Issue 523 of New Internationalist

Reader-owned global journalism

January-February 2020

Freedom to move – for everyone

The question of who can move – and settle – is becoming core to all political struggles. As the cruelty inflicted on unauthorized migrant travellers reaches new heights, we unpick the exclusionary border rules that have brought us to this point. In the collection of articles below, we take a deeper look at borders, how they are policed and how they are crossed, regardless. We ask, how did we get here? And look into what it might mean to abolish this system entirely and build something new.


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In this issue

  • Most European countries refuse to repatriate the thousands of former ISIS foreign fighters and their families now held in Kurdish camps in Syria., but Kosovo is bringing its citizens home. Sara Manisera reports.

  • Syrian artist Amel al-Zakout nearly drowned in the Mediterranean Sea after her boat capsized en route to Greece. Volunteer lifeguard Gerard Canals was part of the rescue operation. Hazel Healy put the two in touch with each other to speak for the first time since the shipwreck.

  • Governments are increasingly using surveillance and big data to track immigrants. Gaby del Valle reports from the US, where activists are trying to hold data-mining firm Palantir to account.

  • ‘Development’ has long been reframed and hijacked, but, Wolfgang Sachs argues, we need to move beyond its misguided assumptions into a new post-development era based on eco-solidarity.

  • Ruben Andersson traces the roots of a Freudian fixation.

  • Hazel Healy unpicks the workings of mobility apartheid.

  • Agony Uncle weighs in on a carbon-conscious reader's dilemma.

  • Alex Sager imagines a time when all people are free to move.

  • Ever since Hurricane Irma struck in September 2017, residents of Barbuda have been trying to defend themselves against those who would cash in on their misfortune. Gemma Sou hears what they have to say.

  • Yewande Omotoso moves through the unknowable city, looking and listening.

  • Richard Swift ponders a pipedream – or a possibility.

  • Nilanjana Bhowmick heralds India's most overshadowed environmentalists: waste-pickers

  • Rescuing slaves is not the cure, says Leonardo Sakomoto.

  • Nanjala Nyabola reflects on the ongoing cries of a discontented world.

  • A network of solidarity exists among and alongside those who move, and stay, without permission. Hazel Healy profiles three initiatives.

  • As ecological collapse looms, our growth-at-all costs economic system urgently requires a different vision. Renegade economist Kate Raworth is preaching a new mindset fit for the challenges ahead. She spoke to Hazel Healy.

  • The threat of Brexit has caused great anxiety about the return of a ‘hard border’ in Ireland. Yet it’s minority communities who have the most to fear, writes Luke Butterly.

  • Few argue that the mass movement to combat inertia on the climate crisis has a point. But is it going about it the right way? Chay Harwood and Marc Hudson, both environmental campaigners, go head to head.