Fight the racist Immigration Bill! – RCG-led protest at Lunar House, Croydon

crydon protest 2

On Tuesday 5 April, a protest called by the Croydon branch of the Revolutionary Communist Group took place outside Lunar House in Croydon, the (Home Office) UK Visas & Immigration HQ, to raise awareness in opposition Britain’s latest racist Immigration Bill.

The colourful and lively protest started at 10.30am, a busy time at the centre when migrants are effectively being told what to do with their lives, giving them a chance to get involved and have their voices heard. This is the building where deportations are processed, in many regards the epicentre of Britain’s racist immigration controls.

The RCG raised money for the All African Women's Group to attend, a prime example of migrants living on the breadline in Britain while being threatened with deportation. As well as other RCG comrades from South and North London branches, other supporting organisations in attendance included: Black Women's Rape Action Project, Class War, CPGB-ML, Focus E15, Movement for Justice by Any Means Necessary, the Pan-Afrikan Community Society Forum, Women Against Rape and Queer Strike.

The RCG ran an open mic on its sound system throughout the picket. RCG comrades stressed that as an imperialist and oppressor nation, Britain’s immigration controls are inherently racist, explaining that the latest Immigration Bill is an unprecedented expansion of the powers to detain individuals, to seize property and earnings, and generally invade privacy, all on the mere suspicion that a person is living and working in the UK ‘illegally’. A new criminal offence for people without the right papers will result in 12-month jail sentences and unlimited fines. 'Deport first, appeal later' provisions have also been expanded to people claiming asylum on grounds of human rights. Restrictions on asylum support threaten families with hunger and homelessness.

This is happening to defend imperialism in a period of economic crisis, the result of a decaying capitalist system. RCG comrades communicated the Marxist analysis that imperialism is the root cause of racism in Britain, and handed out flyers explaining this clearly, re-emphasising that any anti-racist movement which does not struggle against the British state and British imperialism cannot hope to combat racism.

British imperialism needs a special 'super-oppressed', super-exploited layer of cheap labour, to depress the average wage and maximise profits for the capitalist class, and which is easily dispensed into the reserve army of unemployed labour needed for capitalism to function, especially during a period of capitalist crisis. Racist and sexist discrimination is the expression of capital's need for this super-oppressed layer. This, we explained, is why, for instance, we currently see mostly black migrant women hospital cleaners striking, because they earn less than the living wage with no sick or holiday pay. The threat of deportation and dismissal is used to discipline black and Asian workers so that they are less likely to fight for their rights as workers and human beings. Immigration controls tighten in a period of crisis because the labour shortage becomes a labour surplus.

RCG comrades also called on the people working inside Lunar House to refuse to implement deportations, including PCS union members who recently marched against racism in London – a position that clearly amounts to disgraceful hypocrisy of the highest order. Britain’s warmongering role in creating the so-called refugee crisis was also highlighted, along with the fact that the UK is nowhere near ‘full’ because at least 700,000 empty homes exist in England and Wales as a result of a parasitic and decaying capitalist economy that has to prioritise profit ahead of people. The contrast with socialism was also made – while Britain has reluctantly promised to accept 20,000 Syrians over the next five years, Venezuela immediately offered to resettle 20,000 with open arms.

Representatives from the All African Women's Group spoke passionately about the suffering, neglect and destitution they had experienced at the hands of the British state and called on Home Secretary Theresa May to stop the deportations that are separating families and ruining lives.

Movement for Justice by Any Means Necessary, organisers of the now well-known Surround Yarl's Wood protests against detentions of immigrants, stressed that we cannot rely on authorities to take a miraculous progressive turn, and that it was up to campaigners to build a movement that forces the state to end detentions and deportations.

Queer Strike made the important point that while the government has taken credit for legalising gay marriage, it has continued to distress, oppress and interrogate LGBTQ migrants and deport them to countries where they face lawful discrimination and murderous persecution – countries homophobia was exported to by British colonialism.

The purpose of the protest was really underlined by a Sri Lankan friend of a Focus E15 comrade who called from inside a detention centre. With a phone put against the mic to amplify his voice, he told those gathered how immigration officers had raided his home in the early hours of a Sunday morning no less, and pleaded for his freedom. This is just one anecdote of the oppressive reality for migrants living in racist Britain.

crydon protest 3

So the message was loud and clear: anti-racists must build a mass anti-imperialist movement if solidarity with migrants and refugees against Britain's racist capitalist immigration laws is to be effective on the necessary scale.

Fight the racist Immigration Bill! Stop deportations! End detentions! Britain out of the Middle East! Stop imperialist war!

Report: 'Refugees Welcome Here' march - London 19 March 2016

frfi 7

On Saturday 19  March, the London branches of the Revolutionary Communist Group joined the ‘Refugees Welcome Here’ march, which marked UN anti-racism day.

The march was organised under the name Stand Up to Racism, a trade-union-funded umbrella campaign. Around four thousand people marched from Portland Place to Trafalgar square.

At Piccadilly circus supporters encountered around 100 members of the fascist group, Britain First, with banners reading ‘Veterans before refugees’. Protected by police, they made little impact on the demonstration of colourful and vocal anti-racists.

Read more ...

Marching for decent housing for all

On Sunday 13 March, the RCG joined the national demonstration in central London against the Housing and Planning Bill.

