Secrets, lies and brutality: Britain’s colonial record

In April, the Foreign Office finally released thousands of files relating to British colonial rule, having previously claimed they were ‘lost’. These documents, which were secretly shipped out of colonies such as Kenya, Aden and Malaya prior to independence, have only come to light as a result of a legal challenge a year ago made by lawyers for four former Mau Mau members brutally tortured by British officials during the struggle for Kenyan independence in the 1950s. About a sixth of the archive has now been published. In all, files relating to the military and police activities of British colonial administrations in 37 territories, including Cyprus, Guyana, Botswana and Lesotho, will eventually be published.

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Stephen Lawrence verdict: ‘no cause for celebration’

‘Despite these verdicts, today is not a cause for celebration...How can I celebrate when I know that this day could have come 18 years ago if the police who were meant to find my son’s killers had not failed so miserably to do so...The fact is that racism and racist attacks are still happening in this country and the police should not use my son’s name to say that we can move on.’ Doreen Lawrence

On 3 January 2012, two white men were convicted of the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence in southeast London nearly 19 years ago. The convictions of Gary Dobson and David Norris are, however, only a partial victory for all those, most notably Stephen’s parents, Doreen and Neville Lawrence, who campaigned so long for justice for their son. In doing so, they exposed entrenched police racism, culminating in the McPherson Report of 1999. Given the complete shambles of the original police investigation, marred from the very start by racist prejudice, corruption and sheer incompetence, it is extraordinary that there have been any convictions at all; the jailing of two of Stephen’s killers was made possible only by forensic advances since 1993 which allowed microscopic samples of blood, hair and fibres to link the two men to the scene of the crime and a 2003 change to the law that allowed Dobson, in the light of this new ‘compelling’ evidence, to be prosecuted again, having been cleared of the murder in 1996.

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Manchester: Farooqi family faces collective punishment

At the beginning of September in Manchester, Munir Farooqi, Israr Malik and Matthew Newton were convicted under the Terrorism Act of attempting to recruit people to go to Afghanistan to fight for the Taliban against British and US occupation forces. Now, not only has Munir been given a life sentence, but his family is facing eviction from their home by the courts in an act of vindictive collective punishment.

Munir and his brothers ran Islamic information stalls in Manchester which distributed religious literature. The police operation that led to Munir and the two other men being convicted lasted for over a year and involved two undercover police officers joining the stalls and pretending to convert to Islam. At the end of the trial Detective Chief Superintendent Tony Porter of the North West Counter Terrorism Unit (NWCTU) admitted, ‘this was an extremely challenging case, both to investigate and successfully prosecute at court, because we did not recover any blueprint, attack plan or endgame for these men’. In other words it was the evidence of these two undercover cops that was crucial to the conviction of Munir and his brothers. Harris Farooqi, Munir’s son, was also on trial but was found not guilty; Harris has stated that the undercover cops had been engaged in a systematic attempt to entrap him.

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Racism, Imperialism and the Working Class

Revolutionary Communist No 9, June 1979

Discussion Article

Introduction

The British imperialist state is engaged in a systematic, organised and continuous offensive against black and immigrant workers in Britain. No other terms can describe the extent and the ferocity of the attack that the British state has unleashed against black people.

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Remembering the Viraj Mendis Defence Campaign

The Revolutionary Communist Group has always emphasised the link between fighting racism in Britain and fighting imperialism internationally.  In 1984, when one of our own members, Viraj Mendis, was threatened with deportation to Sri Lanka, we set up the Viraj Mendis Defence Campaign (VMDC).  Over the next four and a half years, the campaign brought together communists, anarchists, Christians, liberals and others, and was supported by thousands of individuals, hundreds of organisations and, eventually, the majority of the parliamentary Labour Party.  In 1986 the campaign organised a march from Manchester, where Viraj was based, to the Home Office in London, drawing in support from all the cities in between as it went. Later the same year, having lost his legal appeals against deportation, Viraj went into sanctuary in the Church of the Ascension in Hulme, Manchester.  Over the next two years the church became a focus for anti-racist and anti-deportation campaigning and VMDC hosted major conferences and demonstrations.

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The road to murder

Anders Behring Breivik

On 22 July 2011 Anders Breivik bombed  government buildings in Oslo, killing eight people, and then shot dead 69 members of the Workers’ Youth League of the Norwegian Labour Party on an island youth camp, wounding many others. Breivik’s online manifesto advocates the expulsion of Muslims from Europe, support for Israel combined with anti-Semitism and hostility to ‘cultural Marxism’. Such hatred of Muslims and belief in racial superiority has been fed by a steady stream of lies by the ruling class. The cold calculation with which Breivik planned these murders reflects the racist incitement which has accompanied the ‘war on terror’ over the last ten years.

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Defend Dale Farm Travellers!

As we go to press, Travellers on the Dale Farm site in Basildon, Essex, are waiting to hear whether the High Court will extend the reprieve against eviction they won on 19 September, as well as ruling on two further judicial review applications lodged on 22 September.

The Travellers won the last-ditch injunction as bailiffs were already entering the site and supporters had locked themselves to gates and barricades. The High Court postponed the eviction on the grounds that Basildon Council’s eviction notices are incomplete and the council might ‘go further’ than the eviction notices allowed. However, no one is under any illusion that the reprieve is permanent. The battle to save Dale Farm depends on mobilising the widest possible forces on the ground because the racist council, pandering to local prejudice, is determined to win a battle they say has already cost £8 million and whose final cost could reach £18 million.

