Rad Geek People's Daily

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Open all borders, end all national boundaries. A Manifesto.

Here's an old post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 9 years ago, in 2015, on the World Wide Web.

Today, March 16th, is Open Borders Day, according to the folks over at OpenBorders.info. In honor of the day, they have posted an Open Borders Manifesto, which they are asking people to sign. It’s a good start, but it doesn’t go far enough. As manifestos go, it rightly defends the essential importance of open borders, but it undercuts itself by carving out vast areas for government border policing and border control, in the interest of taking a reformist approach. That’s an understandable choice if you think that reformist approaches are a productive means of securing incremental reforms. But I don’t think that they are, really, at least not incremental reforms in the direction that I would like to see. So I’ve taken their manifesto and I’ve used it to create my own. As you may know if you know my views on borders, this is actually a pretty level-headed and moderate statement. But not one that will leave any room for government border policing or suggest that there are legitimate reasons to deny people freedom of travel.

Open Borders Manifesto (Non-Reformist Edition)

Written by Charles Johnson, as a re-writing of OpenBorders.info’s original Open Borders Manifesto.

Freedom of movement is a basic liberty that no government and no individual has the right to invade. This includes movement across national boundaries.

International human rights agreements already recognize the right of any individual to leave his or her country. But a right to emigrate is meaningless if you have nowhere to immigrate to. International and domestic law must respect not only the right of individuals to peacefully leave the country they are in, but also the right of individuals to peacefully enter other countries. Governments have no right to discriminate against foreign nationals simply on the basis of their nationality: freedom of movement and residence are fundamental rights and should not be circumscribed.

Border enforcement is both morally unconscionable and economically destructive. Border controls restrict the movement of people who bear no ill intentions. Most of the people legally barred from moving across international borders today are fleeing persecution or poverty, desire a better job or home, striving to rejoin their families or to make a better life for themselves and their loved ones. They deserve sympathy and solidarity, not scapegoating, stigma, criminalization, arrest or exile.

National borders bar ordinary people from pursuing the life and opportunity they desire simply because of where they are from, not because they lack merit or because they pose a danger to others. Under the status quo billions of people are discriminated against, targeted, criminalized, legally barred from families, livelihoods, ambitions and justice purely on the basis of an accident of birth: where they were born. This is a drain on the economic and innovative potential of human societies across the world. It is indefensible in any order that recognizes the moral worth and dignity of every human being.

We seek for every law, policy or government that bars cross-border movement, that polices or penalizes people for immigrating across borders, to be altered or abolished. The economic toll of the restrictive border regime is vast, the human toll for billions of ordinary people is incalculable. To end this, we do not need a philosopher's utopia or a world government. As human beings, we only demand accountability from governments for the senseless immigration laws that they enact in our name and inflict on our neighbors. Border controls should be uprooted and abolished. International borders should be open for all to cross, in both directions.

Individual or organizational signatories are welcome.

See also.

16 replies to Open all borders, end all national boundaries. A Manifesto. Use a feed to Follow replies to this article · TrackBack URI

  1. Roderick T. Long

    I signed the reformist one, but I’m even happier to sign this one as well.

    Roderick T. Long Professor of Philosophy, Auburn University / President, Molinari Institute

  2. Alina

    Add Alina Stefanescu as a signatory to your manifesto.

  3. Thomas L. Knapp

    I’m even happier to sign this one than the “original.”

  4. Discussed at openborders.info

    Open Borders Day 2015 roundup | Open Borders: The Case:

    […] Open all borders, end all national boundaries. A Manifesto. by Charles Johnson at the Rad Geek People’s Daily, proposed a modified and more radical version of the Open Borders Manifesto. […]

  5. Kevin Carson

    Please add my signature

  6. thombrogan

    Signing on.

  7. Doug Barbieri

    Sign me up!

  8. Discussed at syndaxvuzz.wordpress.com

    Open all borders, end all national boundaries. A Manifesto. | syndax vuzz:

    […] Rad Geek People’s Daily 2015-03-16 – Open all borders, end all national boundaries. A Manife…. […]

  9. Tom Beebe

    3.4 Free Trade and Migration We support the removal of governmental impediments to free trade. Political freedom and escape from tyranny demand that individuals not be unreasonably constrained by government in the crossing of political boundaries. Economic freedom demands the unrestricted movement of human as well as financial capital across national borders. However, we support control over the entry into our country of foreign nationals who pose a credible threat to security, health or property.


    • Rad Geek

      OK. But I do not “support control over the entry into our [sic] country of foreign nationals,” for any reason. Not for reasons of collective “security” nor “health” nor “property.” That is part of the point of this manifesto.

  10. Bob Johnson

    So you’d be against checking immigrants for contagious diseases and requiring that they be vaccinated?

    • Rad Geek


      That is correct. I am against any form of border-control checkpoints, for any reason, including for reasons of public health or checking for contagious diseases.

      I do not think that the government has any business subjecting a peaceful Mexican immigrant to a higher level of scrutiny or restriction in the right to engage in everyday activities, such as working or traveling or visiting home or family, than they would subject an American citizen to, simply because the object of their scrutiny happens to be Mexican rather than American. If you think there are public health reasons to compel people to undergo tests for vaccination or for contagious diseases, then maybe you can offer some reasons for government to do this to everybody in the U.S.; but I can’t think of any reason why it should be something that you specifically set up on national borders to do, or something that you specifically single immigrants out for. If you have a right to do that to people from Michoacan when they travel from one place to another, then you have as much or as little a reason to do it to people from Michigan as they go about their daily lives. If it seems too invasive to do to people from Michigan, then I would argue there’s no greater reason to do it to people from Michoacan. If it’s not too invasive for either, then I would point out that it seems to have nothing in particular to do with border screening, and there’s no reason to maintain border checkpoints to do it.

    • Rad Geek

      If it helps, I discussed this at some length many years ago, in this thread on Majikthise.

· April 2015 ·

  1. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People's Daily 2015-04-03 – Who Cares?:

    […] GT 2015-03-16: Open all borders, end all national boundaries. A Manifesto. […]

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