INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE AGAINST RACISM, FASCISM, ISLAMOPHOBIA & ANTISEMITISM – SATURDAY 19 OCTOBERdownload the SUtR-2019-conf-agenda Download Download/ view the timetable as a PDF here … Read the rest
The Seven Sisters Market Tenants’ Association has been granted a hearing at the High Court on October 8th and 9th over the demolition of community and business spaces at the Latin Village, also known as, El Pueblito Paisa. They say ‘we cannot allow our important community space, especially for women and children, to be replaced by a soulless shopping centre and luxury homes for the wealthy’.
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A fortnightly resource for anti-racist and social justice campaigns, highlighting key events in the UK and Europe.ASYLUM, MIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP Asylum and migrant rights
17 September: The inquest opens into the death of Mulubrhane Medhane Kfleyosus, a 19-year-old asylum seeker from Milton Keynes who took his life on 18 February 2019, the fourth from his friendship group to do so. Milton Keynes social services, an interested party in the case, challenge the family’s proposal to have the scope of the inquiry as wide as possible. (Guardian, 17 September 2019)
18 September: Freedom from Torture and other migrant support organisations publish Lessons not Learned: The failures of asylum decision-making in the UK, which finds that the ‘culture of disbelief’ behind the hostile environment still operates to bar refugees from recognition. Read the report here. (Guardian, 18 September 2019)
18 September: The Public Accounts Committee finds that the Home Office rushed to revoke the visas of students accused of cheating in English-language tests, without assessing the reliability of the evidence. Read its report here. (Guardian, 18 September 2019)
26 September: Italy grants Deniz Pinaroglu, an opponent of the Turkish regime, political asylum one month after he started a hunger strike at a pre-deportation centre in Turin following the initial rejection of his claim. (Are You Syrious, 26 September 2019)
27 September: The head of the Children’s Rights Alliance in Ireland says the country has a moral duty to relocate unaccompanied minors living without shelter or access to education in Greece. Ireland’s justice minister promised in December 2018 to bring 36 unaccompanied minors to the country by the end of 2019, a target it is yet to meet. (InfoMigrants, 27 September 2019)
30 September: The High Court gives permission for a legal challenge to the Home Office practice of allowing Zimbabwean asylum seekers to be interrogated by embassy officials. If successful, the case could oblige the Home Office to review hundreds of failed asylum claims. (Independent, 30 September 2019)Borders and internal controls
15 September: Members of far-right group Britain First announce plans to patrol Dover beaches to intercept migrants attempting the Channel crossing, a project they are calling ‘Operation White Cliffs’. A spokesperson for the Fire Brigade Union accuses the group of ‘apprehending struggling working class people.’ (Independent, 20 September 2019)
19 September: A Sudanese man is shot dead in Tripoli in front of International Organization for Migration (IOM) staff hours after being returned by the Libyan Coast Guard. The shooting took place when a number of people tried to escape the guards attempting to take them to detention centres. (IOM, 19 September 2019
23 September: Are You Syrious reports on the tragic death of ‘Ali’, a man who lost his mind after losing his toes to frostbite when police confiscated his shoes as he attempted to cross the Balkans route. On 21 September he died in hospital in the Bosnian town of Bihać, having returned there after being pushed back into Croatia. (Are You Syrious, 23 September 2019)
25 September: Greek prime minister Mitsotakis and Turkish president Erdogan agree at a side meeting of the United Nations to reduce the numbers of displaced people reaching the Greek islands, the day after the Greek government launched a new plan to seal its land borders and improve surveillance at sea to stop people arriving on Greece’s shores. (Ekathimerini, 24, 25 September 2019)
25 September: French president Macron launches a National Debate on Immigration and Migration Policy, with speeches claiming France ‘cannot host everyone’ and that ‘there is not enough cooperation in Europe’ on migration policy. (Aljazeera, 25 September 2019)Reception and detention
17 September: A Doctors of the World spokesperson accuses the French police of ‘institutional violence’ as more than 700 people, including families and pregnant women, are removed from a migrant camp in Dunkirk in the largest camp eviction by French police in over a year. Home Office staff were invited by the French authorities as part of a collaborative project to reduce the number of attempted boat crossings; NGO Care4Calais warns that the crossings will continue despite camp clearances. (GOV.UK, Guardian, 17 September 2019)
18 September: During the Home Office investigation into the death of Oscar Okwurime in Harmondsworth detention centre, family members claim staff knew he was ill weeks before and did nothing. (Aljazeera, 18 September 2019)
18 September: In a coordinated operation, Greek police evict 150 refugees and migrants from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, among them 30 babies and children, from squats in downtown Athens where the new government has promised to crush ‘illegality in Exarchia’. (Keep Talking Greece, 19 September 2019).
23 September: Greek authorities continue their raids in Athens, evicting 143 people, including 50 children and their families, from the 5th School squat, deporting those without papers and transferring others out of the city to the newly-established Corinthos camp in the middle of a dusty plain, where they are expected to wait for the winter. (Are You Syrious, 23 September 2019)
24 September: In Greece, a 5-year-old Afghan boy is run over by a truck and killed as he plays inside a cardboard box close to the Moria refugee camp, Lesvos. (Ekathimerini, 24 September 2019).
