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From Violent Borders: Refugees And The Right To Move

Reece A. Jones
Published 2016 · Political Science
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This 212-page book argues that borders immobilize international workers, preserves elites ́ wealth and privilege, prevents attempts to mitigate climate change, and aids in enclosing natural and oceanic commons, for the purposes of dispossession and extraction. The central premise behind this argument is a binary theorizing “movement and fixity as a conflict between the desire for freedom and the desire for control, between people who move around and people who want them to stay in place” (p.10). Chapter 1 focus on the failures of European border politics of control and arrival in the context of the socalled “refugee crisis,” including the strategy of shifting the blame for lifethreatening conditions of migrants on to “the smuggler.” Chapter 2, turns to the U.S.-Mexico border illustrating the trend of militarized borders. Actors like the Joint Task Force North (JTF-N) has transferred a logic of militarization from Afghanistan and Iraq to the previously civilian contexts like crime or asylum politics (p. 42), and more than 47,000 people have lost their lives at the U.S.Mexican border (p. 45). Chapter 3 looks to border contexts, like India, Bangladesh, Israel and Australia, helpfully explaining how different states at different times invoke different (violent) border strategies. Some like India, expand massive walls, while others, like Australia, seek to preempt boat migration through a string of deals with, especially small, neighboring island states (pp. 645). Chapter 4 dives into the relationship between the global poor and borders as a strategy to maintain privilege. Through a hasty account of English serfdom and slavery, citizenship and identity documents all the way from the English Middle Ages over American slavery to the Declaration of Human Rights, Jones seeks to build an argument that the movement of the poor has been, and now again is being, being limited through violence means. Chapter 5 depicts the present enclosure of previously common resources as relatively new, tracing its emergence from the English Midlands Revolts over post-Westphalian colonialization of Africa to the enclosure of the world ́s oceans. Chapter 6 opens with the collapse of the Rana Plaza building that killed 1,127 factory workers. Jones ties violence inflicted on migrants to corporate globalization, tracing its rise from the 1890s, through the 1929 crisis and onwards through the 1970s to free trade globalization replete with WTO, NAFTA and TPP. Borders intensify environmental hazards and capture labor, he argues (p.132), feeding into the problematic narrative of developmentalism that contains labor and regulators, but not capital (p.139). Chapter 7 links together climate change
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