of ‘democracy’ by the Voice of America, the BBC, or with the televisual uniformity of CNN). A more careful thinking that notes the metaphors of critique, distinguishes movement and sonic registers that affirm or disavow, works to undo that which destroys and divides, fosters that which unites, organises capacity to live otherwise with others…-

>> Beyond Borders is supported by an AHRC Beyond Text programme Network Grant and the Centre for Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, and is edited volume with work by John Hutnyk, Leila Whitley, Enis Oktay, Angela, Rachel Palmer, Nabil Ahmed, Liz Thompson, Ben Rosenzweig, Ewa Jasiewicz, Raul Gschrey, Rico Reyes, María-José, Carla Mueller-Schulke, Kiwi Menrath, Rangan Chakravarty, Johannes Anyuru and Aleksander Moturri.>

Goldsmiths No Borders Group have put out a call for a NoBorders Convergence, London, 13 – 18 February 2012

http://london.noborders.org.uk/convergence2012/callout 23:17 — London NoBorders

London NoBorders, along with Goldsmiths students and other groups, are organising a week-long convergence to be held in London between 13 – 18 February 2012. The aim is to get together to share our knowledge and experiences in relation to people’s freedom of movement and the restrictions on it, and to share skills, network, strategise and take action. We seek to create a temporary space for the production of counter-narratives and practices to the very idea of governing people’s movement through border controls.

Why a convergence

As the global economic crisis deepens and runaway climate chaos and energy and food crises loom ever closer,the borders of Europe are being fortified even further to protect the interests of the privileged few at the expense of the rest of us. A range of worrying developments can be observed: discriminatory point-based visa systems for overseas students and migrant workers, increased use of detention and deportation in inhumane conditions, military-style operations in the Mediterranean sea to intercept migrant boats, often leading to deadly tragedies, high-tech surveillance and intelligence gathering, externalising Europe’s borders by bribing neighbouring countries to act as the EU’s border police, and so on and so forth. For most migrants from the global south, Europe is increasing looking like a fortress and a labour camp.

At the same time, there has been a wave of grassroots movements around the world demanding radical changes to the current economic and political system that is responsible for the suffering of the majority of the world’s population. From the Arab uprisings, through students’ and workers’ protests and riots, to anti-capitalist occupations across Western ‘democracies’, more and more people are realising that this mode is no longer tenable, and are taking things into their own hands. Migrants’ struggles are also part of this awakening and the very idea of Europe is being redefined as a result of these struggles and the new policy developments mentioned above.

Like capital, the nationals of the EU and other ‘first world’ countries are free to travel wherever they want. Yet those on the wrong side of artificially erected borders, whose countries are often torn apart by capitalist and imperial conquests, are illegalised, criminalised and prevented from doing what humans have done for thousands of years: moving in search of a better life, to escape poverty, abuse, discrimination, persecution, gender oppression, war and so on. The right of everyone to travel and live where they want is denied for those with the ‘wrong’ skin colour, passport or bank account.

This inherently racist system of border controls not only creates hierarchies of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ migrants, useful and unwanted, it also subjects those rendered ‘illegal’ to repression and exploitation, legitimised by increasingly racist and right-wing political rhetoric and media coverage.

What, where, when

The No Borders Convergence, to be held in London between 13 – 18 February 2012, will include seminars and workshops on a wide range of topics, from immigration detention and forcible deportations, EU immigration policies and its border agency (Frontex), through institutional racism and social services provision, the exploitation of migrant workers and students, to No Border camps, radical solidarity, direct action and much more.

However, we don’t want to just talk; we hope that during this week people will also get together to plan and take action against various aspects of the border regime in London and the surrounding areas.

The convergence will be what people make of it, but we would like it to be a laboratory of radical thoughts, discussions and actions; a convergence of many different people brought together through a common struggle against borders, both external and internal.

Join us in London from 13th-18th February 2012. We will endeavour to provide a video link so that people who can not attend in person can still follow and participate in the discussions. More information and details here.

Freedom of movement and equal rights for all!

