Victory to the Palestinian uprising

  • Imperialist powers out of the Middle East – Stop arming & supporting Israel and Saudi Arabia
  • Open the Borders to refugees/migrants – Defend cross-Channel refugees – Amnesty for ALL immigrants without papers 
  • Free Speech on Palestine – Stop government attack on campaigns for Palestinian rights – Stop Boris Johnson’s attacks on the right to protest
To stop racist wars abroad we must fight racism in Britain
To fight racism in Britain we must stop racist wars abroad!

The Arab population of Palestine has once more risen up in a heroic revolt against brutal military repression and ‘ethnic cleansing’ by the Israeli state and extreme nationalist forces in Israeli society. The Palestinian people have responded to these attacks on a wider front than ever before. 

Palestinians in east Jerusalem have fought back against the repression of Muslim worshippers at the Al Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan, when Israeli troops repeatedly attacked Palestinians inside the mosque. Now they are resisting Israel’s plan to evict Arab families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood and replace them with Israeli settlers. In the occupied West Bank, Palestinian villagers are resisting renewed attacks by the illegal, land-grabbing Israeli settlers and marching in solidarity with Gaza and the struggle in east Jerusalem. In Gaza, which Israel has turned into a giant prison, they face yet another round of bombardment and killing. Within Israel’s ‘official’ borders there is an unprecedented rebellion by the Arab communities of the cities against their status as third-class citizens and the fascist-style attacks by right-wing Israeli mobs.   

Every community in Britain that is threatened by Boris Johnson’s racist, anti-immigrant and anti-working class government must support the Palestinian struggle. The victory of the Palestinian uprising will be our victory too – a victory for black, Asian, Muslim and immigrant communities, and for all the poor and oppressed – because it will be a defeat our common enemy: the imperialist ruling class of Britain.

The rulers of Britain and the USA support and defend Israel’s crimes. Israel is the chief agent of US imperialism in the Middle East. It was established on Palestinian land by the US and other western imperialist powers, and it is armed to the teeth and financed by them. Israel an oppressor nation in relation to the Arab population of the Middle East, and most immediately to the Arab population of Palestine. That role has prevented the Jewish population of Israel from being an integral part of the Middle East region with relations of equality and co-operation with its neighbours. It has compelled the subjugated Arab population to assert its identity in a struggle for Palestinian national self-determination. 

The policies & actions of the US, Britain & Israel have created a state of never-ending war and destruction in a region stretching from Libya to Afghanistan. It has forced and will continue to force millions of people across the region to move and seek refuge for themselves and their families, often enduring new dangers on the way. 

A minority of refugees make it to Europe. A smaller minority make it across the Channel to Britain, and thus to the racist hostile environment of Brexit, where government ministers and right-wing media whip up storms of anti-immigrant racism – their chief political weapon in an assault on human rights and a war against the poor. 

Movement for Justice (MFJ) believes that a victory in the fight for the rights of refugees & immigrants in Britain will be the most significant support we can provide to the Palestinian uprising. That will require mass action against the government’s growing attacks on immigrants, and the most important asset in that battle is the determination and dynamism of the men and women who fought so hard to get here. Immigrant & youth led community defence against raids, community support that allows refugees to keep out of the hands of the Home Office, and mass action to shut down isolation camps & detention centres will undermine the government’s authority. It will be the base for winning an amnesty for undocumented immigrants and Open Borders so no-one else dies trying to get asylum. 

Last year we saw the rapid growth of Black Lives Matter and Justice for George Floyd shift the balance of social power against Trump and movements against racism and injustice internationally. That should be our aim now. The more we shift the balance of forces against imperialist rulers at home the weaker their power will be internationally. 

In 2014 MFJ demonstrates outside Harmondsworth Detention Centres in solidarity with detainees and with the Palestinian people resisting the blockade

Stopping Covid19 means permanent status for everyone who doesn’t have papers

Contact your MP and get them to sign on to Claudia Webbe’s early day motion for permanent status for all undocumented immigrants. Critical to ensure everyone feels safe to get COVID19 tests and vaccinations.

