Stop Deportations, Turku 1st of May

About the “stop deportations” demonstration today in Turku 1st of May.

It is a very good thing that there are proper reactions against the tightening asylum policies that right now are making people undocumented, homeless and pushed into impossible corners, and might even be sending people to circumstances of death and torture. The “Stop Deportations” demonstration in Turku for today had a very well articulated description. I practice, however the demonstration did not live up to my expectations. To mix the pursuit for a sovereign Kurdish state and at the same time (Finnish) anarchistic non-state, no-borders identity political agenda, is not only paradoxical but extremely unwise.

I support Kurdish sovereignty, and I support and insist on that Finland takes responsibility in the refugee crisis caused by the conflicts and crisis. And I support and insist that Finland (and other states) stop selling weapons that creates and maintains the wars and terrorism. I support that the international community should put pressure on Turkey to stop advancing its military interests in the Middle East. But I do not support the anarchist agenda for eliminating borders and states. So I left the demonstration in the midst of it, because the demonstration was not credible.

I don’t see that these same people that shouts for no borders would be the ones taking responsibility for integration, or even have any idea of what it would entail or why it is important. What does it mean to integrate people from a war zone, places where inequality is written in both the unofficial and official laws and where no real justice state exist? Yeah what does that mean? Or more exactly, why do I ponder on these questions instead of idealizing the anarchist agenda for no states, and no borders?
Because I want not end wars and fascism, not create new problems.

And generally, I would suggest to the local anarchist to actually get to know the system they what to “fuck” before they “fuck” it.

We can find and push for alternative, maybe even mind blowing, ways how to increase democracy and peaceful diplomatic relations locally and globally, and how to end exploitative capitalist relations, but by eliminating borders, you will definitely not eliminate fascism, oppression, terrorism and exploitative capitalism. Actually, capital has basically no borders as it is, and neither do the ones owning the concentrated mass of it, borders and boundaries only concerns the ones that cannot afford to pay for transgressing the rules and boundaries.

Administrative units are needed, and states are such. I have said it before, I have a rather pragmatic view on politics. Politics is about responsibility. States are unities that take responsibility for the natural resources, the distribution of wealth, the security and protection for both the units’ minorities and majorities, diplomacy the trade and cooperation between states. And for that you need (administrative) institutions (units) that upholds these functions so that justice and stability is being reached and maintained.

Last week, Thursday the 27th of April I went to the event organized by the Human Rights students at Åbo Akademi. There Samran Khezri gave a very well thought speech about why Kurdistan needs sovereignty and what it really means to make a journey in life from war to peace, from the familiar to the unknown, and with the heavy luggage of war and persecution in one’s back pack. Too bad the word of this event had not reached out well enough so that the content of this event would have reached more people.

I left the demonstration today, because I did not find it credible. I look forward the one next Saturday however, the one Dialogue Without Borders, because I believe that one truly is about dialogue, peace, diplomacy and responsibility for the crisis and conflicts that destroys people’s lives.

The thing is though, the pressure to end the weapon trade and increase the work for peace, the pressure for a reasonable labor- and asylum policy needs to be way stronger than it is right now! And we also need much better reporting on the happenings in the Middle East right now!

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8 Responses to Stop Deportations, Turku 1st of May

  1. Ernst Mecke says:

    My thanks to Nana for her long and thoughtful text. I also think that I understand her irritation about those anarchists: one has thought long and carefully about a serious problem, welcomes the possibility to take part in a demonstration in support of a reasonable demand, and then come those anarchists who seemingly join the demonstration just to celebrate their identities and the principles on which those are based (while obviously not having wasted much thought about the details).

