Today, on International Women’s Day, the IRR warns that anti-immigrant Islamophobic currents in Europe are growing on the back of the racialisation of sex crimes.
Writing in the UK context, Kay Stephens, as part of an anti-racist feminist collective in London, argues that in order to resist the toxic narrative around ‘Asian grooming gangs’, we need to unpack the ways in which sexual violence today is viewed primarily through a racialised lens. Her warning that the far Right, as well as some more mainstream voices, is co-opting a feminist stance for racist and anti-feminist ends is particularly pertinent. This week it emerged that far-right groups are attempting to infiltrate child protection charities; their purpose to further an anti-Islam agenda, particularly in towns with historical problems of child sexual exploitation (see our calendar of racism and resistance).
Across Europe, far-right parties are gaining political ground by racialising sex crimes, as they introduce profoundly anti-feminist measures. Amidst a resurgence of the far Right in Spain, a bus campaign has been launched ahead of International Women’s Day, featuring an image of Hitler wearing makeup with the hashtag ‘#Stop Feminazis’ and the caption ‘gender laws discriminate against men’, calling for repeals of both the 2004 gender violence law and legal protections granted to the LGBTQI community.
This is not unique to Spain, as we continue to see anti-feminist measures, often in opposition to reproductive and sexual rights, introduced across Europe. Last December, Verona’s local council passed a municipal motion to prevent abortion, introduced by a Lega councillor who said that if Italian women won’t have more babies, ‘we will be conquered by the Muslims who will impose Islamic law’. Similarly, incentives to encourage ‘indigenous’ women to give birth, (for instance, Victor Orbán’s declaration that women with four children or more will be exempt from paying income tax in Hungary) must be viewed in the context of policies that keep migrants out by force.
In this dystopian, but very real, context that utilises women’s bodies for chilling demographic ends, there are some positive signs, notably the emergence of a feminism that seeks to challenge racism and sexism simultaneously.
For further information contact Sophia Siddiqui, firstname.lastname@example.org
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
21 February: Humanitarian organisations criticise new parliamentary legislation in Denmark that increases the numbers of people eligible for deportation, a removal of indefinite stay for refugees and a reduction of social welfare given to asylum seekers. (The Local, 21 February 2019)
25 February: Concerns mount over the fate of two Palestinian refugees from Syria who, due to the prohibitive nature of German family reunification laws, opted to return to Syria to reunite with their partners. One disappeared at the Lebanese-Syrian border before being reunited with his wife; the other appears to have been detained by secret services shortly after arrival in Damascus. (InfoMigrants, 25 February 2019)
25 February: The Institute for International Political Studies says that in Italy over the last four months 1,000 asylum claims submitted by Nigerian women and 1,134 humanitarian protection claims, have been refused, with many women, who are victims of sex-trafficking, disappearing after being thrown out of reception centres under the Salvini decree. (Guardian, 25 February 2019)
28 February: The Danish Government’s Immigration Service publish a report stating that there has been a ‘general improvement of conditions in government-controlled areas’ in Syria, and therefore, refugees to Denmark who come from these areas will no longer be automatically given asylum. (The Local, 28 February 2019)Borders and externalisation
17 February: The French Defence Ministry announce the purchase of six boats that will be given to the Libyan coast guard in the spring to assist in Libya’s effort to ‘curb clandestine migration’. (Infomigrants, 25 February 2019)
19 February: Italy’s Senate Committee votes 16 – 6 to block an investigation into Interior Minister Salvini for kidnapping over his decision to allow 150 people to be stranded at sea for 5 days in August 2018. (Al jazeera, 19 February 2019)
20 February: The German municipalities of Kiel, Lübeck, Flensburg, and Sylt, in conjunction with the state of Schleswig-Holstein, declare themselves ‘safe ports’ for people rescued in the Mediterranean. (Borderline Europe, 20 February 2019)
