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florian schneider: border camp '99

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Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1999 06:26:47 -0400
From: t byfield <>
Subject: florian schneider:  border camp '99

Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1999 09:14:42 +0200
From: florian schneider <>
Subject: border camp '99

BORDER CAMP 99 Call for a action camp
At the German-Polish-Czech border triangle
>From 7 -15 August 1999

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Borders are there to be crossed. Their significance becomes obvious only
when they are violated--and it says quite a lot about a society's
political and social climate when one sees what kind of border-crossing
a government tries to prevent.
Everybody knows that it is increasingly easy for money, goods, and
capital to cross the borders of nation-states and territories; that the
spreading of information can no longer be restricted; that social,
political, or economic conflicts cannot be reduced to national affairs
It's always been true that people can't easily be prevented from
crossing borders. For some, it may be the most natural thing in the
world to move, to come and go from one area to another. Others have more
concrete reasons--fleeing from persecution, exploitation, and war. And
there are some who simply want a change. All of these reasons, however
vague, however practical, are legitimate.
But for most people today, it is more difficult than ever to cross
borders. The territorial borders of some nation-states are being
replaced by a new kind of border, one that is no longer just a
demarcation line between prosperity and poverty. These new borders, with
their new logic, are creating new conditions in which the few have the
privilege of movement while the many are forced to remain; and these
changing circumstances are creating and entrenching new relationships of
dependence and exploitation.
The border regime is no longer made up of traditional fortifications.
Borders mark entire regions where new surveillance and monitoring
technologies are tested and refined. Borders are folding and shifting:
they are redefining areas and "third" or transit countries; they reach
out along interregional highways and other transport link and into
cities; and they set up shop in workplaces--office, factories,
administrations. Entire countries are now border areas; everywhere
people can be controlled, even in the absence of transgressions and
infractions--face checks are becoming routine.
In order to establish these new borders, politicians encourage and
create a climate of uncertainty, mistrust, and betrayal. In this way
they hope to curry favor for their population policies and their
criteria for exclusion and inclusion. Today, borders no longer mean just
equipping paramilitary patrols with increasingly sophisticated
technology and severely punishing border offences; it also means
carrying out campaigns of denunciation and demonization, deliberately
fueling feelings of resentment and suspicion without regard for specific
events. "Propaganda" is too polite a word: "brainwashing" is more
Those who help refugees, who used to be heroic figures, have been given
a new image by border regimes: now they are Public Enemy No 1,
exploiters, enslavers, the "coyote," the "trafficker in migrants."
The 1999 border camp is the next effort in opposing these campaigns of
denunciation and and supporting *all* people who want to or must resist
this machinery. Our methods and our goals are education, pure and
simple--but we'll make use of tactical experiments, cunning amusements,
and well-aimed irritations. Our aim is to launch effective
countermeasures that more than merely unmask the barbarity of these
border regime but *stop it* whenever and wherever possible.
The fight against borders is a fight against infra-red cameras, plastic
handcuffs, and decentralized and diffuse controls along and around the
borders. It's also a fight against narrow-mindedness, resentment, and
racism. We know this fight isn't hopeless: too many people, the vast
majority, have a fundamental interest in choosing where they--we--want
to live. And no one can say what it would be like if the borders were
open: where people would live and how, if they could live as they
pleased, the social and political situations that would unfold.
In summer '98 a few hundred activists laid siege to the German-Polish
border at Goerlitz for 10 days. The 48-hour rave, the spectacular
opening of three new border crossings, a convoy of taxi drivers, a
demonstration in Freiberg as a response to the death of seven refugees
from Kosovo, a "jail quake" at the local prison, and, finally, the
complete occupation of the border river Neisse with boats, swimmers, and
onlookers were the highlights of the action week. On top of that there
were concerts and parades with sound systems, streetball, and
nightwalks, film nights, discussion events, and fun guerilla actions
like the "no one is illegal" team's triumphant finishing at the second
stage of the Saxony Tour for amateur cyclist.
But the '98 camp was only the beginning. From 7-15 August 1999, the
tents will be put up near Zittau at the German-Polish-Czech border. We
plan, above all, for this camp to show more diversity: together with the
antiracist and antifascist groups political and media activists, radio
and video pirates, musicians, artists, and people from all parts of
Europe are taking part in the camp's organization. Antiracist groups are
calling upon people to take part in border actions at other outer
borders of the Schengen countries at the same time.
Borders are charged with layers of significance--so practical
interventions in a border area are very symbolic. There is a vast range
of possibilities for intervention--from "communication guerilla" actions
to traditional information policies and effective disruptions. According
to authoritarian propaganda, border protection is possible largely
through the willingness--an officially enouraged willingness--of the
population to denounce "suspicious persons." To sabotage a border regime
means, above all, to disturb this willingness.
The upcoming parliamentary elections in Saxony present another
possibility to confront racist and belligerent parties with opposing
viewpoint--a viewpoint that supports people and freedom.
The most important principle of the camp's working structure will be
mutual respect and the nonhierarchical confluence of different political
activities and perspectives. We want to discuss disagreements--for
example, those concerning the relationship between "old" and "new" media
activities, political perspectives or analytical categories. And we want
to do so in productive ways before and during the camp, to lay the basis
for respect and cooperation after the camp. These differences won't be
excluded or pushed aside by the program. Therefore, we plan to have
actions and concerts as well as workshops and meetings for activists to
discuss those political issues that escape focus in everyday life (most
of us simply don't have enough time). We will discuss new focus points
of antiracist policy and plan new activities for the autumn and winter.
Together with participants from Eastern Europe, we will discuss the
shifting of the EU's shield to the borders of neighboring countries in
the East; and we'll develop ways to approach the growing trend toward
illegalizing refugees and migrants which the EU is encouraging in these
30-07-98: The German border police (BGS) chases a minibus near Freiberg
- the result is a grave accident. Seven refugees from Kosovo die, 15
others are injured, some of them severely. Some are later deported from
the hospital to the Czech Republic. "BGS - man-hunters, another 7 dead,
it's enough": this was the slogan of a spontaneous demonstration
organized by people from the border camp which created quite a local
stir. At that time, deportations to Pristina and Belgrade were the order
of the day. According to the German federal government and the courts,
persecutions in Kosovo were "not of a frequency relevant for granting
asylum." Today, though, Milosevic's policy of expulsion--which is hardly
new--is exploited as a reason for aerial war and NATO's new power
strategy. The refugees' misery is hypocritically lamented while Fortress
Europe closes its doors tighter, offering temporary protection to only
tens of thousands--out of several hundred thousand--refugees. The
president of the federal authority responsible for the refugees' asylum
procedures decided to temporarily stop rulings on the matter, and many
courts are postponing their decisions. Once again, the refugees are not
granted residence in Germany which they would be entitled to: neither
granted nor denied a permanent status, they linger in an official
oblivion. There is no end to the hypocrisy.

hacking the borderline camp 7-15 aug 1999