24 September: The outsourcing company G4S says it will not renew its contracts to run Brook House and Tinsley House detention centres when they expire in May 2020, ending its involvement in the asylum and immigration sector. The company was heavily criticised after undercover filming at Brook House for a BBC Panorama programme revealed detainees being abused by staff. (Guardian, BBC, 24 September 2019)
26 September: The German branch of Doctors of the World announces that the organisation is withdrawing from the Anker centre in Bavaria due to poor living conditions that do not allow for successful medical treatment. DOW can no longer carry responsibility for the state of mentally traumatised patients, it says. (Frankfurter Rundschau, 26 September 2019)
28 September: 3,000 people join a protest in Oughterard, Galway, against the conversion of a local hotel into a direct provision centre where asylum seekers will be housed until their asylum claim is assessed. Local independent councillor Thomas Welby says protesters are opposed to the ‘inhumane’ centres, while the Bishop of Galway criticises the state for its lack of transparency and consultation in implementing the controversial system. (Irish Times, 28 September 2019; Independent, 30 September 2019)
30 September: 200 women at the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, where 13,000 residents are housed in converted cargo containers meant for just 3,000 people, stage a sit-in with their children the day after an Afghan mother and possibly her child died in a fatal fire in which at least nineteen people are injured. The women demand details of who died, and call on the authorities to ensure their safety. (Ekathimerini, Guardian, Morning Star, 30 September 2019)
30 September: Parents and children in Athens call for the return of refugee children who have been removed from their schools when Greek authorities evicted over 100 refugees and displaced people from a disused school, the third eviction in two weeks. (Aljazeera, 30 September 2019)Deportations
25 September: According to the newspaper Dagens Nyheter, in the year to August, 2,600 people have been deported by plane from Sweden, nearly matching the figure for the whole of 2015. The biggest single mass deportation so far this year, of fifty men to Afghanistan, occurred earlier this month and was assisted by Frontex. (Are you Syrious, 25 September 2019)
25 September: A British court rules that it has no power to stop the deportation of a 10-year-old girl at risk of female genital mutilation in Sudan, after the Home Office rejects her mother’s asylum application. (Guardian, 25 September 2019)POLICING AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE
17 September: The Guardian identifies a number of cases where young British victims of human trafficking who have been forced to sell drugs in county lines operations are being charged and prosecuted despite guidelines saying prosecution is not in the public interest. (Guardian, 17 September 2019)
18 September: Police forces show interest in an American ‘Spider-Man’ device which entangles suspects in a web of fibre, immobilising them, as a ‘safer’ alternative to tasers. The charity Inquest warns that the device might be dangerous. (Guardian, 18 September 2019)
1 October: At the Conservative party conference, home secretary Priti Patel announces a number of ‘law and order’ measures including plans to recruit 20,000 extra police officers and a £10m ring-fenced fund to equip up to 60 per cent of police officers with tasers. (Sky News, 1 October 2019)EMPLOYMENT AND EXPLOITATION
27 September: The Brussels public transport company (STIB) is being sued for its discrimination against veiled women in its hiring process. The case involves a woman who applied for two different non-public facing positions. (Brussels Times, 27 September 2019)ELECTORAL POLITICS: UK
25 September: A motion by Momentum and Labour Against Racism & Fascism that urges the party to extend migrants’ rights and close immigration detention centres, is passed overwhelmingly at the Labour party conference. (BBC News, 25 September 2019)
25 September: Boris Johnson causes uproar in the Commons by responding ‘humbug’ to a plea from MP Paula Sherriff, to stop using ‘offensive, dangerous or inflammatory language’ such as ‘traitor’, and ‘ betrayal’ since ‘many of us in this place’ are ‘subject to death threats and abuse every single day’. Johnson claims the best way to honour the memory of Jo Cox (the MP murdered by a far-right extremist before the referendum) is to deliver Brexit. At a meeting of the backbench 1922 Committee, he refuses to apologise for his language and says he will continue using it during the Brexit debate. (Guardian, BBC News 26 September 2019)
26 September: A man is arrested for a public order offence after allegedly banging on the window of MP Jess Phillips’ Birmingham constituency office and shouting ‘fascist’, following her tabling an urgent Commons question about inflammatory language. (Guardian, 26 September 2019)
26 September: In a series of interviews with the Guardian under the heading ‘Abuse is the norm’, women MPs, many of ethnic minority descent, speak out about the very specific hate mail and threats they receive on a daily basis, especially since the 2016 referendum, saying the politics of hate has become mainstreamed and public figures are amplifying tensions. A series of experts agree that rhetoric from politicians can trigger violence on the streets and attacks on public figures. (Guardian, 26 September 2019)
28 September: Police investigate hundreds of horrifying abusive messages, including a death threat, received by Dewsbury MP Paula Sherriff after she called Johnson to account in the Commons, citing the killing of fellow MP Jo Cox by an extremist. Many messages parroted the toxic language used by Johnson, and 70 per cent of messages were also misogynistic. A few miles away, MP Tracy Brabin, elected after Cox’s death, received four times as much hate mail as usual after the Commons encounter, and has had to ask for a police presence at her surgery. Both MPs are worried about a planned march by anti-Islamic Yorkshire Patriots in Dewsbury on 12 October. (Guardian, 28 September 2019)
30 September: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn initiates a Westminster meeting where senior figures from the main parties recognise their responsibility to use moderate language and pledge to weigh their words carefully. (Guardian, 30 September 2019)
30 September: The National Union of Students (NUS) president Zamzam Ibrahim pulls out of two speaking engagements at the Conservative party conference following reports of ‘deeply disturbing, downright Islamophobia’ at a fringe event on Sunday. (Guardian, 30 September 2019)ELECTORAL POLITICS: EUROPE
25 September: Irish president Michael Higgins accuses ‘some people’ of ‘abusing facts’ about asylum seekers after TDs representing Cork and Galway say immigrants are ‘flooding’ the system and ‘sponging’, in a row about a proposal for a new Direct Provision centre in Co. Galway. (Irish Examiner, 25 September 2019)
29 September: In the Austrian general election, support for the Freedom Party (FPÖ) plunges by more than a third. With 16 per cent of the vote, it is the third-largest party in the Austrian parliament. (Guardian, 29 September 2019)
1 October: New Democracy, the governing party of Greece, expels Theodoros Giannaro, a molecular biologist and adviser to ND on healthcare issues, after he sends a series of tweets to Arash Hampay, an Iranian refugee and community activist in Athens, one stating ‘You are gonna be kicked back where you came from, you monkey’. (IranWire, 1 October 2019).ANTI-FASCISM AND THE FAR RIGHT
