Defend migrant workers

On 24 April, armed police and immigration officials broke down the doors of a number of shops owned by Latin American migrants, predominantly from Ecuador, in Elephant and Castle, south London, in a city-wide trawl for so-called ‘illegal workers’. Children who were off school because of the teachers’ strike that day saw their parents pushed up against the wall, intimidated and treated as criminals. Jimena Espinoza, wife of Ecuadorian community activist Paul Fierro, was taken into custody along with their young son and kept in a prison cell for two days. Espinoza was put under huge pressure to call her husband, who gave himself up. The family, whose asylum application had been rejected, were taken to a detention centre in Dover.


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'Britain is forging a new relationship with Europe...I have no doubt at all that is where the future interests of my country lie.' Thus spake Tony Blair having announced the 'historic' St Malo Declaration on 4 December with French President Chirac and Prime Minister Jospin. This was a declaration of intent to build a unified European military force. It came just weeks before the 1 January 1999 launch of the European single currency, the euro. Trevor Rayne reports.


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Labour's racist asylum policy

'The worldwide carnage and exploitation by British imperialism is the basis for racism in Britain...Any struggle against racism in Britain which does not struggle against British imperialism will inevitably fail because it leaves the basis of racism untouched...The racism and racial oppression within Britain today is a particular form of imperialist oppression. It is the form taken by national oppression within the oppressor nations.' (Revolutionary Communist 9 'Racism, imperialism and the working class', 1979) The Labour government is engaged in a vicious racist attack on refugees seeking asylum in Britain. While the Tories and tabloid press compete to employ the most vitriolic language against asylum-seekers, it is actually Labour which is implementing the policies of race hatred. Nicki Jameson reports.


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The murder of Stephen Lawrence - A stinking shambles of police racism and corruption

The first stage of the public inquiry into police handling of the murder of Stephen Lawrence on 22 April 1993 has ended after 57 days of evidence. Each day has brought new revelations of police racism and a negligence so gross that no one can doubt the police deliberately ensured Stephen's killers would never be brought to justice. Cat Wiener reports.

A wall of lies and incompetence

The police said they faced 'a wall of silence' in their search for evidence. This was a lie. The internal Police Complaints Authority inquiry concluded the police had satisfactorily followed up every lead. This was a total whitewash.


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The Poisonous Roots of Racism

The rise of racism throughout Europe was one of the major themes of the RCG's July Dayschool Fight Racism! Fight Capitalism! Fight Imperialism! -- By Any Means Necessary. We reprint MAXINE WILLIAMS' speech to the dayschool.

To understand racism it must be placed in its political context -- the existence of imperialism and the particular stage which capitalism has reached in the late twentieth century.

Socialism or Barbarism

Every day brings forth new evidence of the crisis that is gripping imperialism. In Europe at least 17 million people, 12 per cent of the workforce, are unemployed officially. Civil war, unleashed by imperialist interests and their local nationalist forces, rages in former Yugoslavia, leaving tens of thousands dead and millions stateless. In Europe and the USA, governments are carrying through sweeping attacks on working class social benefits, trade union rights and living standards. In Germany for example, they are cutting £8 billion from state expenditure at a time when, in what was East Germany, unemployment is raging. In Britain the income of the poorest 10 per cent of the population fell 14 per cent in real terms between 1979 and 1991. The poorest half of the population now gets only 25 per cent of national income. Amongst that half figure overwhelmingly the old, women, black people, the unemployed.


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Socialists and the fight against the British National Party

The collapse of the Labour vote in the 4 June European election has created a crisis on the left. With 15.7% of the vote (22.9% in the 2004 European election), Labour came third behind the Tories (27.7%) and UKIP (16.5%). The number voting BNP (943,500, 6.2%) was three times the number voting for the Socialist Labour Party (173,000) and for No2EU (153,000) together, and enabled it to win two seats. The Scottish Socialist Party obtained a mere 10,000 votes.


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British state terrorises Pakistani students

On 8 April, 12 young men were arrested in a high profile ‘anti-terror raid’. Their only ‘crime’ was to be students from Pakistan – the latest target of Britain’s imperialist war in the Middle East and Asia. Nicki Jameson reports.

