By Isabel Ringrose
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2809

Rwanda deportation plans show we must battle racism on every front  

Strengthening the movement against racism is essential as the Tories continue to ramp up their vicious attacks
Issue 2809
racism immigration raids

Fighting every form of racism as the Tories ramp up attacks is essential (pic: Guy Smallman)

With their vile determination to deport refugees to Rwanda the Tories are pushing down hard with their anti-migrant racism. It’s part of a much broader plan to scapegoat people for the government’s failures. And it seeks to divide working class people when they desperately need to be united.

Refugees fleeing war, poverty, persecution and disasters aren’t a drain on the resources of Britain. It’s not down to despairing men, women and children from across the world that council housing, benefits and NHS treatment are unavailable.

This is all thanks to years of Tory austerity. But it suits those at the top to pump out myths that migrants in boats are the problem rather than the rich in their superyachts. The number of British billionaires has reached a new record, up six from last year to 177.  Their loot has increased to a record £653 billion. 

Those people, and the politicians who shield them, should be the target for workers’ anger and action, not refugees. The Tories proclaim that it’s benefit scrounging, job stealing fakers who arrive on British shores close to death that you should hate rather than them.

So, say the ministers who partied in the lockdown, let migrants drown in the Channel. And if they do get to Britain, cram them in rotten accommodation and detention centres. Then fly them thousands of miles to central Africa. 

For those who slip through the net of legal protection, it’s hell that awaits. And now the Nationality and Borders act is in operation even worse beckons. Meanwhile, the cops continue to doll out their racist brutality.  A man who died recently after he was Tasered by police and fell from Chelsea Bridge into the Thames has been named as Oladeji Adeyemi Omishore of Pimlico.

Neighbours said Omishore was a “really nice guy”. Omishore’s family said, “We are deeply shocked and pained by his death and the heart breaking videos played out in the media”. A previous Independent Office for Police Conduct study showed that some 60 percent of black people who were subject to Taser usage had them used on their body for more than five seconds, compared to 29 percent of white people.

On these pages there are inspiring reports of resistance to immigration raids and of a conference that brought together hundreds of people over the scandal of police racism and racism in education. We can learn from them about how to combat racism.

Direct actions, such as blocking police raids as in Peckham, south London last week, or preventing flights are necessary and vital forms of resistance. But we also need a broad political movement, such as Stand Up To Racism, that systematically takes on state racism. It has to oppose the attacks on refugees, Islamophobia, antisemitism, killings by police and all the other forms of racism.

It means agitation and consistent organisation which confronts the state and its forces. But it also must fight patiently and for the long-term for anti-racist unity inside the working class. Uniting working class people in the fight against all racism is the only way to undermine the Tories’ fiction that we have nothing in common.

A working class divided between those who were born here and those who were not will never be able to fight effectively against the racist Tories and the bosses.  Workplaces where workers are separated by racism are a gift to plundering employers. That’s why every trade unionist has to push anti-racist arguments in their branches and workplaces. 

And it’s why striking workers should also be part of the movement in solidarity with refugees facing deportation. A united campaign against the Tories, their system and the racism it relies on has to be a priority for everyone who is suffering at the hands of Johnson and his Bullingdon Club university toffs’ set. 

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