We won a massive victory over immigration deportations last week on the streets of Pollokshields in Glasgow.
Hundreds of people gathered after a Home Office van tried to abduct two Indian men.
But since the victory, the Home Office has announced they are determined to deport these men—Lakhvir Singh and Sumit Sehdev.
On Thursday last week there was another attempt at a raid in Paisley.
This is a major challenge, and it means we have to learn the lessons from Pollokshields.
It’s despicable that people are being ripped from their homes as part of Tory home secretary Priti Patel’s vicious attacks on migrants and refugees. The two men targeted in Pollokshields have lived in our community for ten years.
The opposition to the raid showed the initiative and support that anti-racists can mobilise.
Within hours of the alarm being raised large numbers of people had surrounded the van and blocked the roads.
We chanted, shouted and sang, making sure our neighbours could hear us standing with them.
There was an obscene amount of police, but there was many more of us.
All attempts to divide us failed and we shouted “These are our neighbours—let them go.”
As the numbers grew and so did the energy, we were not going to let them take our friends without a fight.
With no other option, the police and the home office had to admit defeat.
I won’t forget the moment we won and they opened the doors to the van and the two men emerged.
We proved in practice what is possible when we come together—we can defeat the dawn raids.
We want the Tories out and refugees and migrants in.
We must capture the energy that swept through the streets of Pollokshields last week, because only when we are united in action can we beat back racism.
Take empty homes, not green space
There’s a quick solution to the housing crisis and the hard times that renters are having—take over empty homes.
I understand why there are demands for more house building and I don’t completely oppose that.
But we have to think about the damage to the environment that will result—and the reduction in green spaces.
So let’s make the proper and equal use of the existing housing stock a major priority.
Figures out last week showed there are a million homes not being used for residential use in England alone. One home in every 25 currently has no one living in it.
The government admits the total number of vacant homes is 665,628.
But in addition there are a further 320,000 homes sucked out of residential supply as so-called “second homes”.
Then there are a further 60,000 classed as holiday homes.
Empty homes numbers are rising in nine out of ten council areas.
It is time to force the government to back local councils’ calls for new powers to start bringing these homes back into use for homeless people.
None of this will happen without an assault on the idea that developers’ profits can’t be touched.
It’s a political battle, not just a matter of putting forward good ideas.
Inflation rise shows that we need pay fight
Prices have surged, and workers need to wake up and start fighting to defend living standards.
The Office for National Statistics released new figures last week.
They showed the 12-month RPI inflation rate—the most accurate measure—has almost doubled from 1.5 per cent to 2.9 percent between March and April.
Even the CPI rate that the government likes has risen from 0.7 percent to 1.5 percent.
That means the Tories’ recommended 1 percent pay rise for health workers is now in real terms a pay cut by anyone’s reckoning.
And for the millions of other public workers the pay freeze is going to mean a significant fall in their wages.
A long period of low inflation—and the hesitations of union leaders—has reduced the number of pay battles.
Now unless there is a resurgence of fights for pay, workers will pay for the crisis at the top of society.
Now give Rhodes the Colston treatment
Remember how Tory ministers foamed at the mouth and Labour leader Keir Starmer told us that the protesters were “completely wrong”.
Politicians of all stripes told us that the “proper channels” should have been used.
Inspired by the Bristol events there were huge protests outside Oriel College, Oxford university, where a statue of Cecil Rhodes, the brutal racist imperialist stands on the high street.
Having refused to remove the statue five years before, under pressure from mass protests, Oriel’s bosses ordered an independent commission to decide on it’s future.
After a lengthy wait, the majority on that panel were in favour of removal.
Yet Oriel bosses have now decided that due to costs and “complex planning processes” that the figure of this vicious racist must remain.
This will enrage people in Oxford—who may well look to Bristol to learn how they got rid of their racist statue for free.
Palestine must win this time
I marched with huge numbers of people in London for Palestine. It was so wonderful to see so many folk of all types and from all walks of life uniting.
It gave me new hope that liberation might come. But I have also felt that in previous rounds of international solidarity such as in 2009.
It cannot just be another round of the same protests and a return to what passes for “normality”.
To my many friends who have come out for Palestine, I say no going back until victory.
Two states will not be solution
I wanted to express my thanks to Socialist Worker for your overall reporting and topic choice in the last few years of publication of the newspaper.
Not least I welcome your reporting of the events surrounding the persecution of the Palestinian population.
I must expressly highlight the article in the 12 May issue which highlighted that a two‑state solution was and is a nonstarter for resolving this topic.
This is not a position sufficiently widely held in pro-Palestinian circles.
Does amber mean stop?
IT’s utterly cynical for the government to say that people are allowed to fly to “amber list” countries—and then add that it’s a bad idea.
It’s just a way of being able to blame us if Covid-19 cases rise.
Welcome the Green surge
I’m glad the Greens are rising to become more of a challenge against the Labour Party (Letters, 19 May).
Instead of criticising them, socialists should rejoice that the dead hand of Labour is weakening and a left-ish alternative is growing.