After the hunger strikes in the Reception and Orientation Centres of Rennes and Beaucé in Brittany, it is Coallia, operator on behalf of the State of the management of certain CAOs (see here, here, here and there), in the department of La Manche. which is being challenged . The association, which displays a modernist image and calls itself an”associative enterprise“, has activities in the field of social housing, housing and social integration.
The price per day provided by the CAO system,is € 25 per person , allows for only limited staff, it is tempting to compensate for the shortage of labour by using volunteers, and to divert the momentum of citizens solidarity for the benefit of the State. Strictly guiding volunteers also limits the critical eye and information leakage on what is actually happening in the centres.
This situation arouses the indignation of people who are in solidarity with the Exiles for whom a real support action is contradictory with subordination to the State and the operators of its policy, as evidenced by the open letter below:
“Open letter to the collectif solidarité migrant 50 and the Coallia association”
We, who have not joined your collective, wish to inform you of our reasons.
We were very surprised at the precipitation with which this collective was created, by the lack of consultation and transparency as to its organization. It is not insignificant that a collective of volunteers comes from an association subservient to the State: Coallia.
At the presentation meeting of the collective, we heard that volunteers wishing to intervene had to provide their civil status. The lists of names would then be forwarded to the Prefecture to get permission to contact the refugees. Those with an S file will not be allowed to come into the CAO. This concerns many environmental activists, and opponents of the labour law, and those supporting migrants. They were put on file in the wake of the state of emergency with the will to criminalize any form of opposition.
We heard that we should not have relations with the media, only the founding members can communicate outside.
We heard good advice:
Half will of them will end up in a charter so do not attach yourself too much to them;
If you give your phone numbers, it’s at your own risk.
We heard that Coallia was managing accommodation, food and administration, and that CSM50 only had an occupational focus. However, we pointed out that the refugees in Cerisy-la-Forêt had complained about the lack of food, and we were told: “They do not know how to share”.
Manage reception ? Coallia did not hesitate to inform the police when migrant workers found themselves in an irregular situation in the Tuiller foyer, in the Île de France.
Coallia betrays the moral commitments of social work.
We heard that the collective was apolitical and non-militant, and that it had the aim of controlling any intervention with the refugees.
We understood that we were required to comply with the rules that had been arbitrarily imposed by the 15 founding members of the CSM.
CSM 50 aims to stifle all other forms of organization and keep refugees in a state of isolation and infantilizing dependence. It is an infringement of basic freedoms. Without information they can not make real decisions for themselves, they can not assert their rights and decide their futures.
When brochures on the rights of rejected asylum seekers were distributed, a volunteer from CSM50 immediately notified the Regional Director of Coallia. No Police force needed, the volunteers of the CSM 50 do it.
We learned later that the director had ordered all the pamphlets distributed to be picked up, even going into their rooms and looking under the mattresses. What kind of place and country is controlling information like this ?
This is not our conception of solidarity.
We have not waited and will not wait for this collective to be active, here as elsewhere, with refugees.
Many of us are part of associations and collectives, and know the difficulties but also how rich it is to organize together.
The refugees were not invited to this meeting, according to one of the “founding members” this was not the object of the meeting … We believe that this attitude is infantilizing, brings the refugees to the status of object, acting without informing them, taking care to keep quiet.
We believe that it is not possible to organize above them, without them, that we must work “with” and not “for”. Refugees are free human beings, thinking, knowing and able to organize themselves autonomously.
We do not act out of charity but because we are revolted by the conditions in which they arrived in Europe by the number of people who lost their lives in the Mediterranean. We know that France is one of the largest arms dealers in the world. Large French companies (Thalés, Bouygues, Vinci …) sell weapons and “secure” the borders of Europe, murderously. The foreign and military policies, the colonial past and especially the economic interests (gold, uranium, diamond, oil, …) of France are fully responsible for the situations that the refugees have had to leave.
The State relies on popular generosity to overcome the lack of material in the CAOs, while at the same time during the evacuations, it does not hesitate to throw in the rubbish bins the donations of populations showing solidarity with the migrants. It is scandalously banal.
We believe that here, as in Calais, migrants are welcome, that everyone has the right to go where he wants, wherever necessity pushes him.
Does it mean that a collective is not political because it does not make waves, obeys the injunctions of the State, is self-policed and intends to police others, infantilizes the refugees and organizes their isolation?
Is a collective apolitical when it asks volunteers to provide their identity, not to attach themselves to the refugees (to ensure their deportation without making waves?), To do “occupational” work (word borrowed from the world of social work generally used around the heavy handicap: occupational health) a term around which there is much to be said so much it conveys contempt and condescension for people who can do nothing with their lives but occupy the passing time ???
Hum … Hum … and all this would not be by any chance political?
On the contrary, we believe that this type of organization is very political. That it acts and collaborates with the State in a concern to smooth the situation, to dilute the “migrant problem” throughout France, to offer the image of a successful evacuation of Calais to the media. All this in the context of a forthcoming presidential election.
We think that in life everything is political.
We are fighting for the rights of migrants because they are our rights as well.
We are fighting for their freedom because it is also our freedom.
No Borders! No fronteras! بلا حدود !! Keine Grenzen! Senza confini! Uπάρχουν σύνορα!
Amy Grant & Lee Berty
Hokusai : The Great Wave of Kanagawa.