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31st March 2006 |
WAKE UP!! WAKE UP!! ITS YER BORDERLINE...
I Stay of Should I Go? | Crap Arrest of the
Week | Mass Defiance, Naming The Dead |
The Card Cheat | Washington Bullets | Korea
Opportunities | SchNEWS in Brief
| Last of the Mohicans? | Paris Calling
| ...and finally...
I STAY OR SHOULD I GO?
IMMIGRATION INJUSTICES OF BARBED-WIRE BRITAIN
Harmondsworth detention centre stands as a monument to UK Plcs
attitude to human rights. At any one time 550 people are incarcerated
behind razor wire awaiting deportation. Handily situated right next
to Heathrow, it serves as a prison for those awaiting deportation.
Run by Sodexho, it is part of a network of privatised prisons dedicated
to reinforcing the borders of Fortress Europe. Together with the
other detention centres, Harmondsworth is the last stop for those
who have failed to make successful asylum claims a key tool in the
British and EU governments attempts to manage migration.
The British government locks up 25,000 immigrants a year.
Of the UKs 10 such detention centres (called immigration
reception and removal centres by the government) seven are
run by private companies. They hold failed asylum seekers and illegal
immigrants due for deportation, as well as new asylum seekers whom
the authorities believe may disappear from the system. Up to 2,600
people can now be held in the centres, and the Home Office announced
last week that it plans to add another 480 places by building a
second centre at Gatwick.
The proposed site is actually within the airport boundaries, making
it nice and easy to bundle people on to airplanes with one-way tickets,
conveniently far from public view. As Home Office Minister Tony
McNulty explained, Removing those who have no right to remain
in the UK is an integral part of our balanced approach to asylum
and immigration, helping us to cut abuse of the system and ensure
an efficient end-to-end process. - A process which may be
efficient but can be a despairing and indeed deadly
experience. Twelve people have so far killed themselves while incarcerated
and, according to the Home Office itself, in the last ten months
of 2005, 185 persons attempted self-harm, requiring medical treatment
with another 1,467 considered a danger to themselves and put on
self-harm watch. Annually, the UK government detains more than 2,000
children, including babies, in these pleasant surroundings. Well,
as long as no one illegal is allowed to slip through
Much of the debate around migration to the UK focuses on the legitimacy
of asylum claims. In fact, right across the mainstream political
spectrum the debate over immigration has become a debate over the
nature of refugee status. In order for campaigns aiming
to prevent the deportation of specific individuals (see SchNEWS
523 for example) to stand any chance of victory, they have to
focus on that persons legitimate claim to refugee
status. Campaigns like this can be effective for securing a future
for individuals and families and raising public questions about
the draconian nature of immigration policy. However they run the
risk of suggesting that everyone who migrates to this country outside
the rules is invariably fleeing persecution, effectively conceding
the point that economic migration is something undesirable.
Challenging the tabloid hysteria over bogus asylum seekers
with counter claims of genuine persecution is worthwhile but runs
the risk of undermining the rights of those who simply want to come
here for a better life.
OF THE WEST
What motivates someone to leave the security of their homeland
and language and attempt to break through the borders of Fortress
Europe? International economic migrancy is the inevitable flip side
of globalisation and neo-liberal economics. Migrant workers are
the shadow of the wealth looted from the global south to feather
the western nest. While western corporations are free to move capital
and infrastructure around globally with little restriction, the
population of the Third World is forced to remain behind barbed
wire. Beyond Europe, many countries have been forced to open their
markets to European capital and to low-wage, European-owned factories.
Corporations want to use the EU as a common front to force these
harsh neo-liberal policies on the third world. Yet the people of
these countries face fences and walls if they try to come here.
Many are forced to make desperate journeys around these barriers.
Faced by economic collapse and political instability, usually caused
by IMF restructuring and protectionist measures such as the EUs
Common Agricultural Policy, people are literally dying in the hope
of getting into our protected enclaves. Latin Americans are being
shot on the US Mexican border, Sub-Saharan Africans are drowning
in the Mediterranean, Chinese choking to death in lorries. Africans
attempting to cross the razor wire fences into Spains North
African outposts Mellila and Ceuta in October last year were gunned
down by riot police, and yet the squatter camps outside the borders
The few who do make it through this formidable obstacle course
are subjected to a brutal bureaucracy of application for asylum,
forced to live below the poverty line on humiliating food
voucher schemes, denied the right to work (while being slammed
as scroungers by the right wing tabloids) and are the
most marginalised and victimised people in our societies. For those
deemed by immigration officials to have arrived for economic reasons
there is a stark choice between disappearing into the twilight world
of black market labour or imprisonment in a detention centre. In
the years since the incarceration of illegal economic
migrants became policy, the UKs detention centres have seen
riots, suicides, hunger strikes and endless evidence of maltreatment
by security guards.
Currently, one out of every 35 persons worldwide is an international
migrant. According to UN estimates, some 175 million people are
now living permanently or temporarily outside their country of origin.
This vast number includes migrant workers and their families, refugees,
and permanent immigrants.
