Abolishing the Borders from Below

(January 26th, 2018)

One of my favorite books from 2017 was “No Wall They Can Build: a guide to borders and migration across North America”. It intertwines insightful commentary on borders with explicit personal narrative wrapped up in that seemingly always beautiful graphic design that has come to be expected, from the CrimethInc. ex-Workers’ Collective. It’s a 200+ page turner that felt like one of those rare occasions where you almost read it all in one sitting.

It begins: “The border is not just a wall. It’s not just a line on a map. It’s not any particular physical location. It’s a power structure, a system of control. The border is everywhere that people live in fear of deportation, everywhere migrants are denied the rights accorded citizens, everywhere human beings are segregated into included and excluded.

The border does not divide one world from another. There is only one world, and the border is tearing it apart.”

Here in the USA, the government shut down, whatever that means, largely over the policies surrounding the border, immigration, and the ideals of those in power. What else is the border? “No Wall They Can Build” goes on to say:

“The border divides the whole world into gated communities and prisons, one within the other in concentric circles of privilege and control. At one end of the continuum, there are billionaires who can fly anywhere in private jets; at the other end, inmates in solitary confinement. As long as there is a border between you and those less fortunate than you, you can be sure there will be a border above you, too, keeping you from the things you need.”

So, following along the lines of the age old question – what do we do? I like what the old magazine Abolishing the Borders from Below has to say on the topic:

“There is a justifiable need to abolish the borders between nations, societies, cultures and whatever else separates and defines us. In order that this process does not lead to the formation of new borders or other types of segregation, like those established by elitist institutions such as the EU, NATO or UN, it has to be done from below, by the people.

There is an enduring need to immediately abolish all states, governments and authoritarian institutions so that communities based on common values such as freedom, respect, cooperation and solidarity can be formed. These communities in turn can lead to the transformation of the world order into one based on the above mentioned values. In order to push that process forward with support for the development of the anarchist movement over the borders we have created …”

Much easier said than done, as it will take revolution to realize all our of demands. One area of note and going back to the CrimethInc. writers is that: “we see that what is lacking is a widely accessible point of intervention that provides direct leverage on the infrastructure with which these raids are being carried out. People need a pressure point, a place that they can converge to go on the offensive.” Certainly not a particular endorsement of any particular strategy, but these are conversations anarchists are having about things you hear in the mainstream media everyday.

And a parting thought, for such people who dream: “People who are motivated by guilt and shame rather than by love and rage will eventually disengage; people who are not fighting for their own lives will eventually give up. Always.”

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