Politics of Solidarity - resisting the roll back of the border regime

Although it has been two years since the „summer of migration“, it still haunts our present- seeing as it is the political right that sets the tone and shapes the public and media dynamics nowadays. Many right-wing populist and authoritarian political movements are advancing across Europe, a phenomenon that is not limited to the EU member states. At the same time, migration movements have been restricted through a massive politics of “deprivation of rights” and measures of encampment. Within this context, we are witnessing an aggressive, neocolonial expansion of the European border regime well into the African states, an expansion that is made possible through globalizing both the border control apparatus and the military. On the level of domestic politics, this regime is complemented by a bureaucracy of screening that causes and permanently spreads insecurity and fear. Those allowed to stay for the time being must subject themselves to an unrelenting integration imperative, whereas those who have to leave are faced with a rigid deportation system.

In light of these developments, leftist organizations must grapple with new challenges. On the one hand, there is a wave of an unequivocally-transnational, new and continuing critique of European politics, which is often dominated in public discourses by authoritarian, right-wing populist, and anti-European movements. On the other hand, there is a need for new strategies to deal with the multiple crises that have so far nourished fear, dissatisfaction, and hate as well as projected these feelings onto the “alleged danger” of forced migration. Here, our predominant concern is about finding a new understanding of the question of “the social”, which, due to its global dimension, seems to be hidden or ungraspable to many leftists.

The question of migration has evidently become crucial to European leftists. On the one hand, movements and initiatives of solidarity emerged and autonomous, political practices developed, constituting a new politics of solidarity which both resists the proclaimed state of emergency and maintains its independence from institutional politics. On the other hand, the conduct of many established leftist actors has made clear that the conflict around these solidarities does not only exist between the state and the movements, but also among actors across the European leftist scene.

Therefore, in this upcoming Kritnet meeting, we centralize the following questions: how could we develop trans-European, transnational, and local solidarities and which perspectives do these enable? What kinds of developments have emerged that counter and provide an alternative to the logics of instrumentalization and the appeal to economics within migration politics? Which transnational solidarities emerge in the course of migration movements and against solidifying the border regime of the last few years? Which perspectives result from these developments and which alternative concepts could be deployed against the integration paradigm? Which forms of democratization and political participation emerged, wherein networks of social security that operate beyond the national economic-meritocratic offers of the state were established?

We hope to discuss this and other questions as well as highlight the challenges and new solidarities that have developed along various spots/sites of the border regime.