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Anti-Racist Action Day – July 05, 2002 in Berlin
Aktionsbündnis 22. Mai 2005

Refugees in Germany are subjected to numerous legal hassles. They are not allowed to work and often receive welfare support only in the form of non-cash benefits. They are forced to live in mass shelters and not allowed to travel outside of the administrative district which they were assigned to (so-called "Residenzpflicht"). Once again, Berlin and Brandenburg are on the verge of state racism: All welfare support to refugees in these two states is provided in form of chip cards, which are valid only in a few expensive supermarkets. After the coalition agreement between the governing SPD and PDS was sealed, it looked as if there were going to be some improvements in the policy towards refugees in Berlin. Unfortunately, the reality depicts a completely different situation. Therefore we are going to demonstrate against the racist politics of the SPD/PDS Senat and against the Senator for Social Affairs, Heidi Knake-Werner (PDS).

Currently, the Senator for Social Affairs is planning to place asylum seekers and civil war refugees in unused blockhousing in the Eastern districts of the city. This housing may be torn down in the near future. In doing so, Senator Heidi Knake-Werner is attempting to realize a policy that was passed by the CDU/SPD coalition. This may seem to be an improvement in comparison to mass shelters, but in fact it is just another method to solidify the enduring stigmatisation of refugees. The placement of refugees in completely empty buildings makes integration more difficult and forces them into ghetto-like situations in the outer districts of the city. Once again, refugees are excluded and are utilized in order to support the debt-ridden public-housing system. Used by the state, isolated from the rest of the population and unprotected to nazi attacks, refugees in Berlin are being repressed and forced out of the inner-cities.

Chip card systems are still being used in Berlin and Brandenburg. These systems discriminate refugees because it dictates them, where and when they have to shop and at which price they have to buy their food. Furthermore, money can not be saved for important things like lawyer fees, etc. And if you´ve been shopping with or as a refugee, you have probably experienced the wide-spread racist insults by cashiers, branch managers and other shoppers. The renewal of the contract with the company SODEXHO/PASS prevents refugees from being able to use cash and from shopping in less expensive supermarket chains (which don´t accept chip cards). On the basis of this policy, companies like SODEXHO/PASS and ACCOR earn millions with their dirty business.

The deportation jail is the most inhumane link in the chain of many racist laws. None of the little "improvements" passed in September of 2001 (no imprisonment of pregnant women and minors, individual showers instead of group showers) were implemented so far. At the moment, there are far more than 500 people imprisoned in deportation jails in Grünau (Berlin-Köpenick) and Eisenhüttenstadt ( Brandenburg). These people haven't broken any laws – they have merely escaped to Germany. Apart from the original intention, which was to prepare the refugees for deportation, this form of custody is used as a coercive means of detention and to make it easier to procure passports – all without a legal basis. This is the reality in Germany – people are being imprisoned for several months at a time without having commited any crime and without being sentenced.

These examples shows that the PDS merely pretends to be anti-racist in order to win elections. The PDS – with it's approval of the new racist immigration law, the forced accomodation and ghettoization of refugees in old block-housing – shows their purely cynical approach towards the announced plan to accomodate refugees in decent appartments. With these racist politics, the PDS has positioned itself as racists. Therefore, we are going to award the PDS with the "ANTI-RACIST RED CARD". Their politics are not merely going to be measured by their promises, but also according to the real changes that they brings about – they unfortunately haven't yet brought about any good for the refugees living in Germany. This is why we are organizing an anti-racist action day on July 5. 2002!

At 11.00 a.m., we are planning to award Senator Knake-Werner the "anti-racist red card" in front of the administration offices for Social Affairs (Oranienstr. 106). Come all to show the Senator that she can't deceive us with her politics!

At 4.30 p.m., we are having a large, loud and colourful demonstration to inform the government that they are not going to get away with this! We will carry our protest out into the streets and will demonstrate for equal rights for all! Come numerously! The meeting point is in front of the Humboldt-University, Unter den Linden 6, at 4.30 p.m. The concert at the end of the demonstration will be at the Heinrichplatz in Kreuzberg.

At the Heinrichplatz, we will once again articulate our anger against the racist treatment of refugees. We will be supported musically by the groups "Flexicute" ( Berlin), "Kommando Victor Zoy" ( Potsdam) and others. Of course, there will also be some good speeches and tasty food.

Our demands

  • Abolition of the Asylum Seekers' "Benefits" Law
  • Abolition of the "Residenzpflicht"
  • Closing of the deportation jails
  • Release of the "prisoners"
  • Abolition of all laws against refugees and migrants

The Anti-racist Action Day is supported by: The Anti-racist Action Day is supported by: AGIP [Antifaschistische Gruppe im Prenzlauerberg], AIM [Antifa in Moabit], ARI [Antirassistische Initiative], "AusländerInnen"Liste der FU, AUTOPOOL, f.e.l.S. [für eine linke Strömung], FFM [Forschungsstelle Flucht und Migration], Flüchtlingsinitiative Brandenburg, Initiative gegen Abschiebehaft, Gruppe Sabotage, Initiative gegen das Chipkartensystem, JungdemokratInnen/Junge Linke (Berlin), KMI [Kein Mensch ist illegal], Komitee zur Unterstützung der politischen Gefangene im Iran/Berlin, Prof. W.-D. Narr

V.i.s.d.P: Martina Müller, Alle der Kosmonauten 3, Berlin
 22. Mai 2002