Since the dawn of time, mobility has allowed us to take control of our fate in a quest for greater individual and collective security and solidarity. Migration has always and will surely continue to be a critical part of the international scene, an essential aspect of humanity and what it means to be human.
Historically, humans have always travelled out of both hope and need, often for religious reasons, to escape wars or in search of new opportunities for trade, and that still holds true today. However, other contemporary motivations such as inequality, environmental crises, brutal developmental economics, employment and the outbreak of globalized conflicts are also coming to the fore.
Today, one of every seven people on the planet is a migrant, having experienced one or more of the many different forms of human mobility. For the first time since the World Wars of the past century, more than 65 million people find themselves forcibly displaced. They have become refugees, many of them victims of the international system’s inability to address political instability in the Middle East.
Against the odds, with hope but many contradictions, we have embraced and expanded upon the unprecedented movement of globalization. Every corner of the planet has been brought together in a common cause. Around 250 million migrants (3.3% of the global population) have crossed borders and become ‘transnational migrants’.
In addition, 750 million migrants have moved internally within their country, most of them ending up in major cities. We have thus followed the vectors of wealth (we make up about 30% of the planet’s workforce), creating new citizenships and social struggles. We have formed new inter-social, intercultural worlds that often disturb the established order.
In a way, our ‘North has become the South’ as the global demographic balance has tipped inexorably towards the global South, although we still migrate towards the North.
We can provide direct testimony to the fact that walls, exaggerated nationalist identities, the erosion of the right to move, concepts such as ‘controlled, secure migration’ and the denial of migration are all symptomatic of a world trapped in its conflicts and history. They tangle us up and drive a breach between peoples. They kill us.
The trend towards hindering human mobility has grown more entrenched; a reflection of the breakdown in relations among the transnational community. In recent decades, as migrants we have witnessed a great transition of power structures under pressure from globalizing forces. This has generated new kinds of contradiction and challenge for the peoples that make up the global community.
In addition to these power wrangles, we are witnessing new worlds struggling to come into being and maintain their existence but our institutional foundations remain rooted in other eras and historical periods. The lure of the past tends to encourage resistance to migration, with the repression of migratory movements seen as ‘collateral damage’ or a ‘necessary evil’ to get rid of these contradictions, regardless of the goodwill and multilateral accords of the transnational sphere.
We reject this destructive point of view which, as with other issues on the international agenda, does not address the complex, systemic roots of the problem. In some ways, refugee movements can be seen as a proportional measure of the instability of the international scene. Our struggle as migrants is clearly a part of these conflicts. At heart, this is a fight for a society and network of beneficial, legitimate, democratic, non-exclusive globalization, for a comprehensive human vision and the diversity of a world in which there is a place for every world. It is a struggle that merges and overlaps with other ethical, economic, political, environmental and civilizing struggles on local and global scales.
We believe that we are at the threshold of a new stage of migration. Where before the question centered around perceptions of migratory phenomena and expanding recognition of human mobility based on a relatively open multilateral environment, now we must come up with new conceptual models for global stability and a form of globalization that responds to the needs of a radically interdependent world. It will thus necessarily represent a rupture with previous languages.
When certain poles of power react with protectionism, authoritarianism and segregation, enabling societies to treat migration as currency with which to feed social fascism, political opportunism, militarization and the fabrication of enemies, we must redouble our struggle, which ranges from territorial resistance to establishing the foundations for a solidary, interconnected, socially just and equal world. So far, this challenge has been too great for migrants, we have not yet managed to come together to a sufficient extent. That is why we feel we must construct new alliances and conceptual frameworks.
2018 will undoubtedly be crucial in defining global human mobility
In what represented a major landmark of the mobilization agenda and multilateral debates, in September 2016, the General Assembly of the United Nations hosted a High Level Conference on Refugees and Migrants. On that occasion, 193 Member States signed the New York Declaration (NYD) which included a collective plan for handling large scale refugee and migratory movements.
On December 3 and 4, 2017, a survey will be carried out of the heads of state of those 193 countries in the city of Guadalajara Jalisco, moderated by Mexico and Switzerland. It is expected that by the end of 2018 the UN Assembly will debate and approve the plan recommended following this global survey to seal a platform for a Global Pact on Migrants and Refugees.
As part of this process, in June 2017 the Global Peoples Conference for a World without Walls and Universal Citizenship was held in Tiquipaya (Bolivia). It produced ten proposals for bringing down walls and constructing a basis for universal citizenship. Meanwhile, civil and religious organizations met in Berlin at the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), taking positions similar to those seen in Bolivia. Subsequently, Pope Francis published a list of twenty actionable points related to the UN’s global pacts.
In all the statements produced by these meetings, we observe that a major point of agreement, among many others, is the need to replace the hegemonic view of migratory politics that seeks to ensure ‘controlled, ordered and secure’ migration with a humanist perspective that aims to ‘shelter, protect, promote and integrate’ migrants, reaffirming human mobility as a right rooted in the essential, universal equality of all human beings.
Although we fully support this goal, it is important to acknowledge that the contrast between regulatory frameworks and the de facto ‘migratory marginalization’ of the current international system will continue to grow more exacerbated if we do not implement other frameworks for global equality and establish new levels of social mobilization.
Promoting mass global mobilization to bring down blockades and walls (ten points)
In 2018, in addition to the New York Dialogues, Mexico will host the 8th World Social Forum on Migration. We celebrate the fact that a national organizing committee has been formed. One of the central debates at the meetings between academics, professionals, technicians and activists involved in migratory issues will be:
- Whether the 8th WSFM is seen as an event or a process, and what its outcome will be.
- What is expected of the New York Dialogues at the UN General Assembly in 2018.
We know that many organizations, technicians, specialists, professionals, academics and social workers will be offering their contributions to the issue through the different consultancy channels organized for the NYD on the Global Pact. There is no doubt that the resolutions taken by the General Assembly of the UN will be expressed in extraordinary language, addressing universal human rights in a way that will be music to the ears of the global community.
However, further to the contradictions mentioned above, we also know that nation states are already negotiating with the receptor countries nominated in the global pact on issues related to security and development. Today, national security is the immediate priority, especially in Europe and Latin America where, for instance, the US Southern Command will soon begin operations on the border between Mexico and Guatemala with the backing of the governments involved in an effort to attract capital and investment.
For all these reasons, the Technical Secretary of the 8th WSFM, to be held in Mexico in 2018, is pleased to issue an invitation to representatives, academics and activists belonging to migratory organizations and resistance movements from across the world to come to Mexico City on November 2, 3 and 4 (the traditional Day of the Dead) for physical and/or virtual meetings so as to coordinate activity to take place in specific regions, countries and locations as agreed by the participants of the conference, as part of a ‘Global Commitment to Migrants’. Each of them will use their particular skills to create a context of active, combative mobility based in existing resistance movements: WORLD-WIDE WEEK ON GLOBAL MOBILITY, MOVE EVERYONE, MOVE EVERYTHING, IT’S TIME TO MIGRATE TO A NEW WORLD.