Oldham — 'Minister of Deportations'

Timothy Raison, Secretary of State for Home Affairs, was met by a hundred-strong picket when he visited Oldham. Oldham's black community turned up in force chanting 'Death to Racism! Fight All Racist Attacks! Self-Defence the Only Way!' and 'Immigration Controls Out!'.

Black people in Oldham live under a regime of police/racist terror. The mosque windows in Oldham are regularly broken and racist slogans painted up in the area, black people are beaten up by gangs of white youths. There have been numerous deportations.

 

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Holloway fightback

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! no 9 - March/April 1981

Police repression in Holloway has continued without mercy since the arrests of 20 local youths at the end of December. At the time a Homsey Road police thug said, 'We want the blacks off the streets for Christmas'.

Not content with harassment of black people on the streets and in their homes, at the courts and in the prisons, the police have now carried their attacks into the schools. Readers can see from the letter printed on this page what happened on Monday 16 February at a North London school. The youth arrested were actually grabbed and beaten up in the school building itself.

The letter which FRFI is pleased to publish was given to our supporters, who have been working regularly in the area, by youths from the school. We are impressed by the solidarity and determination of these youth to organise against police tyranny. They do not see why such actions should be carried out and kept secret from parents and the community as a whole. The school authorities know, the teachers know, so let the world know what can happen to black and working class youths in a London school. That is the message from 150 pupils.

 

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Free the St Pauls 9

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! no 9 - March/April 1981

Three of the St Pauls 12 have been acquitted. In these three cases even the frame-up tactics of the British police and courts could not be made to stick. In the case of one of the acquitted defendants, the Judge was forced to admit that his name had not even been mentioned in the course of police 'evidence'.

The remaining nine face the serious charge of 'joining in common cause to riot' which carries a heavy prison sentence. Of all the hundreds who rose up against police harassment, the state has chosen these nine to act as an example to all those who dare to rebel.

 

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New Cross massacre: Police, press and Parliament cover up

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! no 9 - March/April 1981

On 18 January 1981 a fire deliberately started at a birthday party at 439 New Cross Road, South London, resulted in the cold blooded murder of 13 black children. Mrs Amza Ruddock, who held the birthday party for her 16 year old daughter, Yvonne, lost two children — Yvonne and Paul. Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! extends its deepest sympathy and solidarity to the relatives and friends of the dead and injured. Those who died are Lillian Henry (16) Lloyd Hall (20) Patricia Johnstone (15) Jerry Francis (16) Steve Collins (17) Andrew Gooding (14) Humphrey Brown (18) Peter Campbell (18) Patrick Cummings (16) Owen Thompson (16) Glen Powell (16) Yvonne Ruddock (16) and Paul Ruddock (22). 29 other children were injured, some very severely.

There is a long history of racist and fascist attacks on black people in South London. Within one mile radius of 439 New Cross Road, 4 places have been burned down in the last few years, and shortly before the massacre black people's cars in the area were burnt out by racists. Black people are therefore rightly convinced that the New Cross Massacre was another such murderous and deadly attack. Obscene letters have been received by relatives of the dead and injured gloating over the attack and stating that this is the first of many. One of the letters, received by Mrs Haynes, mother of one of the injured stated 'What a great day it was last Sunday when I heard about the fire and all those niggers going up in flames ...' The response of the black community to the massacre has therefore been a massive anger, shown by meetings of up to 1000 people.

 

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Racism, poverty and cuts

britains racist imigration laws

Two significant reports on race equality were published in October 2017: the government's first release of data from a Race Disparity Audit, which combines data from a wide range of central government departments; and the Runnymede Trust's Intersecting Inequalities: The impact of austerity on Black and Minority Ethnic women in the UK. TOM VICKERS reports.

 

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British immigration controls after Brexit

eu migrants

At the start of September a Home Office document containing proposals for immigration policy following Brexit was leaked. Hiding behind apparent public concern about unrestricted migration, the document sets out a plan for greater control.

