Faraydun wins asylum - here to stay, here to fight!


On 6 August 2010, Iranian Kurdish refugee and communist Faraydun Abdullazada won his asylum claim after almost eight years of struggle. He was an active member of the Worker’s Communist Party of Iran – Hekmatist (WCPI-H) and has been active in Britain against racism, oppression of migrants and Zionism.

Faraydun Abdullazada fled Iran after his communist views were made known and he was arrested. Whilst on bail he fled to escape possible torture or execution in a country known for repression of Kurds and communists. A people-trafficker in Turkey starved and tortured him and he had to jump out of a window to escape. He arrived in Britain in January 2003 and was in London until the ‘7/7’ terrorist attacks in July 2005. ‘Racist attacks became too much after that…the police never came’. He was attacked many times, his ribs broken and he had to flee London. He escaped to Finland but was deported back to the UK in January 2006 and ‘dispersed’ to Manchester a month later.


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Fight for decent housing for all!

In October 2010, Birminghamand Wolverhampton Councils announced that they will no longer house asylum seekers on behalf of the government when their five year contract with the UK Border Agency (UKBA) ends on 30 June 2011. This will mean that asylum seekers will be housed by private housing providers, like the notorious Angel Group, who make millions out of government contracts to house asylum seekers in intolerable conditions.

Birmingham and Wolverhampton Councils are part of a consortium with Dudley and Coventry. Birmingham, the biggest council in the country, currently provides up to 190 homes for asylum seekers and Wolverhampton provides 124 homes. Dudley Council, which provides 73 homes, said it will remain in the consortium until at least June 2012, and Coventry Council, which provides 74 homes, said it will continue working with UKBA but will closely monitor the situation. Other councils could soon follow suit.


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UAF capitulates to Zionist racism

edl_demonstrators_with_israeli_flagOn 24 October, Unite Against Fascism (UAF) called a counter-protest to an English Defence League (EDL) demonstration in support of Israel outside the Israeli Embassy in London. Although the UAF claimed it held a ‘lively anti-fascist event’, there were at most 60 anti-fascists, of whom only a handful were actually from the UAF; they were significantly outnumbered by 200 EDL supporters.

The event revealed UAF’s completely unprincipled stance on the Palestinian struggle. In a statement beforehand it said ‘UAF does not have a position on the question of Israel and Palestine but unites around the common aim of opposing fascism and racist division’ – as if the question of Zionism were not one of fascism and racism!

Let us be clear: Zionism is racism, and until US imperialism got its way in 1991, had been defined as such by the United Nations since 1975. Its aim is genocide: making life so intolerable for the Palestinian people that they are remorselessly driven from their lands in the West Bank and Jerusalem, completing the expulsions of 1948.


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No plot against the Pope

Between 16 and 19 September the state visit of Pope Benedict XVI provoked a range of reactions: many Catholics turned out to welcome the pontiff, while a 20,000-strong demonstration opposed the visit for multi-faceted reasons, including the long-running and massive international scandal of child abuse perpetrated and covered up within the Catholic church and the Vatican’s general attitude to women’s rights, contraception and homosexuality. The visit also saw the latest in a catalogue of arrests of innocent Muslims accused of plotting imagined acts of terrorism.


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George Jackson: Legacy of a Black Communist

George Jackson 1941 – 1971

‘The monster they’ve engendered in me will return to torment its maker, from  the grave, the pit, the profoundest pit. Hurl me into the next existence, the descent into hell won’t turn me. I’ll crawl back to dog his trail forever. They won’t defeat my revenge, never, never. I’m part of a righteous people who anger slowly, but rage undammed. We’ll gather at his door in such a number that the rumbling of our feet will make the earth tremble.’

George Jackson was an Afro-American working class communist. Born in a Chicago ghetto in 1941 he was murdered by warders in San Quentin Prison in 1971. At 18 he was sentenced from one year to life for the theft of $70. He spent the rest of his life in prison. There ‘I met Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Engels, and Mao…and they redeemed me.’ In prison he also joined the Black Panther Party. One year before his death, the police murdered his 17-year-old brother Jonathon who, single handed and armed, invaded San Rafael Courthouse to free three black comrades. EDDIE ABRAHAMS and CAT ALISON chart George Jackson’s contribution as a revolutionary.


