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Updated: 31 min 43 sec ago

All in a day’s work: how the people of Glasgow beat home office dawn raid

Fri, 05/14/2021 - 01:56
The incredible moment when Pollokshields residents Lakhvir Singh and Sumit Sehdev – who have lived in Glasgow for 10 years – emerged from the Home Office detention van after eight hours after thousands stopped the van from leaving and the community took action to force their release

A mass, determined community response successfully stopped the Home Office Immigration Enforcement dawn raid detention of two neighbours in Pollokshields, Glasgow. Lakhvir Singh and Sumit Sehdev were taken from their home at around 9.30am by six immigration officers, and detained in the home office van – for what ended up over eight hours. But the van did not move for that time, because the community turned out in an unflinching force of solidarity. First dozens, including one neighbour who went underneath the van to stop it departing, then hundreds there by 11am, and the crowd just kept growing throughout the day.

There were thousands surrounding the van, erupting into cheers, claps and chants in the incredible emotional moment their two neighbours were released and emerged from the van.

Police Scotland, who lay seige to the area, on Eid where the majority of residents in the community were trying to peacefully celebrate and worship, descended somewhere in the region of 50 police vans and cars into Pollokshields, there were even some police horses, almost every street you turned onto appeared occupied by them.

This was despite First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeting, “As constituency MSP, I am deeply concerned by this action by the Home Office, especially today in the heart of a community celebrating Eid. My office is making urgent enquiries and stands ready to offer any necessary assistance to those detained.” Several other MPs condemned Police Scotland’s presence in the area and called for them to disperse. Police Scotland claimed they were not supporting Home Office Immigration Enforcement in the dentention, but rather were “policing the community”. The inspiring mass action by the multicultural community coming together forced the police to release Lakhvir and Sumit as an “operational decision on grounds of public safety”.

The crowd was jubilant, proud, emotional and united as human rights campaigner and Stand Up To Racism activist Pinar Aksu announced to the crowd the news that the police had been forced to back down. The police tried to then disperse the community, saying they would escort the men to the Mosque where they would reach safety. But the community refused, insisting that they would march their neighbours to the Mosque and then disperse. The spirit of the day was very much staunch opposition to the governement’s racist hostile environment, and the feeling of that moment as the men thanked the crowds in Punjabi as they entered the mosque was summed up: “Glasgow 1 – Home Office 0”. But this was not just Glasgow’s victory, it was a victory celebrated by anti racists everywhere.

Watch the incredible scenes of thousands marching their neighbours to the safety of the Mosque here

Protest works! Get involved by:
1) Supporting Care4Calais #FarFromFair initiative against the govt’s attacks on refugees
2) Signing up for the week of action marking one year since the Murder of George Floyd

Pinar Aksu, human rights campaigner and Stand Up To Racism activist, speaking on the Glasgow protest said

“Only two weeks ago we have seen a friend of ours experiencing a dawn raid, and we have just sent a letter with 79 signatures to the home secretary  and published it today. This is horrifying to see another raid taking place in Glasgow on the day of Eid where this community comes together for celebration. We condemn these actions and want immediate response from the Home Office and Police Scotland. Dawn raids are not acceptable in our city”.

Ruby Hirsch, Stand Up To Racism Glasgow, said

“This is a united multicultural community and we have shown up in our hundreds to defend our neighbours and we are not going to leave until they are released. In Glasgow we have defeated the tactic before and there is no way we are going to let in return”.

Weyman Bennett, co convenor, Stand Up To Racism, said

“This government is pushing hard to undermine the incredible anti racist spirit of the Black Lives Matter movement, and push racist division in our communities amidst the pandemic and crisis.

“They have commissioned a whitewash report denying the existence of institutional racism, attacked the BLM movement as “awful”, pushed a policing bill that targets anti racist protest, and their new plans for immigration are a part of this general racist assault on our rights.

“We stand with all those who want to fight the new racist plans and defend the rights of all those seeking asylum. We say loud and clear, you are welcome here. We need to mobilise that solidarity to drive back the government’s racist, dangerous and sickening attack on people seeking only to live in safety.”


For more information, interviews and further quotes:

info@standuptoracism.org.uk

The post All in a day’s work: how the people of Glasgow beat home office dawn raid first appeared on Stand Up To Racism.

PRESS RELEASE: Hundreds have surrounded home office van inflicting dawn raid in Glasgow

Thu, 05/13/2021 - 05:34

PRESS RELEASE… for immediate release…

Thursday 15 May
 Hundreds have surrounded home office van inflicting dawn raid in Glasgow

More than 300 people are currently surrounding a Home Office van in Pollokshields, south Glasgow. Locals responded to reports of another morning raid by immigration enforcement officers. There is now a community blockade. One activist is lying under the van, and has been there for nearly three hours since before 10am. A car is also obstructing most of the up to 20 police vans.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon has tweeted:
“As constituency MSP, I am deeply concerned by this action by the Home Office, especially today in the heart of a community celebrating Eid. My office is making urgent enquiries and stands ready to offer any necessary assistance to those detained.”

Meanwhile the community is showing no sign of leaving from the protest surrounding the van, chanting “These are our neighbours, let them go!”

Pinar Aksu, human rights campaigner and Stand Up To Racism activist, speaking on the Glasgow protest said

“Only two weeks ago we have seen a friend of ours experiencing a dawn raid, and we have just sent a letter with 79 signatures to the home secretary  and published it today. This is horrifying to see another raid taking place in Glasgow on the day of Eid where this community comes together for celebration. We condemn these actions and want immediate response from the Home Office and Police Scotland. Dawn raids are not acceptable in our city”.

Ruby Hirsch, Stand Up To Racism Glasgow, said

“This is a united multicultural community and we have shown up in our hundreds to defend our neighbours and we are not going to leave until they are released. In Glasgow we have defeated the tactic before and there is no way we are going to let in return”.

Weyman Bennett, co convenor, Stand Up To Racism, said

“This government is pushing hard to undermine the incredible anti racist spirit of the Black Lives Matter movement, and push racist division in our communities amidst the pandemic and crisis.

“They have commissioned a whitewash report denying the existence of institutional racism, attacked the BLM movement as “awful”, pushed a policing bill that targets anti racist protest, and their new plans for immigration are a part of this general racist assault on our rights.

“We stand with all those who want to fight the new racist plans and defend the rights of all those seeking asylum. We say loud and clear, you are welcome here. We need to mobilise that solidarity to drive back the government’s racist, dangerous and sickening attack on people seeking only to live in safety.”


For more information, interviews and further quotes:

info@standuptoracism.org.uk

The post PRESS RELEASE: Hundreds have surrounded home office van inflicting dawn raid in Glasgow first appeared on Stand Up To Racism.

PRESS RELEASE: Queen’s Speech TO OUTLINE new plans for immigration, anti racists mobilise opposition

Mon, 05/10/2021 - 07:09

PRESS RELEASE… for immediate release…

Monday 10 May

As Queen’s Speech outlines new plans for immigration, anti racists mobilise opposition

Tomorrow the Queen’s Speech will outline the government’s new plans for immigration, which anti racists are sounding the alarm that the policy will further intensify a racist ‘hostile environment for refugees and migrants. 

A Sovereign Borders Bill will attempt to introduce further barriers to migrants from crossing the English Channel.

Anti racists warn that one of the most dangerous elements of the plans is that people seeking protection as refugees would have their claim assessed based on how they arrive it Britain.

Care4Calais alongside Stand Up To Racism and others have been running a #FarFromFair campaign, in response to claims by home secretary Priti Patel that the new policy is “fair”. Highlighted at the centre of the campaign is the fact that less than 1% of the world’s refugees are chosen for resettlement schemes, the main legal route to asylum. 

