REPORT OF THE MEETING OF THE NETWORK AGAINST THE POLICIES OF SECURITY AND REPRESSION
(as it was read in the Istanbul EPA Plenary on Sept. 25, 2005 with small alterations)
Over 50 people were attending the meeting of the Network against the Policies of Security and Repression, which took place in the frame of the Istanbul EPA on Friday, Sept. 23, 2005. Most of them were comrades from Turkey (and Kurdistan although nobody spoke as a Kurd), but there were also comrades from Greece, France, Italy, Great Britain and the Basque Country.
There was a concern among many participants that the Policies of Security and Repression and especially the conditions of imprisonment and the (white) torture – i.e. isolation – not only in Turkey but generally in Europe would not find the appropriate relevance in the European Social Forum and in the Athens ESF in 2006. It was a concern that these issues could be excluded from the ESF process.
Now that we have the 16th axis in the preparation of the Athens ESF 2006 – "Policies of Security and Repression" – we believe that this will help us to continue our work that started already (even though not in the frame of a network) in Florence and that was continued in Paris and London.
We want to organize at least two Seminars in Athens:
European Security Policies, (anti-)terror laws, Black Lists
Political Trials, Political Prisoners, Conditions of Imprisonment (Isolation)
We need also to discuss the criminalization of Social Movements and the criminalization of (ethnic and religious) Minorities. We did not decide yet if this will happen within the frame of one of the above mentioned Seminars or in a separate Seminar. [As I heard the Antiracist Network will also deal with the second issue, the criminalization of Minorities.]
Since I was told by some comrades that they did not know yet about the existence of our Network I want to inform everybody here that our Network is working on the basis of a Platform that was agreed in the Prague meeting in May. This Platform has been published in the ESF mailing list as a draft before the Prague EPA and as the agreed Platform on June 30, 2005 (16.30 h).
I put this Platform again into the ESF mailing list (hereunder and as an rtf-attachment). This will enable also other interested groups and persons to take part in the work of our Network. Every group or person should send its proposals to us through the ESF mailing list or directly to me as the provisional coordinator of the Network.
FOR A NETWORK AGAINST THE POLICIES OF SECURITY and AGAINST REPRESSION
During the preparatory meeting of the ESF held in Athens in February 2005, a gathering took place with the participation of members from Greece, Turkey, Germany and Palestine. The Greek participants proposed to establish a Network in the framework of the Forum, aiming to bring out and face problems and facts resulting from the policies of security and repression, which are created and applied in contemporary Europe. And not only in Europe… since these policies and repressive measures are promoted in close co-operation with the USA who, especially after Sept 11, 2001, are leading a worldwide and hegemonic aggression against all forms of social or political challenge and resistance.
This initiative arose during the discussion in the Forum’s preparatory meeting as it was ascertained that it would not be sufficient to discuss the great social and political issues and to take a stand about them, but that at the same time we have to understand and confront the (worldwide and European) political framework, which is becoming more and more authoritarian, and in which the social and political movements will be forced to defend or even to forward their positions.
During this meeting there was a first exchange of opinions and it was agreed that, to begin with, we will get in contact with organizations and interested people in order to explore the political terms and practical possibilities to create such a Network. Such contacts would be based on the ESF Web in the internet, beginning with the promotion of a first paper of contact and discussion about issues, which are related to
the security policies
the systems of surveillance, control and suppression
the antiterrorist legislation
the agreements on juridical and police co-operation
the agreements on extradition and the European warrant of arrest
the special prisons and the special treatment of political prisoners
the Islam phobia
the surveillance, control and repression of the migrant populations
the Black Lists
but also the imminent legitimation of "police" operations against third countries and of preventive intervention.
The necessity to create such a network arises from our common concern that we live in a period of intensification of political despotism, manifest with the repressive violence against the great agitations at the end of the 90s, which radically dispute the neoliberal globalization, beginning with Seattle and then in Prague, Nice, Quebec, Gothenburg and especially in Genoa in July 2001. The main attribute of this new wave of political despotism, which evolved after the fall of the regimes of the East European states and the incontestable imposition of the USA’s political-military hegemony on the planet, is its induration in direct proportion with the increase and the radicalization of the movement in the same period.
After Sept 11 and combining with the rising tensions in the Islamic world (new Intifada in occupied Palestine, invasion of Afghanistan) but also with the planned and eventually executed invasion and occupation of Iraq, the political despotism reached a peak and, in an artificially created climate of terror hysteria and Islam phobia, led to an overt aggression against democratic achievements of decades, pulling down or abolishing the institutional frame that had been achieved in long struggles.