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Bradford sees off the EDL

On 28 August in Bradford the English Defence League (EDL) held another anti-Muslim demonstration. According to the EDL, Bradford was going to be ‘the big one’, a show of strength in a city where working class Muslims had risen up against poverty and racism in 2001, fighting back against police and fascists. But although the EDL claimed that they would mobilise 5,000 people, on the day they had closer to 700. When around 200 EDL members left the area designated by the police, they were physically opposed and contained by a mobilisation of several hundred, the vast majority of whom were working class Muslim youth, including members of the Muslim Defence League. The EDL were harassed until they were bussed out of the city, with reports that some of their coaches were stoned and the tyres slashed. The only reported arrests were of five EDL members.


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Build an anti-imperialist movement against racism and fascism!

On Saturday 17 July, 500 members of the English Defence League (EDL) rampaged through Dudley in the West Midlands, attacking Muslim and Hindu residents.  The EDL is fast developing in the direction of a new organised and violent fascist street movement, which offers a focal point to sections of the working class who support Britain’s wars in the Middle East and are prepared to physically confront public opposition to those wars.

The EDL represents a popular reflection of government strategy. Its rhetoric focuses on Islam, in a context in which Britain’s wars in the Middle East, Israel’s occupation of Palestine, and attacks on Muslims in Britain are all depicted as part of a battle against ‘Islamic extremism’. The EDL first developed out of a violent response to an anti-war demonstration by a small group of Muslims in Luton in March 2009.  In the months before this thousands had come out on the streets to protest against the Israeli massacre in Gaza, with sections of Muslim youth playing a leading role. This was not the first time, with predominantly working class Asian youth playing a leading militant role in the anti-war and Palestine demonstrations during the early anti-war movement in 2000-2002.


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Who are the English Defence League?

For the past year the English Defence League (EDL) and its local variants, the Scottish and Welsh Defence Leagues, have been staging regular, vocal demonstrations throughout Britain, directed ostensibly against the spread of Islamic fundamentalism. In reality their target appears to be Muslims in general. Although the EDL is clearly nowhere as dangerous as the British state, which has an entire machinery at its disposal with which to attack the Muslim community, its persistent and confrontational street presence means that anti-racists must have an understanding of what it is and be prepared to join mobilisations to physically oppose its racist message.


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End immigration detention!


The new Tory-Liberal Democrat coalition government has announced plans for a cap on non-EU immigration.  Any hopes of the Lib-Dems’ promised ‘amnesty’ for migrants who have lived in the country for 10 years, can speak English and hold no criminal record have been dispelled as this proposal fell by the wayside in the coalition bargaining process.  The only seemingly positive note in the new government’s agenda is the promise to end child detention.  However, there is no guarantee that this will be enacted soon and even when it is, it signals the horrific prospect of ‘free’ children with detained parents being taken into care and traumatised by separation.


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Police attack UAF demonstration against EDL in Bolton

The state’s response to the Unite Against Fascism (UAF) counter mobilisation to the English Defence League (EDL) event in Bolton on 20 March was a change in tactics from previous confrontations.

The police used a clear strategy of attempting to criminalise the UAF demonstrators and leaders, by using ‘kettling’, snatch-squads and dogs to attack and arrest people. From mid-morning they blocked entrances to Victoria Square, preventing many anti-racists from joining the demonstration. Over 50 people were arrested, with many suffering head wounds as police riot squads covered in body armour lashed out all around with extendable truncheons. UAF Joint Secretary Weyman Bennett was lifted by a snatch-squad from the speakers’ area and arrested, apparently on suspicion of ‘conspiracy to organise violent disorder’. He was later released on bail. Rhetta Moran, a leading figure in Greater Manchester UAF, was also arrested and released on bail, with conditions which prevent her from attending any EDL or UAF gathering in the country. While she was being held, the police entered her house and copied the data on her computer.


