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The New Internationalists

Activist Volunteers in the European Refugee Crisis

Sue Clayton (Editor)


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An account of the mobilization of thousands of volunteers who rescued, supported, and welcomed refugees during the recent European refugee crisis.

In The New Internationalists, Sue Clayton tells the story of the largest civic mobilization since the Second World War, when volunteers--many young and untrained--took on unimaginable responsibilities and saved thousands of lives. During the European refugee crisis of 2015-2020, they witnessed first hand the catastrophic failure of established NGOs, and the indifference--and frequently, the open hostility--of the EU and national governments. Many faced state hostility themselves. Their accounts show how activist volunteers have shaped today's European humanitarian agenda, and provide a powerful critique of failures of current policy.

With The New Internationalists, Clayton offers a contemporary history and critical contextualization of this powerful new force. Mapping key flashpoint locations and curating unique first hand testimonies, she explores how during the crisis, when almost two million people reached Europe by deadly sea-crossings, more than 100,000 citizens came together in new grassroots social formations to rescue, support, and welcome them. She provides a unique and multifaceted account, based on evidence and testimonies, and situates it within current debates on humanitarianism and contemporary social and solidarity movements.

Goldsmiths Press, 9781912685660, 432pp.

Publication Date: December 29, 2020

About the Author

Sue Clayton is a film director, writer, and composer. Her films include The Stansted 15 On Trial, about a group of peaceful protesters charged with terrorism; Calais Children: A Case to Answer, made in the Calais Jungle refugee camp and winner of seven international awards; and Hamedullah: The Road Home, which follows a young refugee in the UK who was deported back to Afghanistan. Professor of Film and Television at Goldsmiths University of London, she is also the coauthor of Unaccompanied Young Migrants: Identity, Care and Justice.