The bitter irony is that beyond the populist anti-immigrant stances
of politicians, both the US and the EU depend on migrant labour
to maintain our class-stratified economies. The NHS for example
is virtually propped up by immigrant labour. This two-faced approach
is encapsulated in the phrase managed migration. Give
us your best and brightest, your educated and skilled - and receive
little in return. Managed migration is yet another way
of expropriating Third World wealth. So those who possess the skills
can, at a price, join the global elites, whereas undocumented migrant
workers play the vital role of an underclass willing to do dangerous
and monotonous work for a pittance. Immigration policy works to
keep such workers de-unionised and unrepresented. When your very
existence is illegal how can you fight for employment rights? This
two-tier system of labour is highly advantageous to Western business.
This atttitude to migration is quite new, the Victorians didnt
even have passports and until 1962 there were no controls over immigration
into the UK. The argument that unregulated immigration would affect
the western culture rings hollow when you consider that it is our
cultural values and economic imperatives which have been used to
ruthlessly reshape the world in which the majority of the planets
population is forced to live. The construction of private prisons
for economic migrants has passed through without a great deal of
public debate. The current controversy over asylum is caused because
all other doors for legitimate migration became impossible.
However movements in the first world are beginning to fight on
behalf of all migrants. A recent attempt by the US government to
further intensify its already harsh system of control on the Mexican
border saw nearly a million demonstrate on the streets in California.
As the EU prepares to totally integrate its immigration policy in
order to more effectively clamp down on economic migration, grassroots
networks such as No Borders have begun to demand total global freedom
of movement. It is time to recognise that the global system of population
control creates and maintains injustice and inequality.
* More info at
| DAY OF ACTION at HARMONDSWORTH
April 8th 11am. To get there: 2 miles off Junction 4A off
the M4 near Heathrow.
** Coaches from London £6 call 07944 135617 or email
** Transport from Brighton call 01273 540717
ARREST OF THE WEEK
For Being Too Saucy...
An anti-war protester staged a demo last week in front of an Army
recruitment stall in Perth, Scotland. Covering himself in ketchup,
he laid down in front of the stall and held a one-man die-in protest.
He was subsequently arrested for Breach of the Peace and, bizarrely,
Criminal Damage, and police took him down the nick, with relish.
DEFIANCE - NAMING THE DEAD
This Sunday (2nd) will see a mass defiance of the law with an
illegal gathering in Parliament Square at 12pm to commemorate
those killed in the assault on Fallujah. Gatherings within 1km of
Parliament are illegal under the Serious Organised Crime Act. The
names of thousands of people killed, since the current occupation,
will be read out, and placards will bear their images on this, the
second anniversary of the US assault on Fallujah. Jo Wilding
who was in Fallujah at the time will be there - read her account
of this on her weblog at http://tinyurl.com/3fygm.
Organized by Voices in the Wilderness. Phone 0207 837 0561
In a blow to all those relying on the aristocracy in the House
of Frauds to safeguard our fundamental liberties, the government
has won the right to make ID cards compulsory. Yesterday, under
cover of yet another meaningless concession, it managed
to pass the Identity Cards Bill. If the Home Office has its way,
you will be forced to register on its Big Brother database when
you renew your passport, or any other official document that the
Government chooses to designate (your driving license,
a police CRB check certificate, a student loan form...).You can
opt out of having the actual card until 2010 - but the
Government will charge you a penalty for doing this, and put all
your details on the Register anyway.
Should New Labour win the next election, Charles Clarke says the
ID scheme will be compulsory for everyone. Official control of your
personal information with enforced charges. An Identity Tax wrapped
up in a License to Live.
The SchMOVIES DVD 2005 Collection is finally out. No, really.
Sorry for the delay but its been a saga.
Its only £6 (including P&P) and is a motley collection
of thirteen short films covering the G8 protests in Scotland, the
DSEI arms fair and the Smash EDO campaign in Brighton plus loads
Buy this and help keep SchNEWS free. For more info click on www.schnews.org.uk/schmovies
In the Land of Litigation, court action is always the solution.
Next month, in Washington or New York, papers will be served naming
Libya, and specifically one Col. Gaddafi, as liable for damages
to US and UK survivors and families of those killed by IRA acts
of violence. Under the 1996 Sovereignty Immunity Act, Americans
are the only nationals permitted to file lawsuits against another
country - the British are only able to lodge their claims under
the lesser and more specific Torture Victims Protection Act 1991,
naming specific perpetrators. Libya has been accused of majorly
arming the IRA, over at least 3 decades, and is therefore seen as
a more tangible culprit than the IRA itself. But the questions remain:
where does the buck stop? Why stop at Libya? Indeed, why start with
Libya? For willing givers to the IRA cause, the Yanks need look
no further than under their very own noses. For many years, millions
of dollars were raised for the IRA by large Irish-American groups,
wholly and actively supportive of the republican struggle and tactics.
And all this was blithely sanctioned by consecutive US governments
- the process only had the dampers put on it post 9/11, after which
anything to do with the word terrorism was as popular
as communism in the 1950s.
Presumably these claims are not unrelated to the $1.7 billion compensation
settlement agreed with Libya in 2003, over the Lockerbie bombing.
