No Justice! No peace! Stop the criminal Rwanda deal – By Any Means Necessary
Seeking Asylum is not a crime
This Far Right government is guilty of crimes against humanity – Stop its slide into fascism
Organise community/refugee defence against immigration arrests & raids – Build resistance in detention hotels, camps & detention centres – Establish effective sanctuary communities, cities, campuses, etc. – Take action to Keep the Home Office out of education, local councils & the NHS – No co-operation with the Home Office
Organise sanctuary for cross-Channel refugees arriving in Britain
Bring Down this racist, anti-immigrant, anti-working-class Government
Open the Borders of Britain & Europe
Resistance to Britain’s corrupt, racist, anti-working-class government is growing on many fronts: community mobilisations stopping immigration raids and reversing arrests; militant action against government complicity in global climate heating; student action against racist school managements; the most significant wave of strikes against wage and job cuts since the 1980s; angry protests against the cost of living crisis – and thousands of refugees defying the Borders Act and crossing the Channel in small boats or the back of a lorry.
Those forces are taking militant action because circumstances are driving them to it – but also because they have a correct sense that, for all its power-grabbing bluster, this government is fundamentally weak and unstable, and regarded with widespread anger and contempt. The anger aroused by the inhuman plan to dump refugees in Rwanda is part of that.
The Movement for Justice believes that defeating the Rwanda plan will strike a huge blow to the government’s most important political weapon: its racist ‘divide-and-conquer’ policies and practices – scapegoating immigrants and demonising refugees. It will be an inspiring victory for all those fighting this Far Right government.
There are urgent reasons for defeating that plan. If it goes ahead, the government won’t stop there; there will be worse to follow. It will be closer to eliminating all asylum rights, and it will be further down the road to fascism.
The main purpose of the Rwanda policy is, in fact, to look ‘tough’ and consolidate its base among its most racist, Far-Right, Brexit diehards: the former members of UKIP, the Brexit Party, BNP & EDL; the angry racists who defend the statues of slave-traders and imperialist war-mongers; the people who demand censorship of teaching when an educator or academic tells the plain truth about the cruelty of British colonial rule.
A racist crime against humanity
The Rwanda plan is a by-product of the Nationality and Borders Act that came out of Boris Johnson’s 2019, ‘Get Brexit Done,’ election campaign. Together they form the most brutal, racist policy adopted by any modern British government. The new Act makes it illegal for refugees to come to Britain if they do not have a visa. Of course, the vast majority of refugees don’t come with visas. If you are escaping from your country, the process of getting a visa from a British embassy may well expose you to greater danger, and you most likely don’t have the time or money anyway. Nevertheless, having made refugees without visas ‘illegal,’ the government has given Home Office officials the power to pick out individual arrivals and put them on a list for dumping in Rwanda.
The refugees the government wants to dump in Rwanda will have to apply to the Rwandan government for asylum there – in one of the world’s poorest countries, run by a dictator with the worst human rights record in Africa.
The government’s action is a crime against humanity – breaching the most basic human rights (as well as international law) to further its racist scapegoating and persecution of refugees.
Open the Borders – the alternative to a world of tyranny & barbarism
The agreement between Britain and Rwanda has the full backing of the racist right-wing press – The Daily Mail, Express, Sun, Telegraph and Times. The government is treating refugees like the toxic waste that rich countries dump on poor countries in Africa and elsewhere for a small fee. This is the horrific outcome of four decades of escalating anti-immigrant policies, and the uncontrolled capitalist exploitation that western imperialist governments have forced on the world.
For over twenty years, millions of people have been leaving their homes in the world’s poorest regions, risking their lives because there is no other escape from constant warfare, political, religious or ethnic persecution, famine, drought, floods and environmental destruction, mounting attacks on women and LGBT+ people, etc.
This mass migration is a symptom of a world in crisis. It is a global rebellion against poverty and inequality. It has become a life & death struggle against imperialism. The governments of Europe and the USA have militarised their frontiers and condemned thousands of refugees to drown at sea or die crossing deserts. There is a battle between humanity and barbarism at every border. Refugees are posing a central demand for human progress in our age – Open the Borders – and opening the borders is what they are doing to resolve real threats to their existence.