The hostility of large sections of the British population to migrants has been actively promoted by the ruling class; yet it also creates problems for them. Key sectors of the economy rely on low-waged migrant labour, but anti-migrant hostility has been used by the ruling class to justify restrictions on migrants’ rights; this in turn enables more intense exploitation and undermines resistance to austerity and wage cuts. Brexit has brought these contradictions to a head.

The report attempts to manage these contradictions by striking ‘the right balance between the economic growth that immigration can generate and its social impacts’, and ‘a balance between economic growth and immigration control by ensuring that economic migrants really are the brightest and best, and that family migrants are capable of integrating’. The government is seeking to make the most of Brexit to further restrict the rights of working class migrants, increase lab­our discipline and further fine-tune immigration to the needs of capital. As the report states: ‘It is not a question of stopping EU migration. Rather, it is a question of ending the position where we are unable to exercise controls, because free movement rights can be exercised at the discretion of the migrant.’

 

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Exploited workers, racist rhetoric: immigration does not cut wages

fight racism4

Political comment by the Editorial Board of FRFI on the review of the report Brexit and the impact of immigration on the UK

The Editorial Board of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! feels it necessary to draw out an important political point that the article below does not make explicit. Racism is the form that national oppression takes in an imperialist nation. That is why the RCG opposes all British immigration controls. It has always been our position that in an imperialist country, immigration restrictions must necessarily be racist. This applies both to claims for asylum and to the ‘management’ of ‘economic migration’. The RCG does not accept the political framework of the report reviewed below. Such studies often disagree with one another, because so many factors influence outcomes at particular times, in particular sectors, and for particular grades of workers. But communists have a fundamentally different starting point: we do not ask whether the existence of one group of workers is good or bad for another group of workers, but how we can defend the interests of the working class as a whole. The article below has utilised the framework of the report in order to show that immigration does not undercut the wages of the British-born working class. This is insufficient: whatever the conclusion of this study, it does not affect the essential communist standpoint on racism and immigration.

 

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Corbyn and co fall in line with the racist status quo

corbyn and co

Throughout the election campaign the immigration policy of the Labour Party has been dictated by the need to square the demands of British capitalism for migrant labour with appeals to racist sections of the electorate who would prefer migrants were excluded from Britain completely.

The final version of the Labour manifesto included a ‘tougher’ approach to immigration, with the addition of a pledge to ‘control’ immigration and a statement that action is needed to prevent migrant workers undercutting the wages of British citizens. There is little evidence that migration actually reduces wages of British workers.

 

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No vote for racists

britains racist imigration laws

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 257 May/June 2017 Election Special

[The] figures prove that last year we deported someone every eight minutes – and we got our priorities straight.’ – Liam Byrne, Labour Immigration Minister, 2008

When last in government, between 1997 and 2010, Labour:

• Passed six repressive immigration acts;

• Introduced a Points Based System for non-EU migrants, with differential rights that privileged largely white migrants from other imperialist countries;

• Exploited migrant labour from Eastern Europe, placing restrictions on access to benefits and on where migrants could work;

• Created a forced dispersal system for asylum seekers, often housing them in appalling conditions, removing their right to work and placing them on a separate welfare system with poverty level benefits;

• Expanded immigration detention to over 3,000 places;

• Deported tens of thousands of people, many to war zones that were the direct result of British interventions, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

 

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RCG joins day of action against detention centres and deportations

IMG 20170513 WA0008

On 13 May, the RCG across Britain supported a day of action against the racist imprisonment and deportation of migrants. Supporters from London and Nottingham along with Focus E15 campaigners joined the demonstration organised by Movement for Justice outside Yarl's Wood Immigration Detention Centre in Bedford, where over 90% of the detainees are women. Meanwhile local demonstrations were organised by RCG branches in Manchester and Newcastle. The day of action against Britain's racist system of laws targeting refugees and other migrants also highlighted the fact that neither Jeremy Corbyn or any other Labour politician is fighting for their rights – promising hundreds of more border guards instead. We salute the women leading the fight on the inside of Britain's immigration prisons and call for building the anti-racist movement on the streets.