21 February: Unnamed sources in the Spanish rescue mission Salvamento Marítimo claim that an agreement reached between Morocco and Spain, which has come into immediate effect, means that some migrants rescued sea can be disembarked at Moroccan ports. (El País, 21 February 2019)
21 February: ANAFE publishes ‘Persona non grata’ which reveals that between 2016 and 2018, nearly thirty people died at the France-Italy border where dozens of illegal push-backs take place every day. (Read a summary of the report here)
24 February: An African Union ‘common African position paper’, on the EU blueprint for stemming migration by establishing ‘de facto detention centres’ on African soil, is leaked to the Guardian. Coastal states are urged to resist plans that will ‘lead to the establishment of something like modern-day slave markets’, with the ‘best’ Africans being allowed into Europe and the rest ‘tossed back’. (Guardian, 24 February 2019)
25 February: Channel 4 News broadcasts mobile phone footage showing people being tortured inside camps in Libya where, with EU support, the Libyan authorities detain migrants to prevent them from crossing the Mediterranean to Europe. (Channel 4 News, 25 February; The Times, 1 March)
2 March: The EU’s funding of the Libyan coastguard comes under renewed focus as Al Jazeera reports that around 30 refugees and migrants, including minors, are punished for a revolt at Tripoli’s Triq al Sikka detention centre, by being beaten with sticks and bars, with the leaders taken to an underground cell and allegedly tortured. (Al Jazeeera, 2 March 2019)
3 March: Leaked documents from the European External Action Service and Frontex reveal that the EU knows its Mediterranean naval operations are making sea crossings more dangerous and that the Libyan coastguard that the EU funds, equips and trains collaborate with smuggling networks. (Politico.EU, 2 March 2019)
5 March: Thirty-five people are arrested in Lesvos after they illegally entered state land in order to install a huge metal cross – aimed at intimidating Muslim refugees – on a cliff that overlooks the Aegean Sea and the Turkish mainland. (The Times, 5 March 2019)Reception and detention
19 February: The parents of two Iraqi families are denied food by Hungarian officials whilst detained in Hungary’s transit zones, prompting the European Court of Human Rights to intervene. (Al Jazeera, 21 February 2019)
25 February: Following the deadly stabbing of a welfare official in Dornbirn by a rejected Turkish asylum seeker, the Austrian prime minister tables a constitutional amendment to allow for preventative ‘security detention for asylum seekers’ deemed a ‘potential threat’. Refugee reception centres will be renamed ‘departure centres’. (Deutsche Welle, 25 February 2019)
2 March: Forty-four people are detained in Calais after climbing aboard a cross-channel ferry to try and reach the UK. (Times of Malta, 3 March 2019)Deportations
19 February: Around 300 people protest outside Vulcan House, the Home Office building in Sheffield, to protest the deportation of asylum seekers to Zimbabwe. (Assist Sheffield, 19 February 2019)
22 February: In Germany, an Air Algerie pilot refuses to deport a family, including an eight-month pregnant woman, to Algeria. The authorities issued the woman with a medical certificate declaring her fit to travel, despite documenting a high-risk pregnancy and the pilot expressing concern about the lack of medical equipment on board. (Hessenschau, 22 February 2019)Citizenship
25 February: As lawyers acting for Chagos Islanders in the UK warn of the potential for a new ‘Windrush scandal’ affecting their clients, the UN’s International Court of Justice concludes that the Chagos Islands were not lawfully removed from Mauritius’ control in 1965, and urges the UK government to relinquish its continued colonial possessions. (BBC News, 25 February; Telegraph, 1 March 2019)HOUSING AND WELFARE
19 February: A Project 17 report on the hostile environment accuses the Home Office of forcing thousands of children into extreme poverty and homelessness because their parents’ immigration status means that they have no recourse to public funds (NRPF), and says that local authorities are avoiding their duty of care under Section 17 of the Children’s Act. Read the report here. (Independent, 19 February 2019)
