Police-officer or pigs? on the use of language in FIASKO

The following article describes a discussion about termonaligy in german. The FIASKO would like to point out that the points being made (1-8) are not tied to any languae specifically.

As usual, following the launch of the last issue of FIASKO, an open discussion event was held, intenting to be a platform for evaluation and suggestions for the magazin. One subject that was discussed and criticized on that event was the use of language in FIASKO. Terms like „Bullen“ (meaning=the police, comparative in english to „the cops“) and „Knast“ (meaning=prison, comparative in english to „can“, „jug“) would be chilling and put some of the readers off. These readers might label the magazin as „far left“. This might diminish the range of the magazin, because some people would not feel addressed and might slip into a defensive attitude twards FIASKO.
This magazin defines itself as a critial intervention against migration-regimes and with that, an overall criticism of our society follows. One could say, this is „far left“. Some questions come up: Who‘s afraid of this position? And why? What does it mean to us that some people take FIASKO that way? Who do we want to reach? And by what means? How can we make content and points of view clear and at the same time mediate them in a way that readers are open to them altough some topics and formulations are uncommon or new to them? With the following points we would like to address the criticism of the use of language and share some thoughts on this point at issue:


1. The (German) language is an expression of the patriarchal system, that we live in today. So to speak it would be desirable that with new conceptions there is room for new terms, words and even sentence structure. If so it is possible to give rise to new thinking structures.

2. We see a connection between the use of language and critique of society. For example the gender star (*) used in german or the use of the term „geflüchtete Person“ instead of the patronising term „Flüchtling“. We welcome a courageous handling of language and terminology.

3. Consistancy plays an important role. If someone stumbles accross a word that provokes her/him, this can lead to lack of comprehension and dissociation. At the same time this will perhaps spark a fundamental content-related discussion.

4. One can argue over terminology and the use of language. In this example in perticular we belive that using terms like „Gefängnis“ instead of „Knast („prison“ – „can“) and „Polizist*innen“ instead of „Bullen“ (Policeman/Policewoman – „Cop“) can be downplaying in certain context. The language loses it’s clarity. At the same time one can criticise that these terms that are more conventional do not promote new images, do not encourage a new way of thinking and can not be used in a unexpected way. So to speak they remain in a certain slang.

5. The FIASKO-Kollektiv does not have a homogeneous language (with a few exceptions, see pont 8).It is important to us, that every author can decide individually which terminology they want to use. There are no set rules for the use of languguage, as you can see in this issue as well.

6. Having said that we want to make clear that we do not have an unambiguous position for such Terms, it wouldn’t be fitting to us. More important is that a concious, reflected and emancipatory use of language is applyed that fits the text that the author wrote.

7. To a concious handling of languague follows critical self-reflection. What happens when a term turns mainstream? Did the desired change happen or did the emancipatory character lose its meaning? Has the term become an empty words in meaningless phrase? Has the term become discriminating and excluding? etc.

8. Nervertheless, some limitations are important to us. In FIAKSO all texts (in german) should have gender stars. In this way people that do not, can not or don’t want to define themselfs as neither man or woman can be taken into account. Futhermore sexist, patriarchal, antsemetic, or discriminating use of language is gernerally unwanted.

…the next discussion-evening will follow and more texts aswell. Besides all that talking we should not forget to act, yalla!

Postcards from Italy: Ethnic raids and the state‘s military interest

“I‘m asking for more commitment in support of the military-industrial complex, in order to obtain additional funds for new armed systems and enforcement the of the European defence with the constitution of new military divisions coordinated with NATO‘s intervention force.”
Minniti in 2006

