The Action Circle of the Independent Non-Citizen Struggle: Break up announcement

History 
 
In late June 2012, three months after the start of the Non-Citizens' (asylum-seekers') struggle in Würzburg in March 2012, a meeting was announced by the Non-Citizens in the Würzburg tent. The goal of this meeting was to analyze the potential of protest in other camps, especially in Bavaria, and to find a structure for spreading the protest campaign to different cities. The meeting took place in the presence of Non-Citizens (asylum-seekers) from the Würzburg tent (who were on wet hunger strike with sewed lips) and individual Non-Citizens (asylum-seekers) from different camps in Bavaria.

One of the suggested ideas in the meeting, related to the attempt to spread the protest to other cities, was a tent action. It was this proposal, after being discussed in the meeting, which got the full agreement of all participants. Spreading the protest in the shape of a nationwide tent action became the next step of the Non-Citizens’ struggle.

 

The question here was how to establish functioning connections between protesting tents: how the different tents could set up forms of coordination and connections while retaining independence in the decision making process. The creation of 'The Coordination Committee of Striking Asylum-Seekers in Germany' allowed for this nominal connection. The Committee – with one Non-Citizen member from each protesting tent – had the responsibility to create this connection through the organization of regular meetings (face to face, via telephone or Skype). Also, the Committee was the place for first, updating other protesting tents about the developments and difficulties of each tent (finding collective solutions and supporting each other), second, having discussions about collective positions of protesting tents, third, the elaboration of political perspectives and forth, the analysis of the next steps of the struggle as one striking unit.

 

In the end of this meeting the plan was to have four more tents on the street, in Regensburg, Düsseldorf, Bamberg and Aub. This was to happen in first 10 days of July.

 

After this, the first meetings of the Committee took place, starting mid-July, with five members from five tents participating.

During these meetings, which, due to the geographical distance were mostly telephone conferences or Skype meetings, different plans got agreed on as short and long term steps. First, a three-day solidarity hunger strike of the Düsseldorf and Regensburg tents with the Aub hunger striking Non-Citizens - which were on hunger-strike since the 16th of July 2012 - was to take place. Second, a one-day demonstration action in five cities was to be held, on the 28th of July 2012. These were both the short term steps. The 'Refugee Protest March to Berlin' as long term strategy obtained the agreement of all five tents. It is important to mention that the Nürnberg and Passau tents, as Non-Citizens tents, and also the Berlin tent, organized by supporting citizens, came to the street in August 2012, while 'The Refugee Protest March To Berlin' had already been decided on by the Committee as it's next step.

 

'The Refugee Protest March to Berlin' was the idea of the Committee and started on the 8th of September 2012, with the management and under the responsibility of the Committee (you can follow the positions, statements and the political discourse of the Committee during that time by clicking here). Of course, the support and participation of individuals, groups and organizations was crucial as well.

 

'The Refugee Protest March To Berlin' took place on two routes, one walking and one by bus, and arrived in Berlin after 28 days. With the presence of more than 86 protesting Non-Citizens (asylum-seekers) in Berlin, in order to build a new structure by the Non-Citizens themselves, the Coordination Committee decided to break up. Yet, political conflicts between Non-Citizens and some supporting citizens in Berlin, who threatened the independence of Non-Citizens of taking decisions, did not allow for the time to build up a new structure amongst the Non-Citizens. Even the Committee did not manage to completely pass the experiences and information during those conflicts. In the end, 22 Non-Citizens (including all members of the Committee) determined to remain independent, organized the hunger strike at Brandenburger Tor in Berlin, and left Oranienplatz. The wet hunger strike with a minimum achievement, got broken up on the 9th day, during the negotiations organized by the German Government.

 

After the failure of the hunger strike, members of the dissolved Committee gathered themselves, again to organize the next steps of the struggle, based on an analysis of what they had experienced. Concerning this, analyzing Non-Citizens' struggles in Germany and other regions (including a tour to The Netherlands, Austria, France and Belgium), they started a collective process of studying. This led them to write 'On The Position of “Asylum-seekers” and Asylum-seekers' Struggle in modern societies'. This essay composes an analysis, which criticizes the one-dimensional understanding of active people in 'asylum-seekers' contexts. On a theoretical base it tries its best to develop a perspective of the Non-Citizens' struggle, from not only an anti-racist/anti-nationalist angle, but also in order to get to the root of these discriminations. On these lines, 'The Action Circle of Independent Non-Citizens' Struggle' got organized and as its first step, organized the 'Refugee Struggle Congress' in the first three days of March 2013 in Munich. This happened with the support of independent individuals and different groups.

During the 'Refugee Struggle Congress', the oral history starting from the 19th of March 2012, as well as the analysis about the term and position of 'Non-Citizens' was introduced. For creating networks between different current Non-Citizens' protests in different regions, an open-mic space was reserved under the topic of 'common struggle'. After this an independent meeting of Non-Citizens took place to structure and plan the next steps of the struggle. After the Congress, the 'Action Circle' went on a two-months long tour to nine cities in Bavaria to create an independent network of Non-Citizens. During this, the hunger-strike in Rindermarkt in Munich got planned and, on the 22nd of June 2013 materialized with 89 Non-Citizens, based on their collective decision, starting a wet hunger-strike.

 

Break up of 'The Action Circle of Independent Non-Citizens' Struggle'

 

There is no doubt that only reviewing some headlines of the activities of the Non-Citizens' struggle in the past 15 months cannot represent the highs and lows of the struggle. The history of the 'Action Circle's' activities (which includes the coordination Committee), however it is, with all its achievements and deficiencies, with all the support and ignorance it received, with all internal and external pressures, was the result of the collective activities of those whose protests brought real potential to a scene full of lethargy.

 

Those who believed that books would not create miracles themselves showed that knowledge needed to be connected to practice, in order to create awareness so desperately required for a real change in the daily life of Non-Citizens.

 

Today, after 15 months struggling, the position of members of the 'Action Circle' - with exception of one member- within the hierarchy of the society, from the Non-Citizen (asylum-seeker) position, got developed to another position; it is still unstable but safer. This change within the majority of the 'Action Circle' members on the one hand, and on the other hand our understanding of Non-Citizens' independent struggle, led us to break up the 'Action Circle of Independent Non-Citizens' Struggle'.

 

We believe that oppressed subjects, reclaiming their own oppressed voices, having full independence in the decision making process, tearing apart the isolation and marginalization and stepping into the public, can become self-empowered. It is an empowerment that, for a long time, was only reserved for hundreds of individuals, groups and governmental as well as non-governmental organizations. Through self-empowerment the murderous order of this current state can be shaken up.

 

The protest of Non-Citizens is not in its last breath, neither are the activities of the 'Action Circle' members. We believe that independent Non-Citizens' struggles will continue and we now have to find our subject-position based on our new position in society.

 

The 'Action Circle' is dead, long live the 'Action Circle'.

 


The Action Circle of the Independent Non-Citizen Struggle
Omid Moradian
Mohammad Kalali

Ashkan Khorasani
Arash Dosthosein

Houmer Hedayatzadeh