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Calais is a city deeply impacted by the economic crisis, the deindustrialisation, the resulting unemployment and poverty, and the impact of this situation on the local economy in general. Land-use choices aggravate this situation, including the creation of large commercial areas on the outskirts, as the Cité Europe close to the Channel Tunnel, and the fences around the port, which create a barrier between the latter and its passengers and the city. These choices have a negative impact on downtown businesses.

Another characteristic is that Calais is a town-border, where people prevented from entering British territory have been visibly stucked in for thirty years due to anti-migratory policies that have been tightened over the years. It has been mainly since the late 1990s people seeking protection in Europe.

Public authorities should find solutions to these situations, each at their own level, from the commune to the State to the European Union, in order to improve the well-being of people, both sedentary and transient. It is in any case a paradigm that goes through all European history, passing through the Light and after the Second World War with the generalization of social protection, the Charter of the UN, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or the Geneva Convention about the status of refugees.

And it is the dismantling of this paradigm that we are witnessing, and it is no coincidence that we see at the same time both the dismantling of social rights and rights of refugees by national and European policies.

To distract our nostalgia from the effects of this protective and emancipatory paradigm, we were given the role of voters in this politics of spectacle, the art of showing and hiding. Show an action and hide an absence.

On a local scale, this is what happened on Wednesday, February 8th. An association tries to answer to a problem of precariousness, access to hygiene and public health, by installing shower units on its property. The chief of staff of the mayor of Calais rises up, as in the American westerns, coming with his car to block access to the place, followed by a dumpster that definitely blocks the entrance. Action, with the town hall showing as protecting the population against the danger of “migrants” and thereby the associations that help them, thus concealing its negligence in dealing with the real causes of deterioration in the local economic and social situation .

The law has its inertia in relation to the dismantling of the protective paradigm, and the all-powerful arbitrariness of the local or national elected representatives is not yet devoted to it.

The cowboy action of the mayor of Calais was condemned by the administrative court of Lille.

You can read here, in French, the original order of the administrative court of Lille.

 

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Albrecht Dürer: Hare.

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