hacking the borderline & der spiegel article /angela/

elena spectra at rousse.bg400.bg
Wed Aug 11 07:22:24 PDT 1999

-----Original Message----- From: rc-am <rcollins at netlink.com.au> Subject: Re: hacking the borderline & der spiegel article

> in many countries, including the
>US and here in australia, there is little in the way of _any_ action
>that brings together the issues of border controls beyond this or that
>particular policy or this or that particular infringment of free
>movement. the cross the border camp looks to me like an advance.
an advance compared to what? does normally any practical changes come up after protest actions like this? or is the aim to at least engage public attention? i ask because things here seem a bit different; maybe, because the 30+older people have been trained to attend meetings, demonstrations, etc from a very fragile age (school years). So, in a way, we are not very inventive. There have been sitting, lying or hungry strikes, yet the preferred form of mass protest are meetings (gatherings?) or walking demonstration. A unique form of revolution that brought down the socialist government back in 1997 was, as I call it, the "jumping revolution". People literally had to jump (possible explanation is that it was cold winter), and the mantra to shout was "They Who Don't Jump Are Red". Serious, too. Concerts by pop groups, performing artists, etc are engaged mainly as a by-attraction and predominantly during election campaigns.
>> The use of "Europe" here is a point in itself: the Czech republic,
>> Bulgaria, the Ukrain ARE, and have always been in Europe. To place
>> outside it is to reinforce the very argument the protesters are
>the line that marks 'europe' from 'non-europe' is indeed drawn by
>restrictions on movements. eastern europe only becomes 'europe' by
>virtue of a line drawn against 'non-europe' further east. arguing that
>these countries are 'really europe' must imply that there is another
>line elsewhere. the same predicament that you raise (of repeating the
>ideolgical definitions of words like 'europe'), which is an important
>one, merely gets displaced rather than confronted by any claim that this
>or that country is 'really europe'...
Not necessarily unless you assume that Europe has/is entitled to a priviliged position per se. The line is between "wealthy Europe" and the rest of European and non-European countries which jave a lower living standard and are denied access to the other Europe on purely economic grounds. Obviously the spokesperson uses "Europe" to signify the EU, or Shenghen, anyway, the affluent, priviliged Europe as opposed with the rest, no matter whether they are European or not geographically. At least, that's what I meant.
>and, this process is something that you nicely pointed to when you
>wrote: "the epochal sign that Bg is finally becoming civilised"; which
>after all is the working of this border between 'europe' and
>'non-europe', and certainly a way in which calls to include bulgaria in
>'europe' leads to some pretty appalling positions.
The problem is that East European countries (or Bulgaria at least), in search of "European/civilised identity" start from the position that the only desirable possibility to acquire such identity is to follow suit, to copy, to get into Europe, and in effect breeding a national inferiority complex ("bad Europeans") enhanced by politics of Eurofetishism. Europe, European are magic words - and a winning tramp card for the right in government. On the other hand, joining NATO, or at least supporting while waiting, is another facet of the civilising process. Those who question government policy are "red trash". Although there are no practical consequences for criticising government in public (none that I know of, at least), you get this qualification. Altogether, we are far from a culture of tolerance yet - beats me why there seems little progress, it's been 10!!! years. It's always a binary opposition - either or, or against; no shades, no pluralism.

>> Because many more people are denied in a most humiliating way the
>right to
>> move freely, being incriminated as "potential violators".
>i'm not sure what you're saying here.
Potential violators: Infringement of rights starts even before you cross the border - the moment you apply for a visa. You may get a refusal simply because the embassy official decides that you are a POTENTIAL immigrant (I had such an occasion myself). You need to supply really good reasons (tourism and family often don't count good enough reasons) and documents (like ownership of a flat, acar, a note from your workplace that you are on holiday and they expect you to return); you have to travel alone, or with a family member staying in the country - to prove, in all possible ways, that you will be returning. To say nothing about the corruption of embassy officials...
> border restriction policies are
>the most stark way of giving effect to an ideological definition of
>'europe'. and, the criminalisation and regulation of movement is
>exactly the meaning of apartheid is it not? apartheid was (is) marked
>by pass laws, bantustans, enclosures... all geared toward criminalising
>movement which was (is) deemed not functional to labour market policies,
>or rather, the specific mode of exploitation... neither apartheid nor
>border restrictions are a cause, but they do make possible the
>benefits -- which flow from exclusion, segmentation, informal work and
>national bonding -- for capitalism.
So in what way are the hack the border group trying to change the status-quo?

>but on the der spiegel article, i don't see that there's a comparison
>between a fairly flat piece of journalism on the decision of the Italian
>govt to refuse refugee status to roma fleeing from kosovo and a
>thoroughly racist piece of drivel on the presumed criminality of
Just that both were posted with no comments.

>> Just a couple of notes before switching back to lurking.
>no reason to go back to lurking, every reason to post, including
>elaborating a little on this: "To oppose war/NATO was to acknowledge you
>are "red" (dirty word)." does this mean there's no links between
>oppositional groupings in bulgaria and the ones in italy/greece/etc that
>john refered to?
The BSP, which is practically the only left party represented in Parliament, is in isolation from the other left & centre left forces. I don't know about any resultful relations internationally - apart from participation in congresses, conferences, meetings, about which you get several-liners in the left papers. Regarding "red (trash)", it's surprising that 10 years have not been enough to change significantly the image of the party, on the one hand, and we have remained, or become even more, intolerant. In the Bg discussion forum on Kossovo, guys call me Simply Red, while on the Bad list Fred would probably label this as petit bourg . Lurking here is quite an educational experience, though. Best wishes, Elena


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