Gaza protest: Saturday 14 May 2011

Join the protest: Saturday 14 May

12 noon opposite Downing Street

Called by: Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition, British Muslim Initiative, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Palestinian Forum in Britain

End the siege on Gaza Supported by: Amos Trust, Association of the Palestinian Community in the UK, Communications Workers Union (CWU), Fire Brigades Union (FBU), Friends of Lebanon, Friends of Al-Aqsa, GMB, The Green Party, ICAHD UK, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Lib Dem Friends of Palestine, Pax Christi, Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), The Russell Tribunal on Palestine, Twinning with Palestine, UNISON, UNITE the Union, University & College Union (UCU), War on Want, Zaytoun
Support the Freedom Flotilla: Follow‘Britain 2 Gaza’ on Facebook or@britain2gaza on Twitter Britain to Gaza logo
To sign the petition to end the siege click here.
Join the PSC:www.palestinecampaign.org PSC logo
‘Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians’
— Nelson Mandela
PSC is campaigning to end the siege on Gaza, is demanding that the right of Palestinian self-determination is respected, and that Palestinians finally achieve freedom, peace and justice. Together, we can change the future. Join the PSC today!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What is the Weight of the Moon? 21.3.2011

Screening and discussion Nabil Ahmed: a response to the situation of over 50,000 Bengali students whose colleges are currently under investigation by the UK government to assess their legitimacy.

Monday 21 March RHB Cinema Goldsmiths, 6.30PM

Free

Nabil Ahmed took the title for What is the Weight of the Moon? from The Middleman, a film by Satyajit Rai forming part of a cycle of films that reflects on the political implications of being a student in Calcutta during the 1970s. Ahmed’s project is a response to the situation of over 50,000 Bengali students whose colleges are currently under investigation by the UK government to assess their legitimacy. Through the medium of film, What is the Weight of the Moon? explores the low visibility of the colleges, which are often identified only by ambiguous-looking signboards in the east London area, and the near-invisibility of their students.

Originally conceived as a two-channel video installation consisting of a video essay and a set of edited interviews, Ahmed’s work places student interviewees outside the frame. The viewer is invited to become an active listener by controlling a three-channel audio mixer to hear field recordings and simultaneous translations of the interviews in Bengali and English.

 

UKBA Border @ Gold.

WEDNESDAY 9TH MARCH 3-4PM INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS OPEN MEETING WITH PHILIP
BROADHEAD RHB 356 (domestic/EU students please come too!)

FRIDAY 11TH MARCH 1PM DEMO OUTSIDE DEPTFORD TOWNHALL AGAINST SMT THREATS
TO INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

As most of you already know, the Goldsmiths senior management team is
treating international students in a dispicable way.

*SMT are co-operating with UK Border Agency, rather than guaranteeing the
safety and security of Goldsmiths students.

*International students are required to use a defunct, pointless online
registration, which will be a regular requirement. (Students at Queen Mary
are required to gather in a room and have their passports checked, a
likely next step for Goldsmiths).

*Many students don’t know about this requirement, and didn’t submit the
registration.

*SMT has made a list of these students, and is threatening to pass their
details on to UKBA this Friday 11th March.

*Previously, lecturers were requested to pass on the names of any
international students who missed 3 or more classes, and this information
would then have been passed onto UKBA who could then legally deport these
students (GUCU were successful in their non-compliance with this request).

PLEASE JOIN US IN WEDNESDAY’S MEETING AND FRIDAY’S DEMO TO SHOW SMT THAT
WE WON’T COMPLY WITH THIS! It would really mean a lot for international
students to have support and for this issue to be brought into the wider
education movement.

Merry Absurd Xmas Card – Scrooge and ‘Azure’!!

Some insane dialectics for xmas – time to think about those cash cards and all the pressure the commodity fest puts upon your wallet, then see also the beautiful blue sky and think of warmer places far away, and then remember this is England and the borders are secured by the UKBA. Massive conflicts here – blue sea, blue sky, narrow thinking, repressive apparatus.