The government claimed to have smashed a terrorist cell and prevented an ‘Easter bombing campaign’. The press was awash with headlines along the lines of ‘Al Qaeda terror plot to bomb Easter shoppers’ (Daily Telegraph). It quickly transpired that 11 out of the 12 were Pakistani nationals who had come to Britain on student visas. This in turn created its own furore: ‘Student Passport to Terror – Scandal of how Britain hands out thousands of visas to bogus students, including Al Qaeda fanatics’ (Daily Mail).


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Sonia and Delroy Lindo: Still fighting police harassment

FRFI 154 April / May 2000

When Winston Silcott was framed for the killing of PC Blakelock in the Broadwater Farm uprising of 1985, his friend Delroy Lindo was instrumental in setting up the campaign to gain justice for Winston and has continued to campaign for his freedom ever since. The response of police in north London has been continuous, systematic harassment of Delroy and his family. FRFI spoke to Delroy Lindo and his wife Sonia.

DL: The Lawrence Report highlighted the racism which we all knew about, which black people feel on the road every single day. But at the end of the day I haven't seen any change: the police continue to pick on us for nothing, stop, search and arrest us, beat us up and subject us to excessive use of force. The only difference is that it's now easier to talk about it and, when we put campaign posters up, they stay up.


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British immigration policy - institutionalised racism

FRFI 154 April / May 2000

Home Secretary Jack Straw is plumbing new depths as he seeks to remove all obstacles to implementing a policy of zero tolerance towards refugees. In March, The Independent reported that Straw would be calling for a fundamental review of the United Nations Convention on Refugees. Despite the introduction of one vicious asylum and immigration law after another over the past 30 years, the 1951 Convention, signed by 120 countries, has continued to provide some protection to asylum-seekers who could prove that they had a 'well-founded fear of persecution' in the country they were fleeing. Of course, it has not been easy proving this to a racist system, which is determined to exclude 'economic refugees' and refuses to recognise marks of torture or accept that regimes with which it has friendly relations are oppressive, but the structure for asylum claims exists.


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Racist immigration policy exposed

As Labour and the Tories alike gear up to the election by pledging harsher and harsher measures to deter or deport would-be immigrants, the government has caught itself in a trap of its own making. The obvious contradiction between ‘outlawing institutionalised racism’ and being ‘tough’ on asylum seekers has finally become visible in a way from which Labour cannot escape. Nicki Jameson reports.

The Immigration (European Economic Area) (Amendment) Regulations 2001 encapsulate the nonsense of tightening immigration laws while preserving an anti-racist facade. They state that, following the passing of the post-Lawrence Race Relations Amendment Act, there is ‘a right of appeal to a person who alleges that an authority has, in taking any decision under the Immigration Acts... racially discriminated against him’. However, once the complainant lodges such an appeal, ‘the Secretary of State may certify that appeal as manifestly unfounded. If the adjudicator agrees with the certificate, the person is prevented from appealing against the adjudicator’s decision...’


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Stop deaths in custody

FRFI 162 August / September 2001

On Friday 6 July 2001, Police Federation solicitors threatened to sue a central London cinema if it showed the documentary film Injustice about deaths in police custody in Britain and subsequent cover-ups by police, the law courts and the government, because it named the police involved in the deaths.

In response, the United Friends and Family Campaign (UFFC) decided to show the film during its public People’s Tribunal into deaths in custody, held in London’s Conway Hall, on 11-12 July. Again the venue management was threatened to prevent the film being shown in public. However, the 200-strong audience, including the loved ones of police victims featured in the film, refused to leave the hall until Injustice was shown, despite the police being called. It is planned to show Injustice around the country.


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Terrorising asylum seekers

As the Labour government gears up for war against Iraq, it has already begun to wage war in this country. The war at home is a racist war, and it is being waged both through the implementation of draconian legislation and by the use of propaganda. The legislation comes in two distinct but interlinked forms: immigration laws, targeting those seeking asylum here, and anti-terrorist laws, aimed at criminalising people already in this country, citizens or otherwise. The propaganda is disseminated on a variety of levels, official and unofficial, with the government claiming unconvincingly to be outraged by the worst excesses of the right-wing press. Many Muslims understandably view the government’s actions as a war on Islam. Nicki Jameson reports.


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Labour plans more attacks on asylum seekers

In the run-up to the imperialist attack on Iraq, the previous racist caricature of the lazy, ‘bogus’ asylum seeker has been embellished by the new caricatures of the ‘terrorist asylum seeker’, who seeks shelter in our benevolent democracy, only to spend his time plotting to poison or bomb us, and the infectious asylum seeker, who is carrying TB, hepatitis, HIV/AIDS and other diseases. None of this propaganda is accidental; all of it suits the Labour government, as it wages its racist war in the Middle East, and plans new measures to restrict immigration and subjugate immigrants. Nicki Jameson reports.