21 February: The Local Government Association (LGA) says that council spending has risen from £77m to £152m between 2014 and 2018 as a result of increases in the number of asylum-seeking children in care in England. The LGA’s asylum, migration and refugee task group calls on the government to ensure that long-term funding is available for councils to provide adequate care for these children. (Guardian, 21 February 2019)
24 February: Lewisham Council says it will remove the embedded Home Office official who sits in on meetings between the council and vulnerable, often destitute migrants seeking recourse to public funds. (Guardian, 24 February 2019)
1 March: The High Court rules, in a legal challenge brought by JCWI, that the Right to Rent law, which requires private landlords to check the immigration status of tenants and potential tenants, breaches human rights law. The policy leads landlords to discriminate against BAME British citizens and ethnic minorities in general, foreign nationals with the right to rent, and anyone without a British passport. (Guardian, 1 March 2019)
1 March: A homeless Polish man who was unlawfully detained for 38 days as part of Operation Gopik, a policy to deport homeless EEA nationals, is awarded £14,800 in compensatory damages by the High Court. (Metro, 1 March)CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
26 February: Protestors clash with riot police in Omonia, Greece following a march in central Athens to protest the death of a Nigerian migrant at a police station. Media reports that the 34 year old was beaten by police prior to his collapse. (Ekathimerini, 26 February 2019)
27 February Following the launch of Inquest’s Legal Aid for Inquest’s campaign on 25 February, shadow lord chancellor Richard Burgon pledges that a future Labour government would provide automatic legal aid for bereaved families at inquests where the relative died in state custody. Read Inquest’s campaign briefing here. (Guardian, 27 February 2019)
27 February: Basingstoke MP Maria Miller calls for more transparency from Hampshire police as it emerges that 16 police officers and 3 members of staff from a specialist team at the Basingstoke Investigation Centre are still under investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct, a year after allegations of making racist and homophobic comments were made. (The Breeze, 27 February 2019, The News, 25 February 2019)
1 March: Despite a 2012 inquest ruling that ‘unnecessary’ restraint contributed to Sean Rigg’s death in August 2008, a Metropolitan police panel dismisses misconduct charges against the five Met police officers involved. (Guardian, 1 March 2019)
4 March: To tackle high rates of knife crime, the chairman of the West Midlands Police Federation calls for the nationwide use of emergency stop and search powers under Section 60 of the 1994 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act. (Telegraph, 4 March 2019)ANTI-FASCISM AND THE FAR RIGHT
17 February: Ahead of upcoming May elections, leaders of Spain’s far-right Vox party hold a rally in Torrejon de Ardoz, a town near Madrid, attended by 800 supporters. Four of the towns where the far-right party is holding upcoming rallies are low-income towns with a high percentage of immigrants. (El Pais, 19 February 2019)
22 February: The far-right Brothers of Italy, which has its roots in fascism, is admitted to the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe in the European parliament, the grouping of the UK Conservative party. (Independent, 22 February 2019)
23 February: In Salford, Manchester, around 4,000 people march to the BBC in support of Tommy Robinson and in protest of an upcoming BBC Panorama investigation into him. A counter-protest is held. (BBC, 23 February 2019)
24 February: As part of an intelligence-led investigation, an unnamed 33-year-old right-wing extremist is arrested in Leeds on suspicion of preparing acts of terrorism. (Independent, 24 February 2019)
26 February: Tommy Robinson is permanently banned from Facebook and Instagram for repeatedly breeching hate speech rules. His breeches include public calls for violence against people based on issues of race, hate speech targeted at specific groups and public praise for hate figures. (Guardian, 26 February 2019)
28 February: The Italian intelligence services warn that neo-nazi groups could target migrants in the run-up to the European elections, pointing out that racist attacks have tripled over the past year. (Guardian, 28 February 2019).
