Home Office concedes Israel is a racist state

Despite every form of genocidal attack on them, many Palestinian people living either within the 1948 borders of Israel or the Occupied Territories would rather die than leave their land. The right of return remains a central demand of the struggle for those ethnically cleansed in the Nakba and since. Nonetheless, as the Zionist regime steps up its onslaught, the demand on western countries to grant asylum to Palestinian refugees fleeing persecution is both valid and necessary. FRANCIS  MILLS reports.

 

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British capitalism and the slave trade

Capitalism and Slavery, Eric Williams, Penguin Modern Classics, paperback,
February 2022, £9

capitalism and slavery

First published in the US in 1944 and later in England by Andre Deutsch in 1964, Capitalism and Slavery has not been easy to obtain in Britain until this new Penguin edition, although it has been continuously available and widely studied in Europe, West Africa, and the Americas.

 

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Stand up to state racism: no deportations!

On 15 November the Supreme Court ruled that the government’s plan to ‘offshore’ asylum seekers by sending them to Rwanda was unlawful. However, the Conservative Party is so wedded to the idea of transporting migrants to East Africa that the Prime Minister and latest Home Secretary immediately announced plans to carry on regardless of the court’s unanimous judgment that it is unsafe to do so. Nicki Jameson reports.

 

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Migrants not to blame for housing crisis

With Britain’s capitalist crisis driving increasing numbers of people into destitution and homelessness, the ruling class reaches for one of the oldest pages in its playbook – blaming immigrants for rising rents and shortages of social housing, creating a scapegoat for a housing crisis that is in reality a result of underfunding and privatisation. The government has deliberately used hyperbole, racism and propaganda to foment hysteria about small boat crossings and migrant hotels, and thus justify the increasingly dire and hostile conditions they are driving asylum seekers into.

 

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No to Britain’s Racist Laws

The Conservative government’s draconian, racist plans to prevent so-called ‘illegal migration’ are in disarray. In a bid to secure the votes of reactionary sections of the electorate at the next general election, Labour leader Keir Starmer has weighed in with his own set of strong-arm plans to attack people seeking asylum in Britain. Nicki Jameson reports.

 

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No to the Bibby Line prison barge!

On 5 April 2023, the Tory government announced it would use the shipping barge Bibby Stockholm to accommodate asylum seekers. What would be in effect a floating prison would be leased from the privately-owned Bibby Line Group, which has jumped at the opportunity to profit from state racism more than once in the past. Although the Tories have touted the use of the barge as a cheaper alternative to housing asylum seekers in hotels, the reality is that there are very few vessels which could be used in this way, and certainly not enough to accommodate the 50,000 people still in hotels at the end of June.

 

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Racist British state criminalises migrants

The racist Conservative government’s Illegal Migration Bill is now law and the oppressive prison ship chartered by the government to warehouse asylum seekers has docked in Portland Harbour. Although the government is in disarray and likely to lose the next election, it faces only muted opposition to its vicious anti-migrant campaign. NICKI JAMESON reports.

 

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Atlanta’s Cop City: police brutality and state repression

Three years on from the explosive Black Lives Matter protests across the US, police brutality has continued, with US police killing 1,097 people in 2022, the highest number in the last three years. Black people still make up a disproportionate number of the victims. Atlanta, Georgia, is no exception to the trend of racist violence by US police. In Atlanta, black people made up 88% of people killed by the police between 2013 and 2021 despite being about half of the population. As the ruling class in Atlanta attempts to further militarise their police force, Atlanta becomes a new epicenter of a war between anti-racist protesters and environmental protesters and the police. The latest attacks on protesters builds on a long history of US state attacks on anti-racist and environmental protest: from the Civil Rights Movement (1954-1968) to the George Floyd protests (2020), from Standing Rock Sioux protests (2016) to Keystone XL Pipeline protests (2008-2017).