The 12th of April 2017 the Italian government approved two decrees regarding immigration and security. The laws are signed by the new ministry of the Interior, Domenico (alias Marco) Minniti. Behind them, there is the embitterment of measures driven by the logic that persist in treating migration’s phenomena with police and military instruments of governance and contention; the same logic that persecutes organisations of mutual aid and opposition movements in a warlike manner. The renewed pervasion of intervention of a boosted public force is justified in the name of a securitarianism alarm. The institutions proclaim themselves as interpreters of a “widespread perception of insecurity”.
The profile of the neo-ministry leaves no doubts about the interests linked to his mandate. The curriculum vitae of the “sub-secretary of defence for cooperation with UE, NATO and US and arm industry promotion” during the Amato‘s government (2000 – 2001), has recently been reconstructed.1 It would be enough here to recall that he is also the founder of the agency ICSA (Intelligence Culture and Strategic Analysis) together with the ex-president Cossiga (the repression‘s strategy of which are sorely well known2). A centre of study in matters of intelligence and military defence, this political foundation “boasts” to have as members of its board a high officer of NATO, commandants of specials forces, and permanent members of OSCE. This organisation works in collaboration not only with secret services, but also with the Italian industrial confederation and receives business oriented funding from the private industrial sector.3

Illegalisation and detention

It has recently been shown (by the Antigone association) that the measures of the decree on the matter of immigration will aliment the mechanism of production of illegal individuals.4
With the reinforcements of the French, Austrian and Swiss borders, the electronic taking of fingerprints (perpetuated with the use of force and without legal basis by the hotspots structures) prevent migrants from seeking asylum in other states, landing in a trap situation inside Italian territory.
Among the measures of the decree, there is the abolition of the appeal proceedings in the asylum request procedure. Furthermore, there is no obligation on the part of the judge to listen to the asylum seeker. In short, the refusal of the request by the “territorial commissions” arrives without the right to be heard and is not contestable if not in third degree.5 The government codifies by facts the existence of a juridical system with two different parameters: A distinct juridical apparatus for foreigners that dismiss the guarantees.
The decree reintroduces and potentates the disastrous coercive answer that caused the installations of dis-human structures like the C.I.E. (Centers of Identification and Expulsion). The law establishes new detention institutions (called Centers of Permanence for Repatriation), it increases their numbers and enlarges the typology of forced detentions. The time limits for the permanence are also prolonged.

“The very concrete risk is that it will increase, in dimensions and impact, a specific detention circuit for foreigners that would be deprived of even the minimum of guarantees of the penal sector.”6

The measures of the decree go hand in hand with the police agreements made between the Italian government and some military troops of the Libyan Coast Guard, with Tunisia, and Niger. The agreement with Libyan authorities – the contents of which have come partially to light last February – has as its objective the patrolling of the coasts, the financing of Libyan detention structures and the military support in the closure of the southern border that separates Libya from Nigeria. In synergy with the EU and the Frontex agency, the Italian government trains military units, supplies patrol boats and will provide radar monitoring structures.7
The text of the law also mentions that the allocation of funds aiming to send troops in protection of Italy’s commercial interests in Africa.8
The critiques raised against the immigration decree have denounced its propagandistic character; its purpose to pry the “monopoly of the narrative of the immigrant danger” out of the hands of political forces on the right, in order to cynically ensure the calculated electoral pay-off.
Juridical associations exposed the inadmissibility of the emergency legislation in those matters, they point the finger to the violation of the European Convention on Human Rights and the unconstitutionality of the laws.
But on a basic level, much more is at stake: a common design is traced between the two decrees, at the heart of which there is a precise idea of social order. This normativity, strongly exclusionary, is structured in synergy with the interests of military and commercials holdings. It takes shape through a vertical management of social conflictuality and it relies on techniques of disciplinarian and capillary control of mobility.
The targets of the punitive-administrative measures are individuals or categories that are considered politically undesirable; marginalised by the economic crisis or suspects for the economical-productive apparatus as not- extractable forces.

