Rebellion against Fortress Europe!

Sunday 6th September 2015

Austria is at the center of an impressive rebellion against the “Fortress Europe” that forced the governments of Hungary, Austria and Germany to open its borders. But activists must remain vigilant. While the rulers pretend to be shocked and helpful they plan to raise EU’s external borders even higher and set up mass camps outside the European Union (EU).

It is a rebellion of refugees themselves who could not be held back after all the horror they have experienced. They were not to be stopped at the Greek-Macedonian border, not by the Hungarian police and not by the Austrian border guards. Thousands resisted being bundled into detention camps and began marching towards Austria and Germany by foot. Thousands who seek shelter from war and poverty are still setting off on a journey across the ‘mass grave’ in the Mediterranean. Their determination has made governments falter.

And it is a rebellion of ordinary people who defied the racist asylum policy of their governments. Despite threats of punishment they could not be stopped supporting refugees in the camps and on the borders.

Hundreds are on their way to escort a convoy of private cars and buses to Austria and defy the government’s threat being sentenced as “traffickers”. The governments in Austria and Hungary avoided confrontation, opened its borders and provided busses and trains. Tens of thousands took to the streets in protests for human treatment of refugees, for a roof over their heads and for open borders. Thousands donated, collected essential goods, provided shelter and helped at Austria's train stations, refugee camps and at the borders.

These two rebellions came already together in the last few weeks and culminated in a first high point on 5 September 2015 when masses of refugees and ordinary people were fraternising and started cheering wildly. At the train stations people were singing and dancing. This is an important victory over a barbarous system that is again and again producing crisis, war and sorrow, unemployment, homelessness and racism. For more than 20 years the “Fortress Europe” has been built up and it has cost thousands upon thousands of lives. Now we are witnessing what we had ardently hoped for – people are rising against this inhumanity in an inspiring chapter in the history of international solidarity.

Activists in the movement are confronted with serious threats. There is danger of results we are not fighting for. The government stuck to the “Dublin agreement” according to which people can be sent back to countries where they first set foot in. At the EU summits ahead its rulers want to establish “drop-in centers”, in other words more mass detention camps outside Europe, and lower refugee quotas. Die Austrian interior minister demanded “massive immigration controls at the EU’s borders”. Hardliners are pushing for military interventions with ground forces in the Syrian civil war and in Libya in their “war against traffickers”.
We vehemently oppose these suggestions. We are fighting for a world without wars and “special camps”; for a world in which all human beings can move freely and go wherever they like. At present we are witnessing a historic moment. Socialists all over the world must seize the day.

Coordination of “Neue Linkswende”
6 September 2015