At a recent protest of hundreds in Glasgow following a dawn raid that led to one of the people whose home was broken into being taken to hospital, campaigners spoke out noting that it is “no coincidence that we are seeing dawn raids appear again at a time when the government is ratcheting up its racist ‘hostile environment’ against refugees and migrants with their new plans for immigration”. The protest was joined by the ‘Glasgow Girls’ – Agnessa, Amal, Rosa, and their then teacher Mr Girvan – who were at the centre of a mass, and successful, campaign in the city in 2005 to stop dawn raids, which became widely known and celebrated with a BBC drama watched by millions.

As the new plans for immigration appear in the Queen’s Speech, indicating that they are earmarked to become law in 2021, anti racists are mobilising to oppose what they are warning is dangerous, unjust and divisive policy.

Clare Moseley, Care4Calais, said

“Priti Patel’s New Plan for Immigration is a direct attack on refugee rights and the government intends to get away with this by misleading the public.

“How a desperate refugee travels to safety says nothing about whether their claim for asylum is genuine; most refugees are forced to make treacherous journeys as wars and dictators don’t do visas. Blaming the victims for this is cruel in the extreme.”

A resident at Napier Barracks forced detention centre said

“This new asylum bill divides human beings into legal and illegal. It makes more people less eligible to claim for asylum. This bill contravenes the UN Refugee covention which the UK government helped in writing it in 1951. 

“People who seek asylum are fleeing for their lives. Therefore, there is no way they can travel with documents or apply for visas even if the authorities and dictators in their own countries supply visas.

“Criminalising, dehumanising and discriminating against the vulnerable asylum seekers must be stopped. It’s not about a specific community, it’s about how we all want to be treated when we are in danger.

“This bill can send a concerning message to other countries which host more asylum seekers than the UK. When a wealthy country like the UK with relatively low numbers of asylum seekers choose hostile and cruel measures, what we can expect to see from the other countries. 

“We all have to raise our voice and say that treating people who are fleeing from persecution or catastrophe, by discriminating and criminalising them is immoral and shameful.”

Pinar Aksu, human rights campaigner and Stand Up To Racism activist, speaking on the Glasgow protest said

“How many dawn raids have taken place? Until this day we dont know the answer from the Home Office… the family are scared. When he was taken to the hospital, the immigration officers told the daughter ‘We’ll be back’.

“Well you know what, when you come back you will be visited by us, we will be there to stop the dawn raids! With the new immigration bill, it is not a coincidence that the dawn raids have started.”

‘Glasgow Girl’ Amal Azzudin, speaking on the Glasgow protest said

“Nobody chooses to be a refugee, nobody chooses to be an asylum seeker, nobody chooses to leave their home. This is absolutely unacceptable, people have faced so much trauma before coming to the UK. They are innocent families seeking safety and sanctuary.

“People – we have done this before and we will absolutely do this again, if we are united. Let’s work together and tell the Home Office… this is Glasgow and refugees are welcome here.”

Weyman Bennett, co convenor, Stand Up To Racism, said

“This government is pushing hard to undermine the incredible anti racist spirit of the Black Lives Matter movement, and push racist division in our communities amidst the pandemic and crisis.

“They have commissioned a whitewash report denying the existence of institutional racism, attacked the BLM movement as “awful”, pushed a policing bill that targets anti racist protest, and their new plans for immigration are a part of this general racist assault on our rights.

“We stand with all those who want to fight the new racist plans and defend the rights of all those seeking asylum. We say loud and clear, you are welcome here. We need to mobilise that solidarity to drive back the government’s racist, dangerous and sickening attack on people seeking only to live in safety.”


For more information, interviews and further quotes:

info@standuptoracism.org.uk

The post PRESS RELEASE: Queen’s Speech TO OUTLINE new plans for immigration, anti racists mobilise opposition first appeared on Stand Up To Racism.

Glasgow anti racists say ‘stop dawn raids’: ‘Glasgow Girls’ lead rally of hundreds in George Square

Wed, 05/05/2021 - 11:59

Sign and share urgently the campaigning statement here

Hundreds joined an emergency protest in Glasgow’s George Square on Saturday 1 May to oppose dawn raids and say #refugeeswelcome. The rally was led by the ‘Glasgow Girls’ – Agnessa, Amal, Rosa and Pinar, alongside their then teacher Mr Girvan – who were at the centre of a mass, and successful, campaign in the city in 2005 to stop dawn raids, which became widely known and celebrated with a BBC dramaticastion watched by millions.

They were joined by speakers from Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees which led the campaign that saw the community come together and organise to collectively and physically stop dawn raids happen.

Speaking at the rally, they brought inspiration to anti racists who are now getting organised to make sure any return of dawn raids is swiftly opposed and stopped, in the wake of a dawn raid earlier in April that rang alarm bells across the movement. The family subjected to such horror bravely joined the rally via a phone call to thank everyone for their solidarity and tell their story of what had happened when they were dawn raided, triggering health conditions that led to them being taken to hospital.

Several speakers at the demonstration noted that it is no coincedence that we are seeing dawn raids appear again at a time when the government is ratcheting up their racist ‘hostile environment’ against refugees and migrants with their new plans for immigration.

See some of the speeches from the demonstration below:

‘Glasgow Girl’ and Stand Up To Racism activist Pinar Aksu introduces the rally to stop dawn raids ‘Glasgow Girls’ teacher Mr Girvan speaks at rally ‘Glasgow Girl’ Amal Azzudin speaks at rally ‘Glasgow Girls’ Agnessa Murselaj & Rosa Salih speak at rally Jock Morris of Glasgow Campaign To Welcome Refugees speaks at rally Refugee who was subjected to terrifying dawn raid speaks bravely to rally about the impact on his health and his family Please sign and share: Deep concerns about inhumane dawn raid action

I’m writing to bring to your attention a letter that Maryhill Integration Network will be sending to the Home Secretary.

The letter outlines our deep concerns about the inhumane dawn raid action which took place on Friday 23rd April to one of our friends and members.

We are asking for your organisation’s support so that we can raise these concerns with a united voice representative of Scottish civil society, faith based groups, campaigners, unions, human rights organisations and members of the community.

If your organisation would like to be a signatory to the letter, please sign up directly via this link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1c0TgujadlyKq87ysaCle-eMyu6RpBpDe8bEcqrghE_c/edit?usp=sharing

Please do add your organisation’s name by 12pm on Friday 7th May. We will send the letter to the Home Secretary on Monday morning and publish it shortly afterwards. We will keep signatories to the letter updated on publication plans and any response from the Home Secretary.

The post Glasgow anti racists say ‘stop dawn raids’: ‘Glasgow Girls’ lead rally of hundreds in George Square first appeared on Stand Up To Racism.

Disaster in Madrid: election analysis

Wed, 05/05/2021 - 10:04

BY David Karvala, a founder member and one of the spokespeople of Unity Against Fascism and Racism Catalonia

Disaster in Madrid

Yesterday’s elections in the region of Madrid were a disaster for progressive forces. 

The big winner was the main right wing party, the PP, that doubled its vote to nearly 45% and nearly won an overall majority in the Madrid Assembly. 

Their leader, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, won on a basically Donald Trump type platform of “Communism or Freedom”. She refused to close bars and restaurants under lockdown, leading to a massive level of infections, but short term popularity, especially with the bar owners, who campaigned for her, even promoting her name on a special brand of beer.

The PP recovered the votes previously lost to then new centre right Ciudadanos party, that collapsed to under 4% and lost all its seats. It looks like the end for them.