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Racist government spawns racist press and fascist councillors

FRFI 173 June / July 2003

There is now a sinister consensus between all political parties and virtually every section of the media, that asylum-seekers and immigrants are to blame – for everything. Immigrants have always been used as a convenient scapegoat by the British ruling class, in order to deflect criticisms by the poor and working class about lack of homes, jobs and facilities. But now they are also being held responsible for crime, terrorism, disease, and, with no hint of irony, for the rise in popularity of fascist and racist parties and ideas. NICKI JAMESON reports.

On 19 May 2003 the front-page of rabid right-wing tabloid The Sun screamed ‘Asylum exposed – Sun man posing as refugee is smuggled into Britain...and gets free home, food and travel’. Disturbing as the widespread take-up of The Sun’s view is, the front-page headline of ‘liberal’ broadsheet The Observer a day earlier was far more frightening: ‘Immigrants “behind crime wave” – police’.


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Racist Britain

FRFI 175 October / November 2003

Close Dungavel! Stop deportations!
On 8 September thousands of protesters gathered outside Dungavel detention centre in Scotland to demand its immediate closure.

Families are locked into the former prison, run by Premier Detention Services, and have to get permission to visit the centre shop. One mother was fined her entire weekly allowance of £3.50 for taking a cereal biscuit back to her room to her child. Children have limited access to play areas and education facilities are completely inadequate. They are not permitted to attend local schools and there is one teacher for one composite class.


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No justice for Yarl’s Wood detainees

On 15 August Henry Momodou and Behar Limani were convicted of violent disorder and sentenced to four years’ imprisonment. They had been charged with participating in the uprising at the Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre on 14 February 2002, in which the centre was wrecked and large parts of it burned to the ground.

Aliane Ahmed and Nassem Moustaffa had earlier pleaded guilty to playing minor parts in the disturbance. The remaining seven defendants were acquitted. This did not prevent six of them being immediately re-arrested and detained under immigration law, and, in one case, summarily deported.


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Poll turns against Labour, Socialist Alliance turns against justice

FRFI 175 October / November 2003

Brent East by-election, Poll turns against Labou, Socialist Alliance turns against justice

Labour canvassers faced hostility and anger during the recent Brent East by-election. Many former Labour voters declared they could no longer support a party which had launched an illegal war in Iraq and wants to bring in private investment in hospitals and education. In a massive rejection of Labour’s policies, its 13,047 majority was overturned by the Liberals, with 8,158 votes to Labour’s 7,040. The turnout was just 36%. Brent East is a socially and racially mixed area with a large Irish and immigrant population.

There was a total lack of enthusiasm and ideas from all the establishment parties. The single event to enliven a dull campaign was the candidature of Kelly McBride, a working class mother from North Belfast. Kelly travelled to London to pursue justice for her brother Peter, who was murdered by the British Army at the age of 18.
Kelly explained her reasons for standing: ‘I don’t expect to win… but…I hope to win justice. If a major can be expelled for cheating in a game show, why should convicted murderers be kept in the army, and even promoted? My brother Peter was unarmed, posed no threat, but was shot in the back. The courts convicted the two soldiers who shot him of murder. But [they] remain in the army.’ One of Peter McBride’s killers has since been promoted while fighting in Labour’s war in Iraq.


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British police, racist police

FRFI 176 December 2003 / January 2004

At the end of October 2003, the BBC broadcast yet another documentary exposing racism in the British police. Although it contained no surprises, for the terminally naive it was the first ‘hard evidence’ of police racism. CHARLES CHINWEIZU reports.

The Secret Policeman featured undercover journalist Mark Daly who had joined Greater Manchester Police (GMP) in January as a trainee at the Bruche national training centre in Warrington, Cheshire, where he led a double life for about seven months. During his time as a probationary constable he secretly filmed eight [out of 18] recruits expressing racist views such as that of PC Rob Pulling: ‘A dog that is born in a barn is still a dog. A Paki born in Britain is still a fucking Paki.’