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Close Yarl’s Wood! Close Harmondsworth! Close all immigration prisons!

From 5 February to 19 March women asylum seekers at Yarl’s Wood immigration prison staged a defiant hunger strike in protest against their detention and treatment. Nicki Jameson reports.

They withstood physical reprisals from the guards employed by Serco, the private security firm that runs Yarl’s Wood on behalf of the UK Borders Agency (UKBA), the snatching and imprisoning in criminal gaols of some of their most vocal spokeswomen on the grounds they were the protest’s ‘ringleaders’ and the summary deportation of some participants. UKBA lied to the press, claiming there was no hunger strike and that there has merely been a short-lived protest that was ‘peacefully resolved’. As FRFI goes to press, the hunger strike has been suspended for three weeks to give the Home Office an opportunity to respond to the women’s demands. If they are not met, the protest will resume.


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Support migrant workers

By now the cleaning companies that service London’s banks, offices, universities and transport systems should have realised that their low-paid migrant workforce is not as much of a pushover as they might have hoped! Despite repeated at­tacks on working conditions, the imposition of anti-social shift patterns, refusal to pay the London Living Wage and the use of immigration snatch-squads to terrify the workers into submission, London’s migrant workers continue to organise in defence of their rights. Lead­ing the struggles are comrades such as Alberto Durango and Juan Carlos Piedra Benitez, both members of the Latin American Workers Association (LAWA).


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Police ignore racist attacks on asylum seekers

Manchester FRFI supporters spoke to two Kurdish refugees from Iran. Faraydun Abdullazada and Rahman Rasoulzada, who told us about a horrifying catalogue of racist attacks they have suffered and the total lack of response from the police.

July 2005 Faraydun was approached by 10 white people in Stoke-on-Trent city centre, asked ‘What are you doing here?’ and set upon as he tried to walk away. He was attacked with sticks and chased into a Chinese takeaway as the racists yelled, ‘come on motherfucker’ ‘bastard terrorist’ and so on. Faraydun called the police, who never came.


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Red Road flats, Glasgow: no suspicious circumstances?


On the morning of Sunday 7 March, the bodies of Serge Serykh and his wife and stepson were found at the bottom of a 30-storey tower block on Petershill Road, north Glasgow, used by the YMCA to house asylum seekers. The Russian family had apparently committed suicide by throwing themselves off the 15th floor balcony. Since the deaths were announced, the police and the BBC have repeated like a mantra that there were ‘no suspicious circumstances’.  But there clearly are ‘suspicious circumstances’ surrounding these tragic deaths, and the prime suspects are the British Labour government and its punitive immigration policies.

Neighbours told Unity (the asylum seeker support group) that Strathclyde police visited the family’s flat last Friday to tell them their asylum application had been refused and that they would be evicted. Generally, the police only come to the door of refused asylum seekers at the request of the landlord after the family have refused to leave. The landlord in this case, the YMCA, has a history in Glasgow of colluding with the state to attack asylum seekers (http://tiny.cc/aDgpi).


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Racism against Muslim prisoners

I want to highlight an incident that has seriously affected my situation in prison. I am serving a ten-year sentence. Since my conviction I have been exemplary in behaviour and incurred no disciplinary reports prior to the incident I am about to describe. I am of Pakistani origin and until recently had not experienced any discriminatory treatment in prison or ill-treatment at the hands of other prisoners. Sunny Nasir Ahmed writes from HMP Glenochil.


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Fight racism, fascism and imperialism

With the General Election looming most of the left, running scared at the thought of a Tory victory, are openly calling for a vote for the racist war-mongering Labour Party. We say don’t vote, organise the fightback!


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Close Yarl’s Wood and all immigration prisons! Support the protesting detainees!

protestOver 80 women detained in Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre in Bedfordshire have been staging a hunger strike since 5 February in protest at their continued detention and treatment. On 8 February private company Serco, which runs Yarl’s Wood, tried to end the protest by force, but the women have continued to stand firm and 50 remain on hunger strike.  The UK Borders Agency has issued several statements claiming the protest is over, but despite brutal reprisals and the removal of some women to criminal prisons, the protest continues.

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! opposes all immigration detention and stands in total solidarity with the Yarl’s Wood protesters.  We reproduce in full a statement from protesting detainee Mojirola Daniels, circulated by the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns


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End detention of children!

child_detention_in_uk‘My three year old daughter realised we were locked in a prison. She would point at the window and say “out, out”. Even if they improved conditions inside, they still won’t get rid of this negative impact on children’. Laureine - member of Tyneside Community Action for Refugees (TCAR) who was detained in Yarl’s Wood with her two small children last year.

Recent headlines and parliamentary questions have highlighted the scandal of child detention in Britain.  Asylum seekers and campaigners have been calling for an end to this appalling practice for years and this sudden and belated interest is welcome but will only be of any practical use if accompanied by action, rather than simply by hand-wringing.


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Stop the deportation of Lili and Keiran to Cameroon!


Berminie Carine Lili, known to her friends as Lili, faces deportation with her two year old son Keiran Nana on Monday 25th January 2010. They were detained by six immigration police who demanded entry to their home in Hendon, Sunderland, in the early hours of Tuesday 12th January.


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Who is more dangerous – the BNP or the Labour Party?

In the June 2009 election to the European Parliament, the openly racist British National Party (BNP) won 6.2% of the vote, giving it two seats. On 22 October BNP leader Nick Griffin appeared on BBC television debating show Question Time alongside Labour Party Minister of Justice Jack Straw. Griffin’s appearance was greeted with widespread and understandable outrage. At a series of meetings around the country the RCG posed the question ‘Who is more dangerous – the BNP or the Labour Party?


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Unite Against Fascism backs Labour racists

FRFI’s criticism of Unite Against Fascism (UAF) as no more than a vehicle for shoring up Labour’s disintegrating electoral support, was confirmed by the announcement that the UAF will support Barking MP Margaret Hodge against BNP leader Nick Griffin at the next general election. It comes after the UAF and its joint secretary Weyman Bennett, a leading member of the SWP, have cosied up to reactionaries and opportunists in a series of protests against the English Defence League (EDL) and Scottish Defence League (SDL) and undermined effective opposition to racism and fascism.


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Racist Europe tightens screw on migrants

FRANCE: Law of the Jungle

At daybreak on 22 September, more than 500 police officers encircled the migrant squatters’ camp known as ‘The Jungle’ outside the port of Calais in northern France as police helicopters hovered overhead. Despite protests by migrants and their supporters, who shouted out ‘Shame on France’ and held placards reading ‘We need shelter and protection, we want peace’, 278 migrants, half of them children, were rounded up, with riot police cordoning off the area to pick up any who tried to escape, and herded onto buses. The tents and tarpaulins, including a makeshift mosque, were razed to the ground with bulldozers and flame-throwers.


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Asian youth fight racist provocations

Since May 2009, racists under the banner of the English Defence League (EDL) have organised a number of demonstrations and rallies against ‘Islamic extremism’. A march in Luton in May was followed by two demonstrations in Birmingham on 8 August and 5 September, a rally at a mosque in Harrow on 11 September and a counter-protest to the annual Al Quds march through central London two days later. The EDL is planning further events in Manchester, Leeds and Bristol.


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Tyneside Community Action for Refugees stands against the BNP

tcarOn Saturday 28 November FRFI activists arrived at Newcastle's Monument for the monthly Speak Out Against Racism organised by Tyneside Community Action for Refugees (TCAR) to find a large BNP stall with a main banner reading: '800,000 Muslims killed in Iraq. Labour and Tories backed the war; the BNP opposed it. Who are the REAL racists?'. The BNP had clearly decided to pre-empt a simultaneous protest called by Tyneside Stop the War (Tyneside STW) in expectation of the 100th British soldier dying in Afghanistan this year which had been built around the slogans of 'Afghanistan: The Unwinnable War' and 'Bring Our Troops Home'.


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No to the BNP! - No to the racist Labour government!

The BBC has invited Nick Griffin of the British National Party on to its flagship debating show, Question Time, where he will share the platform with the Labour Party representative Jack Straw and others. Anti-racists, the Muslim community, those who oppose corporal and capital punishment and all progressive people are right to be angry that  the overtly racist BNP should be given public time and space to publicise themselves. But this does not mean that we should forget or forgive the hideous record of the Labour Party in power and its representative in this debate – Jack Straw.


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muradMurad Akincilar is a Turkish trade unionist and human rights activist, who is currently in prison in Istanbul awaiting trial on unspecified charges.

Supporters of the newspaper Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! have known Murad for 18 years, since he was a Masters student at the London School of Economics, and is supporting the campaign for his freedom being organised by Swiss trade union UNIA.

Having been living in Switzerland since 2001, during which time he worked for UNIA and campaigned for rights for migrant workers, Murad returned to Istanbul this summer. On 30 September 2009 he was arrested. Four days later he was taken to court and remanded in custody.


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Stephen Lawrence inquiry: Police racism exposed

By Cat Alison

'My son was stereotyped by the police: he was black, then he must be a criminalÉ[his] crime was that he was walking down the road looking for a bus to take him home. Our crime is living in a country where the justice system supports racist murders against innocent people.' (Doreen Lawrence)

In March, at the start of the public inquiry into the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence, Mike Mansfield QC described the original investigation as so flawed that one had to conclude 'deeper causes and forces had been at work'. What has emerged so far is a picture of police incompetence so gross that it can only have been the result of racism.


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Sonia and Delroy Lindo fighting back against police racism

Arrest number 20

On 2 July, one of the few warm Sundays of this year, Delroy Lindo was washing his car outside his home with his little daughter. When he walked round the corner to the local garage for more oil, he saw police in the process of arresting a black man and removing the number plates from his car. Delroy stopped and observed, noting the time on a piece of paper. The police officers noticed him, abandoned the arrest and turned on Delroy. Within seconds he was detained, handcuffed and bundled into the police van. Arrest number 20 had just taken place! This time it was to be different. As soon as his wife Sonia was informed of the arrest by a neighbour she alerted the telephone tree that had been set up after the last court case, which we will call Court Case 19.


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Asylum: Labour government – blood on its hands

tony blair jack straw

On 18 June 58 Chinese people were found dead in a lorry at Dover. Their deaths are directly attributable to British immigration laws, and in particular to the Labour government's 1999 Asylum and Immigration Act, which renders almost all methods of openly arriving in Britain to claim asylum illegal and forces immigrants into the hands of unscrupulous racketeers.


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Lindo family carry on the fight for justice

Fight Racism!: 'The public has a right to know about racism' 

On Wednesday 20 December, comrades from Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! joined Sonia and Delroy Lindo and supporters at a lively picket outside Scotland Yard, to demand a copy of the report detailing police harassment against the Lindo family. The fact that the Metropolitan Police had been forced to carry out an internal investigation into this harassment is a victory for the campaign.

Throughout the year 2000, the Lindo Family Defence Campaign organised pickets of Tottenham police station and local courts, and had a vocal presence in community meetings. They used the media to demand that an investigation be carried out into the relentless harassment of the Lindo family by Haringey police.


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Sans-papiers organise in Switzerland

FRFI 163 October/November 2001

Switzerland is one of the two richest countries in the world, with an annual per capita income of over $33,000. During the 18th and 19th centuries it was a country from which people emigrated but since the First World War it has been a country to which people migrate. A public debate is currently taking place about the role played by the Swiss state in building up the German war machine through provision of financial support for Nazism and by blocking the assets of the communities persecuted under the Nazi reign and since. This is in addition to the routine role of Swiss finance capital, which is to camouflage the huge sums of money extracted by dictators and racist politicians throughout the world.

In Switzerland itself, a racist, xenophobic ideology is gaining strength, especially in the richer, German-speaking, eastern part of the country. In September 2000, Swiss people voted down proposals to restrict immigration by limiting the proportion of non-Swiss residents to 18% of the population. 64% voted against the new measures, however the voting was not even and in cantons where the political agenda is dominated by conservative movements, the percentages voting in favour of repressive measures were far higher.


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