Francoite

But the really bad news is that the far right racist party, VOX, also rose, from 8.9% and 12 seats to 9.1% and 13 seats. This was despite their association with what were effectively death threats sent to leading left politicians; they refused to condemn the letter with two bullets sent to the Podemos leader, Pablo Iglesias, among others. 

Rather like the AFD in Germany, VOX floats between the extreme wing of the mainstream right and open fascism; they have some genuine (“ex”) neo Nazis in their ranks, and they have no compunction about defending the Francoite dictatorship.

So the PP will continue to govern the region, depending on the support of VOX, which will demand in exchange even more right wing policies.

Crisis

On the left, the Socialist Party, the PSOE, that currently leads the Spanish government, fell from 27% to under 17%, being overtaken by “Más Madrid”, the party founded by Íñigo Errejón, one of the founders of Podemos, when he broke with Pablo Iglesias. Podemos itself rose from 5.6% to 7.1%; a smaller recovery than was hoped for when Pablo Iglesias resigned from the Spanish government to head their slate. Both PSOE and its minor governing partner, Podemos, are probably paying the price for general discontentment with the current crisis.

In any case, the results show that right wing populist arguments —and the racist, nigh-on fascist, positions of VOX— can deceive many ordinary people and win votes in working class areas, if they aren’t seriously challenged. 

What does challenging VOX mean? It’s not about the other parties arguing with them in electoral debates, nor is it enough for a handful of committed antifa activists to confront them physically in the streets.

Ordinary people

The experience of the campaign shows the urgent need to build a united movement against the far right in Madrid. 

The left parties raised the alarm about the dangers of the far-right, but only half way through the election campaign, and in the context of asking for people’s votes on 4 May, not calling for mobilisations. There were many protests against VOX events in the mainly working class neighbourhoods in the south of the city, but these were organised at the last moment. 

What was missing was the gradual work of building a united movement. Thus many left activists in Madrid still maintained that it was best not to organise protests against VOX. Others insisted that any protests had to be based on a specific political program. It is impossible to resolve these issues in a few days, it is essential to have and gradually win the patient debates about the need to mobilise in a broad way against the far right, involving the unions, migrants, women’s and LGBT+ movements… — ordinary people in general — in leading this struggle.

Good news

In Catalonia we started Unity Against Fascism and Racism (UCFR) in 2010, and it took us until May 2015 to see off the fascist party, “Plataforma per Catalunya” (also closing down the neo Nazi centre in Barcelona in the same month). Now with the appearance of VOX we are having to reactivate local groups and reinforce our movement, but we already have strong foundations. 

In Madrid, that ground work has yet to be done. The small piece of good news is that a handful of activists in Madrid are making initial contacts to try to establish UCFR in the area. If nothing else, yesterday’s terrible results should wake people up to the existence of a problem. But there is a lot of work to be done to overcome both resignation (“there’s nothing to be done”) and sectarianism (“the solution is to support my party”), and convince a broad range of people on the left and in the movements that with a united struggle it is possible to defeat the far right.

The post Disaster in Madrid: election analysis first appeared on Stand Up To Racism.

kill the bill protests – 1 may 2021

Thu, 04/29/2021 - 07:33

The Police Crime Sentencing and Courts bill proposed by the government is an outright attack on our right to protest by giving the police powers to curtail protest they don’t like.

The bill also includes 10 years in prison for pulling down a statue, which is clearly aimed at the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Environmental campaigners, trade unions and the Gypsy Roma Traveler community are also targeted in this bill.

Stand Up to Racism supports the kill the bill campaign, we encourage our members and supporters to join protests on 1st May to oppose the Police and Crime Bill and commemorate International Workers’ Day.

List of nationwide protests

Aberystwyth, Wales: Clock Tower, town square, 1pm
Bath: Bath Abbey Courtyard, 2pm
Birmingham: Victoria Square, 2pm
Brighton: The Level, 1pm
Bristol: Castle Park, 12pm and College Green, 5pm then march from 6pm
Cambridge: Parker’s Piece, 1pm
Chichester: Priory Park, 12pm
Coventry: Broadgate, 1pm
Eastbourne:Hyde Gardens, 1pm
Edinburgh: The Meadows Pavillion, 3:30pm
Exeter: Bedford Square, 1pm
Harlow: Showground (Harlow Town Park), 2pm
Ipswich: High Street (leafleting), 1pm
Lancaster: Dalton Square, May Day march at 12pm and Kill the Bill march at 6pm
Leeds: Woodhouse Moor, 3pm
Liverpool: St George’s Hall, 1:30pm
London: Trafalgar Square, 12pm
London: Windrush Square, Brixton, 8am
London: Elephant & Castle Park, 10am
London: Chase Green, Enfield, 3pm
Lowestoft, Suffolk: Lowestoft Shopping District, 12pm
Luton: Market Hill, 1pm
Manchester: St Peters Square, 4pm
Margate: Nayland Rock Shelter, 1pm
Newcastle: Monument, 1pm
Norwich: Norwich City Hall, 1pm
Oxford: Manzil Way Gardens, 3pm
Pembrokeshire, Wales: Picton Fields, 1pm
Plymouth: Charles Cross Police Station, 2pm
Portsmouth: Guildford Square, 12pm
Reading: Forbury Gardens, 2pm
Sheffield: Devonshire Green, 1pm
Shrewsbury: The Quarry, 1pm
Southampton: The Bargate, 12pm
Taunton: Great Western Hotel Car Park, 12pm
Winchester: Top of the high street, outside the police station, 1pm
York: York Minster, 1pm

Online map with list of protests

The post kill the bill protests – 1 may 2021 first appeared on Stand Up To Racism.

WEEK OF ACTION: ONE YEAR ON FROM MURDER OF GEORGE FLOYD #UKISNOTINNOCENT #BLACKLIVESMATTER

Thu, 04/29/2021 - 05:52
George-Floyd-week-of-action-A5-2pp-3mm-bldDownload

What action is your local group planning for 22 May & 25 May? Week of action to commemorate George Floyd One Year OnStand Up To Racism has called a week of action across Britain to commemorate George Floyd’s death one year on, and in the spirit of the #BlacklivesMatter movement. 

On 22 May, local actions and protests will be coordinated across England, Scotland and Wales. This will be followed by a 5pm online international rally

On 25 May, anti racists will #TakeTheKnee everywhere across the country. 
More details here. A graphics & materials pack will be sent out to this local groups national activists list early next week. 


On Facebook, add ‘Stand Up To Racism’ (the national campaign page) as a co host for your events so they appear on the national events list page. Please also add your actions to our George Floyd Week of action form here

The post WEEK OF ACTION: ONE YEAR ON FROM MURDER OF GEORGE FLOYD #UKISNOTINNOCENT #BLACKLIVESMATTER first appeared on Stand Up To Racism.

PRESS RELEASE: Anti-racist campaigners welcome Chauvin guilty verdict and call for action to charge police officers in Britain

Tue, 04/20/2021 - 14:30

PRESS RELEASE

Tuesday 20 April

Anti-racist campaigners welcome Chauvin guilty verdict and call for action to charge police officers in Britain 


Stand Up To Racism campaigners welcome the guilty verdict for all three charges of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd. Campaigners say the fact that similar charges have never been brought against police officers here in Britain is due to institutional racism and action is needed to eradicate it.

In a statement to the House of Commons earlier today, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities Kemi Badenoch, defended the findings of the controversial Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities (CRED) chaired by Tony Sewell. Campaigners argue that achieving justice here requires rejecting the CRED report.

Stand up to Racism also stressed that justice today would not be possible without the Black Lives Matter movement and point to the dangers of measures in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill that curb the right to protest. The Bill has been delayed at the Committee stage in the House of Commons. 

