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Racist vans, harassment of migrants via text messages from private companies, cuts to legal aid, cuts to English language learning provision, cuts in support services – and phone-lines that people now struggle to use…and more to come from the new Immigration Bill – some might just conclude that the government’s policies are an attack on the vulnerable, but then again, when hasn’t this been the case?
Home Secretary, Theresa May has openly stated a desire to create a “hostile environment” for all but “the brightest and best” migrants.
But whatever governments try to do, people will be there, working together in unity and solidarity to try and change the far-right policies that don’t help anyone, even the richest or bigoted.
Action has been taking place around Europe to build resistance and empower people to stand up for their rights.
The ‘March for Freedom‘ walked for 450km between Strasburg and Brussels, and defied laws by crossing borders that is now a normal occurrence for Europe’s citizens, but denied to vistors seeking sanctuary from wars and conflict.
Activists in Calais have stood up to openly fascist groups and seen support grow as far-right demos were cancelled. Many have now reclaimed a major space in the city to use for solidarity work.
Here in south Wales, activists have recently become involved in the necessary work to support destitute asylum seekers. The government cuts are forcing more people to sleep rough. Cardiff Destitution Network is helping to make the grass-route changes that challenge this bogus system, it was set up by solidarity activists in CMS Wales, which has been active since 2012 after being inspired by the Unity Centre in Glasgow. Some activists have spent less time coming to meetings and more time helping to promote events and organise local benefit gigs which help to fund the vital work that keeps people safe and alive.
Some have worked with various organisations to help make Cardiff a ‘City of Sanctuary’ – hoping that their input helps to make a real difference on the ground so that those that need to the most can directly benefit from the ‘award’.
Many others have been involved in anti-deportation campaigning, alongside friends in south Wales and a now released Dignity marcher to South Wales from Bristol.
We want to build on this though.
We have plans to hold a day of action during the NATO summit in South Wales, and also to help organise a new No Borders Convergence, bringing together migration activists from all over the UK and beyond. Our friends in Bristol and Leeds are growing the No Borders struggles there, and other groups in Manchester, Brighton, Oxford and Nottingham are building a new Migrant Solidarity Network, which Cardiff is also linked to.
This work is to create a world where no one is oppressed or discriminated against because of their status, ethnicity, gender or sexuality.
We want a No Borders group again, that will use protests and many forms of direct action to get results. When detention centres have been blockaded and flights have been cancelled, people’s lives have been saved. We’re meeting tonight to help make this happen. We hope that you can join us at Cathays Community Centre from 6pm to be a part of it. We will aim to meet regularly after that.
You can contact us for more information but we’d like to see you stand together with us if possible.
For a world without borders, in which all are equal and live without conflict.
The following article written by one of our group first appeared on Waleshome.org last week, where it has already the 2nd highest number of comments. We reproduce it here in it’s unedited original form.
MIGRATION is one of the most contentious issues of modern times. Add the “im-” prefix and it’s practically a swear word in some circles. If public debate around the issue is ever given any lip service, it generally has a whiff of racism, or more increasingly the stench of fascism about it. The right-wing gutter press have managed to file ‘bogus asylum seekers’ and ‘illegal immigrants’ into the same category as child killers and sex offenders. There is so much that can be said to counter tabloid lies on immigration, it would be easy to fill a whole article with facts refuting them. But these can be easily found elsewhere, here I will sketch a rarely-articulated history of Wales which undercuts the dominant right-wing discourse on migration.
Opponents of immigration often fix upon the notion of an indigenous culture that requires defending from outside influence, a ‘way of life’ that is under attack from foreigners. The ‘shared identity’ of the nation-state is appealed to, promoting the idea that the interests of all indigenous people are separate to those of ‘foreigners’. This imagined community of a country is a construct, even in a small nation like Wales most people never know, meet, or even hear of most of their fellow countrymen. Any concept of national identity is not innate and unchanging, but fragile, contested, and constructed over time. The hegemonic concept of national identity serves as Read the rest of this entry »
The development of migration control is quite a recent thing, with the first controls on immigration not coming into existence until 1905 with the Aliens Act. The introduction of this piece of legislation was due, in part, to a concerted campaign by sections of the trade union movement and socialist groups.
Jewish people suffering persecution in Tsarist Russia and Eastern Europe had been forced to flee in increasing numbers over the previous decade and anti-Semites had responded by agitating for restriction on entry to the UK. This was the era of mass migration into south Wales. During the second half of the 19th century 126,529 people moved into Glamorgan and Monmouthshire mostly from Read the rest of this entry »
Though the systematic detention and deportation of people born outside this island without the correct documentation is a somewhat recent development, the use of migration control as a political implement by the British state has a long history.
In 1921 Emma Goldman the most famous female political radical of her generation moved to Britain, where she was virtually alone on the left in condemning the Russian revolution. She, along with Alexander Berkman had been deported Read the rest of this entry »