Nobody should be left at risk of infection & death from Covid19 (or any other cause) because they are in Britain without immigration papers or have overstayed a visa. Nobody should face those risks because an unfair asylum system has rejected their claim or kept them waiting for a result, or for some other ‘immigration problem’ to be sorted out.

In January the Government stated that if immigrants and refugees without papers get tested for Covid19 or vaccinated against it, their details will not be shared with the Home Office and used to deport them. Undocumented people who have any experience of the Home Office and its agents are very unlikely to trust this ‘Promise’ – and they are right to be suspicious.   

The only way they will feel it’s safe to get Covid19 tests and vaccines is for the Government to give ALL undocumented immigrants a permanent right to live in the UK.

Movement for Justice (MFJ) supports the decision of a group of MPs to raise this demand in a parliamentary motion. They speak the truth about the Government’s racist anti-immigrant policies and they are clear that those policies are a danger to everyone. This is a bold move by the group of black and Asian Labour women MPs who initiated the motion, because it challenges the refusal of Keir Starmer and the rest of the present Labour leadership to campaign against the increasing racism of the Government’s policies.

We urge everyone to contact their MP and call on them to sign the motion below.  A campaign around this motion can inspire a fight by the left-wing majority of Labour Party members who Starmer is trying to silence (especially the youth and black & Asian members).

Undocumented migrants and covid-19 vaccination

Early Day Motion 1442: tabled on 03 February 2021

That this House believes that access to essential healthcare is a universal human right; regrets the continued existence of structural, institutional and systemic barriers in accessing NHS care experienced by undocumented migrants and those awaiting determination of their asylum, visa and immigration applications; considers that an effective public health response to the covid-19 crisis requires that the most vulnerable can afford to access food, healthcare, and self-isolate where necessary; understands that some of the most vulnerable people in society will not access vaccination against the virus, since to disclose their identity to the authorities would risk their arrest, detention and deportation; fears that without urgent Government intervention this will lead to further avoidable premature deaths, especially in the African, Asian and Minority Ethnic population; and therefore calls on the Home Office to grant everyone currently in the UK at this time who are undocumented migrants and those awaiting determination of their asylum, visa and immigration applications indefinite leave to remain, and to be eligible in due course to receive the covid-19 vaccination. (Emphasis added)

You don’t have to be a British citizen or voter, but give your address to show you live in their area.

To get your MP’s details go to https://members.parliament.uk/FindYourMP and type in your postcode.

You can use the message below; but it is best if you say why this issue is important to you personally.

Please let MFJ know what reply you get from your MP, email contact@movementforjustice.co.uk

Dear ……,

I am writing to urge you to add your name to Early Day Motion 1442, Undocumented migrants and covid-19 vaccination. I believe the motion is absolutely right when it points out that very many undocumented migrants won’t feel it is safe to get tested or vaccinated, whatever the risk to their health. That is why I support the motion’s call on the Home Office to grant Indefinite Leave to Remain to all undocumented migrants. I think this is a matter of basic justice and it is obviously necessary as a public health measure to protect everyone.

This issue is very important to me because……

Yours sincerely

General information. An Early Day Motion (EDM) is a kind of MPs’ petition, a way to raise an issue that isn’t being discussed in Parliament. This EDM was started by Claudia Webbe, (Leicester East MP who was part of MFJ’s Zoom Rally on Yarl’s Wood last year). It is co-sponsored by three other black & Asian women MPs in the Labour Party (Apsana Begum, Bell Ribeiro-Addy and Kim Johnson) plus John McDonnell and a Scottish National Party MP. So far it has been signed by a further 19 MPs from four parties.

PRESS RELEASE: MFJ report on the treatment of cross Channel refugees in repurposed Yarl’s Wood highlights lack of access to legal advice and failure to identify victims of trafficking and torture

First insight into new regime in Yarl’s Wood detention centre since its conversion into a short term holding facility for cross channel refugees. Report highlights lack of access to legal advice and failure to identify victims of trafficking and torture.

Since August 2020 there have been no more women detained in Yarl’s Wood and the Home Office confirmed that its small short term holding facility was expanded to process cross channel refugees[1].

The report we release today is the first public insight into the new regime and is the result of four weeks of discussions with 20 refugees who were detained in Yarl’s Wood during September 2020.  