Militarisation and mobility control

The decree in regard to security denies resources to the local administrations, preventing them from implementing social policies in support of the living conditions of the less well-off, instead, it authorises mayors and prefects to persecute the poor segments of the population with police and administrative actions.
It is illustrative, in this sense, that one entire article is about the promotion of the exacerbation of repressive police action against the “arbitrary” occupations of buildings and the legitimisation of the increment of the use of force during the evictions.
Those measures affect the subjects fighting for the right to housing and put them in even greater danger. Subjects to whom the residency (status that ensures civil rights like the access to public health) have already been deprived by previous legislation which prevents those who occupied a place from attaining residency and asking for running water and electricity. The same measures apply to the non-residential occupations, preparing the legal ground for the embitterment of the use of force in situations of organised political dissent and in the persecution of solidarity and mutual aid associations.
The legislation about the “decorum”, contained in the security decree aggravates the punishments for “whoever engages in conduct that prevents the access and the fruition of rail and public transport infrastructures (stationary and mobile) and their appliances, in violation of no-stopping zones”.
It is not hard to understand how any kind of collective demonstration could easily fit within this label. Besides the evident objective of the legitimisation of the use of force as an instrument of contention of political struggles (through the criminalisation of pickets, demonstrations, strikes and every temporary blockage of the flow of production), the mention of “internal areas” of rail stations and other public places likely to provide shelter leads to a further, bitter, reflection: even resting or making a stop can be used in different way by the securitarianism policy.9
If the state is dealing with a docile residential citizenship to reassure, sleep became the good to protect, the pretext for a widespread surveillance of the quarters10; but if it deals with who is leaving with great difficulty, who found himself marginalised, then his rest can be constantly opposed and authoritatively denied.
In the era of “integrated security”, the relief from fatigue is a good in which governance invests, that can be allowed in differentiated ways and became a right for the few. No-stopping zones, orders to leave, red zones and other sanctions are put at the discretion of police forces and local administrations. In this way, those who are subject to those measures are deprived of the guarantees of the penal sector. Those orders have a strategic character.

“The battle for decorum has to be read in strict connection with others political conflicts in which the implementation of administrative instruments is common. Oral advises or expulsion orders delivered in val Susa and in other cities with active social movements are illustrative. Besides the gap between declared aims and effective objectives, they also show the improper use of those measures.”11

The interdiction of the territories “of interest” has important precedents in the governmental measures aiming to hit oppositions movements as the No TAV fights in val Susa or the movement against the construction of the TAP (Trans Adriatic Pipeline) in Salento. In 2012, Berlusconi‘s government labelled the territories of the TAV as “areas of strategic national interest, in which access is denied in the military interest of the state”. With Renzi‘s governmental measure of 2015, the prohibition was also applied to the zones of construction of the TAP, as territory “characterised by nation priority and strategic interest”.
The synchronicity of administrative measures and territorial militarisation against a population treated as “internal enemy” is not entirely new. Those mechanics are activated in favour of multinational consortium and industries and follow a purely police logic that establishes “a singular hierarchy of importance between the safety of things and the safety of people”.12
The effects of this management of order and decorum didn’t wait long to show up. Some administrations even acted pro-actively, as in Bari where the communal administration tried to crackdown on activists and collectives before the G7 finance summit. In Bologna, the G7 on Environment has been preceded by the delivering of expulsion orders. In May 2017, under the order of the prefecture, the police (with helicopters and mounted troops) blocked the exits of Milan‘s train station and executed searches of people and controls on all the subjects of non-Caucasian racial groups. During the same month, in Rome, Niam Maguette lost his life in the attempt to escape from a police raid. His crime? He was a street vendor.

This text put together press review and personal reflection of the author. While analyzing the discriminatory assumptions and the catastrophic effects of the new Italian law regarding security and migration, this text wants to rise attention to the connections existing between economical interests and control of mobility. The author of this article grew up in Italy. Like many people of her generation, after fighting against the cuts in education and social spending following the economical crises, she left the country in search (maybe illusory) of better conditions.

What did I really want from migration?