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Blunkett attacks refugee families

FRFI 176 December 2003 / January 2004

On 24 October the Home Office announced it will be granting indefinite leave to remain to 15,000 refugee families who have been in Britain for more than three years. However this was not the reversal of years of progressively more vicious attacks on immigrants by successive governments, but simply a pragmatic clearing of the decks prior to the introduction of yet more attacks, particularly on families who arrived later than those covered by the amnesty. NICKI JAMESON reports.

The latest measures, announced in time for the Queen’s Speech, involve once again the withdrawal of welfare benefit. Benefits have already been withdrawn from would-be refugees who cannot prove they claimed asylum immediately on arrival in this country and from those who registered a claim but refused to then be ‘dispersed’ to far-flung parts of the UK, away from relatives or community support. Now it is asylum applicants whose initial claim has failed and who are awaiting appeal who are being targeted.


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Police continue to murder and maim

FRFI 176 December 2003 / January 2004

Roger Sylvester
On 3 October a packed coroners’ court at St Pancras, north London, heard the jury foreman deliver its verdict that Roger Sylvester, a 30-year-old black man, had been unlawfully killed while in police custody.

Roger’s father Rupert told FRFI: ‘We feel pleased with the verdict, it’s been a long and hard struggle but we finally got the result that was what we believed all along. For four and a half years we weren’t even able to get a death certificate’. He went on to say ‘The atmosphere in the court was often electrifying and often family members broke down, but now we know how Roger died’. Rupert and Sheila, Roger’s mother, have risked bankruptcy in their fight for justice due to legal costs.


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Winston Silcott: Free at last

FRFI 176 December 2003 / January 2004

After 17 years of frame-up, criminalisation and campaigning, Winston Silcott has been released from prison. It is vital that Winston’s story is not written off as a personal struggle to be forgotten with his release. It holds important lessons about how the state will repress black and working class resistance and criminalise individuals to intimidate the movement, and about the importance of unified and principled defence campaigns to demand justice. The Revolutionary Communist Group was involved with the struggle, both for Winston and the community, from the beginning.

On 6 October 1985, an uprising broke out on Broadwater Farm housing estate in Tottenham, north London, after a mother, Cynthia Jarrett, died during a violent police raid on her home the previous day. The uprising was one of several to erupt in inner-city communities during that year in response to police brutality and poverty. Only the previous week, Cherry Groce had been shot in the back and paralysed in a police raid on her home in Brixton, south London. During the uprising in Tottenham, PC Blakelock was killed. Winston Silcott, who was known as an opponent of racist stop-and-search tactics, was quickly lined up by the police to take the blame for the killing.


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FRFI 178 April / May 2004

Since David Blunkett became the Labour government’s Home Secretary in 2001 he has managed to push the already rightward-moving agenda of his predecessor Jack Straw to almost unimaginable extremes. Every time a new asylum and immigration or ‘anti-terrorist’ law is passed a new one is waiting in the wings, with the promise of yet more repression; every time the prison population appears to have reached its all-time high, more criminal offences and longer sentences are created. This is no surprise, coming from a man whose ‘special adviser on race’ has himself been revealed as an unashamed racist. NICKI JAMESON reports on Blunkett’s latest measures.


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Multiculturalism or Britishness Anti-racism and internationalism still the only way forward

FRFI 179 June / July 2004

The ruling class is ever flexible in protecting its own interests. In the past the brute assertion of ‘Britishness’ was sufficient for social control. In recent times ‘multiculturalism’ has been adopted as a convenient code by the racist British state. Now we are set to return to the older model. When Trevor Phillips, chair of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE), argues that it is vital to ‘assert a core of Britishness’ we know that nationalism is being brought to the forefront again. Government circles are preparing to discard the notion of multiculturalism and resort once again to a ‘core culture’, the quintessence of Britishness, teaching subjects to ‘be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her Heirs and Successors according to law.’ (Oath, Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act, 2002).

Multiculturalism is a strategy to hide the real racism of the British state and, by offering crumbs of capitalist prosperity to a layer of the minority ethnic communities, serves as a means of curbing militant resistance to racism. It is an ‘inclusiveness’ which facilitates social control. Focusing on ethnic differences, it undermines class-consciousness. Nonetheless, it resulted in limited concessions to the anti-racist struggle: community centres for minority ethnic groups, religious days celebrated in schools, public service leaflets in translation and so on. It made crude racism unacceptable.


