Books for changing the world
Resisting Borders and Technologies of Violence

The border regimes of imperialist states have brutally oppressed migrants throughout the world. To enforce their borders, these states have constructed a new digital fortress with far-reaching and ever-evolving new technologies. This pathbreaking volume exposes these insidious means of surveillance, control, and violence.

In the name of “smart” borders, the U.S. and Europe have turned to private companies to develop a neocolonial laboratory now deployed against the Global South, borderlands, and routes of migration. They have established immigrant databases, digital IDs, electronic tracking systems, facial recognition software, data fusion centers, and more, all to more “efficiently” categorize and control human beings and their movement.

These technologies rarely capture widespread public attention or outrage, but they are quietly remaking our world, scaling up colonial efforts of times past to divide desirables from undesirables, rich from poor, expat from migrant, and citizen from undocumented. The essays and case studies in Resisting Borders and Technologies of Violence shed light on this threat, offering analyses of how the high-tech system of borders developed and inspiring stories of resistance to it.

The organizers, journalists, and scholars in these pages are charting a new path forward, employing creative tools to subvert the status quo, organize globally against high-tech border imperialism, and help us imagine a world without borders.

Contributors: Nasma Ahmed, Khalid Alexander, Sara Baker, Lea Beckmann, Wafa Ben-Hassine, Ruha Benjamin, Maike Bohn, Gracie Mae Bradley, Margaret Cheesman, J. Carlos Lara Gálvez, Timmy Châu, Arely Cruz-Santiago, Ida Danewid, Nick Estes, Rafael Evangelista, Katy Fallon, Marwa Fatafta, Ryan Gerety, Ben Green, Jeff Helper, Nisha Kapoor, Lilly Irani, Brian Jordan Jefferson, Lara Kiswani, Arun Kundnani, Jenna M. Loyd, Rodjé Malcolm, Matthew McNaughton, Todd Miller, Petra Molnar, Mariah Montgomery, Joseph Nevins, Conor O’Reilly, Chai Patel, Tawana Petty, Ernesto Schwartz-Marin, Paromita Shah, Silky Shah, Koen Stoop, Miriam Ticktin, Harsha Walia 

  • "This volume... holds a mirror up to the everyday violence of borders that rarely capture widespread public attention, much less outrage. The essays and case studies that follow draw our attention to the policies and technologies that governments and companies are deploying quietly and viciously, tearing into people’s lives, ripping families apart, and hunting down the most vulnerable, one computer bit at a time."  —Ruha Benjamin, from the Foreword

    "Resisting Borders and Technologies of Violence is a welcome moment of pause and reflection in the work of tech abolitionism. This weighty collection of writings challenges readers to find points of intersection and allied movement against racialized surveillance, carceral and border technologies, and criminalization of minoritized and marginalized groups. The volume identifies the roots of these struggles and asks us to grow and go further."  —Seeta Peña Gangadharan, author, Our Data Bodies

    "The essays in Resisting Borders and Technologies of Violence are all excellent, but collectively add up to more than their parts, a keyhole look into the future, where new repressive technologies will be met by new forms of creative resistance. Mizue Aizeki, Matt Mahmoudi, and Coline Schupfer have put together a vital collection of essays that help us imagine escaping what they have in store for us."  —Greg Grandin

    "In a world awash with violent borders, this book serves as a beacon of hope guiding us towards a more just future." —Reece Jones, author of Nobody Is Protected: How the Border Patrol Became the Most Dangerous Police Force in the United States

    "A valuable resource for those trying to dismantle technologized regimes of state terror around the world and create something life-giving in their place." —Ben Tarnoff, author of Internet for the People: The Fight for Our Digital Future


    "Resisting Borders and Technologies of Violence is an essential book for the difficult times we find ourselves in. This collection provides vital insight and nuance about the political, social, and technological dynamics of borders and technologies of coercion. Far more than just lines on a map, this book illuminates how modern borders are more fluid and complex than ever, but perhaps most importantly, how we can organise against them. Through compelling case studies and meticulous research, readers will find the book to be an essential resource for building movements that can fight back against technological authoritarianism in various forms." —Lizzie O'Shea, author, Future Histories: What Ada Lovelace, Tom Paine, and the Paris Commune Can Teach Us About Digital Technology

    "This brilliantly curated collection brings a much needed understanding of how technology, geopolitics, and imperial domination by the United States and Europe are fragmenting the world through borders reinforced by surveillance drones, myriad tracking devices, and massive databases that use our own biometrics to undermine our freedom. But far more than a chronicle of oppression, Resisting Borders offers analysis and case studies of resistance fighters outsmarting the 'smart’ borders to inspire us to continue the fight to save the planet and our humanity."

    —James Kilgore, author, Understanding Mass Incarceration and Understanding E-Carceration

Other books of interest