(Ironically, this was made despite a lack of evidence they were
actually involved, and was more likely a realpolitik move to get
the UN sanctions lifted.) The Libyans are obviously seen as soft
targets for dishing out the dosh. Theyre to be penalised for
arming those who killed and maimed - but those who are planning
to sue should take a step back from these hypocritical and jingoistic
claims and consider their own nations part in the universal
cycle of violence. What about the $12.5 annual arms sales from the
US (5% of its total exports), or the billions-worth of death dealt
by the good ol UK on a yearly basis? Perhaps if the case against
Gaddafi gets won, itll set a precedent for holding entire
countries to account and we can all go and become lawyers and file
suits against Uncle Sam and Little Miss Blighty, on behalf of the
peoples of the world.
Uncle lockednloaded Sam has been flexing
his muscles in South Korea, again (see the Korean War 1950-53 for
more). This time, as part of their ongoing build up of military
presence in the area, they want to double the size of one of their
bases, engulfing a nearby village called Daechuri. The forced eviction
will offer scant compensation to a long settled, close community.
Callously, the eviction will be only be equated to a small piece
of collateral damage in the neo-con Project for a New American Century
(See SchNEWS 387). Its also representative
of the US ambition to secure military control of the entire planet
and squaring up against the Axis of Evil and the other
big kid on the block: China.
Unbelievably, the residents of the village didnt quite see
the big picture, and as the prospect of ones hometown being
swamped by horny no-brained rednecks armed to the teeth is nobodys
idea of fun, they decided to act. This village has subsequently
been turned into an autonomous zone by villagers and supporters.
Wave after wave of riot police and military have been seen off by
a determined resistance that involves lock-ins, human shields and
huge barricades. An assault by 4,000 police several weeks ago failed
to evict the villagers, and as we go to print, the village still
stands defiant, despite beatings and arrests. For updates and some
cool video footage of digger-diving Korea style, see their site
below. Some amazing murals from the village can be seen at www.portland.indymedia.org
- From Seeds to Fruit: Growing Futures in Southend. Day
conference providing a forum for groups and individuals involved
in or concerned about promoting community, social inclusion, greener
environments, sustainability, life-long learning (for both children
and adults), health and well-being. April 1st. www.spiralseed.co.uk/seep
- Also on 1st, Nonviolent Direct Action Workshop And Legal
Briefing, The Front Studio, Diorama 1, 34 Osnaburgh St, London
NW1. 11.30am - 4.30pm (NVDA workshop), 4.30pm - 5.30pm (legal
briefing) Run by Seeds for Change (www.seedsforchange.org.uk)
- Smash EDO Noise Demo - Weds 5th April 4-6pm at the Edo
factory, Brighton. www.smashedo.org.uk
OF THE MOHICANS?
Longstanding SchNEWS-rounder Warren and partner Zoe are the proud
parents of a new baby boy. Hearty Congratulations all round! Heres
hoping those Daily Mail stories about baby-eating anarchists are
untrue after all.
The CPE protests in France continued into this week (see SchNEWS
537) with Tuesday the 28th becoming the focus for widespread
strikes across the country as well as massive demonstrations of
three million nationally, many of which turned into riots. There
have been arrests, particularly in Paris where many are facing fast-tracked
trials and heavier than usual punishments. Around France there were
blockades of arterial roads, train tracks and stations, and bridges
in many major cities led by autonomous groups including a
group of fifty school kids who blocked Pariss main ring road,
and operation free toll by students on a toll-motorway near Montpelier.
A third of high schools in Paris and three-quarters of uni campuses
were also blockaded. The offices of AFP (French Press Agency) in
Paris were briefly occupied in a protest about media disinformation
which portrayed rioters as unthinking thugs.
Our correspondent in Lille on Tuesday reports that after the 50,000
strong march there, some 500 hardcore casseurs (rioters)
fought a running battle with CRS riot police with barricades and
fires, after a group of students had initially blocked the road.
As well as using tear gas, CRS used paint bombs to target individuals,
who were later arrested with undercover snatch squads. 40 were arrested
in Lille. (see And Finally below for more).
And it isnt over yet. Schools and universities are still
being occupied, as well as roads and railways being blockaded. Yesterday
(Thursday), 2000 invaded Gare de Lyon train station in Paris and
occupied rail lines forcing extensive rail cancellations. In Marseilles
Gare St Charles students and teachers blockaded railway tracks and
were tear gassed by CRS riot police before moving off to blockade
a major city roundabout.
Another national strike has been called for April 4th. Watch this
* For more see www.libcom.org/blog
One hungry rioter ate his way out of trouble during last weeks
demonstrations in Lille, France.
After being identified as a troublemaker during the
riot and hit with a police paint bomb to be marked out for arrest
by undercover snatch-squads, one paint-splattered Flemish anarchist
was then arrested with hands cuffed behind his back and pinned with
a charge sheet to his chest for Rebellion and Throwing Missiles.
However in a move which would have made Houdini proud he managed
to get it off his chest with his teeth and then swallow it, forcing
the police to release him without charge shortly after!
SchNEWS warns all readers... if you stay there may be trouble,
but if you go it may be double... Honest.
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