Immigration, asylum and anti-deportation

Open the door for Afghan refugees!

Imagine fleeing a blood- soaked, misogynistic, racist dictatorship, being promised a new life in a safe country — and then having those who promised it lock you up, deny you basic rights and refuse to tell you what happens next. That is what is happening to the Afghan refugees “welcomed” by the UK. The name of the government’s resettlement programme, “Operation Warm Welcome”, is a sick joke.The Guardian reports that conditions for the refugees are so bad that many have started saying they want to go back. 7,000 Afghan refugees are stuck in hotels, with Home Office officials saying they may be...

High wages? Start with strong unions

The Tories want to present anti-migrant policies and the labour shortages caused by those by policies, by Brexit and by poor wages and conditions in key industries like road haulage and social care as a boon for workers. That was the pitch of Boris Johnson’s speech to Conservative Party conference, promising a “high-wage, high-skill, high-productivity economy” in place of “the same old broken model with low wages, low growth, low skills, and low productivity, all of it enabled and assisted by uncontrolled immigration.” The Tories are being aided in this misdirection by the lack of serious...

Leftists who agree with Johnson?

Johnson has hit on the idea of posing as the friend of workers and the champion of higher wages. For weeks ministers have been insisting that shortages had nothing to do with Brexit, but now Johnson claims that it was all part of the Brexit “plan” to push higher pay by restricting the supply of labour: he claims his government wants to make Britain a high-wage economy by ending supposedly “uncontrolled” immigration. . With typical opportunism, Johnson has seized upon a few limited and short-term wage rises to suggest that Brexit and tighter immigration controls benefit British workers. It is...

Poland-Belarus: end the blockade on refugees!

On Sunday 17 October, Polish groups in Britain are organising a protest at the Polish Embassy (4pm, 47 Portland Place, London W1) about the Polish government’s refusal to allow entry to asylum seekers caught on the Poland-Belarus border. They is their statement. We protest against the violation of Polish and international law by the Polish authorities by using illegal push-backs against people who are in the area under a state of emergency, and who are seeking asylum in Poland or safe passage through Poland. These people are not illegal! What is illegal is pushing adults and children into the...

The World Transformed: scratching the surface

A lot of radical things were said at this year’s The World Transformed festival. As one participant said, many speeches only scratched the surface. Clear political conclusions or concrete demands weren’t always drawn out. For example, at a panel on “Kill The Bill,” speakers said that we cannot support police reform and that we must instead “abolish the police” – all the while talking about the negative implications of the police bill. Occasional jibes were made at “white people talking about Trotsky or whatever, telling us how to do a revolution.” Nevertheless, TWT was an informal, accessible...

Kino Eye: Greek refugee experience

I'm not sure how much relevance Greek director Theo Angelopoulos’ filmTrilogy: The Weeping Meadow (2004) has to the notion of the “right of return” which has been discussed in the pages of Solidarity recently, but there are some parallels. The film demonstrates the precarious nature of the migrant experience even in a country considered to be their “motherland”. It is 1919. The long-established Greek community in Odessa is displaced by the Russian Revolution and they eventually land on the shores of Greece, near Thessaloniki. However, there is no welcome for them and they are forced to build...

Turn back Patel, not the boats

France’s right-wing government, whose leader Emmanuel Macron has called for Europe to “protect itself from waves of Afghan immigration”, has opposed Priti Patel’s plans to forcibly turn back migrant boats in the Channel as incompatible with “safeguarding human lives”. The MP for Calais, from the even more right-wing Les Republicains, calls it a violation of human rights “that should not be tolerated in a modern society”. Of course right-wing French politicians do not want more migrants kept in France. Still, the Tories are putting themselves in the vanguard of European anti-migrant politics...

Momentum Internationalists Labour conference briefing

Thanks to Momentum Internationalists for this briefing on Labour Party conference (25-29 September, in Brighton) Who are Momentum Internationalists? Momentum Internationalists was formed by activists from the left anti-Brexit campaign Labour for a Socialist Europe, L4SE, in early 2020 to continue the fight for left-wing and internationalist politics after the Tories finally forced through Brexit. We ran candidates in the Momentum NCG elections of 2020 and promoted motions in the Momentum policy priorities ballot of 2021. We are not just a caucus within Momentum. We have been active on the...

Mobilise for Afghan refugees 20 October!

On 20 October there will be a demonstration for refugee rights in Parliament Square. The organisers, Solidarity with Refugees and Women for Refugee Women, say: “The government has committed to take 20,000 Afghan refugees over the next five years. But that isn’t enough, and lacks the necessary urgency. While we are hearing accounts of mothers throwing their babies over razor wire in desperation in the face of the horrors facing them under the Taliban, the UK government plans to make people wait years for resettlement, and to imprison any who manage to flee to the UK by other means… We can and...

Increase pay, training, and open borders

The Confederation of British Industry is concerned about labour shortages, especially in areas that could impact on food supply. They want the government to make it easier for migrant workers to come to those jobs in the UK. The government’s response is that they should hire British workers. But, even leaving aside the nationalism here, the work talked about most in the press is HGV drivers. The other jobs the CBI identifies labour shortages in are butchers, construction workers, engineers and IT specialists. None of those jobs can be done by someone immediately. Some jobs listed as having...

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