Over 500 people were present at the height of the Yarl's Wood demonstration with banners, placards and whistles and horns, shouting and chanting and waving so that the detainees could see us. The women prisoners waved and shouted out of slightly opened windows and some had flags and written messages. Moving speeches were made by former detainees who spoke of the inhumane conditions, the struggle that included hunger strikes to stop the detention of children, on violence and sexual harrassment. These speakers make it clear to the detainees that we will not give up the struggle on the outside and their words were very powerful. The organisers managed to let the crowd hear a detainee on the phone; she demanded her immediate freedom and expressed the horror of her incarceration. Movement for Justice speakers emphasised the racist environment whipped up by Brexit.

 

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Asylum seekers protest against shameful Jomast housing conditions in Tyneside

Two to a room, bedbugs, broken cookers, leaking roofs ... these are all common problems facing Jomast tenants across Tyneside. Under the Home Office Compass contracts, the self-titled ‘urban regeneration specialists’ are subcontracted by notorious security company G4S to house asylum seekers. In sharp contrast to these squalid conditions, Jomast director Stuart Monk has bagged personal wealth of around £175m and is one of the richest men in the north east.

On 23 March FRFI supporters joined the Migration and Asylum Justice Forum (MAJF) to protest at Jomast’s offices, situated in their luxury urban living and leisure development ‘Jesmond three sixty’, where plush two-bedroom apartments are let for £1,275 a month.

 

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British state racism ‘the hostile environment’

britains racist imigration laws

The first months of 2017 have seen an intensification of the ‘hostile environment’ for migrants in Britain, as new measures are passed and previously announced policies take effect. From April new immigration checks will be introduced in hospitals, part of the package of measures introduced following the 2014 and 2016 Immigration Acts. Checks also now operate in areas of everyday life, including private rented housing, employment, banking, and traffic enforcement. A further Immigration Bill is planned later this year. Refugees and migrants are under attack and there is an urgent need to organise and resist. Tom Vickers reports.

Children and families under attack

In February, Ministers capped the number of child refugees to be accepted under the ‘Dubs amendment’ at 350, and introduced a new rule that only those who arrived in Europe before 20 March 2016 would qualify for one of the remaining 150 places. The open racism of the Conservative government has reached the point at which even a tiny number of children are seen as a threat.

 

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The Asylum Market - film on G4S and asylum housing pulled by BBC

This short film, made by Brass Moustache Films, is a powerful insight into the housing situation asylum seekers in Britain are forced into, and the role of G4S. It was due to be shown on the BBC on the Victoria Derbyshire show on the morning of 31 January 2017 but was pulled at short notice apparently due to G4S pressure. We are publishing this on our website to ensure as many people as possible can see some of the reality of life as an asylum seeker in Britain, in spite of any attempts to prevent this.

Fight Britain's racist immigration laws! Freedom for migrants! Justice for refugees!

 

Casey Review: nationalist assimilation

 

In December 2016 the government published the Casey Review into ‘integration and opportunity’, commissioned a year before by David Cameron. The review was led and authored by Dame Louise Casey, formerly the ‘homelessness tsar’, who told people not to give money to homeless people, and now the ‘integration tsar’. Casey also oversaw the 'Troubled Families' programme that followed the uprisings in 2011, and which shifted the blame for police racism, poverty and cuts onto the supposed moral failings of working class families. She has done the same with this review -  blaming Muslims and particularly those of Pakistani and Bangladeshi descent for the inequalities they face and for a whole range of other social problems.

 

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Calais migrant camp razed

The operation to clear and demolish the ‘Jungle’ camp situated near to the French port of Calais began on 24 October 2016. Hundreds of people were herded towards the warehouse where processing was to take place. They were not told where they would be sent and went because they had been threatened with deportation if they failed to co-operate. Before dawn, the CRS (riot police) closed the gate out of the camp and kettled hundreds of youths, forcing them to sit on a muddy bank. Police vans and fire engines were positioned around the perimeter to control and threaten the queuing people, who were separated into four queues (adults, families, unaccompanied children and ‘vulnerable’ people) and assigned a wristband. Across the three-day operation the CRS attacked teenagers and deliberately destroyed their wristbands, meaning that they would be treated as unprocessed adults. The State of Emergency (see ‘France – secularism becomes racism’ on our website) was used to impose a ban on entry to the camp during the operation. ID checks on anyone suspected of being a migrant were carried out at the train station and in the park in front of the town hall.

 

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Racist Attacks: 1980

Leeds: The Police, the Courts and Racist Attacks

Today, when we read in the British press of the activities of the racists in this country, the picture that we are being force-fed is that of a mob of ranting degenerates waving their Union Jack and National Front banners, of Willy Whitelaw or Enoch Powell delivering one of their speeches or even of a house-seller advertising his house for sale to whites only. But how much is this picture a true assessment of the increasing acts of racism blacks in Britain have to put up with. The truth is that British institutionalised racism affects black people day in and day out. It affects them in their employment of they are 'lucky' enough to be employed), it affects them in their education, it affects them on the housing market but most of all it affects them in their dealings with the law — British racist law.

 

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November 5th 1979: Chapeltown

On November 5 the police launched a violent attack on the black people of Chapeltown. This is not the first time that the police have launched such an attack. In Chapeltown, the police have used Bonfire Night as an excuse to try and terrorise young people because they are black and on the streets. Their record over the past few years proves this.

 

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The Attack on Overseas Students in Britain

The overseas students in this country are being victimised and harassed by the British state. The massive increase in fees is perhaps the most devastating of the attacks on them. In many instances situations have arisen where students have not been able to cope with the fee increases and have had to leave without completing their courses. To wage a successful campaign against this victimisation it is important to have a correct understanding of its basis.

 

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Victory against racism at Leeds school

A particularly blatant example of the use of suspension as a method of racist harassment of black school children has recently occurred in Leeds. We report this not only because it highlights the racism of the British educational and judicial system but also because it shows the effectiveness of resistance to the attempts of the state to deprive black children of their education and to split black families.

 

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Racist Attacks

Introduction

Every day, in every town, the British state pursues its campaign of harassment against black people. As the following three cases show, no black person is safe — the old, the sick, the young — all are victims of this campaign. We are publishing the following reports of police harassment not because they represent something exceptional but precisely because they are normal and typical examples of what black people are suffering. What the police did at Southall on April 23rd they did on one day in one concerted attack. What they have done to the X family, whose case is reported below, they have done over a period of years. The results for the X family are as shattering as those suffered by the victims of April 23rd in Southall. The X family now has one son in prison, one son facing charges and one son who is threatened with spending the rest of his life in a mental institution.

 

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Immigration controls: The racist British state

Figh Racism

‘British officials in Bangladesh are telling women and children who want to settle in Britain that they must first have X-ray examinations to prove their identity ... One such case involved a pregnant woman whose skull was X-rayed, despite the fact that Department of Health regulations would prevent such a test on pregnant British women except in cases of absolute medical necessity, because of the danger of an X-ray damaging the unborn baby.' (Guardian 8 February 1979)

Such brutal racist practices, X-rays, virginity tests, the splitting up of families and detention of immigrants, are daily events in the British state's drive to exclude and persecute immigrant workers. The racism of Britain's immigration controls is rooted in the nature of the British state. It is because the British state is an imperialist oppressor state that its immigration controls are necessarily racist.

 

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Defend Southall!

