Border and Rule
An urgent, global account of the migration crisis and the function of borders across political, social, cultural, and economic systems.
Global Migration, Capitalism, and the Rise of Racist Nationalism
By Harsha Walia
Afterword by Nick Estes
Foreword by Robin D.G. Kelley
In Border and Rule, one of North America’s foremost thinkers and immigrant rights organizers delivers an unflinching examination of migration as a pillar of global governance and gendered racial class formation.
Harsha Walia disrupts easy explanations for the migrant and refugee crises, instead showing them to be the inevitable outcomes of conquest, capitalist globalization, and climate change generating mass dispossession worldwide. Border and Rule explores a number of seemingly disparate global geographies with shared logics of border rule that displace, immobilize, criminalize, exploit, and expel migrants and refugees. With her keen ability to connect the dots, Walia demonstrates how borders divide the international working class and consolidate imperial, capitalist, ruling class, and racist nationalist rule. Ambitious in scope and internationalist in orientation, Border and Rule breaks through American exceptionalist and liberal responses to the migration crisis and cogently maps the lucrative connections between state violence, capitalism, and right-wing nationalism around the world.
Illuminating the brutal mechanics of state formation, Walia exposes US border policy as a product of violent territorial expansion, settler-colonialism, enslavement, and gendered racial exclusion. Further, she compellingly details how Fortress Europe and White Australia are using immigration diplomacy and externalized borders to maintain a colonial present, how temporary labor migration in the Arab Gulf states and Canada is central to citizenship regulation and labor control, and how far-right nationalism is escalating deadly violence in the US, Israel, India, the Philippines, Brazil, and across Europe, while producing a disaster of statelessness for millions elsewhere.
A must-read in these difficult times of war, inequality, climate change, and global health crisis, Border and Rule is a clarion call for revolution.
“Harsha Walia doesn’t peddle easy solutions or liberal bromides. She has a knack for going to the root of our planetary crises and explaining how we arrived here, and what to do about it. Those of us who have been reading and following her for years expect nothing less. She is not only one of North America’s most brilliant thinkers, she is also an organizer who has devoted her life to fighting racial capitalism, colonialism, militarism, xenophobia, patriarchy, and defending the rights of migrants, Indigenous people, women, and the unhoused. This book is a shock to the system.”—Robin D. G. Kelley, from the Foreword, author of Hammer and Hoe
“I was haunted and agitated by this book which is part expose and part clarion call for radical action. Harsha Walia offers an unsparing analysis of the violences of forced migration, borders, imperialism and capitalism. The case studies presented in this book weave a quilt that provides us with needed knowledge to confront current problems that demand an organized collective response. The ideas in this book will linger long after you’ve put it down.”—Mariame Kaba, author of We Do This ‘Til We Free Us
“This indispensable, deeply researched, and beautifully written book is the first and most in-depth global analysis of borders and immigration, wars and displacement, imperialism and western white nationalism. Always with her ear to the ground and paying close attention to the people whose lives are wrecked or lost, Walia demands action and offers real solutions.”—Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States
“In this exceptional book, Harsha Walia takes us on a stunning and terrifying tour of the Great Wall of Capitalism, the border killing zone where viral fascism feeds on the bodies of the poor and persecuted. Hell is already here.”—Mike Davis, co-author of No One Is Illegal
“Border and Rule provides a kaleidoscopic exposé, painstaking analysis, and damning indictment of the border regimes that are generating and fueling anti-migrant brutality and state violence on an international scale. Harsha Walia is relentless in drilling into, detailing, and cataloguing the array of processes, players, policies, and ideologies that uphold systems of border imperialism—while simultaneously mapping-out for us an understanding of how we can disrupt and dismantle them.”—Justin Akers Chacón, author of The Border Crossed Us and Radicals in the Barrio
“Confused about how we got to this point? Harsha Walia explains clearly and concisely the multiple forces causing global poverty and displacement–and the resistance and organizing around the world. Walia provides a historical analysis of policies that have cut down people’s well-being and driven poverty, violence, terror and mass migration, and highlights the myriad forms of resistance and organizing that are all-too-often invisiblized. An excellent explanation of borders, migration and the exploitative systems that produce both.”—Victoria Law, author of Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women
“Harsha Walia’s decades of visionary leadership in border abolition and migrant justice work, along with her relentless intellectual rigor, is apparent in this immensely important book, arriving right when we need it most. As governments lock down borders, mobilizations against policing reach new peaks, economic crisis worsens, and climate change accelerates, we desperately need this book if we hope to build a nuanced analysis of what we are facing and what kinds of transformation are necessary. Walia deftly exposes the inadequacy of liberal responses to the current crises, paving the way for a deeper understanding of the conditions we are facing and meaningful avenues for resistance. Walia’s deeply researched, crystal clear text creates a robust toolbox for comprehending the current crises and assessing resistance strategies. This book is invaluable right now, a must-read for anyone working to dismantle prisons and borders, end poverty and war.”—Dean Spade, author of Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During this Crisis (and the Next)
“Read Harsha Walia and your understanding of the world will shift. This book is a comprehensive demolition of the borders that divide us and a deft takedown of the myth of the nation. Through a range of case-studies, Walia reveals overarching patterns of exclusion and exploitation, criss-crossing the globe to make a brave, deeply learned, and utterly convincing call for radical solidarity. With cries of “build a wall” ringing out and ethno-nationalism gaining steam, Walia’s critical intervention couldn’t be better timed.”—Astra Taylor, author of Democracy May Not Exist, but We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone
“In Walia’s expert hands, the planet’s sprawling borderlands are exposed as capitalism’s gaping wounds, filled with escalating terror and torment as whiteness ferociously seeks to defend its imagined boundaries. This is a book of unsparing truth and dazzling ambition, providing readers with desperately needed intellectual ammunition to confront the inherent violence of borders. An enormous contribution to our movements.”—Naomi Klein, author of No Logo and The Shock Doctrine
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