Selbstorganisation (migrantische) (Self-organisation (migrants))
Public opinion has rarely viewed migrants as politically active subjects. However, a glance at the early stage of recruitment of “guest workers” bears witness to numerous forms of migrants’ self-organisation, such as the founding of migrant associations and initiatives focusing on social and cultural issues. Independently organised political projects and participation in protest movements since the 1960s refute the picture of inactive subjects. Migrants have campaigned for wage equality, improvements in housing, the right to education and equal opportunities, and hence for their right to social participation. Although these movements and initiatives have rarely been more than a footnote in official historiography, these self-empowerment processes have had a lasting effect on social and political development, such as the founding of foreigners’ advisory councils at local level in Germany.
Migrants’ associations and initiatives often have a connection with networks, organised by diaspora communities, which operate at local and transnational level. Their members are often of various nationalities and engage in transnational exchange with other initiatives and projects with an international focus.