Hameed Khasawnih, Democracy in Europe Movement 25-Berlin
It is with great pleasure that the Democracy in Europe 25 Berlin marches today. We march in solidarity with migrant and refugee groups, political organizations and individuals. We all march together in solidarity to assert our rights as well as those we represent. We march in the name of transparency and democracy.
We march to challenge and protest the notion of some people living in their ivory towers, making and influencing decisions that affect the lives of millions of people around the world. We demand that such decisions and influence lie in the hands of the people.
We are not fooled by the so-called representation of civil society organizations in this forum. We know where power lies. we know that it is the corporate interests running the show while the International Organisation of Employers are setting the scene and drawing the framework of discussion during the plenary session of the forum. And while the Business Advisory Group of the forum are presenting their report to kick start the discussions, it is clear whose interests and objectives are being addressed.
And this is why we are on the streets today. Because no positive change is possible through them. Change is only possible through building up pressure from below. Collective organization and grassroot movements are our only path to positive change.
We are not blind to the absurdity of putting those who created a problem, in charge of fixing it. And we know that it was always going to be the inevitable conclusion that those who created the problem, will not go about fixing it. But instead, they will aim to take advantage and benefit from it. We thus refuse the premise which the General Forum for Migration and Development exists upon, that there exists a mutually reinforcing relationship between migration and development.
Migration is not a tool for development. Migration is a failure of the developmental process. Migration is not an opportunity. It is a problem.
Forced migration to flee from poverty, war, or ecological disaster is the tragedy that we need to address. And any forum, or gathering of interests, that perceives this tragedy as an opportunity for development, growth or hoarding of wealth, is not representing the people. It is representing corporate elitists interests. It is representing the Fortune 500 and Forbes 100 companies.
It is only those with a morally bankrupt neoliberal ideology that would dare call this development in the first place. What they mean by development are increases in GDP rates that are reflected in balance sheets of multinationals which will never trickle down. And it is this same ideology that looks at migrants and refugees as tools to enrich them further. As commodities to buy, sell and exploit.
We stand here today to stress the humanitarian cost of migration. Migrants are not an economic opportunity to reduce labor costs and increase profit margins. They are not a demographic boost measured by age structures and fertility rates. They are not commodities on supermarket shelves that you choose whose beneficial and whose redundant. They are not mere numbers in refugee camps, shelters, policy papers or political deals between states. They are human beings. Each of their own unique individuals. Each with their own story.
Many are longing for home. Many have lost their loved ones. Many are victim of war and conflicts they had nothing to do with. Of policies and decisions they did not take part in. Of environmental disasters they did not contribute too.
And I end by stressing that the root cause of migration is indeed a systematic issue. It is a result of a neoliberal system that is disconnected from human values and morals. And the only way for us to assert ourselves and address our issues is through building grassroots democratic movements and organising from below.