Movement for Justice believes that the demand of some organisations for ‘Safe Legal Routes’ for refugees is a dangerous illusion. It would leave the power in the hands of the political systems that make the laws and control the borders. It accepts their right to decide who is a ‘genuine’ refugee or a ‘good’ immigrant and who is not. No current political system should have that power, not in Europe, North America, or in Britain.
The alternative to open borders is a world of tyranny and barbarism.
The danger of relying on the courts under this Far Right government
This week’s Judicial Review of the Rwanda plan has been brought by the PCS union (which represents civil servants, including those in the Home Office and Border Force), by Care for Calais, and by other organisations and individual refugees. Movement for Justice supports their action. We must assert the legal rights that the government is ripping up. Being able to get judicial reviews of government decisions is fundamental to democracy.
However, we should have no illusions in the legal system and its relationship to the political system, or for that matter the relationship of both those systems to the media. The Rwanda judicial review is being heard by High Court judge, Justice Swift, a former lawyer in the Government Legal Department. He has already given negative decisions in challenges to the legality of the Rwanda deal.
The courts have been under attack since the Brexit referendum, especially over judicial review cases (remember the Daily Mail’s “Enemies of the People” headline). Those attacks have intensified since Johnson became prime minister and that has made judges, from the Supreme Court down, more cautious and conservative in human rights and civil rights cases. A clear signal of that shift is last year’s Supreme Court decision in the case of Shamima Begum, when it supported the government’s decision to take away her British citizenship (leaving her stateless in Syria) and deny her the right to come to Britain to defend herself.
It is no wonder that Robert Buckland, a former Justice Secretary in Boris Johnson’s government, declared in February that, “…the current Supreme Court, under Lord Reed’s leadership, has in the last year demonstrated the appropriate degree of restraint. It is essential that this continues and that we remain blessed with sensible judges like Lord Reed” (the president of the UK Supreme Court).
Since Buckland made that comment, the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court both refused to stop the planned mass deportation of refugees to Rwanda on 14th June. This week’s judicial review is only happening because of a late-night application to the European Court of Human Rights. The government now plans to leave the ECHR.
Build a movement of resistance – Create real, effective sanctuaries – Bring down the Government
Britain is in an acute economic, social and political crisis, with fast rising inflation and a looming recession that’s forecast to last all next year, creating higher unemployment and shutting down thousands of small businesses. A humanitarian crisis threatens millions of people this winter because the level of poverty & insecurity is already so high, and the damage to the NHS and other public services is already so great.
The government and its backers are unwilling and incapable of resolving any aspects of this crisis. Their response will be in line with their political character and material interests. It will inevitably involve even more repression, even harsher laws and a lot more racist scapegoating.
The Rwanda plan will be defeated as part of a wider movement against the governments racist policies. The basis for this movement already exists. We can build on the methods that have proved effective against Immigration Enforcement raids: community organising and independent collective actions, large and small. We must recognise refugees and undocumented immigrants as an active force and as leaders in this fight. We can learn from the Movement for Justice experience of collective organising and action by refugees and immigrants in detention centres. That undermined the authority of the Home Office and exposed its abuses. Those struggles led to a sharp fall in the use of detention and the closure of more than half the detention centres between 2015 and 2019.
We need to create sanctuary cities, boroughs and neighbourhoods, and sanctuary schools and colleges, that are real sanctuaries because they are enforced by communities, immigrants, workers and students who will be the ears and eyes and defence guards of a movement. We need to create sanctuaries from the Home Office for cross-Channel refugees, to stop deportation flights to Rwanda – and to stop all deportation charter flights (Patel recently signed an agreement with the Pakistan government to accept such charter flights).
This struggle is a head-to-head conflict with the Home Office and its agents. It will also be a conflict with authorities such as council leaders, headteachers and hospital managers, who may disagree with the government’s racist policies but are not prepared to take action. That is why the struggle must be based in communities, workplaces and schools, especially in black, Asian, Muslim, Latin American and immigrant communities.
With such a base it will be possible to link the struggle with wider sections of the working class and the poor and oppressed, and thus with struggles against poverty in general.
To be clear, the level of struggle we need to build is incompatible with the existence of the present government. Our aim has to be to Bring Down this racist, anti-working-class government. It is not an exaggeration to say that really killing off the Rwanda plan means we have to bring down the government.