    Now it is such a question what type of effect to expect from a demonstration. Even if the demonstrators demand something very well-thought and carry signs on which good reasons are written, I wonder very much how much of these good ideas will arrive in the heads of the politicians for whom the messages are meant. Rather, I suspect that the politicians will tend to shrug shoulders, react by saying that anybody who really has something to say should contact them via official channels, and otherwise be at most interested in learning how big the demonstration was – because a small demonstration one can safely ignore, whereas it may be good to take a big demonstration as a reason to start thinking. And if my suspicion is correct, then it was in fact helpful to have those anarchists in the demonstration, namely just to increase the number of participants. – In fact I think (same as does Johanna Korhonen in her ”Mitä Niitä Riiva?”) that in political opinion making (and expressing) identities play a much bigger part than rational thinking. Which would mean that one in any larger demonstration simply has to tolerate other participating groups, even if they have not more in common with one’s own ideas than that they consider the people against whose doings one is demonstrating as their enemies.

    Concerning the anachists’ demand that there should be no borders, they may have SOME point just concerning the Middle East. The borders there were, after all, established after World War I by English and French politicians who REALLY did not care about the people who were living in the region but were drawing borders with the ruler on the map and declared them then as ”legal” – which is taken by the rulers of the thus-created states as a reason to secure their power over all these square kilometres by often brutal means and defending the borders while often not caring very much about the fate and needs of the different groups within the borders. In principle I do agree that borders are necessary, but I also agree with the former German foreign minister Genscher that one should try to decrease their character of being a seperating line/barrier as far as possible.

  2. Ino says:

    The name of the demonstration was ”no borders – no nations – stop deportations”, so sorry you failed at reading that.

  3. Kalle says:

    So you went to a demonstration that is titled ‘Mayday without borders’ and you left disappointed because there were people who were not rooting for nation states and borders.
    Also there is a large Kurdish movement which pursues to build a society based on autonomous municipalities and not a nation state, and is ideologically in many ways quite close to anarchism. In light of this I do not understand how is it paradoxical and unwise for there to be solidarity and common ground between anarchists and Kurdish activists in Finland. Maybe the person who wrote this text should start thinking about solidarity themselves, instead of bad mouthing people on the same side of the fence and perhaps some day we can have a large scale front against fascists instead of fruitless sectarian infighting.

  4. anti-everything says:

    (Note: this is actually quite long answer but I would kindly ask you to read all of it – in the name of dialogue)

    Hello, I am an anarchist here reading your page and being called idealistic, somebody who doesn’t know the system I want to ”fuck” and somebody doing just identity political no-borders agenda. Better yet, commentator with name Ernst Mecke takes this even further by describing how anarchists ”join the demonstration just to celebrate their identities” and ”obviously” don’t basically think about anything. Oh well.

    First of all, the ”very well articulated description” of the demo was actually written by anarchists. The whole initiative for the demonstration came from a group of anarchists – therefore the name Mayday without borders. In the description it was said that we are against borders and states and whoever agrees on these terms is welcome to join. Every group that was participating (including Kurds you mentioned) knew they were dealing with anarchists. In this light, I’m quite surprised to see reactions like ”oh the anarchists came once again to ruin a good political struggle they don’t know anything about”. Yes we do.

    What some people wanted to do is join this important fight against deportations and bring some tactics and ideas of anarchist tradition to it. So why do we want to get rid of the borders? Well, nation-states with their borders are essentially racist. Just for the fact that you are born in wrong place and time you are restrained to stay there and be in a warzone or poor conditions. And of course this goes well hand-in-hand with global capitalism. Global proletariat are forced to work as slaves in sweatshops around the world without no hope of getting away from their impoverished areas – because of the borders. At the same time (like you mentioned) white tourists and capital itself can move where-ever they please. I think this even emphasizes racism and oppression of borders rather than speaks for them. To fight wars is to fight capitalism, and to fight capitalism is to fight also borders.

    Also important to mention is that not all Kurds want a nation-state, but many of them are actually (for example right now in Rojava) fighting for anti-nationalistic and stateless (also explicitly feminist) principles. They see Turkish government as one of the main actors of oppressing Kurds but also keeping the fortress Europe closed. Therefore Kurds and anarchists go well together in solidarity over borders but still keeping their own agendas.

