Noborder action camp in Strasbourg July 19th to 28th

 
::> programme::>contacts::>articles -> list
 
  :: Taking Over the Asylum, an Early No Border Camp in Hackney? ::

 
  In February 1996 the government stepped up its strategy of dis-integrating refugees from the rest of the community by taking away the right to benefits for in-country asylum applicants. It came as no surprise later when the attack was extended to all asylum seekers.
With people about to become destitute, and the Refugee Council not setting up the shelter they'd been funded for, an emergency shelter was opened, called ARCH - the Autonomous Refugee Centre Hackney.
The building was the old Magistrates Court in Stoke Newington High Street, which had been empty and tempting squatters for ages. Bringing together local squatters, church people and other community activists, and with the support of some of the existing refugee community groups, ARCH was meant to house refugees and be a centre for fighting this attack. The first mistake was taking the place over before checking who owned it. We thought it belonged to the state which both made it an appropriate target and legal proceedings more predictable. In fact it had been bought by a cowboy building/security outfit who tried 3 illegal evictions, repulsed with the help of the local Turks and Kurds. This made everything stressful but the 24hour watch made it all more like a camp than just another squat.
After only three weeks (seemed like a lifetime) the place was evicted but work continued, with some asylum seekers moving to a local church for awhile then to a squatted house.
The second mistake was thinking that we could organise the space and the refugees would then just organise themselves. There were times when it did come together, but between times a few people did a lot of unpaid social work. We started off thinking in terms of an abstract collectivity called "refugees", who, from our perspective automatically had common interests, when in fact we came to deal with an amazing collection of individuals who had not chosen to come together in this way. Eventually the refugees found their feet. Lawyers discovered a loophole in some ancient Act that allowed help for destitute people (loophole since closed) and people found their own communities and work. Some of us still hear from some of them. Some of us still haven't recovered.
[Hackney Refugee & Migrant Support Group continues to campaign and can be contacted c/o Hackney Community Law Centre, 8 Lower Clapton Road, London E5]
 
     
  :: Taking Over the Asylum, an Early No Border Camp in Hackney? ::

:: Strasbourg: International no-border action camp ::

:: This summer's DiY experience ::

:: The European noborder network - an attempt for practical resistance ::

:: Is SIS the world we want? ::

:: Detention Centers not acceptable ::

:: Routes of Migration: War, Poverty & Planet ::

:: Dispersal and NASS creating a problem ::

:: Secure Borders - Safe Haven ::