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Fight all deportations!

While the Con-Dem coalition government continues to implement all the racist immigration policies brought in by the Labour government during its 13 years in power, activists and the few remaining legal aid immigration lawyers continue to challenge these attacks, and have had some recent inspiring victories.

• On 21 May the Upper Tribunal of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber ruled that ‘in relation to the proposed administrative removal or deportation of one or both of his non-national parents, the welfare of a child, particularly a child who is a British citizen, is a primary consideration’. This was the latest in a series of crucial rulings over the past year, which have compelled the UK Borders Agency to pay far more attention to the effect that deportation of parents will have on their children.

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Support Dale Farm Travellers against eviction

dale_farm_courtConservative-controlled Basildon Council is poised to evict hundreds of Travellers from Dale Farm in Essex, at a cost of £9.5 million. This follows the home office announcement in June that it will contribute £4.65 million to the policing costs, thereby giving the green light to the council’s racist assault.

Dale Farm is one of the largest Traveller communities in Europe, consisting of nearly a hundred separate family plots, mainly owned by Irish Travellers, although there are also some Roma families. While almost half the plots have planning permission, the remainder have consistently been refused planning consent, even though the site was previously a disused scrap yard.

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John Freddy Suarez's deportation stopped for the second time! - 24 June 2011

John Freddy’s family

On the order of Home Office authorities, John Freddy Suarez faced deportation again this morning, Friday 24 June. Thankfully his deportation has now been stopped for a second time.

At 9pm last night legal attempts to get an injunction to suspend the deportation ended without success. John Freddy’s family were saddened and disappointed that once again a judge had overlooked the multiple irregularities of his case. At dawn on Friday, John Freddy was moved into isolation in the immigration detention centre where he is being held, ready to be transferred onto the Iberia flight from Heathrow which would return him to Colombia.

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30th Anniversary - The Bradford 12 and the fight against racism

The Bradford 12 were young Asian men, members and supporters of the Asian Youth Movement, who were arrested in July 1981 on charges of conspiracy. Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! joined their year-long defence campaign and our paper carried the report of their victory in issue number 21, July/August 1982. ‘After a trial lasting eight weeks in Leeds Crown Court the jury found them all not guilty of the charges of conspiracy and making an explosive substance with intent to endanger life and property. A great victory has been won for all oppressed people against British imperialism.’

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Newcastle - Facing up to the EDL

In Newcastle, anti-cuts activists have to face both political policing and threats from the fascist English Defence League (EDL). The HSBC3 are three activists arrested and subsequently charged with peacefully protesting outside a Newcastle branch of HSBC last December. Charges of police assault against one defendant were dropped before the trial at the end of March, but the two others, Mark Pearson and Patrick Reay, were found guilty of breach of the peace and police obstruction and fined £760 in total. The two have appealed, and a Crown Court hearing has been set for 27-28 September. A financial appeal has also been launched to cover the fines and legal costs. Send pledges to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For news visit the campaign blog at: www.defencecampaign.wordpress. com

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Charity collaborates with imprisonment of children

Charity collaborates with imprisonment of childrenFollowing the LibDem party’s insistence that the Coalition government honour an election pledge to stop keeping children in immigration detention centres, the government has contracted Barnado’s, Britain’s largest children’s charity, to help run a new 'family friendly' ‘pre-departure accommodation facility’ in Pease Pottage, Sussex, near to Gatwick airport.

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Stop the deportation of John Freddy Suarez Santander! - 16 April 2011

Stop the deportation of John Freddy Suarez Santander! - 16 April 2011

John Freddy Suarez Santander arrived in this country along with his family more than 17 years ago, when he was only six years old. Unfortunately, when he was 17 he committed a criminal offence and was sent to a young offenders’ institute for seven months. Two years after his release, the British Labour government implemented a law to the effect that immigrants with criminal records should face deportation. John Freddy was arrested and served with a deportation order.

His deportation was stopped following a protest at the airport by more than 50 family members and friends wearing T-shirts with his face on them and the slogan ‘Please don’t take my son away!’ John Freddy was removed from the aeroplane and the deportation was suspended. Our protest was legitimate because John Freddy’s case had been taken to the European Court of Human Rights and was awaiting consideration of the following arguments:

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Cameron plays the racist card

Prime Minister David Cameron chose to make a statement about what he calls ‘state multiculturalism’ on 5 February, the same day as a much publicised English Defence League march through Luton in south east England. Cameron’s speech was a muddled mixture of clichés recycled from those of his Labour predecessor Gordon Brown promoting Britishness, but it contained nothing as specific as Brown’s suggestion that Labour’s supporters should ‘embrace the union flag’ (Union Jack). Cameron gave no indication of what he means by ‘state multiculturalism’, but made the usual attacks on behaviours ‘that run counter to our values’, throwing in terrorism and forced marriage as examples.

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Migrant workers in Greece win hunger strike victory against racism

On 13 March 2011, 300 migrants won a hard-fought struggle against the Greek government. The migrants, most of whom faced deportation to North Africa, began a hunger strike at the end of January in protest at the refusal to grant them documentation to remain in Greece.

Their demands were:

• The immediate legalisation of the 300 undocumented workers on hunger strike;

• The legalisation of all undocumented workers;

• The abrogation of the Dublin II Regulation which puts the lives of migrants in danger by turning immigration detention in some countries into warehouses where violence and human rights violation are commonplace. (Under the Regulation asylum seekers can be returned to the first EU country they entered. Due to its geographical location, Greece is commonly a first country.)

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