26 February: The Cologne administrative court rules that intelligence services acted disproportionately and in breach of the constitutional rights of political parties when it classified Alternative for Germany as ‘case to investigate’ for its alleged breach of constitutional safeguards against extremism. (Reuters, 26 February 2019)
1 March: A Spanish ultraconservative catholic organisation Hazte Oír (Make Yourself Heard) has launched a bus campaign featuring an image of Hitler wearing makeup with the hashtag #StopFeminazis and the caption ‘Gender laws discriminate against men’ written below. The bus will travel through Spanish cities until International Women’s Day on 8 March. (El Pais, 1 March 2019)
3 March: A Guardian investigation suggests that, although membership is well down from the days of Farage, there has been a 50 per cent increase in UKIP party membership since February 2018, and that under the leadership of Gerard Batton, UKIP has shifted decisively towards the far right. (Guardian, 3 March 2019)
5 March: Anti-extremism officials say that far Right groups are attempting to infiltrate child protection charities to further an anti-Islam agenda. A community group for child sexual abuse survivors said it has been approached by senior UKIP figures who offered to fund an open-top bus to raise alarm about so-called ‘grooming gangs’. (Guardian, 5 March 2019)EMPLOYMENT AND LABOUR EXPLOITATION
20 February: A probe is launched into a livestock farm in Larissa, Greece, after two Pakistani men were physically assaulted for asking to be paid for their work. (Ekathimerini, 20 February 2019)ELECTORAL POLITICS
21 February: In the run-up to European parliamentary elections, the Hungarian government launches a poster campaign showing European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker alongside George Soros, with the words ‘You have the right to know what Brussels is doing’. (Guardian, 21 February 2019)
2 March: The Hungarian government launches a new poster campaign, replacing the posters of Juncker with the president of the European Commission Frans Timmermans, which claim to show ‘what kind of pro-migrant plans are under preparation by the Brussels bureaucracy’. (Deutsche Welle, 2 March 2019)
3 March: The anti-immigration Conservative People’s Party of Estonia (EKRE) more than doubles its share of the vote in the Estonian general election; with almost 18 per cent of the vote it is the third largest party in the parliament. (Guardian, 3 March 2019)
MEDIA AND CULTURE
4 March: After a public outcry, the digital channel BBC One Scotland promise not to air programmes featuring Mark Meechan (also known as Count Dankula), a YouTuber who was fined for training a dog to give a Nazi salute on camera. (Guardian, 4 March 2019)
5 March: Social media is flooded with complaints after grotesque puppets of Orthodox Jews, as well as people wearing KKK outfits and blackface, were displayed on flats at Belgium’s world-famous Aalst Carnival recognised by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. (Sputnik News, 5 March 2019)
19 February: Belgium’s former Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration Theo Fracken announces that his book launch at the Veriers Hotel, Belgium, is cancelled after more than 200 people gather in front of the Hotel in protest. (Le Soir, 19 February 2019)DISCRIMINATION
28 February: The Dutch appeals court rules in favour of Amersfoort city council which suspended a Muslim man’s welfare benefits for a month after he refused on religious grounds to shave his beard while training for a job as an asbestos removal officer. (Guardian, 28 February 2019)NATIONAL SECURITY
3 March: The Austrian government says that as part of its efforts to preserve the rule of law and stop terror it will by 2020 establish an institution to monitor Islamist associations and organisations, including the spread of patriarchal courts of honour, ‘anti-integration content’ in mosques, and Islamist currents on social media.(Vienna Times, 3 March 2019)
28 February: Two Belgian women, widows of Syrian fighters, are denied the right to return in the Brussels Court of Appeal. The decision overturns the courts previous decision which ordered the government to accept their return. (Brussels Times, 28 February 2019)SPORT
22 February: Supporters of The Hague football club ADO, attending a fixture in Amsterdam against Ajax (whose supporters refer to themselves as ‘Joden’), spray-paint anti-Semitic graffiti across the capital, including the letters JHK, or Jews have cancer. (DutchNews.nl, 22 February 2019)RACIST VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT
20 February: Assault charges are dropped against Gillyon Emmanuel, a black ice-cream parlour owner in Hilversum, the Netherlands. Having suffered months of racial harassment, when three youngsters said ‘climb back into your tree…cancer ape’ and threw oranges at her shop window, she responded by hitting one of them with a mop. (DutchNews.nl, 20 February 2019)
21 February: In Berkshire, a 15-year-old boy suffers a broken jaw after a suspected racist attack in a Bracknell underpass, reportedly by a group of five to six men. (In your area, 21 February 2019)
22 February: A man is jailed for six years after he was convicted of racially aggravated wounding with intent for attacking a doorman in Llandudno in April 2018. (North Wales Live, 22 February 2019)
23 February: A 30-year-old personal trainer from Nottingham who set up a fitness class for Muslim women is bombarded with racist abuse and death threats from Tommy Robinson supporters after Robinson shared her flyer on his Instagram page. Her car tyres are also reportedly slashed. (The Independent, 26 February 2019)
26 February: A women from Sandwell, West Midlands, is given a 12-month community order for racially aggravated assault after she attacked a shop worker wearing a headscarf in Debenhams and told her to ‘Go back to your own country, f****** Muslim’. (Evening Standard, 26 February 2019)
26 February: In Islington, north London, a Jewish man in his 70s is punched in the face and brutally assaulted as he lay on the ground by a shaven-headed assailant who asked him if he was Jewish before attacking him. (Islington Gazette, 26 February 2019)
27 February: A new Scottish government report shows that of the 6,736 hate crimes recorded in 2017/18 by Police Scotland, two thirds are race-related. Of the 5 per cent of crimes with multiple aggravators, race and religion are the most common combination. (Scotsman, 27 February 2019)
2 March: A memorial stone that marks the site of Strasbourg’s old synagogue which was burnt down by the Nazis in 1940 is vandalised. Last month dozens of graves were sprayed with swastikas and anti-Semitic slogans at a nearby Jewish cemetery. (BBC News, 2 March 2019)
4 March: Northern Ireland police are treating an incident in which graffiti was spray painted on to property in Cookstown as a racially motivated hate crime. (Mid-Ulster Mail, 4 March 2019)
This calendar was compiled by the IRR News Team, with the help of Zeeshan Ali, Graeme Atkinson, Joseph Maggs and Jamie Wates.
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The day the world marches against racism & the rise of the far right.
On Saturday 16 March, cities across the world from Warsaw to Washington DC will march together against racism & the rise of the international far right.
In London, Glasgow and Cardiff, we will be marching from the Embassy district of London to show solidarity will the millions resisting the far-right across the world, to Downing Street to deliver the message to Theresa May that we want an end to the hostile environment, Justice for Grenfell and that we stand together against hatred & division. … Read the rest
Time will tell.
In any case, remember this?
Yeah, this looked bad, especially considering it seems that Bernier (or at least his handlers) knew exactly what kind of people the Proud Boys were.
At least his judgement couldn't be worse, right?
Well, funny story....
pic.twitter.com/7rUKp6yaUe— (((57ing54ot))) (@alexhundert) March 5, 2019
Hey look, its @MaximeBernier campaigning with a #nazi.#cdnpoli #ppc #whitesupremacy #election2019 pic.twitter.com/oKiFm4ZqPm— (((57ing54ot))) (@alexhundert) March 5, 2019
Oh hey, it's @MaximeBernier smiling and glad-handing with a skinhead. https://t.co/jNNmKsVQW4
Alex Brisson, neo-Nazi. #cdnpoli
That shirt? https://t.co/5PczzoCXV0
Final pic, with another skinhead Tom Samson. pic.twitter.com/n8WPTDns2x— Alheli Picazo (@a_picazo) March 5, 2019
His Likes are fun, too.
Subtle! pic.twitter.com/4B9NMIsBCb— Alheli Picazo (@a_picazo) March 6, 2019
Note: All original organizational pages were changed to 'unofficial' once EDAs started to formalize and such. pic.twitter.com/Yi8RybLZHu— Alheli Picazo (@a_picazo) March 6, 2019
GEE, I WONDER LIKE WHAT pic.twitter.com/FlVZ8op2rS— Yellow Vests Canada Exposed (@VestsCanada) March 5, 2019
The past week there has been a great deal of political discussion regarding the judgement of party leaders.
Consider this to in the effort to further that discussion.
This weekend the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, is being held in Maryland just a bit downriver from Washington D.C. CPAC has, in addition to attracting a who's who of whom might be regarded as mainstream conservative politicians and activists, has increasingly attracted those from the fringes of the movement including ethnic nationalists, identitarians, and alt-righters in addition to regular bunch of conspiracy nutbars and general grifters.
