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June 30, 2009


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Dave E

Completely agree.

No Borders is a lovely Utopian ideal, but we don't live in Utopia, we live here and now.


Whilst I broadly agree with you in terms of the political context making this sort of thing seem less-than-relevant to the 'ordinary Briton' (not a slur, because I'm pretty darn ordinary myself, and not into self-loathing), I think that your characterisation of the camp is perhaps guided a little too much by newspaper headlines than anything else.

There's an interesting write up about it on Last Hours, which leads me to think that the camp was an interesting attempt to provide practical mutual aid, and to forge links with comrades and migrants across the Channel. Not perfect, not wholly successful, but a start.

Pragmatism and idealism are not mutually exclusive - we can strive for a better world, a Utopia, whilst also making concrete improvements to our everyday lives now, can't we? Isn't that what anarchist experience teaches us?

Dr Paul Stott

I just don't see why it should be on my political list of the 100 most important issues (or indeed anyone elses) that young men from Afghanistan and Iraq should have free passage between France and England.

My attitudes towards No Borders as a group is governed far more by the naievete of its politics than any tabloid coverage it may receive.

james walsh

A large reason for this, is those who are hardheaded (and wiser in my opinion) let these things go in the quite non critical times Thinking that it doesn't matter much (because of the times). These things become ingrained and so used to be unchallenged- an a 'movement' is even slower to turn than a tanker.

Thats what happened in the old communist party as well and the Euro's managed to dominate. How some of wet fuckers where allowed in- at least a 'Party' has a doorman! But then again some of the workerist stalinists where of such a low quitity and the CPGB had other faults- anarchism just has different faults.

I always though you where a soft touch on weak politics back in the day (as a result of the above) But then I've got worse faults and you where best organised person with decent politics and some person valves (which ssem either lacking or completely naive in the anarchist scene) that i've non in the politacal scence. ( Though I know some in the cpgb that I could say the same off- though I think they're have some personal naivity about what to hope from the British population- I put it down to them being too old).

whoops a bit of a rant.

Dr Paul Stott

And look how the Euro Communists ended up - they were New Labour before the term had even been coined!

The current Lobster has this great quote from Martin Jacques in it:

"For the next 30 years, neoliberalism - the belief in the market rather than the state, the individual rather than the social - exercised a hegemonic influence over British politics, with the creation of New Labour signalling an abject surrender to the new orthodoxy"

As the editor of Lobster commented - as if he had nothing to do with it!

matt. d

I've always found the idea of "no borders" to be very un-anarchist, since it is surely a demand that can only be realised if some large international body enforces it.

I absolutely think we should be for rights and ability of the international working class to control it's own existance, but that must include the rights of working class communities (however they may define themselves) to control their own resources - and our right to freely associate or not associate as we see fit.

I would prefer to see an anarchism that agitates against the forced mass transfer of whole sections of the working class thousands of miles across the globe in the interests of money and exploitation.

james walsh

Just told my dad off for not punching out Martin Jacques when he had the chance ( my crime of not hitting Martin Smith is hardly the sam e deal!).

Dr Paul Stott

Matt - The point has been made before.

It is one thing to believe in no borders, another to have that inflicted upon you by capitalists looking to make cheap profits.


"I just don't see why it should be on my political list of the 100 most important issues (or indeed anyone elses) that young men from Afghanistan and Iraq should have free passage between France and England" - clearly, you are (deliberatley ?) misunderstanding the point we are making - about border control and capitalism in general. As for all those other issues which you think we should be engaged with, many of us are involved with them - in any case what exactly are you doing?


nice one for the headline - apparently there is a vacancy for a sub-editor at the daily mail you might be interested in...or alternatively, maybe you could enquire about the bnp press team?

Dr Paul Stott

Chris - I'm worried about you.

At 10:50 you post a political point on this blog (one I disagree with, but at least it was a political point)

By 10:53 your name has changed to Jason (but still posting from the same IP address) and you cannot rise above the old last century left canard of accusing anyone who disagrees with you on X issue of being either a racist or a fascist.

Will the real Chris/Jason please stand up?


I don't understand Paul why you are shocked when people make the connections between your rants on No Borders and the Daily Mail. Tone, language and a complete inability to go beyond a very short-sighted politics makes your posts hard to tell apart.

You have your political opinion based on your experiences, your economic and legal position and are therefore defined (crudely) by them. The same goes for the brothers and sisters forced to flee the bombs of Britain and the US in the middle east (read the No Border Camp reports about what exactly the composition of the migrants in Calais are). You have your views because you are NOT in there position. Surely Anarchism is about a universal positions rather than individual ones.

Do you fight against racism? Sexism? Homophobia? Surely you do that because you see common cause not only with those that are oppressed but also because who the oppressor is. So why not also those that are oppressed by the denial of rights that constitute "illegals". At the most liberal, No Borders is about decriminalizing immigration so that employers do not use that as a reason to pay below minimum wages, to allow people safety to be with their families and loved ones in the UK, to find some protection against all sorts of repression they have been suffering. To me it is a valiant attempt by anarchists in the UK (and France) to reinforce a lot of very good work in giving solidarity to a very repressed and marginal part of our class - and to add, a part of our class that is at the forefront of ID cards, detention without trial, segregation to mention a few.

