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(en) Anarchist Federation bulletin - Resistance 84 - May 2006

Date Sat, 06 May 2006 09:04:46 +0300


ASYLUM NO CRIME
ANARCHISTS AIM FOR a world where people can live where they want.
Yet the media tells us that asylum seekers are here to make money or
harm the “British people”. As we write this issue of Resistance, St
George’s day is almost upon us. This time is often taken by the right
to push for a ‘whites only’ England. Racism experienced in the UK
fuels hatred of asylum seekers. It allows the Government to maintain
its cruel treatment of individuals and families.
A Rwandan woman was taken to Uganda after her parents were
slaughtered in the genocide of 1994. As supporters of an opposition
party, her husband and brother were killed. She was detained, and
was repeatedly gang-raped by government soldiers. In the UK she
was detained and went on hunger strike. She has been refused leave
to stay.

Innocent is a 35 year old university graduate who fled homophobic
and political persecution in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
(DRC). He has suffered terribly in Congolese prisons for refusing to
kill. He has been refused leave to stay.

A Congolese man suffered imprisonment and torture over a 21
month period for supporting the opposition. He escaped to the UK.
Whilst here his wife has vanished and his daughter died. The UK
Government want to deport him to Congo.

A Roma mother and daughter from Kosova face persecution and
abuse if forced to return. The daughter is disabled. Her father and
brother ‘disappeared’ after threats . If they return they will
be at risk of rape and beatings. The UK wants to return them.

Lisa, partner of an asylum seeker wrote this most recently.
“…I only learnt how evil the Home Office can be when they
sent my partner a letter asking if he would return home and make
arrangements after he had been refused Family Amnesty. It was a
shock in which I lost our unborn child in November 2005. ...Soon
after, in February 2006, our family home was surrounded by police
at 8am on morning, witnessed by our children ... This is when I
learnt that I had made the worst mistake ever and in fact should
never have trusted the Home Office the way I once did. “

These personal stories are only a glimpse of the suffering
experienced. There is no space here to give the full picture of these
peoples’ experiences and of the thousands of others.


Tags: an insult to humanity

NEW ASYLUM SEEKERS to the UK will be forced to wear tags.
Having thought to have escaped from torture, abuse, rape, war or
imprisonment, asylum seekers are tagged. Many arrive in poor
health and have their condition exacerbated by the tag, both
psychologically and physically. Only children and those with
documentation proving they have been tortured are exempt. The
unit worn by asylum seekers weighs about 12 ounces, and locates
the precise whereabouts of the wearer every few seconds by fixing
on signals received from satellites.

Section 36 of the Immigration and Asylum (Treatment of
Claimants) Act of 2004 allows for the electronic monitoring of those
liable to detention under the Immigration Acts. This includes asylum
seekers, illegal entrants, those found working in breach of their
conditions of stay, those who have overstayed, people subject to
further examination at a port of entry, and those refused leave to
enter. (Home Office)


Housing

ASYLUM SEEKERS ARE placed in housing by NASS who take out
contracts with housing providers. These providers have a duty to
ensure basic care of those in their homes. Basics should include
regular visits, assistance in registering with doctors and schools and
provision of bedding, pots, pans and seating.

Recently housing providers including Clearsprings lost their
contract with NASS on the grounds of costs. Clearsprings provided
some of the better quality houses nationally. The full effects of this
are not known but currently we expect most families in their housing
to be moved. Letters sent to families contained leaflets on
repatriation. How to make a bad situation even worse! Campaigning
by a local school in Oldham was able to protect two families from
being moved but it is anticipated all others will be forced into poorer
housing in the near future. This places them at greater risk from
racist abuse. How do the NASS sleep at night?


Public Sector Workers Strikes
unions sell out, again...

In March over a million workers took strike action over proposed
cuts in their pay. This was the biggest show of industrial action in
years. Encouraged by their show of strength, they got ready for
further strikes at the end of April. Their plans were dealt a cruel
blow, not by the employers but by the unions.
The unions backed down and called off the strikes on the strength
of a government statement,
”…. calling on both sides to begin talks, to start now on a
nothing rule in nothing ruled out basis”.
In other words, the offered absolutely nothing.
However, Unison have promised that
… “all participants are firmly committed to change in pension
provision, now and in the future, being made by agreement as far as
possible”
To put it another way, they will negotiate away their members’
pensions, as long as they and the bosses agree how to do it. In
exchange for these negotiations, they are willing to see the abolition
of the protection of pension rights.
So it remains for Public Sector Workers themselves to continue the
struggle to maintain the right to retire while they are fit enough to
enjoy it and on a living pension.
Once again the union bosses have shown themselves to be the
willing middle men between the bosses and the workers, happy to
negotiate away workers conditions in favour of a bit of industrial
peace.

Teachers strike against pay cuts
Meanwhile, another group of public sector workers are experiencing
government imposed pay cuts. Many teachers have found their
wages under threat as the government has forced a wide-ranging
salary review. Faced with concerted threats of action, most head
teachers have found ways to maintain pay. In a smaller number,
teachers have been faced with cuts ranging from hundreds to
thousands of pounds a year. Education workers are split into many
unions. Two out of three teachers’ unions have agreed to the
cuts! However, the National Union of Teachers (NUT) has held
ballots and then a series of local, one-day strikes with pay. So far
around 20 schools have taken action. Some have settled while
others are still in dispute. The offer of strike pay has strengthened
the resolve of those involved and has led to some members of the
other unions to join the NUT. Members of the Anarchist Federation
are involved in these strikes. We do so with no illusions that the
NUT will drop things if its own financial position is threatened or
teachers become too independent. We urgently want to meet and
discuss with other education workers. We want to build a network
of militants irrespective of union or job within education; a network
that can spread the understanding that we all need to stand together
in the face of attacks on our wages and pensions by the employers.
Contact: educationafed.org.uk


WAYS TO DEFEAT ID

LIKE THE TORIES poll tax, ID cards are Labour's own version of a
'tax on being alive'. We can scupper ID cards as soon as they try and
force us to register, but only if we start preparing now. Once the
scheme is in place it will be harder, although certainly not
impossible, to beat it. We cannot allow the state to get away with
becoming more authoritarian than it already is.


