This seminar is organised by the International Migration Institute, an Oxford Martin School Institute
Speaker: Nick Gill, University of Exeter
Summary: The challenge facing radical border activists is how to nurture a spirit of revolution and opposition whilst recognising that no borders, or even open borders, is not going to come about any time soon. A revolution or radical overhaul is required, but what to do while it does not come about, in the age of triumphant neoliberalism and hegemonic border logics? I begin this lecture by discussing the limits of three discourses that risk being subsumed within this hegemony – those of reform, humanitarianism and compassion. Yet are we then to do nothing, as Žižek challenges us? On the contrary, I argue that there are tactics available to border activists that do not undermine the spirit of no borders activism, but they must be sought out carefully and critically. I discuss examples around disruption, incrementalism, protest/critique, progressive localism, witnessing and radical narrative-based education as ways beyond the impasse. These routes must be segues to revolution, the border activisms of the meantimes.