 

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Adriana Disaster - fortress Europe murder

In the early hours of the morning of 14 June 2023, the Adriana, a refugee boat carrying approximately 750 people, capsized and sank off the coast of Greece. Only 81 bodies have been found, but it is clear that hundreds more have drowned. The boat was overcrowded with Pakistani, Syrian, and Palestinian refugees and migrants; there were up to 100 children below decks. The boat was taking a route from Libya to Italy, one which has been declared the deadliest on Earth by the International Organisation for Migration. Since then, the Greek coastguard and government have tried to cover up for their role in the sinking of the ship and the hundreds of lives lost. It was mass murder.

On the morning of 13 June a plane from European Union’s border agency Frontex notified Italian and Greek officials after spotting the boat at an estimated 47 nautical miles from Pylos, Greece. The Greek authorities failed to respond three times to the notification and neither the Greek coastguard nor Frontex attempted any sort of intervention until 5.53pm when an urgent SOS was replayed to them by small boats emergency hotline Alarmphone.

 

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Racist government racist ‘opposition’

The Conservative government is systematically dismantling all legal protection previously afforded to marginalised groups in Britain via a raft of new legislation. Foremost amongst its targets are asylum seekers and migrants. The Labour ‘opposition’ is openly collaborating with this process. NICKI JAMESON reports.

 

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Rest in Power Comrade Tongogara

Tongogara

Brother Tongogara (born Danny Morrell) passed away peacefully in Barnet Hospital on Thursday 11 May 2023. Born in Jamaica in 1942 on 6 February (he was proud to share a birthday with Bob Marley), he lived in Tottenham, London, for most of his adult life. A long-time friend and supporter of many campaigns across London and internationally, Comrade Tongogara will be well known to many FRFI readers. He was an untiring campaigner, omnipresent at events such as Africa Liberation Day, May Day, taking political messages to Notting Hill Carnival, picketing the Home Office and outside the BBC for Irish prisoners. He supported the free Leonard Peltier campaign as well as regularly protesting outside the US embassy and the high court.

 

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Black resistance: a history

Race to the Bottom: Reclaiming Antiracism
Azfar Shafi and Ilyas Nagdee, Pluto Press 2022, 192pp, £9.99 paperback

This book is unusual in several ways. It is a short manifesto written with intent to persuade. It is also a potted history of Black movements in Britain referencing the 1945 Fifth Pan-African Congress in Manchester up to the Black Lives Matter explosion of protest on the streets in 2020. There is no consistent chronological order with pauses in the text to analyse themes on the way. As a result, many historical references are fleeting and so many protagonists are named that it must be challenging for readers unfamiliar with the material. Reclaiming Antiracism is not an academic book: there is no index or bibliography and citations are mostly from websites. However it is a pleasure to read a passionate and powerful dissection of modern antiracism where the authors have an argument to make and are not afraid to show their partiality. Their often-personal tone starts with the Acknowledgments where siblings are named, and it is hoped that ‘God, the most merciful, the most compassionate’ will accept their efforts.

 

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Racists mobilise against migrant hotels

On 10 February, a racist protest against asylum seekers housed in the Suites Hotel in Kirkby on the outskirts of Liverpool ended in a near-riot, with a police van burned out. The police that night were quickly overrun by the mob; the protest had descended into violence by the time it was due to begin at 8pm. Videos circulated online showing participants shouting ‘let’s have it then!’ and ‘get them rapist ISIS bastards out of that hotel’. The smoke was accompanied by the sound of ‘get them out!’ and ‘burn it down!’ coming from the 400 or so protestors. Although the racist Patriotic Alternative was involved in organising the event, the overwhelming bulk of the pack was made up of local residents, as the addresses of the 15 arrested were to show. Further protests across England followed during February and March, including in Rotherham, Newquay, Skegness and Wallasey on the Wirral. Hundreds joined some of the protests, but none involved the violence witnessed in Kirkby.

 

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Fight Britain’s racist immigration laws!

The Conservative government has unveiled its latest piece of racist legislation. Designed to garner support from the same constituency who put the Tories in power and voted to leave the European Union, the uncompromisingly titled Illegal Migration Bill is one of the government’s most extreme gambits so far. NICKI JAMESON reports.

