Written by Garrett Sumner, Organizing Intern
On Thursday, the first workshop I attended was entitled “Globalization, Criminalization, and Managed Migration: Root Causes and Immigration Rights,” presented by the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. We talked about the different forces which drive international migration and expanded the discussion beyond the typical US and Latin American model. For example, we talked about the trade agreement between Italy and Libya, which allows Italy access to Libya’s natural resources. In turn, Italy provides foreign aid to Libya. However, the agreement stipulates that Libya must use most of this aid to enforce immigration policies to limit migration to Italy. Thus, the aid directly benefits Italy itself while, suffering Libyans are unable to migrate to the country that benefits off of their natural resources.
The second workshop I attended was titled “Israeli Apartheid, International Solidarity and Water Justice.” We discussed the detrimental water use policies in the Palestinian Occupied Territories and how Israel diverts Palestinian water as a means of collective punishment. The workshop turned into a healthy dialogue about the Palestinian/Israeli conflict and we deconstructed the “us vs. them” mentality often present in the discourse about the conflict.
Later, I walked through Detroit, witnessing at once its lost grandeur and its current deprivation. The plight of the city’s economy was apparent as businesses throughout the city were closed. While its architecture, constructed with past automobile money, seemingly displayed a titan of industry, there are now entire blocks of unoccupied or abandoned buildings. The US Social Forum is an appropriate first step for a city moving forward.