Over half of those we spoke to had been victims of torture or trafficking; many had been enslaved in Libya and subject to brutal torture, forced labour and rape. They spent 5-7 days in Yarl’s Wood[2].

During this time, no one was provided with access to a solicitor; the Detention Duty Advice Scheme (DDAS) was not functioning. Some were given a list of numbers after several days but lack of phone credit and language difficulties meant it was impossible for them to secure representation.

People are moved to other accommodation with no representation, no support, and in many cases with no phones. They are dispersed to areas where charities are overstretched and where legal aid immigration solicitors either have no capacity or are few and far between. Language difficulties and lack of phone or phone credit makes it impossible for many to find the legal advice, medical help and support they need.

Home Secretary Priti Patel and the Home Office have been vocally critical of ‘last minute legal claims’ which ‘frustrate’ removals; this report reveals the truth, that people are denied legal advice at an early stage and victims of trafficking are not being identified. For these refugees a ‘last minute claim,’ when they are taken to Brook House and given notice of a flight, is the only way to stop what would be an unlawful removal.

“The UK’s stated commitment to Human Rights is being trampled on by Priti Patel, the UK Home Office and this government. They have designed a Dover to Deportation pipeline, at every stage frustrating refugees’ ability to get the legal advice, care and support they need. Yarl’s Wood is but one link in that pipeline, but it is a crucial one. Had those asylum seekers been able to access legal representation at the earliest opportunity they would not have been subject to the further torture of detention and threat of removal, which has led to so many suicide attempts in Brook House[3]. Karen Doyle (MFJ National Organiser)

Victims of trafficking and torture, people with families here, people with serious health conditions and mental health difficulties are being taken from their accommodation and thrown into Brook House IRC for removal on charter flights with just five days notice[4]. When lawyers take on these cases at short notice and help their clients to access the protections available to them in law they are branded as ‘lefty lawyers’, akin to traffickers, and vilified simply for doing their job.

“This government is pursuing a relentless and dishonest campaign to vilify refugees and those who support and represent them. It has an incited an epidemic of race hatred and attacks, like the recent attempt to murder an immigration lawyer[5] and fascists targeting places where refugees are being housed. We will fight together with refugees and immigrants to end the super-charged Hostile Environment of Boris Johnson and Priti Patel. Antonia Bright (MFJ Chair)

Yarls-Wood-report2


[1] BBC News (Look East) Report 18/08/2020: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-53810521

[2] 7 days is the maximum someone can be detained in a Short Term Holding Facility

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/aug/12/asylum-seeker-removal-flight-go-ahead-despite-last-minute-court-action

[4] https://corporatewatch.org/cast-away-the-uks-rushed-charter-flights-to-deport-channel-crossers/

[5] https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/oct/10/lawyers-claim-knife-attack-at-law-firm-was-inspired-by-priti-patels-rhetoric

photo/video report from MFJs immigrant rights march 4 July 2020

On Saturday 4th July 2020 we marched for immigrant rights as part of the growing worldwide #BlackLivesMatter movement. We started in Brixton, stopping at Brixton Police Station to remember those who’ve died at the hands of Brixton police, marched on to Serco and G4S head offices (the private companies responsible for the brutalisation, abuse and murder of so many) and ended at the Home Office. At each stop people who have experienced the racism and brutality of detention and deportations spoke out.

OUR DEMANDS…

* End the racist Hostile Environment for Immigrants policy

* No more charter flights – Stop immigration raids & deportations

* Shut down ALL detention centres

* Amnesty Now! Extend settled status to ALL immigrants who want it

* Defend & extend the free movement of people

* Widen the Windrush Scheme to all Windrush Generation descendants

* Jail killer police and immigration enforcers

* Build the independent, integrated, youth and immigrant led mass movement fighting for immigrant rights and equality

The fight against racism will decide our futures. It will decide whether Britain, the USA and Europe have a future of progress as democratic, multiracial societies based on equality, whether poor and oppressed people can resist and defeat our exploiters, whether young people can live hopeful, creative lives – or if our countries will be dragged backwards by the politics of Donald Trump and his backers, Boris Johnson and Brexit, and the Far Right across Europe. That is why we, on this side of the Atlantic Ocean, responded immediately to the mass movement that took to the streets after the police murder of George Floyd, and is still marching in every city & state in the US, day after day and week after week. 

