Frontex – the face of Fortress Europe and Support sacked cleaners! and Sans-papiers struggle in France

‘...with external land borders of 8,000 km and sea borders of 80,000 km, migration to [Europe] is a considerable attraction for those seeking the chance of a better life, or simply trying to escape from their own countries for whatever reason. The abolition of nearly all the internal borders makes it all the more important that the external borders should be efficiently policed, and that there should be close cooperation between the border guards of the different States.’
(FRONTEX: the EU external borders agency, House of Lords Report 2007-08)

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Phil Woolas – front man for Labour Party racism

Newly-appointed immigration minister Phil Woolas is the current front man for a very nasty racist British Labour government that is facing a downturn in the economy and turning on the traditional scapegoat in times of domestic difficulty – the foreigner. In Phil Woolas it has found its man. Susan Davidson reports.

He is MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth which has a high Pakistani and Kashmiri population. He says, ‘It’s had a race riot, it’s had a huge British National Party (BNP) presence and it’s a marginal seat. It’s a complete crucible but we’ve never had a BNP councillor – I hope I’ve had something to do with that by getting in and getting dirty’.

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Migrant workers hit by capitalist crisis

Since 2000 the Labour government has been rearranging the immigration system, primarily to exclude black workers from Asia and Africa. Immigration of low-skilled workers from countries outside the EU has been shut off via the Points-Based System, while short-term immigration from the former socialist countries of eastern Europe has been encouraged. By April 2008 there were 665,000 migrants from eastern Europe living in Britain – around two-thirds from Poland.

Marx explained how capitalism relies on a ‘reserve army of labour’ and how this ‘mass of human material always ready for exploitation’ keeps wages low for the mass of the working class and maintains workers in a state of uncertainty and instability, knowing they may be hired and fired as needed.

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Immigration detainees fight back in Italy

As reported in the last two issues of FRFI, confrontation has grown between the reactionary, racist ruling class under the leadership of Silvio Berlusconi and those forces in Italy beginning to fight back. On 24 January up to 800 migrants and refugees escaped from the deportation centre in Lampedusa, a small island 200km south of Sicily and 100 km off the coast of Tunisia. The remaining detainees then tore down the security gates, meaning around 1,300 people were able to escape, although the majority then returned. Migrants marched on the town hall, chanting ‘Freedom! Freedom!’ and ‘Help us’.

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Charter flights to repression

In November 2008, Immigration Minister Phil Woolas boasted that the government is deporting immigrants at a rate of one every eight minutes. To achieve this, it is making increasing use of charter flight mass deportations. Many of these have been to northern Iraq. On 17 September 2008, 52 Kurdish asylum seekers, who had physically resisted being put on a flight two days before, were deported from Stansted airport. On 27 October, another 50 were deported. On 15 December, 46 people were deported on a Hamburg International flight via Germany. One of the deportees was taken off the plane and sent back to Britain, after wounding himself with scissors. In January 2009, another 25 people were deported.

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Seeking asylum –  fleeing imperialism
No to deportations! Defend asylum seekers and migrant workers!

Asylum seekers and migrant workers are organising in defence of their right to remain in Britain. Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! supports this fight back. We understand that racism against immigrants in Britain is directly linked to Britain’s imperialist wars and plunder around the world.

Aliens, settlers, refugees, immigrants and asylum seekers

The history of Britain is the history of migration – a continual process of people moving into and out of this country. Over the centuries Romans, Vikings, Normans, Irish people, Africans, Jews, Italians, Chinese and Indian people, among others, have settled here and have contributed to forming the Britain of today.  Since the 17th century, 17 million people have left Britain to settle elsewhere in the world. Today 2.3 million British people work in the European Union.

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Kids are ‘Alright’

kids alright

Last August's MORI/T1IC poll suggested that 60% of 18 to 24 year-olds won't vote. According to the Treasury this is as high as 86% among young black people. In ‘contrast’ 1995’s The Kids Are Alright? survey said most cared about the NHS (66%), rights for the disabled (71%) and housing the homeless (73%). Young people endure rates of unemployment that are double the national average; three-quarters of under-24 year olds in Britain earn less than the European decency threshold. Those rich enough to make it to higher education will shortly be expected to foot the entire bill themselves; Labour pledge to get 250,000 young people off benefits.

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Manifesto for action

housin marc1

☭ Fight for jobs, homes, fair benefits and a living wage for all

• organise to defend the unemployed, the homeless, families threatened with homelessness, the low paid, pensioners

• fight the Jobseeker’s Allowance

• end all means-testing

• for a decent minimum pension linked to the rise in average pay

• for the restoration of full housing benefit to single people

• fight the anti-trade union laws

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