18 September: On the sixth anniversary of the murder of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas, thousands of people demonstrate in his home district of Keratsini, western Athens. At the same time, anti-fascists celebrate as Golden Dawn closes its central headquarters in Athens and shuts down many other branches throughout the country. (Observer, 21 September 2019)
19 September: Counter-terrorism police say the fastest growing threat of terrorism in the UK is from the far Right. (Guardian, 19 September 2019)
24 September: Uli Grötsch, secretary-general of the Social Democrats in Bavaria, receives two death threats from neo-nazis, reading ‘Kill Uli Grötsch! A shot in the back of the neck, like Lübcke!’ (Deutsche Welle in English, 24 September 2019)
24 September: In a confidential ‘Strategic Report’, Europol warns that growing far-right violence is accompanied by attempts to ‘win over members of the military and security services in order to learn their expertise in the area of surveillance and combat readiness’. (Deutsche Welle in English, 24 September 2019)
27 September: According to interior ministry statistics, German police seized 1,091 weapons from the far Right in 2018, a 61 per cent increase from the previous year and a sign of ‘massive rearmament’ of the far-right scene. (Deutsche Welle in English, 28 September 2019)
29 September: An investigation by BBC Countryfile establishes that Michael Wrenn, the leader of British Revival, set up as a ‘patriotic’ alternative to Extinction Rebellion, is the former South West regional head of the far-right Generation Identity. British Revival has now had its Facebook page closed down. (Sunday Express, 29 September 2019)
30 September: The trial of eight neo-nazi members of Revolution Chemnitz opens in a regional court in Dresden, Saxony. The eight are accused of ‘forming a rightwing terrorist organisation’, carrying out violent attacks on foreign residents in Chemnitz in September 2018, and attempting to acquire semi-automatic weapons for a bloodbath on Germany’s National Unity Day. (AFP, 30 September 2019)DISCRIMINATION
25 September: The French education minister reignites the headscarf row by criticising France’s largest parents’ association for a pamphlet featuring a mother in a headscarf saying ‘Yes, I go on school trips, so what? Secularism is about welcoming all parents without exception’. Mothers in headscarves are not banned from school trips following a legal ruling in 2013, but the minister wants to discourage the practice. (Guardian, 25 September 2019)
30 September: Following an FOI request from the Guardian, the Ministry of Defence admits that military police have launched 35 investigations into racially aggravated crimes in 2018 and 2019. The service complaints ombudsman calls for independent research into why disproportionate numbers of female and BAME personnel complain of bullying, harassment and discrimination. (Guardian, 30 September 2019).HOUSING
17 September: The new Home Office housing contractor, Mears, says asylum seekers refused the right to remain in the UK will no longer face lock-change evictions from social housing without a court order. Protests and legal challenges were raised against former contractor Serco, preventing many scheduled lock-change evictions of those denied asylum in Glasgow. (BBC, 17 September 2019)
23 September: Research by Heriot-Watt University, commissioned by the National Housing Federation, finds that 8 million people in England are living in unsuitable accommodation, 3.6 million are in overcrowded homes and 2.5 million cannot properly afford where they live. Read a summary here. (Guardian, 23 September 2019)
26 September: The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s five-yearly measurement of ‘English Indices of Deprivation 2019’ finds that in some London boroughs, hardship has decreased. However, other research suggests this is the result of the ‘gentrification effect’, whereby wealthier newcomers are changing the socio-economic make-up of historically working-class neighbourhoods. See the report here. (Guardian, 26 September 2019)
1 October: A new report from the Office for National Statistics finds that over the past year, homeless deaths have increased by twenty-two per cent. 726 homeless people died in England and Wales in 2018. Read the report here. (Guardian, 1 October 2019)
2 October: Two dozen homeless protesters occupy a council-owned building in Chester, barricading themselves in and claiming ‘squatters rights’. The activists say that the heavy rains have left them no other choice. (Guardian, 2 October 2019HEALTH
8 September: Kelemua Mulat, a 39-year-old Ethiopian asylum seeking mother, dies after being denied potentially life-saving treatment for breast cancer for six weeks by the Home Office due to a hostile environment rule requiring migrants to pay upfront for healthcare. (Guardian, 19 September 2019)
24 September: The British Journal of General Practice publishes findings that three-quarters of London GP surgeries are breaching NHS guidelines in denying care to homeless people, travellers and recently-arrived migrants by wrongly instructing them to produce photographic identification or proof of address before allowing them to register and get urgent treatment. (Guardian, 24 September 2019)EDUCATION
20 September: A 10-year-old boy who endured racist bullying at his school for two years tries to hang himself. Almost 200 racial incidents were recorded at his Canterbury school during the years he was there as one of only four mixed-heritage children. A teacher advised him to get more resilient to racial abuse. His mother, who removed her son last May, accuses the school of failing to protect her son, and now the council has offered to pay for his private education. (Metro, 20 September 2019)
26 September: The trust which manages 96 Christian Brothers schools in Ireland, the Edmund Rice Trust, calls for an end to the Direct Provision system of asylum support, in a report pointing to its harmful effects on young asylum-seeking school students. (Irish Times, 26 September 2019MEDIA AND CULTURE
19 September: A study finds that in 2018, only 4 per cent of children’s books published in the UK featured a black or minority ethnic hero. (Guardian, 17 September 2019)
27 September: Over 150 BAME broadcasters sign a letter accusing the BBC of racial discrimination for its rebuke to Breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty, accused of breaching impartiality guidelines for saying that Donald Trump telling BAME congresswomen to ‘go home’ was racist. (Times, 27 September 2019)
30 September: BBC director-general Lord Hall reverses the decision which partially upheld a complaint against presenter Naga Munchetty, saying her words were insufficient to merit the rebuke. Both the home secretary and leader of the opposition had spoken out against the BBC’s view. (Guardian, 26 September 2019, BBC News, 30 September 2019)
1 October: To mark the start of Black History Month, a plaque commemorating Eric Irons, Britain’s first black magistrate, is unveiled in Nottingham. (Guardian, 30 September 2019)SPORT
19 September: Former England striker Peter Beardsley is banned from football for 32 weeks on three counts of racially abusing black players while coaching the Newcastle under-23s, compounding the abuse by accusing the players concerned of fabricating allegations for financial gain. (Guardian, 19 September 2019)
21 September: Managers of Hartlepool United and Dover Athletic discuss taking their players off the field because of racist chants, after an Athletic player is abused following a goal. But the players want to stay on the pitch to finish the game, that Dover wins 2-0. (BBC Sport, 21 September 2019)