As the "english" anarchists ponder on their next move, it seems like every other anarchist movement across europe strides confidently forward. I see a pattern emerging here, maybe we should be more confident in anarchist politics and how we express them rather than continuously feel that we should pander or apologies to certain sections of the class in the UK.

I know we are all frustrated at things, but how about this for a starters - We start publicly supporting the multitude of decent work anarchists are doing up and done the country and across Europe. Look at the 99% we all agree on, and when something is needs to be critiqued then maybe write to the individuals/groups involved rather than the bear pit of cyber warriors and internet personas all too willing to seize on any negativity.

BTW, most peoples computers and browsers are set to US-English hence the converting "s" to "z" on grammer check.

All the best


Dr Paul Stott

Alessio - I'm not surprised that my article was compared, by an anoymous poster, to the Daily Mail/BNP. That is the stock response from anyone on the left when someone disagrees with them on any issue concerning race.

Firstly I am glad you think Anarchism is about universal values. If one thing characterises radicals in recent years it has been a retreat from universal values - we have seen that most notably with the STWC and Respect, but we even heard it at the Anarchism 09 conference when one group was arguing Anarchists need to dilute their secularism when working with ethnic minorities. Whoever thought Anarchists would be uncomfortable with 'No Gods, No Masters'?

As I said above, it is one thing to believe intellectually in No Borders, another thing to have it inflicted on you by capitalists and governments. The idea that No Borders wants to decriminalise immigration so as to stop employers from paying below minimum wage level salaries is fanciful. Is there anything more likely to drive down existing wages than mass immigration? In a recession? I can't think of anything.

Why should an employer pay X £7 an hour to do something when he can take someone from Sangatte, who is simply relieved to be here, and pay them £5? And spare me the usual leftie arguments about building solidarity with migrant workers already here - under No Borders any dodgy employer knows the rest of the world is his recruiting ground.......

Secondly No Borders wishes to hold abstract intellectual positions without regard to the consequences. If 5 million people move to London in the next year - who will house them? Who will treat them when they are ill? Who will teach their children English and school them?

Under capitalism the extent to which resources are distributed to the working class is very limited. Things like housing, health, access to council services is strictly limited - even though we have paid for them in advance via our taxes! Is there always room at the bottom? In all circumstances? No Borders seem to think so.

I don't see too many builders or doctors in No Borders ranks, just a group of activists who will no doubt accuse everyone else of racism if their abstract politics hit the stormy waters of reality.

One of the things I have learned in many years in the Anarchist movement is that what the average person in the street considers racist or sexist is a country mile from what some of the more vocal people in the Anarchist movement believe.

I don't think I am 'pandering' to certain sections of the working class in my views on No Borders - I just happen to think the working class is living and struggling in the world as it actually is, whilst a minority of the Anarchist movement is acting as if we are already in a post revolutionary society. (And yes, you really are a minority).

No Borders needs to answer a very simple question. Can everyone who wants to live in England actually do so under capitalism?


Paul - I doubt you know anyone in No Borders in the UK, please correct me if you do, but there are builders and doctors and teachers and many ordinary folk involved. Your "position" sounds similar to rhetoric of the IWCA who after being set-up to combat the electoral strategy of the BNP (a party know for its immigration policy) have NO policy themselves on the matter. I find that a bit weird. To prevent migration would need some level of violence (deportations, detentions, border controls, repression) I know you are against these statist responses but what are you actually promoting? I have asked IWCA members before and all I got was that "discussions on immigrations are too divisive for the group so we don't discuss it"!

I can't help but feel there are elements of excepting the states ability to define who is and who isn't welcomed. As you may not know, there is a difference between economic migrants and refugees. Only a relative small number make their way to the UK and most refugees go to neighboring countries in their millions. You can't talk about migration and migrants without acknowledging that capitalism and increasingly climate change is having a massive effect on the movement of people globally. Either we accept that and accept that it is unstoppable or we end up absorbing quasi-nationalist ideas on our constituency.

We all live in a competitive labour market, regardless of immigration, we compete against one and other - just look at how many non-londoner UK citizens live and work in london, or how many people commute from outside London to work. Surely there is no difference with those people and those that come from within and outside of the EU. 95% of people in my work place are not from London - infact its only me if I count considering I moved to London when I was 3 years old and my family go back 4 generations in Camberwell and Bermondsey ( from the slums of Naples in 1897).

Also your right, there is a limit on how many people can live in one city, though i point out that the population of London was a million more in 1939 than we have now.

You ask " Can everyone who wants to live in England actually do so under capitalism? " the answer is I don't know, I don't know that number unless you believe Sir Andrew Green and migration watch falsified figures.

Capitalism enforces scarcity, it is our job to fight against it and the needs of all working class people, that means those people who are migrating into the EU. There is no easy solutions but I for one don't see the solution as at best ignoring the problem or at worst aligning myself with reactionary nationalists. The population of the EU IS falling and the predictions suggests that economically the EU cannot survive without migration. By the way Paul, the people that teach, clean our streets, work in the hospitals and countless other work are migrants.

All the best


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