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Whose Borders? Panel and Coffee Table Discussion

Apr/25/2013 - 6:30 pm

SPEAKERS UPDATED! Presentations from Sebastian Rodriguez (Arizona, USA); Indigenous land defenders from Akwesasne Mohawk Territory; Nayrouz Abu Hatoum (on Palestinian border realities) David Moffette (on the Ceuta (Morrocco/Spain) border crossing) and Tings Chak (No One Is Illegal - Toronto).

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With Canada clamping down on permanent immigration, borders becoming more lethal globally, over 50 million people displaced around the world, indigenous communities demanding and asserting control over their territories while trade agreements take away community self-determination, join us in lead up to the 8th annual May Day of Action for a discussion on Borders. What are they? What are they not? What is a no-border struggle in the current context? Is it the same everywhere? What does decolonization work mean when thinking about borders?

April 25, 2013, 6:30pm, Toronto Free Gallery (1277 Bloor Street West)
Lansdowne Subway Station
The space including bathrooms is wheelchair accessible.

+ Sebastian Rodriguez is an anarchist who has been doing humanitarian aid and no borders work on the US/Mexican border and around the world for the past few years.

The Border is Everywhere: Death, Criminality and Resistance on the US/Mexican Border: US border policy always gets framed in terms of “stopping the flow of northern migration.” That is not its purpose. The main purpose of US border policy is to manage mixed-status communities both in the border regions and in the interior. Many people view the Sonoran desert as a humanitarian crisis. It is-over 6,000 people have died since the mid-90's trying to cross, but calling it simply a “crisis” ignores the fact that the mounting death toll is intentional on the part of the government. The US/Mexican border is a war zone and, increasingly, a testing ground for the domestic application of counter-insurgency theory developed by the military abroad. Read more here and here

+ Akwesasne Mohawk Territory is sub-divided into three jurisdictions: Ontario, Quebec and New York, USA. As a community divided by border crossings, Akwesasne has repeatedly organized against the daily oppression these borders create. In 2009, the community resisted Canada Border Services Agency from arming itself on their territory, which resulted in the Canadian border post being removed from Cornwall Island. Unfortunately, this has created further problems: with the CBSA border post now in mainland Cornwall, residents of the Island must pass either an American or Canadian border post just to get to the mainland. Many community members have reported their cars being seized and being hassled on a daily basis by border guards while entering and exiting their own territory. Issues in the community are escalating. You can watch a short video on the community here.

+ Nayrouz Abu Hatoum is a PhD student in Social Anthropology at York University. Her research focuses on border conceptualization and reality in Palestine; specifically she looks at the way in which the Apartheid Wall in Palestine is absented from the Israeli national and material landscape. For this panel, Nayrouz will be talking about the Israeli state’s border history and the way in which borders drawn on Palestinian lands and lives as mechanisms of displacements and dispossessions.

+ David Moffette is a PhD student who does research on immigration policies and border control in Spain since 2007. He has been involved in migrant justice struggles since 2004 and co-organizes the Critical Border Studies Speaker Series at York University. For this panel, David will discuss the history of the Spanish-Moroccan border wall in Ceuta from the colonization of North-Africa to the current war on migrants. Looking at this border as a frontier of colonial expansion, as a wall of Fortress Europe, and as a filter that selects who can circulate, how, and why, this presentation will try to explain the role of borders in nation-building and neoliberal capitalism.

+ No One Is Illegal is a migrant justice movement rooted in anti-colonial, anti-capitalist, ecological justice, Indigenous self-determination, anti-occupation & anti-oppressive communities. We are part of a worldwide movement of resistance that strives and struggles for the right to remain, the freedom to move, and the right to return. We undertake public awareness about the exploitation inherent in the immigration system and border controls, as well as inter-related systems of exploitation and oppression. We mobilize tangible support for refugees, undocumented migrants, and (im)migrant workers and prioritize solidarity with Indigenous land defenders. We struggle alongside anti-capitalist, anti-authoritarian, and anti-imperialist movements, and fight back through rallies and direct actions to affirm dignity and respect for our communities.