A future without racism requires the defeat of racist policies that blame immigrants and black youth for the failures of government to meet the needs of poor, exploited and oppressed people. We are marching today, on 4th July, as youth speaking the truth about racist police brutality, and as immigrants and communities fighting for our right to live here with respect and dignity.

Black lives more than matter: the leadership of black and Asian people has been critical to every progressive victory in Britain for decades – to every victory that has taken us closer to equal quality education, decent healthcare and workers’ rights. Each new generation of immigrants from Britain’s former colonies and the rest of the world brings a new, fierce aspiration for a bright future, that is shared by the youth of all races.

That is the basis of the dynamism and hope that can fire a mass movement. That is the fear of the politicians and the rich & powerful who are desperate to divide us and dampen our ambition. 

Our fight back matters: The anti-racist movement that has taken to our streets must assert our power to decide our future, by raising and fighting for clear demands. The Home Office runs the immigration system and police; it is responsible for too many deaths and acts of brutality and too much forced squalor at the hands of the police, the immigration authorities and the private contractors who profit from the government’s racist Hostile Environment policy. We demand: jail all killer cops and immigration enforcers; announce an amnesty for all immigrants; shut down all immigration detention centres; stop immigration raids and deportations.

This first video is of Ugandan lesbian activist and leader in MFJ, Prossie. She was detained for 5 months in Yarls Wood in 2013 before being removed to Uganda under the now unlawful fast track system, for the first time here she publicly speaks out, in front of Serco headquarters (who run Yarl’s Wood) about what she went through and why she continues to fight…

At Brixton police station as we started to speak about those who have died at the hands of Brixton police, a passerby started shouting ‘all lives matter’ – they were swiftly shouted down!
“Immigrants – HERE TO STAY – Charter Flights – NO WAY!” marching through central Brixton
“When they say go back – FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT BACK!”
“Tear down the fences – OPEN THE BORDERS!”
“whose streets? OUR STREETS! and Where is our power? ON THE STREETS!”
“How we gonna do it? BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY!”
“Yarl’s Wood – Shut it Dooooown SHUT IT DOWN!”
“no Justice – NO PEACE – AGAIN – NO JUSTICE – NO PEACE!”
“IMMIGRANTS HAVE THE RIGHT – HERE TO STAY HERE TO FIGHT!”
MFJ leader and Windrush descendant Eulalee speaks outside Serco Head Office, her son was deported to Jamaica and murdered five months later.
Outside G4S Headquarters “I SAID – No Justice – NO PEACE!
“the racist immigration system is a virus – at least they are looking for a cure for coronavirus”
Perfect chant for outside the Home Office “WE ARE STRONGER!”
MFJs Tacko speaking outside G4S headquarters
MFJ’s Eulalee speaking outside the Home Office
MFJs Larry speaks about his experience as a Gay Nigerian asylum seeker

Covid19: We won’t sacrifice our lives, friends & communities for your profits

No return to work or school until…

  1. We have an intensive, community-based programme of testing and tracing to suppress Covid-19;
  2. Workers, students, parents & medical scientists decide that conditions are safe & protection is reliable.

Extend settled status to all immigrants who want it    –    End NHS charges for immigrants   –    Kick the Home Office out of the NHS    

It is an outrage that the government is lifting the Covid-19 lock-down and trying to force people back to work, to school and onto public transport in unsafe conditions, without protection and when there is still no serious national programme of testing for the virus and tracing contacts. From January onwards, and even after the infection reached Britain in February and the first deaths occurred in early March, the government’s refusal to prepare for the looming pandemic was a demonstration of criminal irresponsibility. That response aroused anger and opposition that increased during March, and Boris Johnson had to bring in a UK-wide lock-down on 23rd March. On Sunday 10th May he announced the first stage of lifting that lock-down. That is the latest demonstration of criminal irresponsibility.