    I also want to push for alternative, maybe even mind-blowing ways of living on this planet, but for me borders and states are not the ones that will end exploitative capitalist relations, fascism, oppression, and terrorism – I think I have about 200 years of history to back my argument here.

    Last but not least I would like to point out that this was a tiny bit of critique written by one anarchist to one quite narrow topic. If still see anarchism as some idealistic blah-blah or are even slightly interested into ideas under black flag and behind masks, do some research. There are lots of content in libraries and internet about ideas I am fighting for.

    No borders, no nations! (A)

  5. Hello Nana and Ernst!

    Another anarchist here to answer this critique. Critique is always good to have, especially if it has some relevant points to make; it can develop our movements. But like so often, this critique seems to be one of those which had misunderstood many things…

    For Nana:
    – According to many anarchists, there is no ideological contradiction between democratic confederalism (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_confederalism), which is the goal in Rojava, and a stateless society, which is the goal in anarchism. Some more pragmatic anarchists think this idea of stateless democracy is worth trying, if the meaning of the word democracy doesn’t automatically mean same kind of false-democracy than in the western capitalist states (https://crimethinc.com/2016/05/19/rojava-democracy-and-commune). Important thing to notice: The nationalist state-project of Kurdistan (by PKK, Peshmerga and others) is different from the communalist project in Rojava. Therefore the main critique of Nana’s text is easily shot down, because it was actually based on a misunderstanding.

    – I think it’s a little arrogant to publicly say, that anarchists couldn’t have any role in the integration process of migrants. It is a harsh ad-hominem argument. Integration is not something that’s happening only towards a state, most importantly it is happening towards cultures and the larger network of societal communities. Anarchists, as well as any individuals, could defenetly have a role in this integration process. And they already have had.

    – Thirdly. The main distinguishing feature between view’s about should there be states or not – are they necessary, is an old ideological contradiction between the left and anarchists. It started already between Bakunin and Marx in the 1800-century, before the II workers international. So why would we waste our time in a debate which has already passed like million times (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarchism_and_Marxism) ? Lets’s just say that there is an irreconcilable contradiction between the left and anarchism, althought both are working class based ideologies.

    For Ernst:

    – Did you know that anarchists were the ones who organised alone the whole demonstration in the may day?

  6. Tero says:

    I would like Nana to name the states that take care of the environment globally in a responsible way. It seems as though she separates the state from global capitalism which is a strange thing to do. It seems also as if she makes big claims about things she has no idea about; where anarchists are active and where they are not. Anarchists want, as people supporting and building democratic confederalism in Rojava and other places; autonomy, decentralisation and direct democracy. This means decision making on a grassroot level, as with the Rojava-model. It doesnt mean representative democracy as we find it in Finland today. Borders and nation states are a fairly new way of organizing society. There are multiple ways of organizing a society based in egalitarian thinking and practice. Rojava and democratic confederalism is only one. Anarchists support and are welcome and work well together with many peoples that are very negatively affected by bordermaking by states in different ways. Also here principles of equality, ecology and redistribution of wealth are put to the forfront. It is possible to think about a world where there are no borders, but we do not achieve it from above. This is perhaps where Ernst also get confused, maybe it is to other people, not to politicians, that the message of the demonstration is directed. Anarchists do not lobby to politicians. They act through direct action. This is also why the bridge was blocked for 15 minutes; to send a message to regular people in the city center. What happens if your way is blocked, if it is only for a short while. This is a very mild form of resistance and civil disobediance. The deportations (that has been going on for a longer time, and is in fact not a recent thing) will not stop by kindly asking a government with racists, fascists and neoliberals to put an end to the deportations. The deportations will stop through organizing together, resisting and stopping the planes and also critizising borders and nationstates and the structures of racism that are built into them. Many anarchists are also for a pluralist society, where one can have their own language and religion, without having to get integrated into a dominant culture. This is what the representative democracy model; state, global capital (being supported and protected by police and army) in the end does, forces people to integrate, reproduces relations of inequality based in majority rule. This is not in line with the freedom that anarchists want.

