Solidarity as a Commons

 

In many countries, migrants and refugees are confronted by very repressive policies, and in some cases violence. In certain places, citizens are responding by getting involved in local activities to distribute food, clothes and other commodities, to provide information about asylum procedures or how to meet basic needs and human rights, to facilitate the inclusion of migrants or refugees in cities and cohabitation between people in neighborhoods.

At a time when policies about immigration and refugees in most European countries are inadequate and troubling, these mobilizations are extremely important and sharing experiences is key.

The purpose of this workshop was twofold. First, to share experiences and knowledge about local citizen-developed initiatives to help migrants and refugees across Europe. Second, to discuss solidarity with migrants and refugees as a commons.

Participants had experience in local initiatives of solidarity and hospitality with migrants and refugees; were engaged in research and activism on urban commons focusing on migrant rights; or were involved in initiatives like ecovillage movements, commons support for artists at risk, or community social centers that work to develop new forms of participative work and cooperation to build solidarity.

Some of the participants made notes (read them here). For instance, these are the building blocks of the definition of ‘Solidarity as a Commons’ that the group came up with:

‘Communities producing resources and emergency actions to respond to the situation in which migrants are put. Solidarity is a process. It’s a setting alllowing interactions and collective organizing. It is political production in public space of solidarity (political intervention) and the production of awareness about the situation and the different options available to citizens. It requires inclusion of all including migrants and refugees, and horizontal structure that does not reproduce hierarchical power dynamics. It’s about self-protection/defense of commoners producing solidarity (against criminalization, police, etc.). It works with free circulation as an organizing principle.’