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Changes in the methods of exploitation have forced increasing numbers of people, particularly from the poorer countries, to take the path of immigration. Though useful to capital as a source of cheap labor, the numbers of such refugees has become so large as to present a significant problem of control for the states of those countries they enter. In an effort to maintain some level of control over this flood, the various states have created systems of detention centers, prisons for undocumented foreigners whose only crime is that of seeking refuge from poverty and in some cases political oppression without the proper papers. Even if these centers were built for the comfort of the inmates, taking their emotional and intellectual, as well as basic physical, needs into account, they would still be stealing away the lives of those individuals interned in the camps, placing their fate into the hands of bureaucrats whose priorities are the maintenance of power, profit and social control. But, for obvious reasons, these centers are not built for the comfort of the inmates. They are prisons with all the horror that implies. It is no surprise then that they are subject to frequent revolts, the healthy response of those whose dignity has been pressed beyond endurance, those whom the state, in its need to control every interaction, has pushed to the breaking point.

Australia is a destiny for many refugees from Asia and eastern Africa. These refugees arrive on the Australian shores to find themselves interned in these prisons without criminal charges. In June, seven hundred internees from three detention centers in Woomera, Port Hedland and Curtin escaped in order to go to town centers to protest their condition. More recently, on the weekend beginning August 25 and going through the 28th , a number of actions against the centers took place in Australia.

Protests at the Woomera center began on the 25th with chanting and some damage to the center. On the 26th, there were several demonstrations at various centers and one in Sydney in solidarity with these . At Marbinong, two hundred anarchists, socialists and other supporters met with immigrants who were not in the camps to protest outside the center there. Arrangements were made for the people in the camp to send out messages over the fences with balloons. As people came to the fence with these messages, some began to shake it. A high-ranking cop ordered people away from the fence. In response, they shook it harder and almost knocked it over. Horse cops were brought in to protect it. People began chanting such things as "No more cages", but the words were less significant than the fact that the noise of the chants made it impossible for the cops to coordinate theiractivities.

In the wake of the demonstrations by sympathizers at Marbinong and in Sydney, on the 27th, the protests at Woomera escalated as some inmates attempted to dismantle the detention center there. Inmates had been stoning the staff since Friday night. The authorities sprayed tear gas in an attempt to quell the uprising. The rioting inmates set fire to recreational buildings, a dining room, a school and the cleaning facilities. An administration building was also attacked, with stones. The authorities used water cannons against rioting inmates and attempted to build a secondary fence to keep them in. However, the rioters tore this fence down as fast as it was put up. By August 28th, they were using the pickets as spears against the guards as they attempted to escape throughholes in the fence.

These detention centers, the states "rational" response to the problem of control, are further evidence of the absurdity of borders and of the states that invent them. But the reality that has forced the refugees to take the road of immigration is pushing increasing numbers of people in every part of the world into landlessness, homelessness, the lack of any place to be. Thus, all of us who are among the excluded of this society find ourselves pushed into a precariousness in which we are all potential refugees. Our struggle against this situation must escape the logic of capital and the state. To do so requires that this struggle not be merely a struggle for survival, but a struggle for the fullness of life. Capital is forcing an equality of conditions upon us--in impoverishment and precariousness. It is necessary to reject this false mathematical equality that turns us into ciphers. There is beauty in difference, and borders, like all institutions of control, seeks to suppress our experience of that difference in order to reinforce the false unities based on imposed identities. Only where differences can intermingle freely can that which is unique and truly individual in them come to the fore, that which constitutes the real human wealth that is beyond every economic consideration. It is this beautiful idea that can give our struggle to tear down every fence, every prison every border, every state and the whole social order of capital and power the ferocity to push on against.

[Return to the Venomous Butterfly and Willful Disobedience Page on the KKA web site] [Return to Killing King Abacus Main Page] [Go to the Hot Tide Anti-Authoritarian/Anti-Capitalist Analysis Page] [Anarchist Prisoners] [Distro and Links]