Sabby Dhalu, Stand up to Racism Co-Convenor said:

“We welcome the guilty verdict. Police racism is not unique to the US. The fact that no police officer in Britain has ever been charged, let alone convicted, for deaths of black people in police custody is a product of institutional racism. We need action to eradicate institutional racism. This verdict would not have been possible without the Black Lives Matter movement. It shows the power of protest and the importance of opposing the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.”

Weyman Bennett, Stand up to Racism Co-Convenor said:

“This verdict comes hours after the British government defended its internationally criticised CRED report. After examining policing, health, education and employment, the report concluded that it found no evidence of institutional racism. This flies in the face of all evidence. Contrary to Kemi Badenoch’s earlier statement to the House of Commons, this is denying the existence of institutional racism. Achieving such justice in Britain means rejecting this report.”


For more information, interviews and further quotes:

info@standuptoracism.org.uk

Notes to editors:
1.
 Stand Up To Racism is a national broad-based organisation supported by major trade union, faith and community groups. As well as organising the annual march for UN Anti-Racism Day, it organises actions and produces materials on Islamophobia, antisemitism, refugee and migrant rights, in solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement, gypsy, Roma and traveller communities, and against the rise of the far right. For more information you can visit www.standuptoracism.org.uk, email info@standuptoracism.org.uk, and follow our social media: Facebook ‘Stand Up To Racism’, Twitter @AntiRacismDay, Instagram ‘standuptoracismuk’
2. Stand Up To Racism has called a week of action across Britain to commemorate George Floyd’s death one year on, and in the spirit of the #BlacklivesMatter movement. On 22 May, local actions and protests will be coordinated across England, Scotland and Wales. This will be followed by a 5pm online international rally. On 25 May, anti racists will #TakeTheKnee everywhere across the country. More details: https://fb.me/e/1rbU6mIqJ  
3. Stand Up To Racismcampaigning statement on CRED report here: http://www.standuptoracism.org.uk/statement-opposing-cred-reports-denial-of-institutional-racism/
4. Stand Up To Racism is holding an online rally on the subject of the CRED report and institutional racism on 26 April, 6pm: Institutional Racism – We Need Action, Not Denial. Details here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/150508279315

The post PRESS RELEASE: Anti-racist campaigners welcome Chauvin guilty verdict and call for action to charge police officers in Britain first appeared on Stand Up To Racism.

Statement opposing CRED report’s denial of institutional racism

Fri, 04/16/2021 - 00:00
CLICK HERE TO ADD YOUR NAME

The report by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities (CRED) is an outrage, but not a surprise, to anti-racists everywhere.

In the year following the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and a pandemic that produced starkly disproportionate deaths in black and ethnic minority (BAME) communities, the report’s incredible findings amount to wilful ignorance.

Commission chair Tony Sewell ignores evidence of institutional racism, describing “the story of our country’s progress to a successful multi-ethnic and multicultural community – a beacon to the rest of Europe and the world.” It even goes so far as to prettify the enslavement of African people.

The report denies the role of racism in the disproportionate impact of covid19. Yet those from BAME communities are more likely to die from, and be infected by, covid19. They are more likely to be unemployed during the pandemic. In essential services they died in greater numbers as well as reporting more PPE shortages and feeling targeted to work on covid wards.

Black communities disproportionately die in police custody and are more likely to be stopped and searched by police. There have been numerous racist murders since Stephen Lawrence was killed and the killers still walk free. Black children often face two obstacles – one racism, the other poverty, but far from using this to say racism doesn’t matter it should be a clarion call to act on both. This Government is failing on both.

CRED is an ideological attempt to undermine the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry and the reasons for the Black Lives Matter movement. Institutional racism is neither a perception nor a narrative, nor an anachronism. It is a reality embedded in the police, criminal justice system, health, education and employment.

Every report in the past 20 years, except for this one, acknowledges that. We wholeheartedly reject this ideologically motivated report and vow to redouble our efforts in challenging racism in all its forms.

We demand an independent public inquiry into the disproportionate impact of Covid19 on BAME communities.

It is not enough to be non racist, we must build and strengthen a mass anti racist movement.

Signatories include:

Diane Abbott MP
Bell Ribeiro Addy MP
Apsana Begum MP
Zarah Sultana MP
Professor Gus John
Kehinde Andrews
Lawrence Davies
Jacqueline McKenzie
Kevin Courtney
Peter Hain
Steve Hart
Weyman Bennett
Sabby Dhalu

CLICK HERE TO ADD YOUR NAME

The post Statement opposing CRED report’s denial of institutional racism first appeared on Stand Up To Racism.

26 April 6pm – Institutional Racism: We Need Action, Not Denial

Thu, 04/15/2021 - 11:36

An online public meeting to discuss opposition to the Commission on Race & Ethnic Disparities (CRED) report and fight institutional racism

Monday 26 April – 6pm | REGISTER HERE

Speakers include: Diane Abbott MP | Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP | Kehinde Andrews, Professor of Black Studies in the School of Social Sciences at Birmingham City University | Kevin Courtney, National Education Union (NEU) joint general secretary | Patrick Vernon, Social Commentator, campaigner and cultural historian

The recent report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities (CRED) seeks to deny the existence of institutional racism and has been widely rejected.

In the year following the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and a pandemic that produced starkly disproportionate deaths in black and ethnic minority communities, denying institutional racism flies in the face of a wide range of evidence.

This meeting seeks to bring together a broad alliance against this report and will underline the call for a public inquiry into the disproportionate impact of covid on BAME communities.

The post 26 April 6pm – Institutional Racism: We Need Action, Not Denial first appeared on Stand Up To Racism.

Denying institutional racism flies in face of evidence – we must reject government CRED report

Thu, 04/15/2021 - 07:31

By Sabby Dhalu, Stand Up to Racism Co-Convenor

The controversial Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities (CRED) report is a right wing ideological attempt to shift the narrative on racism away from discussing how to address institutional racism to questioning its very existence. It ignores an abundance of evidence illustrating institutional racism across a range of sectors. Many – including some of the commissioners – have accused CRED of cherry-picking data used in the report to suit this narrative. 

CRED attempts to put a positive spin on slavery, is divisive, undermines the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry report, and seeks to roll back several decades the debate on race relations in Britain. It is a shameful rebuttal of the findings of the landmark Stephen Lawrence report and nothing short of a propaganda exercise. 

The Observer reported on 11 April 2021 that one of the commissioners told the newspaper anonymously the government was “bending” the work of the commission to fit “a more palatable” political narrative and that it denied the working group the autonomy it was promised. It is alleged that officials at Downing Street rewrote much of the report. The same commissioner is reported to have said that they did not read Tony Sewell’s foreword and that:

“We did not deny institutional racism or play that down as the final document did. The idea that this report was all our own work is full of holes. You can see that in the inconsistency of the ideas and data it presents and the conclusions it makes. That end product is the work of very different views.”

Many described CRED as a whitewash and a cover up. Some even expressed concern that its findings could lead to more racist attacks on the ground as institutional racism led to the perpetrators of racist attacks quite literally getting away with murder.

Responding to the report, Baroness Doreen Lawrence said to the Guardian on 1 April 2020: 

“My son was murdered because of racism and you cannot forget that. Once you start covering it up it is giving the green light to racists.”

The narrative of the report is to deny that institutional racism is the cause of race and ethnic disparities. Instead it claims that social class, culture, religion, genetic risk factors, behavioural factors lead to disparities. Therefore the report places the blame and responsibility of racism onto the communities experiencing it instead of the system and institutions that perpetrate it. 