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Britain’s slave labour camps

On 3 May, a badly decomposed body was recovered off the shores of Morecambe Bay, Lancashire. It was thought to be that of the 21st victim of the tragic drowning on 5 February 2004 of 20 mainly Chinese cockle-pickers. Another three missing people, who have not been in contact since February, bring the possible toll to 24 dead. Working a back-breaking 15-hour shift for £1 daily reward, in perilous conditions, in the dark, on notoriously dangerous mudflats, picking cockles in strong winds and waters not much above freezing, their horrible deaths were the last price they paid to support an industry worth £20 million annually. Most of them, like the 58 people who died inside an airtight tomato truck at Dover in June 2000, were from China’s southeastern province of Fujian. This tragedy lifted the veil on the exploitation of migrants to maintain the profits of British agribusiness. CHARLES CHINWEIZU reports.

The super-profits of British imperialism have always been based on the exploitation of the oppressed nations and their émigrés. The ‘opening up’ of China to world markets and international (mainly UK and US) capital has led to privatisation, layoffs, high levels of unemployment and poverty. In these free-trade export-processing zones workers are cheap, taxes practically non-existent and labour and environmental regulations not enforced. One of the first ‘export zones’ was established in 1980 in Fujian Province; however, by 2000 rural incomes were $350 per annum, less than $1 a day, and urban incomes not much better at $750.


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Racism and the Chinese community

Morecambe and lies
The deaths of 21 Chinese cockle-pickers who drowned at Morecambe Bay in February this year threatened to go the way of other similar tragedies to befall exploited migrants in Britain – reduced to the oblivion of statistics.

However an unlikely person, David Eden junior, director of the Liverpool Bay Fishing Company, exposed the truth. The Chinese cocklers suffered daily racist attacks, and after he hired them, three weeks before the tragedy, he and his family began to receive death threats. In the weeks before the tragedy, British cocklers threatened to boycott firms that bought Chinese-picked cockles; they doused Chinese produce with diesel and destroyed it. It was to avoid the British racists working as cocklers that the Chinese braved bad weather conditions and the incoming tides on the day of the tragedy. Gina Tan, a Morecambe Bay resident who personally knew all of the victims, claims the survivors were ‘treated worse than animals on that night’. The only people to be charged by the police, after weeks of investigation, are not English, but three Chinese survivors of the tragedy.


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Racist onslaught on asylum seekers

Since 8 January 2003, about 14,000 people have been left destitute as a result of the Labour government’s implementation of Section 55 of the racist Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002, which denies state support to refugees who don’t claim asylum ‘as soon as reasonably practicable’ after arrival. These ‘failed’ asylum seekers, including victims of rape and torture, are not allowed to work and have no other means of support. CHARLES CHINWEIZU reports.

Seventy-four per cent of all refugee organisations have reported seeing clients refused support although they had applied for asylum within a few days, many within hours, of arrival. Many are forced to sleep rough, lacking essential toiletries and clothing, some with poor physical and mental health. (Hungry and Homeless, Refugee Council, April 2004). On 21 May 2004, after the homelessness charity Shelter and others fought through the courts on behalf of three such destitute refugees, three Appeal Court judges ruled that this was illegal, and contravened Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (subjecting people to inhuman and degrading treatment). Home Secretary David Blunkett now plans to appeal to the House of Lords in defence of his ‘tough measure’ and to end ‘abuse’ of taxpayers’ money.


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Zionists fuel racism in France

All kinds of manipulation by politicians and the media are being used to stigmatise France’s Arab and Muslim community, preventing them from being accepted as a part of society.

On 9 July 2004 a young woman claimed six Africans, including three North Africans, had attacked her and her 13-month-old baby girl on a Parisian train. She claimed they took her bag, stole the money and found an ID Card with an address in the 16th district of Paris on it. That part of Paris being mainly occupied by members of the upper class, they allegedly branded her as Jewish. And then, according to the so-called victim, the nightmare began: they allegedly abused her with anti-Semitic words, tore up her shirt and trousers with a knife and drew swastikas all over her body – this in front of other passengers, who did nothing. She explained to the police how, once the train stopped, the young men escaped, but not without throwing her baby from the pram onto the platform first.