22 September: A Brazilian defender, Dalbert, who plays for Italian team Fiorentina, asks the referee to stop play during a match with Atalanta after receiving racist abuse from the Atalanta fans. (The Local, 23 September 2019)
23 September: UEFA rules that Hungary and Slovakia will play their next Euro 2020 qualifiers behind closed doors after both national federations are sanctioned for racist behaviour by their supporters. The Romanian Football Federation is also sanctioned. (RTE, 23 September 2019)
24 September: West Ham bans a supporter for life after a racist video was posted on social media. The club, which was made aware of ‘disgusting’ footage of a fan making racist remarks to away fans at the London Stadium early last season, hands the evidence to the police, as well as banning the fan for life, saying it has ‘zero tolerance of abhorrent behaviour’. (BBC Sport, 24 September 2019)
26 September: A study from the Observatory on Racism in Football finds that racism blights Italian youth football as much as the top leagues, with eighty incidents against young footballers recorded over the last two seasons. Italy, unlike other countries, has never addressed the racist abuse in the stands, which comes from children and parents. (Guardian, 26 September 2019)RACIAL VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT
20 September: The Daily Mirror interviews Clive Pyott, a 50-year-old man who was left with a broken nose and a fractured jaw after intervening to stop a racist attack on an Asian boy in Hulme, Manchester, on 24 August. The assailants shouted ‘speak f***ing English’ as they punched the boy repeatedly and stamped on him. (Daily Mirror, 20 September 2019)
24 September: A man is jailed for four years at Cardiff crown court for a series of Instagram posts in which he posed with a shotgun and urged people to stand up ‘against Muslims’. Jay Davison, who talked about ‘Aryans’ and wrote ‘heil, heil, heil’ in a series of posts and comments was convicted of stirring up religious hatred. (Independent, 24 September 2019
26 September: An Irish woman says she and her Brazilian partner and their child might have to leave the country because of a storm of racist abuse after the family featured in a Lidl TV and billboard advertising campaign. Journalist Gemma O’Doherty started the abuse with a tweet telling followers to ‘Resist the Great Replacement’. (Irish Times, 27 September 2019)
27 September: Police in Lewes, East Sussex investigate a spate of suspected hate crimes committed overnight, including the bricking of an anti-Brexit campaigner’s window, antisemitic graffiti on a garden fence and Nazi symbols daubed on a house. (Guardian, 27 September 2019).
28 September: In Ulm, southern Germany, a man is arrested after an attempt to attack a woman at a Support Diversity and Islamophobia awareness event organised by a Turkish Muslim association (IGMG). He shouted, ‘I will kill you’ and was blocked when he lunged at a woman with a knife. (AA News, 28 September 2019)
30 September: Research by the London Assembly Police & Crime Committee finds that racist and religious hate crime is up by 107 per cent since 2011. The report also sets out recommendations for the Mayor of London. Read the report here. (Mayor of London, 30 September 2019
This calendar was compiled by the IRR News team with the help of Laura Wormington and Graeme Atkinson.
‘Get over the shock, this is reality’: challenging racism and violence against women and girls in Rotherham
Why are specialist services for black and minoritised women and girls escaping violence so important? And why have the voices of those organisations been erased from the discussion around Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) cases in Rotherham and other northern cities? Sophia Siddiqui travelled to Rotherham to find out.
‘For Rotherham’ was scrawled on the ammunition of the gunman who killed at least fifty people in a white supremacist attack at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand earlier this year. Rotherham as a place has become stigmatised, inescapably yoked to the child sexual abuse scandal that has been used by the far Right (and the mainstream) to fuel anti-Muslim racism.
Three days before the attack, in Rotherham, a number of Pakistani survivors of domestic abuse performed a play. In the opening scene, a 13-year-old schoolgirl sits with her head in her hands as the words ‘Paki’, ‘bomber’, ‘paedophile’, ‘rapist’, ‘terrorist’ are played, ‘all the words that my community can experience on a daily basis’, explains Zlakha Ahmed, founder of Apna Haq, a specialist service for minoritised women and children escaping violence in Rotherham. The play brought home the local impact of a racialised narrative on child sexual exploitation cases, demonstrating how the Pakistani community as a whole has been blamed for the crimes of a few.
‘When you talk to local women, mothers and young girls, they have shared how their 7-year-olds have been called paedophiles and rapists in the playground. Being spat at, stared out, called names or having your headscarf ripped off are things that my community expect to happen, all the time,’ Zlakha told me. But as well as fuelling racism, the toxic racialised narrative around child sexual exploitation (CSE) has erased BAME survivors who don’t fit the white female victim/Asian male offender stereotype. ‘One of the things that I’m forever challenging again is the concept of which children get abused.’ CSE can affect all children – regardless of gender identity, sexuality, ethnicity, faith or economic background – and across various contexts.
Apna Haq: an organisation on the front line
It is in this context that Apna Haq operates. Founded by Zlakha Ahmed, who is herself a survivor of CSE, Apna Haq (which means ‘our rights’ in Urdu) has been working towards the early intervention and prevention of violence against women/girls for the past twenty-five years. Building on the continued legacy of organisations such as Imkaan and Southall Black Sisters, Apna Haq is one of the few BAME specialist services left in the UK. The organisation takes a holistic approach that is both anti-racist and feminist – for women and children who experience racism and sexism simultaneously, one cannot be dealt with without the other.
As well as offering safety and protection, Apna Haq is committed to raising awareness and challenging the silence around violence against women and girls (VAWG) and challenging racism on the ground. This has involved putting together two three-day courses (now a certificate level diploma to be launched in October), for practitioners who have a very simplistic understanding of the issues, and for communities, in order to challenge the victim-blaming of girls and the excusing of men’s behaviour. ‘Until we have those discussions, we’re not going to change anything.’ These are practical, educational steps that Zlakha is hoping to take out across the country in order to challenge the root causes of violence, rather than simplistic solutions that say ‘these are the signs, look for these signs, report them’ which ultimately lead to carceral ‘solutions’ that don’t change anything.
For racialised women and girls, violence is often experienced at the intersection of state and interpersonal violence. The traumatic experience of domestic violence is further compounded by (eg,) insecure immigration status, poverty, inadequate housing and heavy-handed policing, which make it more difficult to leave an abusive relationship. And the particular vulnerabilities of BAME women (who are more likely to live in a deprived area, in poverty, experience the state care system, and are more likely to experience recurring forms of violence) means that specialist services are absolutely crucial.