It is now five months since the British state used its police force for a brutal and murderous assault against the black and Asian people of Southall. Accustomed by years of practice, the British state has since taken all measures necessary to cover up what happened on that day. Blessed with the most servile labour movement leader-ship and the most cringing media, British imperialism has now moved smoothly on to the stage which normally follows its bloodiest deeds — the prosecution and persecution of the victims of its assault.

 

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Racist Britain 2016 time to fight back

racist britain

In August the Equality and Human Rights Commission published a major report on the state of race inequality in Britain.1 The report amasses a wealth of statistics that show that, despite decades of race equality legislation, racism continues to operate in every area of British society, and in many respects is getting worse.2 Any movement to defend the interests of the working class as a whole needs to take into account the specific oppression of ethnic minority workers and place anti-racism at the core of its politics.3

Education

The report shows that Black Caribbean and Mixed White/Black Caribbean children are permanently excluded at three times the rate of all children, and Gypsy/Roma and Irish Traveller children have the highest rates of both temporary and permanent exclusion. There is significant evidence of racist bullying in schools, with over 1,400 young people phoning ChildLine for this reason in 2012/13, a 69% increase on the year before.

 

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Theresa May – racist Home Secretary becomes racist Prime Minister

mayPM

On 13 July Theresa May became the Prime Minister who will oversee Britain’s withdrawal from the EU. May’s record as Home Secretary over the past six years of Conservative government equips her alarmingly well for this task and no-one should be fooled by her Remain stance in the run-up to the Referendum; Theresa May is an unrepentant ruling class racist. Nicki Jameson reports.

May addressed the nation from outside Downing Street with a crafted speech reminiscent of Thatcher’s ‘where there is discord…’ Alongside an unambiguous commitment to the Union – not the European one but the United Kingdom – designed as a slap in the face to the Scottish National Party’s pro-EU stance and second independence referendum plans, the speech was replete with rhetoric about fighting injustice and tackling gender and race inequality, aimed directly at the constituencies of UKIP and the Labour Party.

 

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National Day of Action against the 2016 Immigration Act

On 13 August the Migration and Asylum Justice Forum called a national day of action against the racist 2014 and 2016 Immigration Acts. Around the country supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! joined the protests and will continue to support this important work. We would like to thank the Migration Forum for calling this positive action and engaging so many different groups in the campaign. Below, we publish the report from the Migration Forum with pictures of all the different protests. We look forward to taking part in the next action!

 

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Organise against state racism

After brexist

As an initial reaction to the police killings of black people in the US, but also in response to state racism and violence in Britain, a wave of anti-racist protest took place across Britain in July. Most of the demonstrations were led by working class black people, who brought city centres to a standstill and protested outside police stations, law courts and the offices of the so-called Independent Police Complaints Commission. When 18-year-old Mzee Mohammed died in police custody in Liverpool on 14 July, this movement was ready to respond, and on 16 July more than a thousand people took to the streets of Liverpool. In Manchester, a longstanding black activist told FRFI, following a Black Lives Matter march in the city: ‘The last time I saw Moss Side like this was 1981’ – a time of widespread radical politics and uprisings led by black sections of the working class. Tom Vickers reports.

 

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Immigration raids in London and Lancashire

The introduction of the Immigration Act 2016 has seen a wave of immigration raids across the country, with restaurants in particular targeted for 'illegal' workers. On 4 July in London, at a dozen branches of the luxury burger chain Byron, workers were summoned by management to bogus early morning training meetings. UK border agents then burst into the rooms, shouting 'Nobody move, this is immigration!' UKBA later confirmed that 35 nationals from Brazil, Nepal, Egypt and Albania had been arrested and faced deportation. One worker, who has now been deported, told the Guardian: 'I feel so bad... I worked hard, I paid taxes and Byron did this to us. It is immoral. They were happy to employ me for years doing really hard work that no British person would do.' Protests against this despicable collaboration between Byron management and UKBA have been taking place, with one in London on Monday 1 August closing down two branches. Another will be taking place in Edinburgh on Friday 5 August, called by the Migrants Solidarity Network, from 17:30 at Byron Burgers on North Bridge.  

