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Migrant Solidarity Network #Ankara: Long live May First!

Ankara. Turkey. May Day 2020 statement by the Migrant Solidarity Network Ankara.

Originally published by Göçmen Dayanışmasi.

Ankara, May 2020

As living generations, we welcome International Worker’s Day in the middle of chaos to which we are strangers. Instead of filling the streets and squares, it seems that this time we will have to limit the celebrations complying to physical distancing. But what is actually happening on this May 1st, that many of us are obliged to spend at home due to the curfew?

In such an extraordinary environment created by a global pandemic, May 1st renders the promises by global capitalism even more visible. Precarity, which has been deemed proper for migrants, is present in the value that many will produce today in streets and workplaces, just like Ali El Hamdani, who was forced to work under hard conditions and paid the price for not having the privilege to stay at home, getting killed by a police bullet.

Those who try to persuade us that the wealth of a handful of people is for the general interest of humanity do not hesitate to open up for discussion which bodies shall be sacrificed in times of crisis. Those who say that they leave the decision of who will work and who will not up to the “invisible hand” of the market, have suddenly discovered the most vital sectors. And almost all of these sectors are somehow based on low-wage and precarious jobs. It seems that the insecurity of those who work in jobs that undertake the material production of life, lies at the heart of capitalism’s promise of wealth. In addition to the labor of those who are forced to go out and work amid the pandemic, unpaid domestic labor at home, proclaimed by the authorities as to the only safe area, is also ignored. White-collar workers who work from home during the pandemic are left alone with flexible, prolonged, and unpaid overtime. In short, during the pandemic, exploitation once again turns out to be a common ground for different sectors. For many of us, staying at home is problematic!

Migrants are only the bodies who could be sacrificed for the ones arguing that the production cannot be stopped, and economic activities have the priority. Migrants are identified continuously as “suffering” and helpless people, whereas they are the owners of labor in the time of crisis, enabling us to stay at our houses till the pandemic is over.  Even the market dynamics are nothing more than the political and moral preferences of the authorities; is selling as the ordinary function of the economic system. We do not agree with this system!

The borders that commodities can pass freely, but not humans, are the most fundamental basis for the legitimacy of nation-states. However, curfews that arose with the pandemic also show the fragility of security promises of nation-states that claim sovereignty through their borders. The nation-states claim the right to choose the bodies to be included within these borders under the pretext of “the security of citizens.” However, we are now witnessing an exceptional moment in which how the nation-states do not care about providing security for the streets and other public spaces within its designated borders has become visible. While saying “stay at home,” states confess that they actually can not protect the citizens. States that try to solve the issue of public health by lockdown people to home consider no trouble in transferring the most basic sovereignty claim in which their legitimacy based on, to the autonomous spheres deemed personal. This situation once again reveals that papers given by states have no means in the issue of “security” as in every field. 

We are aware that labor politics imposed by borders and papers will continue to ignore this story. But we still have hope! And our hope is to constitute the politics together that does not ignore the migrants who experience the violence of the borders drawn by the rulers in their bodies every second and therefore are forced to perform the most precarious forms of labor. Those who staying home and who not being able to stay, who lost their jobs, who are forced to work without safety precautions, the unemployed, the precariat, those who are placed on unpaid leave, who are expected to take care of the household, in other words, we, have much in common in our struggle against the common enemy as those who are experiencing the very same precarious conditions. The only way goes to freedom through our collective struggles. Our common enemies are the bosses who steal our lives, the states which keep us subject to the interests of those in power, the racism, the fascism, the borders, the war.

Mayday everyday, resistance everywhere!

For a free world without borders, exploitation and exile!

Long live May First!

Göçmen Dayanışma Ağı/Ankara (Migrant Solidarity Network/Ankara), May 1, 2020.

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