Editorial to visAvis #7

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by visAvis

When the European asylum policy finds itself at a standstill, when the conditions for refugees are generally worsened, and when the Danish government’s asylum agreement has meant little change for the conditions for people seeking asylum in Denmark, it might happen, that the affected, step onto the stage. It is precisely what has happened during the becoming of this seventh issue of visAvis. Asylum seekers and other migrants have stepped out of the isolation, out of the camps and into the public. Onto the Town Hall Square in Copenhagen, Oranienplatz in Berlin, The Votive Church in Vienna and the country roads in Arizona.

We have in visAvis allowed ourselves to be inspired by the things, that happen, when a person’s only chance of survival is to change the conditions on one’s own through such forms of resistance. It is therefore possible in this issue of visAvis to read about the type of selforganization that one encounters in initiatives such as Undocubus and The Protest March to Berlin, in which walking and being on the move is used as an uncompromising type of protest, one last opportunity to invoke the public interest. The self-organization and the rethinking of resistance can be found in further reading, as we give an account of the escalation of the racist violence in Greece. Here we can see a new direction in asylum activism, which challenges the traditional left-wing activism. For we don’t agree on everything when we organize together. But challenging the ways in which we can cooperate as equals in spite of our uneven situations, is becoming a more important constituent part of asylum activism and self-organization in line with our learning together in the struggle against a system, that doesn’t consider all human lives to be worth the same.

Also internally, this issue of visAvis has come into being under change. When the previ- ous issue appeared on the street, we had become a smaller group of people. We had the feeling of only just having made it into print with our head above water. As we wish to create a continuous counter-public regarding asylum and migration, it is important to us to rethink our working ways. We began a mobilization which was supposed to flow into a new structure. We summoned new forces and have reached the conclusion that it must be possible to be part of making visAvis without having to enter into all the phases of the magazine production. In this way, the responsibility has become more decentralized, we are able to breathe more easily and our group has been enriched with new ideas, views and people.

The start-up phase has functioned as a critical soul-searching. The structure is new, but we can conclude that the fundamental values are still the same: the primary task of visAvis is to serve as a mouthpiece for those, who, given their status as refugees, do not have the chance to express themselves. A big challenge is continuously the involvement of people living in asylum camps whose difficult situations make it hard for them to participate on equal term with oth- ers. We are trying to break down the division between us but it is a cold fact that we are unequally positioned. Because no matter how much we try to create an alternative way of working and being together, the system’s brutal calculation of people forces its way in. It shows in the geographical location of camps far away from the cities, in the uncertainty about the future and the fact that the visAvis group every now and then diminishes, when someone from the group is deported.

Despite such harsh realities and the internal restructuring, one will find in this issue of visAvis that there has been time after all to share the thoughts of visAvis, within and across the national borders. At this year’s Roskilde Festival we contributed with directing the attention to the conditions of asylum seekers. Our visual group has represented visAvis at the comics festival AltCom in Malmö, our camp group has been visiting a number of camps in Sjælland (Zealand), we have been in Aalborg to tell about our work to new partners and friends and finally, we’ve travelled to Berlin to share experiences with the activists at Oranienplatz.

Pleasant reading.