Fight Racism Now!
Right after German Reunification, a racist campaign of media hate speech and violence led to the abolishment of the constitutional right of asylum. Neonazis, respectable citizens and mainstream parties all acted in consent and declared, that in Germany there was no space left for asylum seekers. During the pogrom of Rostock-Lichtenhagen, the political parties CDU/CSU, FDP and SPD agreed to change the constitution. On 26th of May 1993 the article 16 of the German constitution was annulled. That article had originally been designed as a consequence of National Socialism, granting all “political asylum seekers” a legal right of asylum. It was replaced by the deportation-mandate of the new Article 16a. Three days on, Neonazis celebrated this political breakthrough with an arson attack on the family home of Solingen residents Genç. They murdered five people, Hülya Genç, Hatice Genç, Saime Genç, Gülüstan Öztürk and Gürsün İnce. 14 others were wounded, many of them severely.
Racism as reason of state
With the abolishment of the constitutional right of asylum in 1993, the Berlin Republic declared racism as its reason of state. Racist special laws like the Asylbewerberleistungsgesetz (the law that regulates the benefits for asylum seekers), again from 1993, have established a cruel normality: Refugees are isolated and made invisible in remote and overcrowded camps, often for many years. They are systematically under-supplied and kept in dependency. They are banned from working, not allowed to leave their assigned district, they are supplied with degrading vouchers instead of real money, constantly under the threat of police harassment, arbitrary executive measures and deportation. Under these conditions, women and children are especially vulnerable, as they’re denied any privacy. Many refugees are driven into suicide. Their claim of asylum is almost never acknowledged.
Racism is not a marginal phenomenon
White-german majority society generally perceives itself as tolerant and “foreigner-friendly”, stands “against Nazis” and enjoys Mesut Özil playing in the German national jersey. But still, German society is racist. It permanently denies Millions living here the most basic civil rights. It continues to treat Non-Whites as foreigners, as human beings on probation. The recent political scandal of the so called National Socialist Underground (NSU) sets a spotlight on this. For over a decade, NSU-Nazis were able to murder, bomb and rob banks without any interference – because German society had determined that the perpetrators had to belong to the “milieu” of the victims. Using the racist term “Döner-Morde” (Kebab-Murders) the media and the general public stigmatised the victims over years and undermined chances to trace the real murderers. The current crisis has brought back a form of racism against citizens of southern European states that was widely believed to have been overcome. Here, capitalist performance cult and nationalism go hand in hand.
Global Conditions of Exploitation
Limiting Asylum to those “persecuted on political grounds” systematically blanks out global conditions of exploitation and social domination – and with it Germany’s and Europe’s guilt and responsibility. Colonial suppression is prolonged in the western dominated capitalist world market, in its socially produced wastelands and crises. This is what two main slogans of the self-organized refugee movement aim at: “Every refugee is a political refugee!” – “We are here because you destroy our countries!” The EU tries to govern migration on the basis of capitalist exploitation logic. Migration is always an attempt to undermine those hierarchies.
The national discourse on integration represents a modernised racism, one that stigmatizes not only according to origin, but also according to performance. It specifically aims against people that are attributed a Muslim identity. People that have been living in Germany for decades or were born here are now randomly seen as unable to integrate. This way, the consequences of persistent social and political discrimination are distorted as expressions of culture and mentality. Individual achievers are presented as model-migrants so all others are always reminded of their never ending obligations to society. The danger of this culturally dressed up racism can be seen in the popular success of Thilo Sarrazin or, on the European level, with the rise of right-wing populist parties.
…and Racist continuities
The way Romanies are treated reveals the hypocrisy of German and European policies on asylum and human rights. All over Europe, Romanies are stigmatised and forced into poverty. In many countries, they are systematically terrorized by police, institutions and citizens’ militias. The rich states of central Europe use every opportunity to deport Romanies to those countries. This continues an age-old tradition of oppression and persecution. The current agitation and politics by interior minister Friedrich against asylum seekers from Serbia and Macedonia and against Romanies from EU-states pick up the racist tune of 1993.
The German anti asylum regime became the blueprint for the European war against refugees, which killed more than 16.000 people so far. On the basis of Article 16a, Germany is deporting refugees who entered via allegedly “safe third countries”. Thus, all surrounding EU states have become part of Germany’s isolation regime. Day by day, EU’s militarized border patrol agency FRONTEX forces refugees to risk their lives on dangerous routes, ending in refugees drowning, dying of thirst or suffocation. Whoever manages to reach Europe is submitted to a seamless regime of control and deportation. He or she will be assigned to a state, generally the entrance state. Even according to German courts, many of these countries submit refugees to dehumanizing conditions – especially Greece and Italy. There, refugees are facing homelessness, constant police brutality and entirely irregular asylum proceedings. All over Europe, deportations are coordinated with persecuting governments. New regulations will allow the imprisonment of refugees from day one. The deportation regime is running day and night.
A New Perspective
For 20 years now, self-organized refugee groups and antiracist initiatives are fighting the German-European anti asylum regime, and the global regime of domination and exploitation it stands for. In 2012, refugees in many parts of Germany have left their assigned lagers, have put up protest tents in many larger cities, and have finally carried their demands to Berlin – via a 600km protest march starting in Würzburg. On the Oranienplatz, in the centre of the German Capital and visible for everyone, they have raised a Refugee Protest Camp. Till this day they are living there and organizing their resistance. Meanwhile other refugees and illegalised people in other countries have followed this example. For instance, refugees in Vienna have squatted the Votiv Church in the city centre. 20 years after the abolishment of the constitutional right of asylum, their struggle is an inspiration and a starting point for a new antiracist offensive. The system of isolation and discrimination, of lagers and deportations must fall. Integration into a racist society?! No way!
Fight Racism Now!
Approaching the dual anniversary in the End of May 2013, we want to create a nationwide platform where different antiracist initiatives can cooperate and support each other. We’re preparing action days, interventions, discussions and a network meeting. Join in, we’re counting on your inspiration, your energy and your initiative! For mid May we are planning a nationwide action day against racist institutions. For May 25th, we’re mobilizing nationwide for a demonstration in Berlin. But everyday racism has to be fought every day. That’s why the campaign will be continued during the federal elections campaign until September 22nd. Racist incitement against Romanies, against citizens of Southern European countries, against dual citizenship and against refugee housing in residential areas – we’ll obviously have a lot of work ahead of us.
As a campaign, we’re promoting the demands of the ongoing Refugee Protests. Stop all deportations now! Abolish Residenzpflicht! Close down all lagers immediately!