Migration may occur because of many different reasons. Often its aim is to improve one’s life quality and/or to gain basic human rights. It is a form of geographical relocation. It is not always a matter of social status. It may also be a desire to reach freedom of will and choice.

In 2015 thousands of people from Asia and Africa risked their lives in a journey with the aim of reaching, at minimum, a simple and peaceful life. In 2015 -16, the world witnessed a wave of humans in their thousands, who did not have basic personal security and possibilities in their native countries. They walked hundreds of kilometres, crossed many roads, these in worst possible physical and physiological conditions, often on empty stomachs. They slept anywhere they could, in the mountains, train stations, under bridges or just simply in open fields.

They risked everything, exposed themselves to endless dangers day and night, across seas and mountains, to find their lost future and destiny. Many of them to this day have not found what they were looking for. This human wave on the move to Europe in search of better life shocked the world. Many of them died during this journey, in ships, in trucks or in seas. They knew they are risking death, but to them dying once were better than dying every day. The destiny of many of them is still unknown and even for those who did manage to reach their destination. The subsequent waves are following in the meantime. The future for these migrants is ambiguous. In addition to uncertainties of being allowed to stay, there is the identity crisis. Many of them are still not registered as normal citizens. They have a foreign identity and status and must search and fight for a time and place where they could say I am myself and I belong.

Migration, internal or external, takes place due to many different factors. The most common of these is the desire to improve. However for those from war zones, who in the meantime build the majority of migrants, it goes beyond that. Their escape is not just about migration. It is often result of physiological scars and search for basic human rights. To have the basic human right is what they are fighting for. That was what I expected from my migration. The first and most important of the human rights is the right to live, to survive. All other rights such as the right to security, identity, education, work, marry, freedom of speech, freedom of ideology etc. are secondary to this.

Many humans are still in search for the right to live. War and destruction are at their highest level in many countries. To survive is becoming increasingly difficult in many places. Since years, every day in the news we hear about loss of life in various wars and conflicts. This is the main reason for migration. What most humans want from migration is to survive. Only once that is secured do they look for other human and social needs that every citizen of the earth should be entitled to. This is no easy task in a society where you migrate to. Once the basic security is achieved, the struggle for other rights is just beginning. Through migration to a new society one often losses ones identity and beliefs. Your family and friends, with whom you have lived and grown for years, are all of the sudden no longer with you and you might never see them again in your life. People with whom you make new acquaintances such as new friends behave very different to what you are used to and on top of it perhaps differently towards you compared to the people they consider as the same to themselves. As mentioned before this is no easy task!

The fact that your civil status and hence the society considers you as second or third class citizen, and your civil rights are accordingly also more limited, (e.g. You are not allowed for a long time to choose which city or state you would like to live / work in) is a very painful and difficult thing to get used to. In effect they cause even more psychological scars and may lead to decline of joy and quality of life. In a social sense, it is not possible to compare yourself with the original citizens of the place you end up living in. You will never feel equal. This challenges social justice.
Therefore one can conclude that phenomenon migration is an ethical and human crisis. Humans running away from other humans, trying to establish new base in new society. On an emotional level to lose the sense of not belonging is a very difficult thing to do.

This article describes my personal experiences as migrant. It explains why human ran away from other humans’ prejudices. I am criticizing the factors that shaped my experiences.

What I experience in Switzerland as a black refugee immigrant

Swiss life is full of prison, even you didn’t commit any crime – no love and respect for immigrants, no freedom no peace for immigrants, no human rights at all for immigrants. I am innocent, they treated me like a criminal and I feel powerless – justice and liberty not for immigrants, political division based on color. Rights are associated with political and economical subordination – but a minority can follow the rules and have no access to rights anyway. Rights are an important statement about the nature of power-relations in any society.

My experience as a black migrant in Switzerland

(part one)

Swiss life could be de ned as a prison life. I am in prison just because I don‘t have documents. If you don‘t have documents, life here is full of tension, because if you are controlled by the police, you are going to be in prison. We immigrants living in Switzerland have no peace and there are no human rights for us. We also don‘t have freedom – especially we black people. Could you imagine, that a policeman will walk in where many people are and controls only blacks and leaving others because of their skin color? Is that not a racist practice? Meanwhile there is no love and respect for immigrants, especially black people. Switzerland have one of the most racist policemen in the world, but you wouldn’t know this if you are real Swiss. From all my ndings as an African black migrant living in Switzerland, some laws here are mainly for migrants but people outside prisons don‘t know this, because swiss police and government paint a good picture in the public eye and everybody will think that their government or police is correct. Meanwhile I was hearing this from people before I experienced it here in prison by myself. Nevertheless my experience here as a black migrant in swiss prison is, that they treat us here as SLAVES. The security men will wake us up in the morning at 7h15 by unlocking doors and they will make sure the doors are widely open, so as to disturb and wake you up from sleep. If you ask why do you do that, the answer you will get is: „this is a prison and not a hotel“. When you have visitors according to the law, if you were alone with your visitor in the guestroom, your are going to be naked by prison guards. But randomly they do it even when you had many visitors. If they search you and you ask why, they will still tell you they must naked you and that you as a person can’t say no. If not they will take you to a place called „Bunker“ – that is a very bad place where you will be locked up alone in a room and would be tortured by them. Perhaps you could be there like one week without seeing or going outside. They don‘t care about us at all here in prison. To be frank, many people I met here in prison did not commit any crime, some have been in prison for two years, while some others have six months and there are some cases of more than that. And when you ask them, you will nd out that it is only because of not having papers or documents. Another thing I experienced here in prison is when you are brought to the prison the police takes all your money, so that you are forced to work in prison. There is a work they provide here in prison, which ought to be two hours but they will use us to do the work in 2 hours and thirty minutes. Meanwhile the work is too big, but for the whole day they give you 6 Franks. Coming to the aspect of the food, we eat here in prison only two times a day. They give us food at around 11:am and the dinner is at 5:pm. There is a small kiosk here in the prison, where the things are sold for the double price as outside and the kiosk is open only fridays, that is once in a week and it’s only 20 minutes. So if you miss that minutes of shopping time you have to wait till the next week friday. Remember I have earlier stated, that the money you came with, they collect it from you, so you have to work while you are in prison. If you refuse to work here in prison they will hate you and you won‘t have access to many things here in prison. They make sure you are punished. Moreover you have to be well sick before they will take you to the hospital. If not it is not possible because they treat you like a SLAVE in prison. Even if you are taken to the hos-pital your legs and hands must be handcuffed by the police while the treatment is going on, unless the doctor instructs the police to remove the handcuff. If not the handcuff will be there from the time you are going to the hospital until you are back in the prison. And before you are allowed to go inside the prison you will be naked. Meanwhile, if you go to court, when you are back you will be naked by the prison guards or anywhere else you go to, when yo are back they must search you before you could be allowed to go inside the prison. If you ask them, they will tell you, it is because you are in Switzerland. Another thing here in prison ist, that you have the right to see a lawyer – either they give you one ore you are allowed to get a lawyer. But they deny you of that, then if you ask the answer you get is: No, that you are in Switzerland. All these treatments exerted on us are all about not having papers or documents – what they call ILLEGAL. Furthermore if you are controlled by the police or border guard, and you don’t have the right papers, they will take you to the police station, take your fingerprints to see if you have been ngerprinted elsewhere in Europe. If you have you will be sent where you were registered, but if you don’t have anywhere in Europe, immigration police will force you to seek for asylum in Switzerland and after three months you will be rejected with a negative decision and they send you to prison. There in prison you are brought to the court and get three months for illegal stay, then after three months, they will give you another three months till maybe 18 months and after you will be deported to your country of origin. For instance, if you have a negative swiss decision and you go to another country, when the country calls Switzerland, they tell them to send you back. And back in Switzerland the immigration police will take you to prison, then after two days they bring you to the court – imagine for being illegal, without giving you a lawyer and they will be against you and ask you, why did you travel out of Switzerland. If you tell them, it ist because you have got a negative decision, they tell you that you don’t have any right to go anywhere except your country of origin without even allowing you to express yourself in front of the court. There in the court you will be given three months until eighteen months before you are deported back to your country. Outside the prison Most at times here in Switzerland police normally go to african shops to control black people buying something to eat or to drink, what sometimes could scare away the customers of the shop owners. That is why I said, we blacks or black immigrants walk in fear in Switzerland more than in other countries in Europe. We are meant to understand that we don’t have rights as a black immigrant living here.

(part two)

Swiss life is full of prison, if you don’t have documents, because once you get controlled by the police, they will put you inside prison. But if you have other european countries documents, they will try to give you what they call „Verboten“, which means, you won’t be allowed to come to Switzerland for so many years, depending on the years they give the person (a man I know had an Einreisesperre until 2099). For instance, there was a case like that, where Police went to an african shop and after they controlled, they left with one black person and the black guy was asking them „why should I go with you when I have document?“ and they answered, that he has VERBOTEN in France and he answered „Yes, but here is not France but Switzerland“. Could you imagine he slept in a police cell for three days before they took him to court and the judge was asking the police „what did this man do?“ Police said to the judge, that he has VERBOTEN and the guy immediately asked the police where, when and which country, because according to the person, he said he only has VERBOTEN in France for the past ten years and he has never been to France since then. Meanwhile, after the whole explanation the presiding judge told the police, that he has not seen any offense he committed and gave the police one week to nd the place he has VERBOTEN since they could not say or mention the place at the moment, because after one week they should release the man. Furthermore, a day after immigration called the man out of prison and said, we called France and they said the VERBOTEN is only in France and we have searched in our system we didn’t nd anything bad against you. After some hours he was released. This is what we blacks or immigrants experience here in Switzerland. Another one is, that if you are working in prison, if the immigration want to deport you back to your country of origin, they will not give you the money you worked for. Because there is a job, they usually give people in prison but when taking the person back to Africa or his country they will not give the person his money back, which is very BAD. They treat us as if we are ANIMALS. Therefore if your wife or girlfriend visits you and when you guys are holding each others hands while sitting in the guest room, could you imagine that the security guards would walk in and tell you people not to hold each others hands and that if not the girl or your wife or you will have problems with him. Imagine the kind of insults we are tolerating from them, you can’t hug your wife or girlfriend again because you are in prison for being ILLEGAL. This is what I call VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS! Meanwhile these things I have written here is little to compare to what we are seeing here in swiss prisons on a daily basis.

Hello europe, hello!

In november 2016 i went to Lesvos, Greece. Thats why i was asked to write a text in this paper about the situation there. To be honest: I don’t have much to say. Yes, the situation is fucked. But i met amazing people from different places in the world on Lesvos, which all were trapped there because of the european border regime. Some of them are experts in questions of asylum, migration, routes, refugees selforganization, police brutality and so on. Thats why i asked M., a young guy from Aleppo, if he could write something.
Here is what i got:

Hello europe, hello.

(No response.)

I think you are sleeping, because you are not doing anything for what the refugees are facing here. It‘s time to wake up.

A lot of people flee their countries seeking safety and peace. We left our children, the dreams and memories and came here to the land of dreams, but we figured out its not the land of dreams but the land of nightmares. We have been driven to detention camps, sleeping under hundreds of people in only shity tents.

Dear europeans, imagine this please.

Refugees have lost their hopes. You have closed your borders in our faces. Because of fear. What fear, i don’t know. What danger can our present bring? This person that is only seeking security. You don’t know us. Thats why you are afraid of us. Please try to communicate with us. It’s not that hard and you will see: We are humans, just like you. Try to hear us, only one time. We are all humans, we are all brothers and sisters.

It‘s time to wake up.