 

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Black people seven times more likely to die following police restraint

British police stop and search a black man

A report by the charity Inquest entitled: 'I can’t breathe’: Race, death and British policing[i] exposes racist police violence in restraint-related incidents which has led to the disproportionate deaths of black people. The report analyses data from the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) and Inquest’s own casework to reveal the escalation of force when restraining black people.

 

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Shamima Begum vs racist state

Shamima Begum

On 22 February 2023 Shamima Begum lost her appeal to the Special Immigration Appeals commission (SIAC) against the 2019 decision to remove her British citizenship. Begum was trafficked to Syria in 2015, aged just 15, and for the last four years has been engaged in a bitter battle against the revocation of her citizenship and for the right to return home to Britain. This is the latest in a succession of adverse judgements in her case; in 2021 the Supreme Court upheld the refusal by the Home Secretary to allow her to enter Britain in order to participate in the SIAC proceedings. These rulings illustrate the abject racism of the British state and the intensifying brutality of Britain’s racist immigration system. ANNIE O’CONNOR reports.

 

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Migrants are not to blame for the crisis

As we enter 2023, the Tory government remains desperate to deflect from the capitalist crisis which is drastically affecting the standard of living of the working class and increasing sections of the middle class. Although refugees and migrants bear zero blame for the collapse of the NHS, or soaring fuel and food prices, they continue to be the government’s prime scapegoat. NICKI JAMESON reports.

 

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British state racism: hunger and poverty

Foodbank

Whilst the British government continues its crusade against ‘illegal immigration’ with a raft of increasingly repressive, racist measures, the reality for those who fall within the existing legal frameworks continues to be one of intense hostility. A recent report by the University of Hertfordshire and Food Foundation titled ‘Immigration Policy and Food Insecurity in the UK’ lays bare the precarious situation of migrants and asylum seekers facing disproportionate levels of food poverty. Just as during the pandemic, it is black and Asian migrants who are facing the most severe effects of the ‘cost of living crisis’.

 

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Black deaths in prison

Annabella Landsberg, Winston Augustine and Tyrone Givans all died in prison as a result of neglect by the prison staff

In October 2022, the charity Inquest published a report detailing the effects of institutional racism on the prison estate which reveals how even a short term in prison could spell a death sentence for ethnic minorities.* The report shows that neglect of physical health in the prison system is highest amongst black, Asian and mixed-race people. This is also the case for neglect of mental health (including people of eastern European background). Black and mixed race people in prison were actually affected the most in six out of seven of the critical issues outlined in the report: inappropriate use of segregation, racial stereotyping, bullying, victimisation and the failure to respond to warning signs, as well as neglect of physical and mental health.

 

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British State, Racist State!

Having spent a brief period in the political wilderness during the short reign of Liz Truss as Prime Minister, Suella Braverman was reappointed as Home Secretary by Rishi Sunak on 25 October. Whilst none of the Conservative leadership can be said to have any compassion for the working class, especially not for migrants, like the also reappointed Justice Minister Dominic Raab, Braverman typifies a particularly poisonous strand of Tory politicians, riven with naked ruling class hatred for the oppressed. NICKI JAMESON reports.

 

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Shamima Begum – trafficking victim

Shamima Begum

In 2015, 15-year-old Shamima Begum, left Bethnal Green, east London, along with Amira Abase (15) and Kadiza Sultana (16), to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). In a new book, early allegations that the girls were aided on their journey by Canadian intelligence agents have been corroborated.

 

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Justice for Chris Kaba

RCG/FRFI march for justice for Chris Kaba

On 5 September 2022, 24-year-old rapper and father-to-be Chris Kaba was executed by Brixton police in south London after a police car rammed into the vehicle he was driving. Kaba was killed by a single shot from a police marksman. He was unarmed. His death is the latest in a long line of deaths at the hands of the British police. NICKI JAMESON and LEV ORFEU report.

 

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Fight deportations! Defend human rights!