  7. Nana Blomqvist says:

    This might be a difficult discussion to have. But lets try anyway.

    Well, there is one big reason to have a discussion about this, and that is, yes the anarchists were the ones arranging the demo, and therefore also probably remained rather small. People, even the ones working with immigrants and asylum seekers, and for their rights and general solidarity over and within borders and for democracy within and over borders every day does not have confidence and trust in the anarchists methods, or agenda.

    So, yes, there is still reason to discuss this further. To either clarify the anarchist agenda, and/or for anarchists to take the critique and mistrust against themselves seriously.

    The impression I have gotten from some (not all) anarchists are pretty much the ones that is represented in the first answers: aggressive, undiplomatic and ideas based on a alien reality (seeing enemies in things that are not topical actually) instead of using the here and now as a starting point. And start building the process from here and now, piece by piece.

    I would like to hear what this democratic federalism would mean in practice. How would you in practice change and reconstruct the system, and its pieces. Because, I would not like to believe that administrative units are to be diminished, or? Everyone cannot be on the same work at the same time.

    And Borders and democratic confederalism is not particularly contradictive right? And one big question I always get when anarchist ideas are brought up. What is the role of responsibility in all this? I brought up the issue of integration, particularly in the way I did because I know this theory about minorities being subjugated to the majority “culture”, but this is exactly what I meant by my question. How do we picture responsibility in all this? Victims of violence, subjugation and oppression can be perpetrators as well, in the same body.

    I am not saying could not participate in the integration, I am saying, I wonder if you guys are aware of how much work and how delicate issues are at stake in all this. Religion, sexuality, sexism, homophobia, trauma (PTSD) internal tensions in the diasporas, language teaching and barriers, cultural shocks and whatever, the black labor market, the sex trade, all of it. From anarchists I mostly hear the agenda to be against all legislation, instead of articulations of in what ways the legislation should change. I would also like to point out that also another structure than a nation state needs regulation, actually, it is through regulations and such you secure that everyone respects the same rules. For example. It would be very interesting to hear your suggestions (ON A CONCRETE LEVEL) how to counteract corruption, the abuse of power also in a democratic confederalistic entity. And also, it would be interesting to hear how you (ON A CONCRETE) level would apply democratic confederalism in this context. How would Finland change, how would Europe change, how would the ME change?
    How would corruption be counteracted, the accumulation of capital, and peace and stability created and maintained? What are the mechanisms that would secure this?

    AND is there certain contextual differences to take into account here? For example, should we for example consider that the Nordic countries have a totally different point of departure for increasing democracy, and therefore perhaps the Rojavan example cannot be applied directly?

    Well, I assume this discussion to be continued in one way or another. I already decided to meet up with one of the local anarchists to discuss. Though, since people are writing anonymously here, perhaps we already are discussing :-P

    And I will read Öcalans stuff, I promise ☺

  8. APOist says:

    Kalle and anti-everything replied very well and I am totally agree with them so I don’t need to add more about what they said.

    for An anarchist från Åbo:
    you did a mistake in describing PKK, actually PKK is the creator of Rojava.
    Maybe you confused with old PKK which started as a Marksist-Leninist party fighting for an independence Kurdistan, but after 97-98 PKK accepted the idea of Democratic Confederalism by Öcalan as their ideology and now they are fighting for that.

    and dear Nana, you can find Öcalan’s books here:
    http://ocalan-books.com
    (some are downloadable and some other maybe you have to order them.)

    I have no idea if you can see email address of commentators, if so then you can see mine as well. So if you have any question regarding Öcalan’s idea and Democratic Confederalism, you can write me email. I will be really happy to help with that.

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