Covid-19 is still infecting and killing thousands of people in Britain. The UK has the biggest number of infections and deaths in Europe; the NHS and care homes are still under-equipped and over-stretched; the provision of equipment and the conduct of testing is chaotic; lucrative contracts are being handed out to dubious private companies, and the future development of the virus is uncertain. The government’s response to the situation is to stop publishing international comparisons and to censor the science. Lifting the lock-down now will mean a sharp rise in infections and a lot more deaths – and the people getting ill and dying will mostly be poor, in low-paid jobs, in care homes, and will be disproportionately black and Asian.

Boris Johnson and his government never wanted the lock-down in the first place. They had ignored all the warnings of the damage that years of cuts and privatisation have inflicted on the NHS and social services. They had disregarded all the warnings about the danger of new pandemics and the advice to stockpile equipment, protective clothing etc. They were prepared to see a rising and preventable death toll – in order to keep business going. For this government, the poor and oppressed are expendable; profits are sacred

How the lock-down happened

We the public imposed the lock-down on Johnson. The government’s own figures demonstrate that the bulk of the fall in public transport and car use had already occurred before Johnson officially announced a lock-down. In the three weeks before his announcement, journeys by car and by London buses had fallen by nearly 30 percentage points, bus journeys in other areas fell by 35 points, London underground and national rail by around by 25 points. Even journeys on foot had fallen.

Journeys were falling rapidly because more and more workers, parents, students, teachers etc were not going to work or school. It became a movement, and it was greatly strengthened by the efforts of doctors, scientists and journalists who were publicly exposing the government’s refusal to prepare for the pandemic. Organisations had to follow suit: universities, sporting bodies like the Football Association, some schools and even some businesses – theatres, carmakers etc – shut down or went online. This open resistance compelled Johnson to take action – reluctantly, belatedly and hesitantly.

In April, an anonymous cabinet minister told the High Tory Daily Telegraph newspaper that the government had not wanted a lock-down, but was forced into it by ‘public opinion’ (it was actually public action).

Despite all the problems that the lock-down has created for people, it is still supported by the overwhelming majority of people in Britain. The government’s failure to take effective action has left them with no other way to limit the spreading infection and save lives after.

Now the government wants to return to its original course of inaction. Johnson’s televised ‘address to the nation’ on 10th May launched the new and meaningless slogan, ‘Stay Alert,’ to replace ‘Stay at Home.’ He accompanied this with confused and confusing advice, and the lying assertion that the government is ‘following the science.’ It had a single purpose – to get people back to work in order to protect the profits of the capitalists who run big business. Meanwhile, of course, the rich and powerful capitalists will keep themselves very safe. They have always ‘socially distanced’ themselves from the people they exploit and oppress.

If we act together now we can win. The government has been badly shaken by the Covid-19 pandemic and the public reaction to it. Cabinet ministers are already divided over what level of deaths, and how much more damage to the NHS they can get away with. A co-ordinated refusal to return to work or study under the present conditions can stop the government’s plan, just as massive independent action started the lock-down in March.

Return to school is a cynical manoeuvre

One of the most cynical aspects of Johnson’s plan is the attempt to get children and teachers back to school. The government wants children in primary school reception classes (4 & 5 years old) in year 1 (5 &6) and in year 6 (10 & 11) to go back to school, and under-5s to return to nurseries, playgroups, childminders etc. This is not based on public health or educational considerations. The idea of ‘social distancing’ in classes of 4, 5 and 6 year-olds or even younger is utterly absurd. The only reason for this decision is to get their parents back to work. It will spread the virus further and lead to more deaths.

This is unacceptable and we won’t accept it. The people returning to work are doing so reluctantly, and their numbers are low. Parents are resisting the proposal. All the unions with members working in schools (teachers, assistants, cleaners, cooks, office staff) oppose the plan; they are supported by the Trade Union Congress (TUC). The two biggest teachers’ unions are telling their members not to co-operate with the government’s plan, and reminding them that they have a legal right to refuse to work in unsafe conditions – as all workers do. They are supported by the British Medical Association (BMA). Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland are maintaining the lock-down; some local educational authorities in England, like Liverpool, are refusing to re-open schools at this stage.