CRED attempts to pit different BAME communities and the so-called ‘white’ working class against one another. For BAME communities attacks on the working class are actually exacerbated by racism. A higher proportion of BAME communities are working class than their white counterparts and BAME communities have been hit harder than white communities by attacks on the living standards of the working class through austerity and the recent covid economic crisis. However the report does not address this.

The report’s publication on 31 March 2021 – weeks before the first set of elections since the pandemic – was a cynical attempt to blow the dog whistle by a Tory government that has savagely attacked the lives and living standards of the working class during the Covid crisis. 

CRED’s monstrous prettifying of the enslavement of African people states that:

“There is a new story about the Caribbean experience which speaks to the slave period not only being about profit and suffering but how culturally African people transformed themselves into a re-modelled African/Britain.”

This is an attempt to undermine the link between enslavement, colonisation and imperialism in the past and the racism and oppression of BAME communities today. In order to deny institutional racism today, one has to deny the scale of racism in the past. In reality racism today is the legacy of the racism that accompanied slavery, enforced poverty and deaths of millions as a result of the British empire. 

The report was commissioned by the government in the wake of the 2020 BLM movement ignited by the police killing of George Floyd in the US, which resonated with the experience of racism and policing amongst black communities in Britain. 

BLM emerged at a time when the disproportionate impact of Covid19 on BAME communities shone a spotlight on institutional, systemic and structural racism. Tens of thousands of BAME people have died form Covid. A wealth of evidence was produced by a range of medics, scientists and other experts on this, including Public Health England, the British Medical Association, Royal College of Nursing, Independent SAGE, the Office of National Statistics, the Institute for Fiscal Studies, to name a few. 

Research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) in May 2020 found that: 

“After stripping out the role of age and geography, Bangladeshi hospital fatalities are twice those of the white British group, Pakistani deaths are 2.9 times as high and black African deaths 3.7 times as high. The Indian, black Caribbean and ‘other white’ ethnic groups also have excess fatalities, with the white Irish group the only one to have fewer fatalities than white British.”

A report published by Independent SAGE in July 2020 found that Black people were 2.6 times as likely to be hospitalised, with Asians 1.4 times higher and other ethnic groups 1.4 times higher. 

Regarding racism this report said: 

“Moreover, there is an urgent need for research to examine how structural racism plays out in the present pandemic and how the policies developed to control the pandemic impact differently on BME communities. The very fact that we do not have such information is in itself an indication of the extent to which BME experiences and BME lives are under-valued in our society.

“Structural discrimination is of critical importance in determining the jobs that people get, the living conditions people experience, their access to different forms of public transport and other factors that impact levels of exposure to infection. Moreover racism renders people precarious and those in precarious positions are less able to challenge conditions (particularly at work) which places them at risk.

“Structural racism is particularly likely to impact BME infections and mortality rates through systemic social and economic inequalities that drive health status..Racism also creates barriers to accessing healthcare.”

The wide range of research on the disproportionate impact of covid on BAME communities has been helpfully collated by St George’s University of London online library.

In the year up to March 2020, Black African and Caribbean communities were 9 times more likely to be stopped and searched and BAME communities overall were 4.3 times as likely than white people. In the same year the police were 5 times more likely to use force against African and Caribbean than white people. 

Between October and December 2020 Young black males in London were 19 times more likely to be stopped and searched than the general population. During the lockdown period from 27 March to 14 May 2020 the Metropolitan Police were twice as likely to fine black people than white people. In addition a staggering 31 per cent of arrests were African and Caribbean people, when they only make up 12 per cent of London’s population. 

The economic disparities caused by institutional racism are starkly reflected in youth unemployment figures, which show that Between October and December 2020, 41.6% of black people aged 16-24 were unemployed. More than one-in-three young black graduates were unemployed in the second half of 2020 – an unemployment rate almost three times that of young white graduates.

All of this is evidence in the last year alone, across a wide range of sectors, starkly illustrating institutional, systemic and structural racism. The commission chose to ignore this evidence. 

This added to a wide range of evidence over decades showing institutional, systemic and structural racism in policing, the criminal justice system, education and employment, which the commission also ignored.

In response to the BLM movement the government could have taken action to eradicate racism and ensure the implementation of the recommendations of the Public Health England Review on Covid19, Lammy Review into the criminal justice system, the Angiolini Review on Deaths and Serious Incidents in Police Custody and the McGregor-Smith review into employment and BAME communities. 

Instead the government has waged a counter-campaign to deny the existence of institutional racism. In June 2020 Mirza and Tony Sewell were appointed to lead the commission precisely because they have a history of denying institutional racism and to counter the vast amount of evidence and public discussion on racism. 

That same month the government prevented the publication of the section on racism of the Public Health England (PHE) review. The review was commissioned by the Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty in response to the media coverage and research illustrating the disproportionate impact of Covid19 on BAME communities. In July 2020, after public pressure the government was forced to accept PHE publishing this section. 

The PHE review called The Beyond the data: Understanding the impact of COVID19 on BAME groups said that:

“Stakeholders pointed to racism and discrimination experienced by communities and more specifically by BAME key workers as a root cause affecting health, and exposure risk and disease progression risk. Racial discrimination affects people’s life chances and the stress associated with being discriminated against based on race/ethnicity affects mental and physical health.”

In October 2020 government adviser Dr Raghib Ali dismissed claims that structural racism is behind the disproportionately high Covid19 mortality rates in BAME communities and that it should not determine resource allocation. This was in stark contrast to studies earlier in 2020 by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), Office for National Statistics ONS), Independent SAGE, PHE and others.

Soon after these claims by Dr Ali, the ONS produced more statistics which showed that when factors such as geography, socioeconomic an pre-existing health conditions were adjusted for, minority groups still retained a disproportion risk.

CRED is the latest development of this propaganda campaign. 

During the Winter 2020-21 Covid wave there was much less coverage of the disproportionate impact on BAME communities compared to Spring 2020. In light of the numerous authoritative research on this and the government’s disregard for it, this suggests the lack of information is due to government pressure to suppress such information to prevent the galvanisation of the Black Lives Matter movement. Huffington Post journalist Asma Day reported on this in January 2020.

CRED undermines the BLM movement, its just demands and the fundamental reason for its emergence during the pandemic. It paves the way for it to be treated as a “nuisance” with no credible grievances or demands, that justifies violent policing as we have seen recently in Bristol and other parts of the country. 

Boris Johnson’s government signalled a sharp shift to the right on racism by the Tories. Whereas Enoch Powell was on the fringes of the Conservative Party – Powell was sacked as Shadow Defence Secretary by Edward Heath after his inflammatory “Rivers of Blood” speech in 1968 – Powellites now lead the government. 

There were problems on racism with the David Cameron and Theresa May governments, as illustrated by the “hostile environment” in the 2014 Immigration Act, which led to the Windrush Scandal, “Go Home” vans and May’s undermining of free movement and concession’s to racism post Brexit. 

However the Cameron and May governments felt the pressure to take action on aspects of racism not related to immigration. The Race Disparity Unit, Lammy Review, Angiolini Review and McGregor-Smith Review were all commissioned/published during the Cameron and May years. Even the Scarman report in response to the 1981 Brixton riots, commissioned by the Thatcher government, concluded that “urgent action” was needed to prevent racism becoming “endemic, ineradicable disease threatening the very survival of our society.” 

The Johnson wing of the Tory Party represents those that seek to massively deepen inequality for the benefit of the super-rich. The appalling response to covid that has lasted over one year has been a choice of this government.

Britain has had one of the worst covid death tolls, infection rates and a economic damage compared to other major economies in the world. In refusing to attempt to eliminate the virus, the government has created enormous suffering for the population, with women and BAME communities hit hardest. Hence the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement, and more recently the women’s movement in response to Sarah Everard’s killing at the hands of a police officer. 

Meanwhile the very wealthiest in society have profited from the Covid crisis. Share indices like the FTSE 100 and S&P 500 have increased their returns during Covid. The S&P 500 recorded its highest ever profits at the end of March 2021. 

In order to continue the strategy of protecting and increasing profits while creating even more suffering, it is using racism to divide, distract and scapegoat. This is the aim of CRED.

CRED represents a major ideological assault. It is a Trump style attempt to sow racism and division in society, marginalise communities, then flatly deny racism’s existence. Now more than ever BAME communities, the anti-racist, trade union and labour movements, the left and all progressives must unite against this grotesque and divisive attack on our society. 

The government’s campaign clearly has a fight on its hands with many – including some of the named commissioners – rightly opposing this report. We must continue this momentum. CRED’s findings fly in the face of much evidence which clearly illustrates, institutional racism. We must reject the CRED report and we cannot allow it to set the agenda on racism. 

The correct response to Black Lives Matter and the disproportionate impact of Covid19 on BAME communities is an independent public inquiry like the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry into the disproportionate impact of Covid19 on BAME communities and to implement recommendations in all previous reviews and inquiries on racism.

The post Denying institutional racism flies in face of evidence – we must reject government CRED report first appeared on Stand Up To Racism.

PRESS RELEASE: “Tory commissioned ‘CRED’ report was always going to be a whitewash” say anti racists

Wed, 03/31/2021 - 06:29

PRESS RELEASE… for immediate release

Wednesday 31 March
 

Demonstrators take a knee for George Floyd during a Refugees Welcome and Black Lives Matter protest rally in Glasgow organised by Stand Up To Racism Scotland. PA Photo. Picture date: Sunday September 6, 2020. Photo credit should read: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

“A commission led by people that deny the reality and existence of institutional racism was always going to be a whitewash” say anti-racist campaigners

Anti racist campaigners slammed the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities (CRED) as a “whitewash and a cover-up for the government.” They argue that the individuals leading up the commission undermined from the outset the credibility of the commission of having any serious and meaningful impact on racism in Britain. 

Munira Mirza, the head of the No 10 policy unit, led much of the work in forming the commission on race and ethnic disparities. Mirza notoriously rejected the David Lammy review into racism in the criminal justice system saying ‘institutional racism’ is ‘a perception more than a reality’, and even condemned an audit of racial inequalities in public services commissioned by Theresa May. 

In 2017 in the Spectator Mirza wrote that “anti-racism is becoming weaponised across the political spectrum”. Similarly the Commission’s chair Tony Sewell  in Prospect magazine in 2010 wrote: “Much of the supposed evidence of institutional racism is flimsy.”

The Commission has controversially found that  education attainment of some communities is somehow evidence that Britain is a ‘model for other white-majority countries.’ Meanwhile students at Pimlico Academy are staging protests and calling for the Head Teacher to resign due to institutional racism.

Sabby Dhalu, Stand up to Racism co convenor said

“A commission led by people that deny the reality and existence of institutional racism was always going to be a whitewash and a cover-up for the government. Covid and the Black Lives Matter movement shone a bright light on institutional racism. We need action to eradicate it. Suggesting Britain should be regarded as a ‘model for other white-majority countries’ is an insult to all those who lost their lives due to racism.”

Weyman Bennett, Stand up to Racism co convenor said

“The most dangerous part of reading this report is the implication that where all ethnic minorities face a commonality is an anachronism. Racism it argues is about ‘narrative not about reality’, that it’s about perception not about fact. It celebrates victories which none of the authors fought for and barely understands the impact of policing on black communities, at a time when the powers of the police are being extended not limited.”

Stand up to Racism has called for a public inquiry like the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, into the disproportionate impact of a covid on BAME communities. The group says that since the Black Lives Matter movement and the evidence showing the disproportionate impact of Covid on African, Asian, Caribbean and other minority ethnic communities, the government has wrongly sought to downplay racism instead of taking serious action to address it. For example on Covid19 it claims geography and socioeconomic factors are more significant in explaining the disproportionate impact on BAME communities, when research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies showed race was a factor in of itself. 

Dhalu said

“Britain has had one of the worst covid death tolls and infection rates in the world, which have disproportionately impacted on BAME communities. We demand an independent public inquiry like the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry into this.” 

Bennett added

“Anti racist campaigners have long argued that poverty and bad housing sharpen racial divisions. The report whilst noting the Windrush scandal and Grenfell fire does not hold anyone near the government nor big businesses responsible. The report states responsibility for differential outcomes is simply the family or for absent black fathers –  a racist trope. Most disgustingly it dismisses the disproportionate death is simply a matter of urban living not one of neglect cuts in the services precisely because large black communities live there. This is a cover-up and a disgrace.” 

The report’s own conclusion states that: “We have tried in this report to present a new race agenda for the country, relevant to people from all backgrounds. Rather than just highlighting minority disparities and demanding the government takes action, we have tried to understand why they exist in the first place.” However campaigners argue it’s the government’s job to take action. 

Dhalu added

“The government agenda on downplaying racism is clear. At the same time as the announcement of this commission last year, the government attempted to censor the section on institutional racism of the Public Health England (PHE) which was eventually published due to public pressure and included very good recommendations working towards eradicating institutional racism in health.

“We didn’t need another commission on racism. We need action on implementing the PHE review, Lammy review on the criminal Justice system and the many other recommendations of previous reviews into institutional racism.”

There is a wealth of evidence illustrating institutional racism. On Covid19 the death rate among British black Africans and British Pakistanis from coronavirus in English hospitals has been more than 2.5 times that of the white population, according to stark analysis by the Institute of Fiscal Studies. The highly respected thinktank also found that deaths of people from a black Caribbean background were 1.7 times higher than for white Britons.

Other statistics showed that minority groups were over-represented by as much as 27% in the overall Covid-19 death toll. Additionally, 63% of the first 106 health and social care staff known to have died from the virus were black or Asian, according to the Health Service Journal.

Another effect of institutional racism in health is the negative experience of black women, with black women in Britain four times as likely to die in childbirth. 

Regarding the economy BAME communities have suffered the brunt of job cuts during the pandemic. The number of BAME communities in employment dropped more than 26 times the drop in white workers over the same period. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) reports that 27 per cent of black people were finding it difficult to make ends meet, compared with 10 per cent of white people. 

ONS research also shows that unemployment for black, minority ethnic (BME) communities increased from 5.8 per cent to 9.5 per cent, an increase of nearly two thirds, between the final quarters of 2019 and 2020. The unemployment disparity rises to a staggering 13.8 per cent – more than three times the rate of white unemployment – for African and Caribbean workers. Unemployment is also higher for BME women at 10 per cent and is likely to worsen. 

In policing, during the period Boris Johnson became Prime Minister police stops and searches have increased. From 2017-18 to 2018-19 stops and searches increased from 1,836 to 9,599 in the Metropolitan Police Force as a result of the Home Secretary lifting section 60 emergency stop and search restrictions that were imposed by the May government. Black people are 4.3 times more likely to be stopped and searched. 

Mohammed Hassan died after police contact  in Cardiff earlier this year. His death follows many Black people that have died in police custody. The outcome of the trial of police officer Derek Chauvin charged with third degree and second degree murder of George Floyd in the US remains to be seen. However in Britain no police officer has ever been charged with the killing of any black person in police custody. In the criminal justice system black people are 9 times more likely to go to prison. Furthermore despite the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry many of the killers in racist murders are still at large. 

Dhalu further added that

“BAME communities more likely to die, be infected by Covid & more likely to be unemployed during the pandemic than white communities. BAME doctors & nurses died disproportionately, complained more of lack of PPE & felt targeted to work on Covid wards more than white colleagues. BAME communities especially African Caribbean communities disproportionately die in police custody or after police contact and still no justice for any of these. BAME communities more likely to be stopped and searched by police, more likely to be sent to prison. Scores of perpetrators of racist murders still walk free. This is evidence of institutional racism.”


For more information, interviews and further quotes: info@standuptoracism.org.uk

The post PRESS RELEASE: “Tory commissioned ‘CRED’ report was always going to be a whitewash” say anti racists first appeared on Stand Up To Racism.

PRESS RELEASE: Anti racists oppose scapegoating of Priti Patel’s new refugee clampdown

Wed, 03/24/2021 - 13:09

PRESS RELEASE… for immediate release

Wednesday 24 March
 Anti racists oppose scapegoating of Priti Patel’s new refugee clampdown

Priti Patel’s draconian overhaul of the asylum system which threatens to remove refugees who enter the UK supposedly illegally is a breach of international law. UNHCR whose responsibility is to uphold the status of refugees has clearly stated “Anyone seeking asylum should be able to claim in their intended destination or another safe country ” 

Weyman Bennett, co convenor of Stand Up To Racism stated

“This is Priti Patel yet again ramping up hostility towards asylum seekers. Following the harassment of refugees in Calais and Greece the government now wants to create further obstacles to seeking asylum in Britain. Refugees have already lost virtually everything and Patel is  now adding to their misery.”

SUTR’s other co convenor Sabby Dhalu emphasised

“Britain must uphold its international obligations. People must have the right to seek asylum here. The decline in covid cases has slowed down since the lockdown was eased on 8 March. There seems to be a pattern, whenever there are concerns about covid cases increasing, the government stirs up racism towards refugees as a distraction.” 

Weyman Bennett added

“This measure must be strongly opposed by all who value human rights and seek an end to all forms of racial discrimination internationally”.

For more information, interviews and further quotes:

info@standuptoracism.org.uk

The post PRESS RELEASE: Anti racists oppose scapegoating of Priti Patel’s new refugee clampdown first appeared on Stand Up To Racism.

SPeakers announced for #worldagainstracism online rally 5pm saturday 20 March

Thu, 03/18/2021 - 07:31

Register for Zoom link & further details

BLACK LIVES MATTER

NO TO RACISM, ISLAMOPHOBIA, ANTISEMITISM, SINOPHOBIA, ANTI-ROMA RACISM AND FASCISM

REFUGEES WELCOME, DEFEND MIGRANT RIGHTS

On March 20, 2021, UN Anti-Racism Day, events will take place in cities, communities and online events around the world.

In Britain, people will be taking the knee across the country at 1PM, with a live link-up to events taking place around the world between 1-2PM

A national online rally will take place at 5PM with speakers representing the broad alliance of communities and organisations that make up the anti-racist movement in Britain and around the world.

Speakers Include: •• Diane Abbott MP •• Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP •• Richard Burgon MP •• Peter Hain, Labour Peer •• Frances O’Grady, TUC General Secretary •• Kevin Courtney, NEU Joint General Secretary •• Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary •• Patrick Roach, NASUWT General Secretary •• Roger Mckenzie, UNISON Assistant General Secretary •• Marwan Muhammad, former Director of Collective Against Islamophobia (France) •• Andrea Garreffa, Sardines movement founder (Italy) •• Mavuso Misimang, former ANC underground leader (South Africa) •• Halima Begum, Runnymede Trust Chief Executive •• Dr Peng Wang, University lecturer subjected to racist attack in Southampton •• Neville Southall, former Welsh International Footballer •• Jacqueline Mckenzie, Windrush Justice Project •• All Black Lives UK •• David Rosenberg, Jewish Socialists’ Group •• Plus Sabby Dhalu & Weyman Bennett, Stand Up To Racism

The growth of the Black Lives Matter movement has shone a fresh spotlight on the horrific levels of racism in Britain, the US and internationally, and played a major role in the defeat of Donald Trump, the world’s number one racist. This growing, powerful force has the potential to strike serious blows against racism, Islamophobia and antisemitism.

Structural racism & health inequalities mean the coronavirus epidemic is continuing to disproportionately impact BAME communities. The British Government is attacking and vilifying refugees and migrants to distract from its failings. It is also attempting to blame Muslim and other communities for spreading the virus, further fanning the flames of racism and putting even more lives in danger.

On March 20 2021 we will come together united against racism, Islamophobia, antisemitism and fascism. We’ll stand in solidarity with refugees and migrants to send a powerful message to those in power that racism will be defeated.

The post SPeakers announced for #worldagainstracism online rally 5pm saturday 20 March first appeared on Stand Up To Racism.

The Policing Bill is an explicit attack on the Black Lives Matter movement

Thu, 03/18/2021 - 07:20

#WORLDAGAINSTRACISM DAY OF ACTION – 1PM #TakeTheKnee 5PM ONLINE RALLY – CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

By Sabby Dhalu, Stand up to Racism Co-convenor

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill recently passed its second reading in the House of Commons. Measures in the bill undermine the right to protest – a fundamental cornerstone of a free and democratic society. One aspect of it is making it an offence to be “intentionally or recklessly causing public nuisance.”

This vague wording could apply to any trade union strike actions, demonstrations and mass movements that have captured the public imagination in recent years, including the recent Sarah Everard demonstrations, Black Lives Matter movement, Extinction Rebellion and climate strikes, anti-Trump, anti-fascist and student protests against last year’s botched A Level and GCSE algorithm which forced a government u-turn.

Virtually every right we now take for granted was hard won through measures that this bill could criminalise.

The bill specifies that damage to memorials could lead to up to 10 years in prison – this is an explicit attack on the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and the toppling of the Edward Colston statue. The bill also proposes a new trespass offence that criminalises traveller communities and has implications for the right to protest, public access to the countryside and homeless people.

BLM forced British society to confront the history of imperialism, colonialism and racism and the fact that much of the wealth that fuelled the industrial revolution came from the barbaric enslavement of African people. This protest movement did more to educate people on these issues than years of formal education, leading to calls to “decolonise education.”

After the abolition of slavery in 1833, the British government paid £20 million to those responsible for enslavement, a staggering 40 per cent of the government’s annual income. That is the equivalent of £300 billion pounds today and the government only finished paying off this debt in 2015. Meanwhile those enslaved received nothing.

The vast majority of people do not want to see those responsible for the enslavement of black people memorialised in statues. Hence following the protesters removal of Edward Colston’s statue, many such as the Museum of London and Bank of England took the decision to remove similar statues.

Both the BLM movement and the Sarah Everard protests were in response to killings at the hands of the police. Yet the protests are considered by some as more of a threat than the horrific killings that ignited them.

Home Secretary Priti Patel described BLM protests as “dreadful” and undermined the heroic stance taken by many professional footballers and rugby players “taking the knee” before matches on LBC radio last month. Meanwhile despite Covid19 shining a spotlight on structural racism leading to the virus disproportionately impacting on black people, no action has been taken by the government to address institutional racism in policing, the NHS and other sectors.

In fact, the government has been whipping up racism. Patel will announce soon details of an offshore detention centre for asylum seekers. This follows the Home Secretary’s inflammatory attacks on “do-gooder” and “lefty lawyers” assisting refugees, which led to an armed man attacking a law firm.

Racism by politicians leads to racist attacks on the ground as sharply illustrated by yesterday’s shootings in Atlanta, Georgia, where six out of eight women killed were of East Asian descent. The “Chinese virus” racism stirred up by Donald Trump has unfortunately not disappeared with his removal from office. Such hatred is not confined to the US. The violent attack on Southampton University lecturer Dr Peng Wang underlines the importance of opposing sinophobia here in Britain.

