Outside the Circle

Cindy Milstein

The Unenclosure Movement


Even during what is a too-short time here in Greece, surrounded by anarchist comrades from across the Balkans, Mediterranean, and parts of Europe that are now being viewed as “refugee routes,” one can instantly see the cat-and-mouse “game” of the scramble to force, block, and unblock the flow of humans. I was about to say “free the flow,” yet despite all the heartbreakingly beautiful “solidarity not charity” projects that anarchists in particular are engaged in, state (made up of nation-states, NGOs [including as is true in North America, many that are funded by those same nation-states], state bureaucracy, and police) and capital are the structures compelling the “free flow.”

This is not a crisis per se, save for the fact that millions are in crisis as they flee war, ISIS, devastation, and trauma, and communities across Europe on the ever-changing route as in crisis trying to figure out how to handle masses of new people. It is what might be termed “the unenclosure movement” of state and capital. It is profoundly in their interests now to displace the bulk of humanity, whether here in the Mediterranean, Balkans, and wider Europe, or North America and elsewhere; it is in their interests to keep most of us destabilize, up- and unrooted, on the move. As many states shift role from supplier of safety net and public goods, and become oversized surveillance and policing apparatuses, the central institutions become prisons, detention centers, and refugee camps, not social security offices and schools. In capital’s quest to forever, according to its own growth logic, create new spaces/places it can commodify, the “free flow” becomes a new area of accumulation for the “free market.” One hears so many stories here of everything from shipping lines to smugglers, agribusiness to hotels, etc., turning refugees into what may soon be one of the biggest “consumer markets” to sap dry.

And so a few days ago, at the 10-day Mediterranean Anarchist Meetings, it wasn’t surprising when a comrade from Croatia announced: Hungary just closed its borders again, so the refugees are being re-routed on other paths. We need to readjust our solidarity efforts, too.

“‘Closure!’ a soldier shouted after the last travelers had passed across,” quotes this article from the Clandestina site (a good source for “independent information for refugees and migrants coming to Europe,” along with www.w3eu.info). Yet ironically, for me at least, the soldier is pawn in the game of “Unenclosure!” — a game in which we need to begin to better analyze and understand the new rules so we can better strategize to, if not win, better mutually aid as many of us displaced peoples as possible, toward what would might truly look like:


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(Photo by Cindy Milstein, art of resistance, wall in the “anarchist neighborhood” of Exarchia, Athens, Greece, October 2015.)


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This entry was posted on October 21, 2015 by in Dispatches from Rebellious Spaces.
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