Azure [ˈæʒə -ʒʊə ˈeɪ-]

n 

1. (Fine Arts & Visual Arts / Colours) a deep blue, occasionally somewhat purple, similar to the colour of a clear blue sky
2.Poetic a clear blue sky
adj 

1. (Fine Arts & Visual Arts / Colours) of the colour azure; serene
2. (History / Heraldry) (usually postpositive)Heraldry of the colour blue 

[from Old French azur, from Old Spanish, from Arabic lāzaward lapis lazuli, from Persian lāzhuward]

So, having consulted the deep meaning of this lovely cultural festival and holiday time, and considered the Persion roots of the word of choice for describing the sky, it comes as no surprise that pleasure in the blue is corrupted and destroyed by institutional abuse and feckless Government wastage, compounded by an inability to consider humane ways of welcoming those ready to brave the cold hard graft of life in ‘blighty. While ‘For everything else there’s Mastercard’, for asylum seekers there’s just the insult and injury of the Azure card (Scrooge is alive and well in the UK):

A cashless society: the other side of the coin …

By Anne Singh

22 December 2010, 10:00pm

As the seasonal festivities get into full swing, campaign and support groups are stepping up their lobbying against the Azure card – a cashless payment system for asylum seekers – which leaves thousands in extreme poverty.

‘SECTION 4 support’, as set out in Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, provides for limited financial support to be provided to asylum seekers whose claim has been refused but who are still unable to return to their country of origin and who would otherwise be destitute. In order to receive this support, refused asylum seekers must move into accommodation provided by the UK Border Agency (UKBA). At the end of June 2010, 6,750 people plus their dependants were in receipt of Section 4 support.

Background

A voucher scheme for refused asylum seekers was (re)introduced at the end of 2005. The vouchers were accepted in a limited number of stores to pay for ‘essential’ goods (food, toiletries) only, and could not be exchanged for cash. The principle behind the voucher scheme was to make failed asylum-seekers’ lives as intolerable as possible to ‘encourage’ their voluntary return.

The voucher system was heavily criticised by campaign and support groups as causing considerable hardship and distress as people had no cash to pay bus fares to see their legal representatives or attend health care appointments and were unable to buy food that met their dietary, religious, or cultural requirements.

In late 2009, the voucher system was abolished principally on the grounds that it represented poor value for money and, according to the UKBA, was open to ‘abuse and fraud’. The ‘abuse and fraud’ complained of by the UKBA was principally national and local charities and support groups – including the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) – who would exchange vouchers for cash to relieve the worst excesses of hardship.

The Azure card was introduced in November 2009 to replace the use of supermarket vouchers. It was introduced without any pilot but was proclaimed the definitive solution to the problems with vouchers. However, the Azure card has done very little to resolve these problems, continuing to restrict where and when people are able to shop, what they are able to buy, and often not working at all. From the start, the payment system was exposed as costly, inefficient and ineffective. The JRS highlighted this anticipating that, in addition to implementation costs, it would cost £200,000 per annum just to administer.

The Azure card is topped up ‘automatically’ each week by the UKBA and can be used in a limited number of supermarket outlets…

Read the rest of this article here: http://www.irr.org.uk/2010/december/ha000020.html

CCS @ Clandestino Festival 9

Wanted: funding to document the Institute that does not exist/has already existed for almost ten years – Clandestino (notes for a funding proposal):

-       the research output is the Clandestino Institute itself, an ‘underground’ University of Sonic and Border Arts, a University that has no permanent presence, but can be understood in terms of documentation of experience as intangible heritage and intergenerational learning. A prospectus and associated materials.

-       Archiving of the ephemeral – undertaking documentation and study of a cross-border sound event – the Clandestino Festival in Gothenburg – means exploring new ways to present its ethos etc., The festival itself is the output, but a variety of means to document and preserve the overall experience, as intangible heritage, will be collected.

-       Sonic Heritage, in the context of preservation studies, what is Sonic Heritage and can Border Arts (as we explored in London, Berlin and Copenhagen – so for that matter not just sonic borders but also work that crosses borders in terms of audio-visual materials and performances) be considered as part of any Heritage programme (what special problems do we have when heritage is not part of a national project). This ‘output’ will be a position paper and archive defending this position, without positing or archiving – continually transformed and under erasure – a vanishing present. A virtual and verifiable sonic – cross border – performative and theatre ‘programme and policy’ document.

These are just notes for the Border, to cross the border, cross with borders, bored, boring, drilling, digging.

That is to say, looking forward to June 2011 Clandestino. Ideas welcome. (mark early June in your diary, head to Gothenburg. Summer, very long days, and, erm, hope for no rain this time please).

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