Apna Haq has intervened in a range of cases in which victims are faced with social workers, police officers or teachers who take a blanket approach, which does not recognise the complexity of multiple overlapping oppressions. For instance, a social worker that was adamant to immediately inform a 16-year-old’s parents that their daughter was coerced into sex by a boyfriend, without having met the girl or taken care to listen to how her siblings had been forced to marry their partners. A social worker demanding a mother of three move from her home with a leaking roof, without recognising that there was domestic violence in the relationship and her husband had never applied for her immigration stay, which meant that if she moved home she would effectively become an ‘overstayer’. Once Apna Haq supported her through the immigration process, she was able to move home.
‘We’ve had numerous cases where we feel the police have gone into homes in a really, really heavy-handed way, when there are vulnerable children involved’, Zlakha added. In one case, a police officer took a mother and a daughter in for questioning; leaving a 15-year old with severe learning difficulties at home alone until 10.30 at night – this was despite the family being known to the police because of domestic violence call-outs in the past.
Prevent exacerbates stigmatisation
Zlakha also mentioned a case in which a teacher made a Prevent referral resulting in a multi-agency child protection meeting being called after a 13-year-old with learning difficulties described the area she lived in as a ‘terraced house’ and ‘a bridge’, which the teacher misheard as ‘terrorist on a bridge’.
We know the damaging and long-lasting psychological harm that Prevent referrals (which are often made on vague, non-evidence based ‘instincts’) can have on Muslim children who are rendered as ‘criminal’ and ‘suspect’. And for young people who are already caught in a nexus of domestic violence, insecure immigration status and housing, disabilities and mental health issues, the statutory agencies that are supposed to protect them are totally insufficient, and government counter-terrorism policies like Prevent further exacerbate the stigmatisation they already face. It’s in this crisis that specialist services are so essential in order to support vulnerable people to escape domestic violence, but also to navigate through ‘hostile environment’ policies, counter-terrorism policies and austerity measures which make life so difficult, as well as through the racism they face on the streets, on the bus and in their classrooms, which is ultimately the conclusion of a state-sanctioned structure.
Fighting to exist in the face of austerity
Despite the essential work that Apna Haq does, its council funding was cut in 2015, and the tender was awarded instead to a generic organisation, Rotherham Rise. This is part of a bigger trend towards cost-cutting and a ‘one size fits all’ approach in VAWG service contracts, at the expense of specialist services for minoritised women and girls. Since 2012, 50 per cent of shelters in the country for BAME women have been forced to close due to government funding cuts. Only last month, London Black Women’s Project, which has been supporting women and children in Newham for the past thirty-two years, lost its funding for its refuges.
The irony is that despite many specialist service providers receiving little or no local authority funding, statutory agencies continue to rely on these services. Despite losing its state funding, Apna Haq is still fighting to exist through heritage lottery funding and various grants, like so many other specialist services across the country.
Last year, domestic violence homicides reached a 5 year high, and in 2016/7 alone, 13,000 child rapes and tens of thousands of other child sexual offences were recorded (which is likely to be only the tip of the iceberg as studies suggest as little as 3-15 per cent of child sexual abuse is reported). ‘I’m saying, get over the shock because this is reality’, stated Zlakha. We must support these frontline specialist organisations that challenge interlocking systems of oppression on a daily basis and fight to support these vital lifelines.
Watch a short film ‘Nothing about us without us’ by Dorett Jones which shows the protests that took place in support of Apna Haq in 2015.
A ‘French Black Lives Matter’ campaign against police brutality and racialised violence is calling out for justice.
On 19 July 2016, his 24th birthday, Adama Traoré died in police custody in the Persan police station, Paris. His arrest in questionable circumstances, the silence following his death from the French state, and the fact that no police officer has been held accountable for the death, have angered his family and ignited the local community. In response, they created the collective ‘Vérité et Justice Pour Adama’ (Truth and Justice for Adama) led by Assa Traoré, Adama’s sister. The collective’s primary focus is fighting to prove that the three police officers involved in Adama’s arrest caused his death. But their organisation, nicknamed French Black Lives Matter, is also against police brutality, particularly towards minority groups.
Adama, a young man of Malian descent, was in a café with his brother when three policemen asked for their ID. Adama did not have his with him, so he ran to escape custody. He was later found, arrested and taken into custody, where he died. According to the policemen, Adama’s death was the result of a pre-existing heart condition – a narrative that was supported by the first autopsy. The state’s autopsy confirmed that Adama’s medical condition, coupled with an alleged use of alcohol and narcotic substances before the arrest, caused a cardiac arrest. This version of events was backed by other state officials. The warrant research officer Nathalie Baylor claimed that Traoré first attacked the policemen, despite there being no evidence to support this. Public prosecutor Yves Jannier stated in the medical report that no violence had been used during the arrest.
However, the family have always challenged this version of events, which they say has never been particularly watertight. They point to inconsistencies as to whether Adama received any medical treatment. The police officers claim that they placed Adama in the recovery position, did the best they could to save him and even called an ambulance – a story contradicted by the chief of emergency services. But Adama never made it to a hospital and no medical help was brought to the unconscious man, a clear breach of the ‘basic duty of care’ principle. The Traoré family’s attorney Yassine Bouzrou claims that the emergency services were not called until more than an hour after he was brought into custody. After several attempts at resuscitating Adama, he was pronounced dead at 7:05 pm.
In 2017, the family paid for a second autopsy, which reached different findings. The family have always maintained that Adama did not have a heart condition, and the second autopsy supported this. It found Adama’s cause of death to be suffocation, most likely caused by the policemen’s weight as they pinned him to the ground during the arrest – a controversial practice forbidden in Switzerland, Belgium and some US states.
Police protected by the state?
An investigation of the arresting officers was opened in March 2019 and is still ongoing. One of the collective’s spokespersons, Geoffrey De Lasgasnerie, who co-wrote the book Le Combat Adama (The Fight for Adama), has spoken of his belief that Adama’s case exposes a political crisis in which the state use its strength to quash anything that threatens its power, in a blatant case of a denial of justice.