The Bill, currently going through Parliament, is the latest assault by successive governments on the very concept of social housing (see this article in FRFI 248). Under its provisions, Right-to-Buy will be extended to the tenants of housing associations, with massive discounts. These discounts will, in a double whammy, be funded by forcing local councils to sell off their highest value properties. The Bill will also introduce a ‘pay to stay’ rule for council housing, where households earning above £30,000 ((£40,000 in London) will be forced to pay anything up to full market rent. It will strip away security of tenure in council housing, and even the limited definition of ‘affordable’ housing will be transformed to mean homes for sale – the government’s vaunted ‘starter’ homes that ‘start’ at £450,000. In addition, the ‘Planning’ aspect of the Bill will force councils to identify and make available public land for private development.

The RCG held our customary ‘open mic’, with an impromptu speakout on Waterloo Bridge after Class War and others broke through police cordons to protest against a car from the yuppie estate agent Foxtons. From then on the march spilled out over the whole road, temporarily bringing traffic to a halt. 

There was a justifiable anger against the vicious, greedy conservative government over the Bill amongst all those on the march – many of them social housing tenants drawn into political action for the first time. However, as the speakers from the RCG, and from Architects for Social Housing pointed out at the opening rally, the Housing and Planning Bill is just one part of the sustained assault on social housing.  As those of us who have been involved in campaigns over housing in Labour boroughs such as Newham, Southwark and Lambeth know to our cost, much of the destruction of working class estates is already being carried out under Labour council ‘regeneration’ plans.  That is why the RCG carried a placard denouncing Labour’s social cleansing in London, and why Class War handed out posters of the many many Labour councils involved in social cleansing in London. 

So we have to ask: will the Labour supporters who carried banners on the march and the Labour MPs such as Diane Abbott and John McDonnell who spoke at the rally at the end actually stand up for social housing and against the sell-off of working class estates? Will they call for non-implementation of all aspects of the Bill? And will they support the local campaigns from Focus E15 in Newham to Save Cressingham Gardens in Lambeth in their stance against their own local councils? The fight against the Housing and Planning Bill is a vital one, but it is just one battle in the war to defend secure, affordable and decent housing for all.

Video of RCG speaker Nicki Jameson at the opening rally: 

https://www.facebook.com/rcgfrfi/videos/694945170648363/

 

Stop Turkey's war on the Kurds demo - 6 March

On Sunday 6 March branches of the Revolutionary Communist Group supported the 'Stop Turkey’s War on the Kurds' national demo, a march from the BBC headquarters to Trafalgar Square that aimed to 'break the silence' of the British state and media with regards to recent Turkish state atrocities committed against the Kurdish people.

The estimated 10,000 people marching, made up predominantly of the Kurdish community residing in Britain, were anything but silent. The Kurds demanded freedom for their people and nation, and carried placards carrying the powerful slogan 'ISIS: made in Turkey'. Indeed, the most recent atrocities committed by the Turkish state came as a punitive reaction to the PKK’s brave defeats of ISIS on Turkish territory. Demands to unban the PKK – shamefully listed as a terrorist group by Britain – were also heard.

As the march progressed, the bemusement of shoppers and passers-by underscored the silence of the British state and media. President Erdogan has himself boasted of emulating Adolf Hitler’s ‘style of government’, and yet much of the British public is totally oblivious to Turkey’s fascistic turn. This when we were told just a few months ago by Labour’s Hilary Benn in parliament that 'fascism must be defeated' when Parliament voted for airstrikes on Syria under the pretence of bombing ISIS.

The RCG ran an open ‘people’s’ microphone throughout the march, taking the opportunity to state that this was not just Turkey’s war on the Kurds, but imperialism’s. Britain – which makes hundreds of millions of pounds selling Turkey the weapons with which it kills Kurdish civilians – is silent on the crimes of the Turkish state because Turkey defends British imperialist interests in the Middle East. Britain is silent because speaking out would be to confess to its own crimes. RCG speakers highlighted the importance for the British working class to support the Kurdish people’s right to self-determination, and put out the call to build the anti-imperialist movement in this country necessary to create effective, concrete solidarity with the Kurds and other oppressed peoples around the world.

RCG speaker Trevor Rayne was well-received as one of the speakers at the endpoint of the protest in Trafalgar Square. His rousing speech listed the litany of brutal crimes the British state – under both Tory and Labour governments – has committed against the Kurdish people, starting with the carve up of Kurdistan through the Sykes-Picot treaty 100 years ago, and concluding: 'Enough is enough.'

Victory and self-determination to the Kurdish people! Unban the PKK! Britain out of the Middle East!

Join London RCG for more discussion of the importance of the Kurdish liberation struggle for people all over the world on 22 March:

'Kurdistan: war and liberation in the Middle East' - Tuesday 22 March, 7:30pm, The Apple Tree, Mount Pleasant, WC1X 0AE

Guest speaker - Erdelan Baran - Kurdistan National Congress (KNK)

RCG speaker - Trevor Rayne - FRFI editorial board

London branches

North London
020 7837 1688
northlondonfrfi@gmail.com

Campaign Blogs

South London Communists

blog iconLocal blog of the south London branch of the Revolutionary Communist Group.
 blog iconWelcome to the blog of the North London branch of the Revolutionary Communist Group

Videos