Why Climate No Borders?

Interview by No Borders activist Amy, for the Climate Camp in England…

> What should we be doing at Copenhagen in December?

Taking action together, planning, but also listening…one of my main

reasons for going is to attempt to join the dots betwen different

networks, from anti-fascist, to farmers groups.. If ‘delegates’ from other

countries chose to walk out on the COP15 process then great, but to me the

most interesting question isn’t whether or not to shut down the

conference, it’s more an opportunity to get together and listen to those

most effected by climate change and build networks with those fighting

repression across the globe.

Groups working on issues surrounding the freedom of movement and migration

will be creating autonomous zones, squatting and occupying buildings,

taking action in solidarity with those already living with the realities

of climate change, challenging boundaries between ‘activists’ and

‘migrants’ through action and discussion, providing legal council for

non-EU activists, and most ambitiously, challenging borders and crossing

the bridge of Øresund.

> Do you think these mass mobilsations detract from more productive


I think it depends.  Undoubtedly, large mobilisations are very resource

intensive… however, to me it seems essential to develop transnational

networks when dealing with repression around migration.  The local and

global networks need to be developed and supported.  Repressive measures

enforced upon whoever the state chose to target are increasing all the

time: the border regimes, the corporations profiting their militarization,

the systems of control that enforce them, the charter flights that deport

people, all of these areas are being legitimised under the guise of

climate change, as politicians use the crisis as a rationale to increase

surveillance and control peoples freedoms.

In December the Stockholm programme will be ratified by the EU, enabling

states to store information on thousands of people from finger prints to

biometrics, this information will then be used by militarised border

patrols such as Frontex in the name of migration management.  In April

this year NATO outlined their ‘proactive’ approach in fighting ‘terror’.

With resource wars escalating everyday as the fight for fossil fuels

becomes increasingly desperate, these measures must be challenged before

it is too late.  COP15 is a great opportunity to make the connections

between migration and climate change, and to make explicit the hidden

realities of the border regime, and policies around immigration.

Any counter-summit or demonstration focusing on international heads of

state is always going to be reactionary, and that could be seen as

negative, but that is why we must work towards movement building, and why

things such as autonomous zones within the city are so exciting.  COP15

will have implications far beyond this few days in Copenhagen, so it is

undoubtedly important to challenge the rhetoric surrounding it.

The climate summit is a unique chance for us to build networks, do actions

and create a resounding politics. We’re going to use this opportunity to

build solidarity with climate refugees and other progressive political

forces on the outer side of the fence.

> The meanings of climate change for immigration is huge. Do you think

>this is something that is communicated and discussed enough in both

> Climate and immigration movements?

No, I don’t think it is. It is essential to analyse the language used

around issues such as migration.  The  far right are now using a lot of

ideas previously employed by the left to describe climate change, and

this, combined with  an economoy in recession,  is making calls for

tighter border controls increasingly common.  Given this context, and the

every increase numbers of people displaced by climate change, it is vital

to acknowlege the inherent racism built in to any demands for restriction

on peoples movements.  We all have a responsibility to acknowledge the

impact our lifestyles have had on the planet.  Many denounce aviation as a

form of transport, but however you travel, we all enjoy the benefits of

the border state every time we use our passports… It is vital to be

aware of this, and recognise the fragile, violent foundations that the

freedoms we take for granted are based upon.  The impacts of environmental

destruction are far reaching, from the individuals who lost their lives

and homes in Hurricane Katriona, to those who have been forced to flee

Iraq due to the war for oil.  There is no ‘national security’, we need to

build dialogue, to raise awareness about these personal stories behind the

gloomy statistics we ofter employ when describing climate change.

No one has all the answers, but it is vital that we don’t become

poliarised by a percieved division between camapigns focusing on climate

change and social change.  Capitalism is fuelling this crisis… this is the

main message, but what does that mean, and what are the hidden realities

of this?  This should be a question for all movements to consider in


> Do you think we need to bring immigration issues onto the agenda, for

protesters and delegates, next month? How can we do this?

Definitely.  The   United Nations agreed to use the term “Environmentally

Induced Migrants” recently but will not acknowledge climate change as a

specific force.  In 2001 the World Disasters Report estimated that more

people are now displaced through environmental disasters than war.  As

with wars over resources, and respression, these figures are only going to

increase.  Sharing information, stories of resistance and building

networks is essential to this.  We need to make it clear that issues

around repression and no borders are issues that concern everyone, not

just anarchists, but everyone..  Because of this is will be important to

combine direct action with workshops, creating spaces where mutual aid and

solidarity with those already displaced can be practically applied and

analysed, and building links for future campaigns.

> Do you think there is a divide between environmental activism and border


Any questions attempting to summarise ‘movements’ or ‘campaigns’ can be

problematic.  I am reluctant to say yes, because there is not the space

here to go into great detail on these tensions.  But I am aware that

certainly I feel quite distant on a personal level from what the Climate

Camp has become.  I can only speak for myself, but I think that there is a

lack of awareness about the level of privildge that we enjoy in the UK.  I

think to divide these two campaigns does a disservice to those involved in

them, for example, as there is much overlap in terms of individual

involvement.  I think the term ‘environmental activism’ is problematic as

in the UK alone it can cover so many different areas.  Earth First!,

Climate Camp, Rising Tide, all have slightly different emphasises.

In my view, the focus on personal consumption that comes from certain

areas of the ‘environmental movement’, and the  need to return to the land

and preserve what we have for future generations is problematic.  Of

course we should all take responsibility for our environmental impact, and

be considerate for the future of all beings on the planet.  But this must

not be at the expense of those who already deal with the realities of our

lifestyle today, and must not obscure the overarching impacts of the

capitalist system within which we operate.  I do not campaign for no

borders out of pity, or guilt, but out of solidarity with those who are

obscured, demonised and respressed by this system.

> Do you think boarders are something the Climate Camp should take on as

part of its messaging? Why

Yes, definitely, for all the reasons I stated above.  The Climate Camp has

been exteremly successful of late of movement building, within what I

perceive to be a very narrow social demographic.  As we have seen with the

rise of the Englsih Defence League and the BNP, the use of the situation

in Calais as an electioneering tool by the UK and French governments, and

the hysterical reporting by the main stream press around migration, we are

living in increasingly reactionary times.  A political response to this

from all campaigns is required, just as it is essential for everyone to

consider the impacts of climate change in connection to borders.

My work in Calais has made me very aware of my position of privilege, and

to me, it is essential that those who have a voice, who are able to take

action, and can challenge the state, do so.  It seems within the Climate

Camp there is a greater awareness about the impact of climate change on

workers, and increasing numbers of people working around topics such as

‘just transition’ or ‘workers solidarity’; it is vital that this awareness

extends to an analysis of borders and their realities..

> After the COP people will hopefully returning to their localities with

New links and new energy. Where should the ‘climate movement’ be heading


To continue to highlight the dangers market based ‘solutions’ to climate

change such as carbon-trading and  the realities of ‘techno—fixes’ such as

monoculture crops grown as agro-fuels, which cause so many to become


To maintain an awareness about the violence that many communities suffer

at the hands of the state as the struggle for resources increases, from

Nigeria, to Ireland, and to celebrate the stories of resistance and take

solidarity action in our localities.

To build links with networks resisting migration and to challenge

legislation bought in through the Stockholm programme which will enable

the state to control any sectors of society that it choses to target.

To acknowledge our privilege in the West and continue to act, not with

guilt, but out of solidarity with those we have been working with in


Lots to do!  See you on the streets!


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