 

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Racism and poverty in Britain

Yarls Wood Immigration Removal Centre

Some have seen the election of Sadiq Khan as Mayor of London as a victory against racism – The Guardian claimed: ‘His election shows British Muslims they can succeed against the odds’. The defeat of Zac Goldsmith’s racist election campaign is welcome, but what does the election of London’s first Muslim Mayor mean for the majority of Muslims, ethnic minorities and migrants in Britain? Tom Vickers reports.

We are witnessing a rapid rise in state-driven racism, with thousands locked up in immigration detention, tens of thousands of deportations every year, routine workplace immigration raids, ID checks at London tube stations and ever more punitive surveillance and restrictions on access to services and state support for anybody suspected of being a migrant. On 14 May the 2016 Immigration Act became law, further intensifying this attack.

 

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35th anniversary of the Black People’s Day of Action

OBPDA 1981

‘We had to disrupt British society; that was absolutely clear.’

2 March 2016 marked the 35th anniversary of one of the most significant political demonstrations in 20th century British history, and one which deserves to be better remembered. Around 20,000 people marched across London to protest against the racist murder of 13 young black people in the New Cross fire six weeks earlier. The Black People’s Day of Action brought large parts of the capital to a standstill and marked a turning point in the struggle of black people against the racist institutions of the British state, laying the ground for the uprisings in Brixton, Liverpool 8, Moss Side and other inner city areas, which were to follow in the months and years ahead. FRFI took part in the demonstration and we wrote at the time that:

 

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Calais - Migrants fight for their lives

Thousands of destitute migrants including unaccompanied children are being forced to live in barbaric conditions in ‘the Jungle’, the makeshift campsite in Calais. They are faced with increasing repression from the French authorities. Most recently, demands have been made for all structures within 100 metres of a nearby motorway embankment to be vacated and moved or demolished. On 18 January, bulldozers were brought in, clearing the area. Many residents are anxious that these evictions won’t stop at the 100-metre mark, estimated to include approximately 20% of the camp, and the homes of 1,500 people. Amy Marineau reports.

Faking compassion, the French authorities set up a ‘container camp’ (shipping containers) to house the people displaced by the evictions. The camp is prison-like – surrounded by barbed wire, requiring a fingerprint scan to leave or enter. These evictions also disrupt the communities which have developed among the refugees. Many migrants are concerned that, if they are moved to this container camp, their options for residence would be restricted and they would perhaps be allowed refuge only in France.

 

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Prevent - criminalising Muslims

During the first ten months of 2015, a total of 1,355 people under the age of 18 were referred to the government’s ‘Channel’ re-education programme for ‘suspected extremists’. This compares to 466 during the previous year. Between 2012 and 2016, 415 children under the age of 10 were referred to the programme. While the government pretends that the Channel programme is built on dialogue with faith leaders and communities, this is clearly not the case – instead this ‘re-education’ forms a central part of the government’s strategy to isolate and criminalise the Muslim community under the guise of defending the country from the threat of violent extremism, targeting in particular young and vulnerable working class Muslims. Becky Fry reports.

The ‘Prevent Strategy’ was first introduced under the 1997-2010 Labour government, and, while claiming to target all forms of ‘extremism’, both political and religious, focused predominantly on mosques, university Islamic societies and, prisons with large numbers of Muslim prisoners. In FRFI 246 we reported on how on 1 July 2015 this ideological offensive became the statutory ‘Prevent Duty’; section 26 of the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 states that all employees of councils, police forces, prisons, health services and schools have a duty to exercise ‘due regard’ to prevent people being drawn into terrorism. Everyone working in public sector service provision, from leaders to frontline staff, is expected to look out for symptoms of ‘radicalisation’ and take action to notify the appropriate authority of any suspicions, based upon finding antipathy toward ‘British Values’

 

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