It took just a few hours for this story to generate condemnation from all political parties and stigmatise the Arab-Muslim community, specifically those from North Africa. That minority was depicted as anti-Semitic, violent, alienated and a dangerous threat to the Republic.
Many people took advantage of that story to perpetuate the equation used by Zionists that anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are the same. The President of the Representative Council of Jewish Organisations in France rushed to criticize imams; the Israeli ambassador proclaimed that there are 1.8 million Muslim extremists in France; Julien Dray, spokesperson for the French Socialist Party, blamed This is one of the very few websites on which French Muslims can express themselves – that is when Zionists do not manage to overload the servers. The Minister of Education even linked the story to the issue of the veil!


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Racist Britain – same old story

Racist attacks are on the increase. Chinese, Asian and black people, and especially those whose ‘actual or perceived’ religion is Islam, are constantly subjected to sustained and brutal assaults. The Crown Prosecution Service recorded a 20% increase in reported ‘race hate crimes’ in 2002-03, despite its own racist prosecutors regularly reducing charges and downgrading crimes ‘to remove the race element’ (The Guardian, 7 April 2004). In the meantime, homelessness and overcrowding continue to climb in black and Muslim communities – 42% of Muslim children live in overcrowded homes compared to 12% nationally. Homelessness increased by 77% among ethnic minority households compared with 34% among the general population between 1997 and this year. For black people the figure is 89%. CHARLES CHINWEIZU reports.

Whilst walking home with his ten-year-old nephew in Coventry on 26 September, Jagdeesh Singh was racially abused then kicked and punched over 30 times by two white racists who referred to him as ‘Paki’ and ‘Bin Laden’ (Institute of Race Relations, 30 September). In Swansea, Kalan Kawa Karim, who had been imprisoned and tortured in Iraq, was murdered by a punch to the back of the head. The Iraqi community in Swansea says it is living ‘under a different kind of terror’ with at least one racist incident reported to police daily, and most incidents not reported at all (The Independent, 23 October).


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Blunkett’s police state

The verdict of unlawful killing at the second inquest into the killing of Harry Stanley created uproar in police ranks and a frenzy of lies, half-truths and spin from senior police officers and Home Secretary David Blunkett. Harry Stanley was killed by armed response unit officers Inspector Neil Sharman and Sergeant Devin Fagan on 22 September 1999 while he was walking home carrying a table leg in a plastic carrier bag.

Over 120 police officers refused to carry arms for 36 hours on 2-3 November following the jury’s verdict. The press called this a strike, but the correct term was mutiny. There were no armed response units on London’s streets during this period, but armed anarchy did not break out. The populace did not take up armed robbery, settle old scores with guns or massacre police officers. In fact the streets were arguably safer without 120 armed thugs on the loose.


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Defend Roma rights

In the run-up to the election The Sun newspaper produced a special supplement called ‘Stamp on the camps’; the Conservative Party claimed Gypsy communities were flouting British law and called for more evictions; in some areas, the BNP campaigned on an anti-Gypsy platform; a campaign and website called Middle England in Revolt sprang up, claiming it aims to protect rural communities from illegal Traveller camps. The Labour government continues to make Travellers homeless by evicting them from their own land, and has drafted plans that will make this easier. All these attacks are a part of an organised nationwide racist campaign against the rights of Gypsy communities.

Like racism against asylum seekers, racism against Gypsies is socially accepted. In some parts of Britain you can still read signs declaring ‘no Gypsies or Travellers’. If similar racist literature were produced against Jewish or black communities there would be uproar. In a recent case a ‘bonfire society’ burned a caravan effigy bearing the number plate ‘pikey’ (a racist term for Travellers) and escaped prosecution.


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Terrorising Britain’s immigrant community

The British state is engaged in a systematic policy of terrorising its ethnic minority population. At a time when British terrorists are looting, torturing and murdering their way through Iraq, this domestic terror is essential, now more than ever, to maintain social control at home. Four innocent men who had been arrested with maximum hype and media panic, stood accused of a ‘ricin terror plot’. On 8 April they were acquitted of all charges at the Old Bailey.

A second trial against another four men was then quickly dropped. These eight innocent immigrants who had spent over two years in Belmarsh high security prison, were alleged to be part of an Al Qaida ‘terror network’ who conspired to ‘kill thousands of women and children’. A ninth man, Kamel Bourgass, who turned out to be armed to the teeth with nail-polish remover, cherry stones and castor beans, was then convicted of ‘conspiracy to cause a public nuisance’. This was the only conviction to come out of this £20 million trial. Bourgass had already been sentenced to life imprisonment for the killing, during one of the ‘anti-terror’ raids on a flat in Manchester, of DC Stephen Oake.


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