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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Red door apartheid for asylum seekers

Jomast, the company contracted by the Home Office to provide housing for asylum seekers in the North East of England has finally agreed to repaint the characteristically red doors on their properties in Middlesbrough after reports of years of racist attacks hit the headlines.

Jomast, self-styled ‘urban regeneration specialist and pre-eminent force in the UK property market’, holds assets of more than £250m. Allegedly to cut costs, Jomast bought a lot of red paint to be used mainly on properties housing refugees. The Home Office’s forced dispersal policy means that Middlesbrough is home to 982 asylum seekers, one per 173 of the population, the highest proportion in Britain, breaching government guidelines. Middlesbrough has the second highest unemployment rate in Britain at 14.4%, and the End Child Poverty campaign reports that 35% of children in the city live in poverty. Refugees, after facing huge obstacles to enter Britain, are lumped in one of the most deprived areas of the country and singled out with a bright red door.

 

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