At the eleventh hour on the evening of Tuesday 14 June 2022 some of the Conservative government’s worst nightmares came true, as the combined forces of protesters, progressive lawyers and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) prevented the take-off of a deportation flight to Rwanda. Further attempts at mass deportation under the ‘Rwanda scheme’ are now on hold pending the Tory leadership contest and legal hearings in September and October. However, regardless of whether Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss ends up at the helm, the government will continue attacking migrants and asylum seekers. NICKI JAMESON reports.

 

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Rwanda deportations: FRFI protests

South London FRFI protest outside the Immigration Removal Centre at Gatwick Airport

The Home Office was defeated in its first attempt to deport 100 asylum seekers to Rwanda on 14 June after a wave of protests and legal action. The Revolutionary Communist Group (RCG) and Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! (FRFI) supporters organised and joined protests around the country demanding the cancellation of the Rwanda deportation flight as well as an end to deportations and immigration detention altogether.

 

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Outsourcing asylum seekers: state human trafficking

Newcastle FRFI organise a protest against the Rwanda deportations scheme (photo: FRFI)

On 28 April the Nationality and Borders Act 2022 became law. Despite heated debate on some of the more controversial measures, there was never sufficient parliamentary opposition to prevent it being passed. Two weeks prior to the Act being given Royal Assent, the government announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Rwanda, which will allow it to transport asylum seekers from Britain to that country. NICKI JAMESON reports.

 

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Rwanda protest in London: Labour and police sabotage

London FRFI protests outside the Home Office against the planned deportations to Rwanda

The Home Office has been defeated in its attempt to deport 100 people to Rwanda on a charter flight on 14 June, after a wave of protests and legal challenges. RCG/FRFI branches around the country organised and joined in protests at courts, government institutions and detention centres to oppose the plans. On the day the flight was due to depart, direct action by protesters at the airport delayed the take-off long enough for a judgement from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to be issued. In a last-minute intervention, the ECHR judged in the case of an Iraqi asylum seeker that he should not be deported to Rwanda until a full decision has been reached by domestic courts on the legality of the Rwanda outsourcing scheme. A full High Court review is expected in July. This is a humiliating setback for the Tory government. Below we report on the protest in London a day before the flight was scheduled.

 

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Racist police out of our schools

FRFI in London protest against police racism

In March 2022 the revelation that a 15-year-old black school-girl was subject to a traumatising police strip search, while in school, ignited widespread fury and disgust. The schoolgirl – Child Q – was on her period at the time the search took place in 2020 and was searched without an appropriate adult present. Her experience was reviewed by the City and Hackney Safeguarding Children’s Partnership, who published a report into the findings in March 2022. The treatment of Child Q exposes the racist British police force and racism within education. The review states clearly that ‘racism … was likely to have been an influencing factor in the decision to undertake a strip search’, that ‘the strip search of Child Q should never have happened and there was no reasonable justification for it’ and that Child Q had ‘undoubtedly suffered harm’. 

 

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Trevor Rayne 7 December 1949 – 2 March 2022

Trevor Rayne

‘Coming events cast their shadows before them. In NATO’s blitzkrieg of Yugoslavia we see the shape of wars to come. For those who wonder where the war is heading, look to Russia, look to China, look to the re-emergence of German military power … Those in Britain who watch these deeds, committed in our name, imagining they will have no consequence for us should know – the march to war has only just begun’. 

(Trevor Rayne, ‘The shape of wars to come’,
FRFI 148 April/May 1999 )

 

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Good and bad migrants: Ukraine and the Borders Bill

Refugees flee the Donetsk region in Ukraine, 2022 (photo: UNDP Ukraine)

On 18 March 2022, the British government opened the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme. Accompanied by a blue and yellow masthead and the proclamation that ‘The UK is one of the most generous nations in the world’, the state is now encouraging British residents to open their homes to people fleeing the war in Ukraine. Hosts will be paid £350 per month and local councils £10,000 per person; Ukrainians granted visas will be allowed to work and claim benefit for up to three years; there is no cap on the numbers who can come under this scheme. All this is in sharp contrast to the government’s vicious treatment of asylum seekers from the Middle East, Asia and Africa, and its continuing drive to make most migrants lives even tougher via the implementation of the Nationality and Borders Bill. NICKI JAMESON reports.

 

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