Immigration, asylum and anti-deportation

Malaysian government breaks law to deport over a thousand back to Myanmar

On 23 February, the Malaysian government deported 1,086 people back to Myanmar. This was against the orders of the Malaysian High Court, which ruled on the same day that the Myanmar nationals should be allowed to stay temporarily. There are millions of exploited migrants in Malaysia, and over a hundred thousand Burmese refugees. The government announced plans to deport 1,200 people, including children. 114 people are unaccounted for by the government as they were not handed over to the Myanmar navy. Despite the Malaysian government’s claims that they would not deport any Rohingya or official...

"Modern slavery": grandstanding vs helping workers organise

Emily Kenway is a former adviser to the UK’s first Anti-Slavery Commissioner and the author of The Truth About Modern Slavery (Pluto Press, 2021). She spoke to George Wheeler for Solidarity. Can you explain a little of what the book is about, and why you wrote it? The book is about how modern slavery is a particular narrative about exploitation, constructed largely by philanthrocapitalists, anti-sex work activists and anti-migrant politicians. It shows how calling exploitation “modern slavery”, and all that this entails, suggests a moral crusade but undermines the actions needed to improve the...

Wages for immigration?

This article responds to Ashley J Bohrer’s article, ‘Wages for Immigration’, Spectre (Spring 2020) Social Reproduction Theory (SRT) is a theoretical framework for all kinds of work that reproduces capitalist accumulation at different levels, often for free within the home but also on the cheap. It asks: why do women still do most of the housework? Why are some jobs, typically women’s jobs, so badly paid? SRT argues that maintaining structures of inequality and social institutions such as the nuclear family are useful to capitalist accumulation. For example, child labour has been illegal for...

Activist agenda: Asyum-seekers, Uyghur solidarity

The Labour Campaign for Free Movement is celebrating a victory: the Home Office backing down from plans to house up to 200 asylum seekers in prefab accommodation next to Yarl’s Wood detention centre. Their “official” reason is that anticipated extra demand to house asylum seekers never materialised. But... Students at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) are moving a motion to their student union general meeting to campaign in solidarity with the Uyghurs: more at the Uyghur Solidarity Campaign website. • All campaign links and info, and suggested wordings for labour-movement...

After the Napier fire: close these camps!

29 January saw a fire in Napier army barracks, in Kent, which is being used to house several hundred asylum-seekers. Simultaneously the site was in the middle of a Covid-19 outbreak, with over 130 positive cases. Clearly the poor, cramped living conditions are driving waves of deadly infection. Home Secretary Priti Patel’s response? Assume the fire was a deliberate act of arson (without evidence) and rubbish claims that the accommodation was at all sub-standard (because it was fine for soldiers, despite having been uninhabited for ten years). The same issues are raised by the Home Office plans...

Activist agenda: Free movement; Sick pay; Right to strike

Safe and Equal will now run organising sessions weekly on Wednesdays at 6 pm, alternate Wednesdays discussions, the other Wednesdays phone-round sessions. The purpose is to push its campaign for isolation pay, which high infection rates make ultra-urgent, so help in the coming weeks will be very valuable: email safeandequal@gmail.com. A particular focus is on careworkers’ isolation pay, and S&E is working with a number of careworkers about local action on that. S&E is approaching other groups which have backed the call for full isolation pay, such as Don’t Leave Organise, to propose a...

Points and immigration

In the 2016 Brexit referendum, the very much anti-migration “Leave” side of debate talked a lot about “taking back control of our borders” and controlling the influx of migrants “taking our jobs”. The new “points-based” immigration system is supposed to deliver on those promises and, as Priti Patel puts it, “only allow the real talent” into Britain. How will the points be awarded? To qualify for a work visa the applicant looking to migrate to the UK first needs 50 points from being able to speak English (10 points) and having a job offer from an approved employer for a “skilled job” (40 points...

Stansted 15 victory

The dropping of counter-terror charges against the fifteen activists from End Deportations who blocked the takeoff of a flight deporting people to Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone in 2017 is a victory for determined campaigning and for solidarity. The judge said that “the appellants should not have been prosecuted for the extremely serious offence” contained in a section of the 1990 Aviation and Maritime Security Act – a law passed in response to the Lockerbie bombing, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. Among the deportees on the 2017 flight were victims of human trafficking...

Condemn Starmer u-turn on free movement

The Labour Campaign for Free Movement is seeking signatures and Constituency Labour Party and union motions calling on the Labour leadership to support democracy, migrant rights and the 2019 Labour Party conference decision on free movement: see here (up with other motions here). This is a response to Keir Starmer saying on 10 January, when asked if Labour would stick to its free movement policy: “I don’t think there’s an argument for reopening those aspects of the treaty”. A year ago, asked when running for Labour leader whether he would bring back free movement for EU citizens, Starmer said...

Racism behind the deportations

On Wednesday 2 December, a charter flight intended to deport 50 Jamaican nationals from the UK back to Jamaica went ahead, though with thirteen rather than 50. There had been a campaign with many high-profile celebrities such as Naomi Campbell fronting it. Home Secretary Priti Patel was heavily critically of the Labour MPs and celebrities such as Thandie Newton who protested, referring to them as “do-gooders”. She claimed people seeking to halt the deportation risked the safety of British people by allowing criminals to reside on British soil. To what extent are “British” people in danger from...

This website uses cookies, you can find out more and set your preferences here.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.