Namely, we can all see that during the last decade:
- The new security policies are imposed in absentia of the citizens by centers of supranational and supra-institutional procedures (experts councils, intergovernmental consultations, extra-institutional pressures etc.), threatening the vested rights of the European peoples on the political, social and legal level, abolishing rights and spaces of freedom, threatening the operation of collective spaces, invading privacy and despotically controlling public space.
- The new security policies impose the extensive police control of the citizens with special monitoring and control systems, which demand their legalization in the citizens’ consciousness. Cameras, small cameras, closed circuits, biometric data, DNA, microchips, special bracelets, electronic monitoring and control etc. are getting added to the always larger presence of police forces with always bigger authority and special equipment; equipment, whose use and abuse claims impunity by the juridical organs of the system.
- The antiterrorist legislations overrule the legal facts introducing new methods of interrogation and dubious kinds of judicial argumentation, imposing aggravation of the maximum penalties, adulteration of basic legal principles (such as the analogy of the punishment to the crime, the presumption of innocence, the statute of limitation etc.), abolishing procedural guarantees and fundamental rights (physical freedom and others). The antiterrorist legislations impose special courts, special punishments, special prisons and special methods of treatment of political prisoners, i.e. prisoners for actions imposed by their political choices and convictions.
- The antiterrorist campaign represents an ideological attack against the political antagonists of the modern world order, attempts to criminalize their actions, is based on disinformation and on the propaganda of the neoliberal ideas, supports the geopolitical planning of the American hegemony and of all those who stand in with it, diffuses fear and submission in the societies.
- The European frame decision against terrorism and for extradition (the European Warrant of Arrest) abolishes national jurisdiction, national protection, fundamental guarantees as well as the fundamental rule that a government cannot extradite its citizens to another country.
- The new complex of international conventions and agreements on judicial and police cooperation leads to the connection and the interlacing of the repressive functions in the name of the struggle against terrorism and for security, while at the same time it legally covers the creation in Europe of the biggest archive of personal data (Schengen Information System - SIS) and of the most extended system of inter-border control (border crossings, international meetings, demonstrations etc.). Given the hegemonic role of the USA in the ideological and political administration of the antiterrorist campaign, as well as the violent and illegal methods they apply (wars, camps such as Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and so on), the agreements about judicial cooperation and extradition between the USA and Europe have a special significance, but they have not even been submitted to the judgement of the European citizens last year.
- The elevation of Islam to the No. 1 enemy of the western system, the incrimination of the whole Islamic world under terms of collective responsibility, has cultivated a climate of Islam phobia whose main victims are the migrants and refugees from Islamic countries. In this way racism, Euro-nationalism and militarism are promoted, while the borders are being militarized. The actual abolishment of political asylum legalizes the treatment of the refugees from poverty and war under terms and with measures violating our sensibility and our historic memory (concentration camps, pre-border zones, rejection despite of danger of life – and consequently mass murder at the borders –, detention without time limits etc.).
- The Black Lists, with their logic of collective guilt and criminalization, eliminate and condemn not only those directly hit, but also the resistance movements all over the world.
In the new environment created, the political rights and freedoms are threatened. Also threatened with criminalization is the political action and the political word, while the capital of solidarity is hit.
The policies of security and repression and their internationalization, a product of the neoliberal globalization threatening political and social rights and looting the legal achievements of the postwar civil democracy, are part of a political plan that does not aim to control the few undisciplined and disobedient but to impose discipline and submission to the many, to control the mass movements and the collective resistance.
We believe that common action in order to organize the resistance against these policies is essential today for the defense of freedom spaces and for political action, for the fortification of our collective spaces and for the organization of the institute of solidarity between us.
We believe that the problems of the policies of security and repression should be of particular interest in the activities of the Forum and constitute a special thematic unit. But they should also be connected with the central issues by integrating this question into the main political discourse of the movement against neoliberal globalization, authoritarian violence and the wars resulting.
For these reasons, relating to the general climate of despotism spread all over the planet as well as over Europe – traditionally estimated as more liberal –, we strongly support this initiative. We proceed to contact other organizations and groups in Europe and call everybody interested, to take part in the initiative and to participate in establishing – as it has already been decided in Athens – a Network in the framework of the Forum, aiming to bring out and face problems and facts resulting from the policies of security and repression.