Case in point:
It really is amazing how these folks are drawn to each other. Here Goldy is with fellow CPAC attendee Jacob Wohl (no doubt at some hipster coffee shop), freshly banned from Twitter because he's blisteringly stupid. Wohl, a Trump sycophant who makes R.M. Renfield appear dignified by comparison, is known for among other things being banned from trading in futures for life as a result of massive fraud and attempting (badly) to frame Robert Mueller for sexual assault. He is at CPAC promoting yet another conspiracy theory concerning Rep. Ilhan Omar along with fellow grifter Laura Loomer:
Ostensibly Goldy is attending CPAC as a "journalist" working for the anti-immigration, white nationalist org VDare, however as readers know she is also very much a partisan:
However it seems that things at CPAC aren't going quite as well as Goldy would like. In fact I can't help thinking about this scene in "The Simpsons" when reading her Twitter feed:
It appears that CPAC, while still super racists, isn't quite racist enough:
Goldy runs through a number of complaints about her time at CPAC, though those complaints really do come down mainly to her not thinking the organizers are anti-immigration enough. Her tweets retweets tell the story of increasing frustration about how there wasn't enough focus on her pet issue:
Read more »
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Diane Abbott MP • Frances O’Grady TUC General Secretary • Michael Rosen Poet • Paul Cannonville former footballer & anti-racism campaigner• Dave Ward CWU General Secretary • Manuel Cortes TSSA General Secretary • Emma Dent Coad MP • Claude Moraes MEP • Julie Ward MEP • Salma Yaqoob • Roksana Fiaz Mayor of Newham • Unmesh Desai AM • Ged Grebby Show Racism the Red Card Chief Exec • Louise Raw Author PLUS MORE TBC
JOIN THOUSANDS ACROSS THE WORLD ON 16 MARCH TO:
• Stand up to Islamophobia & antisemitism
• Justice for Windrush – end the ‘hostile environment’
• Refugees welcome
• Defend migrant rights
• Black lives matter
• Leave or remain, don’t let the racists divide us
• Celebrate diversity
CITIES & COUNTRIES ACROSS THE GLOBE – INCLUDING LONDON / GLASGOW / CARDIFF / NEW YORK / WASHINGTON DC / BARCELONA / BRAZIL / HUNGARY / GERMANY / DENMARK / AUSTRIA / FRANCE…
The global rise in racism & fascism needs a global response. … Read the rest
As I have mentioned via our Facebook and Twitter pages, I was at the 'United We Roll' yellow vest rally in Ottawa. To me, the most important thing worth mentioning about the rally was the low numbers. So... good job? I guess? #YellowVestsCanada #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/9s8NY7GRba— Yellow Vests Canada Exposed (@VestsCanada) February 20, 2019
I counted 90 trucks, which was a far cry from the hundreds promised. Before the rally I predicted 80. I counted 200-300 people, but others have counted less than 200. Before the rally I predicted 400-500. There were also around 50 counter protesters. When the trucks finally rolled out, there were more counter protesters left than supporters watching them leave. I did personally view representatives from a few couple hate groups, mainly C3 and Northern Guard. I also saw other far right figures. Faith Goldy was in attendance, as well as lesser known figures such as Derek Storie and Rick Boswick. I believe some of the yellow vest supporters were Proud Boys, but I was unable to verify.I did witness one Yellow Vest supporter shouting into a bull horn at the mostly indigenous counter protesters, that 'oil pays for their welfare'. I also saw Derek Storie and Pat King (UWR organizer) mocking the indigenous drumming. The loudest crowd I heard, was when Faith Goldy stood on the lift truck. Lots of booing, and chants of 'nazi scum, off our streets', and 'Faith Goldy's a nazi'. They kept using the horns on the semis to drown out the counter protesters. It was really obnoxious, which if I could use one word to describe the entire rally, that would be it. This next picture made the whole experience worth it though.
#YellowVestsCanada Are we done embarrassing ourselves yet? pic.twitter.com/Yci1eV9VU8— Yellow Vests Canada Exposed (@VestsCanada) February 21, 2019
In short, the "United We Roll"/Yellow Vests Convoy to Ottawa turned out to be at best disappointing and at worst a PR disaster that politicians who embraced it are now trying to justify in light of the white nationalist ties:
Since the end of the convoy there have been accusations of financial irregularities, personal rivalries coming out into the open, and anger over how participants were treated. One of those individuals, Bruce Ruddi, posted the following video to Facebook. The video is over two hours in length (I didn't have time to cut out the juicy parts) and there's a fair amount of shouting, but it is worth watching if only to see how quickly these reactionaries turn on each other: