Let me start from a simple fact. Your children are no better than mine. Yet this is not where we live. All children today are born into a world of passport apartheid, on very different sides.
Citizenship keeps us down
My children were born with a kick-me sign on their backs — a Sri Lankan passport. This entitles them to concentration camps in Australia or drowning in the EU. Meanwhile rich/white children can go wherever they want. White children can see the world while brown children sweat in visa lines.
Well, fuck your kids. They’re no better than ours. We are all born free. We are all born with the same God-given right to walk the Earth, and it is only denied to the Dirty South by systematic violence. Your vaunted citizenship. It keeps us in chains.
And we’re supposed to be thankful, lucky to have citizenship at all. We are all citizens of somewhere, they say, from Pakistan to Sweden. Separate but equal. But why do white people get visa on arrival here while brown people get jail on arrival there? Don’t seem equal to me. It’s racist bullshit. Tourism is colonialism with tips. Real hospitality goes both ways, we should be able to photograph our butts in front of your monuments as well. Capitalism is cloud colonialism. You’re exploiting our labor and land without even being here. A truly free market has free movement of labor, we should be able to work wherever we want, not wherever you can pay the least wages.
Instead we get apartheid and you call it citizenship. Separate but equal. Separate it is, equal we are not. Us darkies are supposed to stay in our place — open your coconuts and stitch your clothes — and be thankful for whatever we get. Meanwhile you travel, you’re ‘expat’ workers, never migrants. Your borders are a color line, and we’re on the other side. It’s passport apartheid.
Citizenship is a hideous denial of the human right to move, which sits in plain sight, like colonial furniture. We’re all arrested every time we pass through an airport, that’s what’s happening when you go through ‘immigration’. You won’t notice this if you have a ‘good’ passport, but every brown or black person is shitting bricks. The system is designed to catch us if we ever get off the plantation without a pass. What do you think all the stamps in our passports are? Letters from our betters. It’s humiliating and a complete violation of our dignity as human beings. Citizenship keeps us enslaved.
You can say, oh, but you might move here, or use benefits, or make my hallways smell like curry. To which I saw, go fuck yourselves you hypocrites. What are white people doing in Australia or Canada at all? Return all the wealth and the land, or STFU. Your discomfort has no claim over our human rights. We are born free. We are free to move.
Your colonial ancestors romped around the world, looting and genociding and enslaving. You’re mad cause we want to come and what, pick your food and empty bedpans for your grandma? All of you settler colonists can go fuck yourselves. We’ll settle where we please.
The world is ours, and we’re not even being genocidal dicks about it. We just demand the human right to be move, not your right to exploit and bomb everyone. White people stand on this mountain of colonialism, genocide, exploitation and complete environmental ruin to lecture us about the morality of citizenship. Fuck your citizenship. It’s barbed wire around an indigenous graveyard. It’s a moat around a colonial crime scene. If we wanted justice we’d take all of Belgium and give it to the Congos. We’d shut down all the emissions spewing from Canada and return it to the ten thousand year civilization they destroyed. You’re lucky we only want equality.
Citizenship is nationalism with a Navy
This whole citizenship project is irredeemable. It’s indivisible from the colonialism and racism in which it was founded and the whole rotten project needs to go. You accept this, you just haven’t extended your reasoning far enough to understand.
Think of this. Nationalism is bad, yes? Nationalist dickheads are tearing apart the world, starting with their own nations. If nationalism is bad, then how is citizenship good? How is the violent enforcement of nationalist laws on clearly racist lines something you can support? Because you’re used to it? Because you haven’t thought of it? I’m telling you to think on it now. How is judging people for the color of their passport any better than judging them for the color of their skin?
Look at yourself. Look at your own identity documents. They don’t even belong to you. A Canadian passport says this passport is the property of the Government of Canada. Your identity belongs to the state. Why? You called this freedom cause you could travel, but it was always golden chains. You wear them lightly. Ours are iron, choked tight around our necks.
Then think of where your citizenship came from. WTF does it have to do with you? Only 2% of us will ever change citizenship, and even the possibilities of change depend on where you start. Some people never get a citizenship at all. And through no fault of their own. It’s the birthright lottery. The vagina slots. It just depends on where you fall out, and out of whom. You cannot choose your citizenship in any meaningful way because you’re a fucking baby. You can’t even choose which titty you get.
And yet we judge people on this for their entire lives. Someone who pops out in Vancouver gets to take a gap year in Lagos and oh my God it was life changing. Meanwhile Nigerian PhDs can barely get visas to international conferences. You have to be the most educated, rich black person to even ask for the privileges of a random white teenager. You make us literally pay you visa fees to beg.
And that’s just the humiliating end. The boot end of nationalism isn’t neo-Nazis, it’s your border guards, navies, drones, and the increasingly violent and lawless military forces you deploy on your borders. Europe is the most deadly border in the world, obscured by the fact that Americans are bigger dicks about it. People are drowned, put in concentration camps, thrown into a lawless world where they are raped and killed. And it doesn’t matter. Because we crossed the color line. We ran away from the capitalist plantation. But what’s more important? This imaginary citizenship, or human fucking beings? I ask you again, are your children better than mine?
Why are you doing this to us? Why are you better than us? There is no answer, it’s just nationalism. There is no reason, it’s just racism. As Dimitry Kochenov says,
Like slavery, like sexism, like racism, citizenship knows no justification once you leave the purview of those few whom it unduly privileges. The sexists, the racists, and the super-citizens have convinced themselves, and want to convince all of us, that dignity, equality, and freedom are not to be applied to all. This is wrong.
Citizenship is just nationalism with a navy. It’s just racism with lawyers. It’s just an abomination and like slavery, like colonialism, like racism, its time has come. You may not have been aware of this (I wasn’t) but you should be waking up now. Now it is time for you to decide what side of history you want to be on. The abolitionists, or the assholes.
The alternative to citizenship is no citizenship
This issue is something I feel very personally because I have a border down the middle of my pants. I have two passports myself. I was born with the privilege of a white passport and I never even questioned it until I had kids. In a timing difference, I only passed my shitty Sri Lankan passport on to them at birth. Then I suddenly saw that it was a different world. One so much smaller than a random white child’s, and why? Are Sri Lankan children lesser beings? WE ARE NOT. We’re human fucking beings.
For us it’s just paperwork and they’re free, but why am I even asking white people for my children’s rights? What about the billions of children in the Global South who are discriminated against for no reason but the circumstances of their birth? Are we supposed to just hold them down because they make white people uncomfortable? I hope they feel uncomfortable. I hope they feel afflicted. We have no reason to ask them for rights at all. We should take them.
The fights of our ancestors against colonialism, against enslavement, against exploitation, these are not over. We still have to fight for freedom today, and almost all freedoms start with the freedom to move. That’s precisely what they take away when they put you in jail. Why are our children born in global jail?
Today we live in a world of rank cruelty and discrimination not much different to feudalism and we’re proud of this. We call it citizenship. “Aren’t I a good citizen?” you say, “staying in my place, complicit with what I’m supposed to be?” Citizenship? It’s citizenshit to me. Scrape it off the bottom of my shoes.
The alternative to citizenship is no citizenship. One’s citizenship should be no more important than their favorite sports team. Be proud of being Italian, I don’t care. It gives you no right to drown me. Every human being has the right to live, work, love, and take selfies wherever they please. God’s green Earth belongs to us all and these rights are God-given. If this makes you uncomfortable I don’t care. We are all born free.
The only way to be a good global citizen was laid down by the only Parliament that matters, Parliament-Funkadelic. This is above all constitutions, it’s inter-galactic law.
Tear the roof off the motherfucker
We want the funk (we’re gonna turn this mother out)
This started as a response to Dimitry Kochenov’s Ending the Passport Apartheid. The Alternative to Citizenship is No Citizenship — a Reply but has obviously ended up somewhere else. I highly recommend reading that and if this interests you, reading his book Citizenship for a short(ish) take on this issue, or Joseph Carens for a longer one. Also read your passport.