In fact, schools have never shut down totally, nor has education. Children and young people who have special educational needs are, rightly, able to attend school where they can be taught in safely manageable numbers, often on a rota basis; so are the children of some key workers in essential services. Throughout the lock-down, teachers have been going into schools on a rota basis, and they have been preparing and conducting online work for their students. There is much more that we can fight for while a lock-down is maintained – allocating areas of parks and open spaces for the use of children from individual schools, for example, and ensuring that all students have online access, which would make online lessons possible. However, in the current unsafe and unprepared state of affairs, returning a very much larger number of pupils, teachers and other staff to primary schools, nurseries etc would be a recipe for chaos, and undermine the positive work that is going on. The only beneficiaries would be the capitalists and the Covid-19 virus.

Where next

None of us are ‘addicted to the lock-down,’ as government ministers are saying. Living under lock-down is a huge problem for most of us; the poorer you are, or the more oppressed and abused you are, the harder and more dangerous it is. We should not have to resort to a lock-down to save our health and our lives, or the health and lives of our families, friends, neighbours, co-workers and fellow students. We are in this position because of years and years of ANTI-SOCIAL government – government by criminally irresponsible politicians. We are ruled by the political heirs of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher, by her guiding principles: “There is no such thing as society, there are only individuals and their families,” and “You can’t buck the markets.”

Those policies have become central to all the main capitalist governments over the past four decades. They have devastated communities across Britain, created even greater devastation in poor countries, and led to ever more racist divide-and-rule policies from governments, mounting health problems everywhere, and increasingly dangerous global heating; they have turned education and health into privileges rather than rights; they led to mass murder at Grenfell Tower and the racism and chaos of Brexit. Now they have brought the biggest pandemic for 100 years and quite possibly the deepest recession since the industrial revolution.

However, the fight-back against Johnson’s criminal policy on Covid-19 has already achieved what the Labour opposition could never manage: it derailed the central policy of a Tory government. We have to drive that victory home in order to defeat both our enemies – the virus, with its potential to adapt more effectively to its human hosts, and the capitalists & politicians, who have weaponised their own virus of racism and xenophobia through Brexit.

There is much we still need to win in order to defeat those two enemies:

  • We must win the extension of settled status and the right of residence in the UK to everyone who wants it, whether they have papers or not;
  • We must end NHS charges for immigrants and the ‘No recourse to public funds’ policy, shut down all immigration detention centres and stop deportations;
  • We must stop all reporting of patients’ immigration status to the Home Office.

These are essential public health measures to defeat the virus, as well as basic issues of human rights, because they would allow immigrants and asylum seekers to seek medical help without the fear of detention and deportation. They are essential political measures to oppose and undermine the capitalists’ racist scapegoating of immigrants.

We must demand:

  • An intensive, community-based programme of testing for the virus & anti-bodies and tracing contacts;
  • The urgent reversal of the massive cuts to local council’s funding, so that they can take a leading role in fighting the pandemic;
  • Free broadband for the homes of all school age children and students who need it.

The government has proved itself incapable of dealing with a serious public health crisis – or with the levels of poverty it has created. Whatever they dishonestly promise, we can’t afford to give them, or any of their agents and appointees, the benefit of doubt. We know from experience that they will fail and deceive us. We – workers, communities, students, immigrants – must take matters into our own hands. We must take control from the government and the capitalists:

  • Health workers and social care workers, at all levels (doctors, nurses, cleaners, technicians, care assistants etc) must join together and take control of the delivery and management of health care, social care, the supply and distribution of protective equipment, medical equipment, drugs etc, working with supportive organisations in the communities they serve; this is too important to be left to the government and profit-driven companies;
  • We must fight by any means necessary, including rent strikes and occupations, to stop evictions and cancel rent payments;
  • We demand that all furloughed workers receive 100% of their pay; where conditions make it safe to work, we must oppose redundancies and fight for the available work to be shared between workers on the full weekly pay (cut the hours not the wages).

If Johnson and his ministers persist with their deadly policy of lifting the lock-down and fail to take the essential measures outlined above, it will be necessary to unite all our forces and use all our social power to Bring Down the Government.