The collective has also spoken out about the alleged state and police repression they have experienced. They have criticised the police’s attempt to send the body to Mali (where the rest of his family is buried, supposedly in line with Muslim tradition) as a shocking and hypocritical attempt to prevent the family’s second autopsy. ‘All of a sudden, it is convenient for them that we are Muslims’, Assa claims. Then on 17 November 2016, six months after Adama’s death, Nathalie Groux, mayor of the Traoré family’s home town, Beaumont-sur-Oise demanded that the family pay damages of thousands of euros for defaming her, after Assa Traoré had denounced her for taking the side of the police.
The collective has also condemned the state for its alleged treatment of Adama’s family. Four of his brothers have been arrested since his death in questionable circumstances. Bagui and Youssouf Traoré were arrested for assault following a local council meeting where there was a violent altercation between the family and the police in which officers were injured. The defence claims that one was injured by his own tear gas and the other was bitten by his dog. Yacouba Traoré was arrested on the same day as Adama, for another struggle with police officers, when they prevented him from entering the Persan police station where his brother was dying.
Even at the highest level, the French state has been silent about Adama’s case and about police violence. Former president François Hollande did not comment on Adama’s death during his term, and the current president, Emmanuel Macron, recently denied the existence of police brutality in France, as it is a democracy based on the rule of law.
Vérité et Justice Pour Adama has sustained a strong presence since 2016, including organising annual commemorative marches to highlight police brutality. More recently the collective has joined up with the Yellow Vest movement to denounce France as an authoritarian regime that covers up police violence. The death of Adama Traoré has shone a light on the unhealthy collaboration between the state and the police and questioned the rule of law which is supposedly the backbone of the French state. The constant exoneration of police officers by medical examiners and the prosecutor’s office suggests institutional cover-up.
Institutional racism behind police practices
Assa Traoré is clear: her brother was killed by the structural racism of the French state. The contrôle au faciès (stop and search / ‘ethnic profiling’) is a widespread police practice that seeks to randomly stop ‘at-risk’ citizens (mostly people of colour). An arguably unconstitutional practice, since it violates the principle of non-discrimination at the core of the penal code, it is disproportionately used against men of north African and sub-Saharan descent, who are some twenty times more likely to be stopped than people from other ethnic groups.
Vérité et Justice pour Adama sees this violence towards black men as a continuation of France’s colonial behaviour. As Assa Traoré wrote in March 2019, ‘while the exotic female represents an erotic fantasy, the exotic male needs to be killed [because he represents a danger]’. This analysis of colonial masculinity is extremely important as it shows the ways France’s collective imagination ascribes masculinity. Men of sub-Saharan and north African descent are presented as overly manly and consequently dangerous, whilst men of east Asian descent are presented as weak and non-threatening.
Humiliating police violence impacts men of north African and sub-Saharan descent more than any other social group. Many investigations into the police confirm this stereotyping of black men, reflected in their use of ‘preventative’ violence, which precludes any sort of communication between the police and the individual. Assa Traoré traces a daily system of humiliation by the police towards young men of colour – from the uninhibited use of racial slurs to unjustified violence. The Adama Traoré case has become a symbol both of police autonomy and ability to circumvent the law, and of an institutionalised racism.
If we are not vigilant, the government’s attempts to deny the links between speech that inflames and actual acts of physical violence could be extended to deny or excuse incitement to racial hatred.
On BBC’s Andrew Marr show, Boris Johnson defended his use of ‘martial metaphors’ in the first parliamentary debate since parliament was reconvened after the Supreme Court ruled prorogation unlawful. As Marr repeatedly criticised the prime minister’s response to Labour MP Paula Sheriff, Johnson defended his behaviour as a ‘model of restraint’. He said he was justified in telling Sheriff ‘I’ve never heard such humbug in my life’, after Sheriff, a friend of the late Jo Cox, pleaded with him to stop using ‘inflammatory language’ because, argued Johnson, ‘if you cannot use a metaphor like surrender to describe the surrender bill … you are impoverishing the language and diminishing parliamentary debate’.
But it is not just Labour politicians – many of whom have, since the Brexit vote, been subjected to constant death and rape threats and have had to have panic buttons installed in their offices and homes – who have something to fear from the Conservative government’s use of words like ‘surrender’, ‘betrayal’ and ‘traitor’ to force through a No-deal Brexit. Such words embolden the far Right, as the Muslim community of Dewsbury, West Yorkshire well know. They are bracing themselves for the resumption of far-right incitement in the region. The Yorkshire Patriots – who incidentally use the slogan ‘No Surrender’ on their logo – have announced that the first demonstration in the region since Jo Cox’s murder in 2016 will take place on 12 October. Other communities are also feeling the backlash. A day after Johnson’s performance in parliament, police in Lewes, East Sussex, announced they were investigating a spate of suspected hate crimes committed overnight, including the spraying of the words ‘Fuck the Jews Soros’s Whores Traitor’s’ on the garden fence of a house with a Stop Brexit sticker, which also had a brick thrown through its window.
Comparisons with Alternative for Germany
In the UK, we used to pride ourselves that we were different to the Continent in that we did not have a powerful electoral far Right and racist party in parliament. But now we see Conservative leaders, either consciously or unconsciously, mirroring the tactics of the far-right racist and Islamophobic Alternative for Germany (AfD), whose provocations come in a country where pro-migrant politicians have not only suffered death threats, but knife and gun attacks, arson and murder. The AfD’s tactics are to assert the will of a white elite through the referendum process and break down taboos in the ways that ‘race’ can be discussed, with the aim of dismantling anti-discrimination and human rights legislation. Recently, an AfD politician refused to observe a minute’s silence for the murder by a far-right activist of Walter Lübcke, a Christian Democrat politician in Hesse who had received death threats after he spoke up in favour of welcoming refugees. The AfD’s insolence knows no bounds. Its leadership now claims that Lübcke’s murder has been used to defame ‘political enemies’, that far-right terrorism is ‘bird shit’ compared to the threat posed by the far left and radicals, and that if it wasn’t for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s migration policies ‘Walter Lübcke would still be alive’.
While the current Conservative leadership has not gone that far when it comes to tarnishing the memory of the murdered Labour MP, Jo Cox, the prime minister came perilously close when he told parliament that the ‘best way to honour the memory of Jo Cox … is to get Brexit done’.
The mistakes of Jacob Rees-Mogg
When it comes to learning lessons from far-right groups like AfD, the leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, has some form. In August 2013, Searchlight revealed that Rees-Mogg had been a guest speaker at a dinner organised by the Traditional Britain Group (TBG), a Conservative pressure group that opposes non-white immigration to the UK and, according to Hope Not Hate, has links to the European Alternative Right. The TBG was founded by Gregory Lauder-Frost, a former officer of the anti-communist Western Goals Institute. Lauder-Frost was also formerly spokesperson for another pressure group, the Monday Club, though the Conservatives broke formal links with it in 2001 over its views on race and its policy goal of voluntary repatriation for ethnic minorities – leading many of its members to join the TBG.
When a photograph emerged of bow-tied and dinner-suited Rees-Mogg seated alongside Lauder-Frost, Rees-Mogg was quick to apologise, admitting that he had ‘clearly made a mistake’. Yet it seems that mistakes of this sort are something of an ingrained trait as far as Rees-Mogg is concerned. He recently got himself in hot water again by tweeting approvingly a video of AfD leader Alice Weidel. He had taken it from a YouTube channel that specialises in circulating far-right materials. Following a protest, Rees-Mogg claimed that he did not endorse the AfD’s views but was sharing the video because what Weidel was saying about Brexit was of ‘real importance’ and represented a ‘German view’ and a ‘strand of German political thinking’ that should be listened to.
The art of obfuscation
But if Rees-Mogg is known as a stickler for rules and correct expression, the same cannot be said for Boris Johnson, a former editor of the Spectator and Daily Telegraph columnist, who delights in reckless provocation, always reaching, like some sort of linguistic artful dodger, for the ‘it’s just a joke’ excuse when accused of racism. (Words have been ‘wrenched out of context’ is another of the artful dodger’s deceits.) So when recently reminded by Sky News’ Sophia Ridge that in his 2002 Daily Telegraph column (‘If Blair’s so good at running the Congo, why doesn’t he stay there’), he had described Commonwealth citizens as ‘piccaninnies’ and African ‘tribal leaders’ as having ‘watermelon’ smiles’, Johnson portrayed himself as misunderstood, as he was only using language in a ‘satirical way’, he said. And recently in parliament, following Labour MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi’s heartfelt plea that Johnson be called to account for past racism, he defended his August 2018 Telegraph column comparing Muslim women who wear the burqa to ‘letterboxes’ and ‘bank robbers’, on the grounds that it was a ‘strong, liberal defence … of everybody’s right to wear whatever they want in this country’.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘humbug’ as ‘deceptive false talk and behaviour’. The prime minister is using the tactic of obfuscation and the language of deception to dodge attempts to hold him to account for his words, and further deceive. If he’s doing his job as prime minister properly, he would not be unaware of the high levels of anti-Muslim hate crime in the UK, yet he knowingly pokes fun at and demeans Muslim women, and then passes it off as erudite satire. He knows that female Labour MPs face death and rape threats and yet he mocks their fears as ‘humbug’ or, as he told Marr, ‘an attempt to conceal the effect of the Surrender Act through a cloud of indignation’.
Turning reality on its head
What we are now seeing, amongst Johnson’s supporters, is the careful construction of a narrative that turns reality on its head. It’s not the opposition, BAME citizens and others who suffer violence and who are the victims of the current climate, but the prime minister who is being prevented from exercising free speech by the knowing manipulation of ‘outrage’ by his opponents, who create a ‘cloud of indignation’ that is not only preventing him from being heard, but stopping the Brexit deal being done. In an article entitled ‘MPs and the outrage game’ the Spectator’s associate editor, Douglas Murray, accused opposition MPs of the politics of ‘performance’, ‘playing games of language and offence taking’. And writing in Conservative Women, Paul Wood defends ‘Beleaguered Boris in a hurricane of humbug’, stating that any talk of violence is a ‘tactic of invoking a victim group’ with ‘accusations of encouraging violence’ frequently being ‘a tactic used against the Right’.
So there we have it. Actual physical violence doesn’t exist. All that exists is the opposition’s ‘tactic’ of evoking violence for political gain. The anti-racist movement and equalities campaigners need to be aware that though today this attempt to deflect criticism of politicians’ use of inflammatory speech may be taking place in the context of Brexit, tomorrow it could well be extended to dismiss and excuse actual incitement to racial hatred. All the signs are that freedom to offend takes priority over freedom to life.
Kirklees Anti-Fascist Assembly is opposing the far-Right Yorkshire Patriots march in Dewsbury on 12 October. More information here
On the day Diane Abbott became the first black MP to represent their party at Prime Minister’s Questions, we’re delighted to announce Diane will be speaking at the crucial conference on 19th October on challenging the rise of racism, Islamophobia, antisemitism and the racist right. … Read the rest
To complement the re-issuing of Sivanandan’s path-breaking collection of essays, Communities of Resistance, Race & Class leads with a thought-provoking piece calling for a new politics of ‘radical kinship’ to forge the dynamic internationalist politics now needed to combat growing racism and fascism.
Across the globe, women, BAME and LGBTQI communities face hatred and violence as governments, from Poland and the UK to Brazil and the US, vehemently mount attacks on progressive politics around race, gender and sexuality. A landmark article in the IRR’s quarterly asks why, today, in such a climate, is so much anti-racism retreating into a form of identity politics which locates the problem of racism in individual white privilege and individual obligation rather than the popular and state racisms that gives rise to racist attitudes and impoverishes and demonises the most vulnerable.
‘”White privilege” and shortcuts to anti-racism’ written by Miriyam Aouragh and published in Race & Class October 2019, picks up themes first enunciated by A. Sivanandan some thirty-five years ago in his influential ‘RAT and the degradation of black struggle’. There he provided chapter and verse of the dangers in reducing racism to attitude, and anti-racism to awareness training (RAT) – both of which left the exploitative white power structure intact. The IRR is re-releasing his piece today to coincide with Aorough’s article.
Aouragh draws on Sivanandan’s approaches to organising around shared experiences and argues that a similar unity is needed now, around new unifying principles. But unity in the anti-racist cause is being hampered by the creation of an essentialist hierarchy of oppressions, that can throw up a wall between black, brown and white people, and undermine the potentials for solidarity.
The purpose of Aouragh’s piece is to seek out the common denominators for coalition-building today, to restore the ‘intellectual link’ between ‘the Left and blackness’ and promote ‘proactive engagement’. For ‘proximity and trust foster vulnerability and the sharing of experiences, and open us to the truly transgressive realisation: that one liberation is bound up with the other.’ This is where Aouragh’s idea of ‘radical kinship’ comes in. The author, whilst pointing up examples from previous black struggles such as the US Black Panthers and Angela Davis’ work, posits ‘radical kinship’ and concrete international solidarity as the necessary routes today ‘to recreate a dynamic anti-racist, anti-capitalist movement at a time when racism is on the rise’.
Miriyam Aouragh, a second-generation Dutch-Moroccan, was prompted to develop this piece by challenging experiences as an activist-cum-academic in the Netherlands. ‘Our political differences are in essence ideological, and not biological’, she concludes.
There is a brief, printable and shareable flyer available for communities here.
This is a public advisory warning for residents of Ontario and throughout western Canada. Martin Brousseau, 43, a resident of Alberta and member of Yellow Vests Canada, is an individual who we believe may be violent, unpredictable, and should not be approached or engaged. He has a history of domestic violence and assaults. He is a former member of the Canadian Armed Forces.
He has stated intent to restrain and assault antifascist counter-protesters, and carries zip-ties for this purpose. There has been at least one report of a counter-protester being assaulted by Brousseau.
He has been spotted at Yellow Vest demonstrations in Hamilton, Ontario where he drove a yellow school bus onto the public sidewalk and parked it next to anti-fascist demonstrators. He then behaved aggressively toward anti-fascist demonstrators. He has produced livestreams from other areas in Ontario, including the Niagara area, and has attended border rallies in La Colle, QC.
Brousseau should be considered dangerous. If you see him, do not approach. Stay in groups.
If you have knowledge of his whereabouts, please contact us at yvcexposed@protonmail / firstname.lastname@example.org, or via Twitter at @VestsCanada / @ARCCollective.
If you are aware of similarly dangerous individuals, please contact us and we may put out additional community safety alerts.
click on the image to download … Read the rest
Weekend Read: Marchers today will demand rights for transgender people amid hate crimes and Trump administration assault
REAL NAME: Dustin Ray Hambly
AKA: Chef Goyardee, Chef Goyardee, Cheff/Cheffery/Jeff/Jeffery Cook, Fillippo Tomasso Marinetti, Dee Fouser, Philippo Merriment
HOME BASE: 7211 Easy Wind Drive, Austin, TX, 78752
PHONE (As of Sept. 2019): 512-965-7783
SOCIAL MEDIA (As of Sept. 2019):
WORK HISTORY (As of Sept. 2019):
Cook at 1883 Provision Co., UT Austin (No longer works there)
Cook at Black Star Co-Op. (No longer works there)
Cook at The Hightower (Recently closed down)
GROUP AFFILIATION: Patriot Front
The following is from the Screwston Antifascist Committee, who posted this on behalf of Central Texas ARA:
Dustin Ray Hamby, aka “Chef Goyardee”, is an Austin-based Neo-Nazi and cook who now serves as the Austin area Network Directing Officer for the fascist group Patriot Front. His most notable activities include leading the Texas fascist delegation to the Nazi “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville and coordinating security for a Richard Spencer talk in Florida. Dustin was previously doxxed by Autonomous Student Media here, but no connections were made to his identity as Chef Goyardee or the extent of his involvement in fascist activity. Flyers have been posted around his apartment and surrounding neighborhood in Austin this week with information about Dustin’s Nazi activity.
Prior to his current role with Patriot Front, Hamby was a member of more casual fascist clubs like the “Edelweiss Order”, aka the “Whomsters”, and the “Kek Group”. His activism took a more serious turn when he helped plan the June 17th, 2017 “Texas Is Ours” event for Vanguard America. He also participated in the Austin “March Against Sharia” event June 10th of the same year alongside Paul Gray, and attended the disruption of the Houston Anarchist Bookfair.Dustin Hamby saying he is associated with the “Edelweiss Order” using his alias “Chef Goyardee” Dustin Hamby’s former twitter under his real name, also posting about the Edelweiss Order.
Hamby then became the key Texas organizer for the deadly “Unite the Right” march in Charlottesville. He coordinated van rentals, carpools, and hotel reservations for Texas Nazis. His username “Chef Goyardee” also appeared in a Charlottesville related lawsuit. Additionally, Dustin designed and sold the Red White and Blue Sonnenrad flag (pictured below) which has been flown by erratic Nazi, domestic abuser, and kidnapper William Fears, among others.Dustin Hamby coordinating plans for the Charlottesville rally. Dustin Hamby advertizing his flag design to others.
In October 2017 he accompanied Richard Spencer to the University of Florida in Gainesville, serving as a security coordinator. After the speech, Texas Nazis Tyler Tenbrink and the Fears brothers were arrested for firing a pistol at protesters.Dustin Hamby doing security at a rally.
As his alias implies, Chef works in the food industry. He consistently alienates his coworkers with his racism and immoral behavior: at Black Star Co-Op he had his “MAGA” hat tossed into the fryer, and at The Hightower (now closed) he was reported to have groped male coworkers without their consent – despite being in a long-term relationship with fellow fascist Connor Graham. He has previously written fantasies about insulting and scalding his immigrant coworkers, though there are currently no indications he’s actually followed through yet.
- Dustin Hamby in a MAGA hat
- Dustin Hamby at a former job (1)
- Dustin Hamby at a former job (2)
- Dustin Hamby at a former job (3)
Below, you can see some of the types of things Dustin posts about under his alias:
- Dustin Hamby making racist posts.
- Dustin posting photos of Hitler.
- Dustin Hamby was responsible for leaving these Easter eggs on people’s lawns in Austin.
- Chat logs of Dustin admitting to placing the eggs.
- Dustin Hamby posted this photo from the manifesto of the New Zealand Christchurch mass shooter.
It speaks to Patriot Front’s fear and decay that they have chosen a drunken abuser as their leader for Central Texas. His days of fascist organizing will be brought to a sudden end soon.Flyer for sharing
– Central Texas Anti-Racist Action | email@example.com