Furthermore in the period Boris Johnson became Prime Minister police stops and searches have increased. From 2017-18 to 2018-19 stops and searches increased from 1,836 to 9,599 in the Metropolitan Police Force as a result of the Home Secretary lifting section 60 emergency stop and search restrictions.

The killing of Mohammed Hassan in police custody in Cardiff earlier this year, shows not very much has changed since last year’s Black Lives Matter Movement. The outcome of the trial of the police officer Derek Chauvin charged with third degree and second degree murder of George Floyd remains to be seen. However in Britain no police officer has ever been charged with the killing of any black person in police custody. This needs to change.

It is utterly outrageous that we are having to campaign for the very people who are supposed to be protecting and keeping us safe to stop killing us and demand justice for this. BLM protests will continue because the issues raised by the movement are not being addressed by the government.

Instead it is carefully timing this new legislation to coincide with the lifting of lockdown restrictions to suppress any potential protests expressing outrage at the government’s disgraceful handling of the coronavirus. One of the worst death tolls in the world and worst performing economy of any major country, with Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities facing the brunt, have not gone unnoticed.

Numerous research shows that BAME communities are around three times more likely to die of Covid than their white counterparts. Office of National Statistics research also shows that unemployment for black, minority ethnic (BME) communities increased from 5.8 per cent to 9.5 per cent, an increase of nearly two thirds, between the final quarters of 2019 and 2020. The unemployment disparity rises to a staggering 13.8 per cent – more than three times the rate of white unemployment – for African and Caribbean workers. Unemployment is also higher for BME women at 10 per cent and is likely to worsen.

The insulting one per cent pay increase for NHS staff effectively amounts to a real  terms pay cut and disproportionately impacts on women and BME communities. Women are a huge 77 per cent of NHS staff, meanwhile BME communities form 22 per cent of NHS staff.

Defending the right to protest and opposing the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will be central to this Saturday’s World Against Racism – Fighting Racism, Islamophobia, Antisemitism and Fascism – day of action marking UN Anti-Racism Day. Events will be taking place around the world. In Britain many buildings will be lit up in purple to mark the day. Activists around the country will be “taking the knee” at 1pm.

This article originally appeared on Labour Outlook

The post The Policing Bill is an explicit attack on the Black Lives Matter movement first appeared on Stand Up To Racism.

Kill the Bill – Defend the right to protest!

Thu, 03/18/2021 - 07:08

The #WorldAgainstRacism international day of action this Saturday 20 March comes in the wake of the shocking events of the last few days that have again highlighted the discrimination and inequality at the heart of our society.

The police response to the Clapham Common vigil for Sarah Everard – and now the new policing bill –  are signs that the government is using the Covid19 crisis to attack the right to peaceful protest.

The threat, in the bill, of 10 years in prison for pulling down a statue is clearly aimed at the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Environmental campaigners, trade unions and the Gypsy Roma Traveller community are also targeted.

At 1pm this Saturday we’ll #TakeTheKnee across Britain to oppose racism, Islamophobia and antisemitism, to oppose the new policing bill and to defend the right to protest. #TakeTheKnee actions across Britain will be linked up online via Zoom between 1pm and 2pm which will go live to protests and actions across the world.

We’ll be adding the #KillTheBill hashtag to our Twitter storm 1pm to 2pm on Saturday alongside #WorldAgainstRacism & #TakeTheKnee, and we’ll be raising defence of the right to protest as a central part of our online #WorldAgainstRacism rally hosted by the TUC and Stand Up To Racism at 5pm.

Receive all the details of how to join us on the day by registering now on eventbrite

The post Kill the Bill – Defend the right to protest! first appeared on Stand Up To Racism.

Campaigners say Palace needed to condemn racism and public investigation required into Harry and Megan claims

Wed, 03/10/2021 - 04:22

PRESS RELEASE… for immediate release
 

Wednesday 10 March

Campaigners say Palace needed to condemn racism and public investigation required into Harry and Megan claims

Anti-racist campaigners expressed “disappointment” regarding the statement issued by Buckingham Palace in response to allegations of racism exposed in the interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Oprah Winfrey. 

They argue a “robust condemnation of racism” was required and as a body funded by the tax payer, there needs to a public investigation into Prince Harry and Megan Markle’s claims. This echoes the call for a proper investigation from Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP and Wes Streeting MP. 

Yesterday Diane Abbott MP told BBC Radio 4 Today: “To be worrying about quite how dark the child will be could only be described as racism”

Campaigners also stress the importance of tackling racism in the media and wider society. Stand up to Racism is co-ordinating “World Against Racism” an international day of action marking UN Anti-Racism Day on Saturday 20 March (details below). 

Sabby Dhalu, Stand up to Racism Co-Convenor said: 

“The palace statement was disappointing and worrying. It needed a robust condemnation of racism and to stress the importance of supporting mental health. As an institution funded by the tax payer, the monarchy must be held to the same standard as any public body. There must be a formal and public investigation by Buckingham Palace into the allegations of racism questioning the skin colour of the children of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Allegations of racism in the Royal Family are not a private family matter.” 

In response to the other aspect of racism, the treatment of Megan Markle by the mainstream media and press, the other Co-Convenor of Stand up to Racism Weyman Bennett added: 

“This whole issue illustrates the importance of eradicating racism in wider society. The mainstream media fuels racism, from the demonisation of a black member of the Royal Family, Muslim, Jewish, Asian, Chinese communities and refugees to undermining taking the knee and the Black Lives Matter movement. Racism at the top leads to violent racist attacks on the ground. We’re committed to building a movement against racism and for our multicultural society. We urge people to join us marking UN Anti-Racism Day on Saturday 20 March.” 

Notes for editors: 

1) SATURDAY 20 MARCH National Day of Action for UN Anti-Racism Day

#WorldAgainstRacism

Fighting Racism, Islamophobia, Antisemitism & Fascism

Organised by Stand Up To Racism & The TUC

1PM: #TakeTheKnee wherever you are

1-2PM: Live link with actions around the world

5PM: Major Online Rally

Further details here

For more information, interviews and further quotes: info@standuptoracism.org.uk

The post Campaigners say Palace needed to condemn racism and public investigation required into Harry and Megan claims first appeared on Stand Up To Racism.

full timetable for tuc backed conference, sat 27 feb: from covid19 to #blacklivesmatter – fighting for anti racist workplaces

Wed, 02/24/2021 - 07:09
SUtR-2021-TUconf-agendaDownload

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Racism and inequality have been at the centre of the COVID-19 crisis.

BAME frontline workers and communities have disproportionately suffered during the pandemic.

But despite the crisis the Tories have continued with the racist hostile environment.

Refugees, migrants and the Muslim community have been scapegoated throughout the crisis while deportation flights continue despite the Windrush scandal.

It’s no wonder that in the wake of George Floyd’s death in the US hundreds of thousands were involved in the Black Lives Matter protests in Britain.

Whether it’s the disproportionate use of stop and search against black communities or the ongoing disparities on safety, pay and conditions for BAME workers racism is a trade union issue.

In the US Trump may have lost but he has inspired the racist and fascist right internationally and they are still trying to grow.

In Britain the trade unions have been at the forefront of opposing attempts by the Far Right to re-organise and build support. In these difficult times we need to make a stand against the growth of racism, Islamophobia and antisemitism and any attempt to divide working people.

This event organised by Stand Up To Racism & the TUC will look at how we can build the fight against racism and inequality in our workplaces, decolonise our education system and strengthen links between the trade unions and the wider anti-racist movement.

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