Get involved

One way to fight the national identity scheme is to get involved
with a local anti-ID group (or set one up) and help get the message
out by producing and distributing information against ID in
community & social centres, libraries, health centres and
door-to-door. There is still a lot to do to explain the basic facts of the
scheme, as well as its likely effects, and to work out effective forms
of direct action.


Get informed

ID will affect different groups in society in many different ways.
Applications to the Student Loans Company will be linked to ID, so
they can keep tabs on any address changes, and university students
may even need to have an ID card to get a loan. The Connexions
Card scheme for 13-19 years olds also gethers information on other
school leavers and students. There are likely be big changes in
levels of police harassment for minority groups, and ID records could
easily be used to control access to benefits or healthcare.


Get the inside information

Those in work can try and find out about any ID-related
developments there. Anti-ID groups will be pleased to hear from any
council workers or anyone else who can help the campaign find out
when ID data collection starts to happen locally, especially in areas
that may be chosen as a trial area for ID registration.

Councils also hate local people turning up in their cosy council
offices to protest, especially when they would rather maintain the
illusion that they are victims of a scheme instead of an integral part
of it. Workers in companies implementing the scheme, like
Experian, may know details about how their employer is planning to
operate their part of it.

Get your passport

Personal information from passport applications will be used to
build the National Identity Register from 2008-9 although you can
'opt out' of having an actual card until 2010.

Some data collection has already started, taking face dimensions
from passport photos. Later on, applicants will have to attend in
person to get fingerprints or eyes scanned (69 Identity & Passport
Service centres will be set-up around the country from October 2006
for in-person applications). So, for anyone who needs a new
passport, it would be a good idea to get one now before the new
systems are up and running properly, making sure the photo is not
too clear so it is harder for the Passport Office to extract facial data.

One Post Office service for the newer photo ID driving licence has
your photo pre-checked so you can see what you can get away with
(postage is also included which can work out cheaper than paying for
this separately) - this may also be the case for passports.

There must be lots of individual ways to confound the ID scheme
and these can be shared in anti-ID groups, and even better, by telling
friends and neighbours. This will help build a mass refusal
campaign, because a scheme like this won't be prevented by small
numbers of individuals helping themselves.

Get angry

Remember that local politicians of whatever colour cannot be
trusted. Under the Tories, Labour council leaders enthusiastically
issued poll tax demands and court orders, sent in the bailiffs and
condemned local and national demonstrations as mindless riots. But
as local people, we supported each other, we defied the courts and
saw off bailiffs. We were angry and we fought back. Many of us
disappeared off the registers for good. There may be a local MP
against ID in some areas, but lobbying has been shown to be
useless. We know that governments do not listen and that ID will be
beaten on the streets or not at all.

Get Involved

There many groups around Britain opposing ID. Some of the local
groups the AF is involved with are in Liverpool, Manchester,
Nottingham and Reading. For more info see:
http:/www.defy-id.org.uk/localgroups.htm.

See also: Defending Anonymity pamphlet, second edition:
http://www.libcom.org/hosted/af/ace/anon.html or
http://flag.blackened.net/af/ace/anon.html

Big Oyster’s Watching You

Meanwhile… Do you realise that if you register your Oyster Card
to travel round London, that every journey you make can be tracked
in its smallest detail. Now there are plans to turn it into a general
shopping card for small items. Not only will your journeys be
known, so will everything you buy on the day and where.

Rossport Solidarity Camp

Rossport Solidarity Camp was re-opened on the 25th of February.

The camp is part of a community based struggle against
Shell’s plans to devastate a remote coastal area in the West of
Ireland.

The camp is now bigger and better than it has ever been before.

The Rossport Five, five residents jailed last year for refusing to
obey court orders preventing them from protesting the development,
went free from the High Court, without further imprisonment, on
the 7th of

April. One of them, Willie Corduff, attributed this to “people
power”. Costs were awarded in favour of Shell, though the
feeling is it is unlikely they will get

away with trying to claim them.

In April we were visited by Rhythms of Resistance, a London
based samba band, we have also had contingents over from Earth
First!, from Nine Ladies anti-quarry

protest site, and from the Saving Iceland campaign.

On Good Friday, April 14th, there was a march through Rossport,
along the proposed route of the gas pipeline, to commemorate the
Ogoni nine, opponents of

Shell who were executed in Nigeria.

Also in April Roadbridge, the main contractor for Shell, made a
number of unsuccessful attempts to enter the refinery construction
site at Ballinaboy. These attempts were brought to a halt by
picketers, and it

is believed Shell was testing the waters for an attempt to re-start
construction.

On the June Bank Holiday weekend, the 4th to the 6th , a
gathering will take place on the camp, this is to commemorate its
first anniversary. The gathering will

feature workshops, a tour of the area, music, and a forum on
privatisation. All are welcome.

For more information see:

http://www.shelltosea.com

http://www.indymedia.ie/mayo

http://www.struggle.ws/rsc


No Victory to the Daily Mail
National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns facing closure


THE NATIONAL COALITION of Anti-Deportation Campaigns
(NCADC) provides support 24 hours a day, seven days a week for
people seeking asylum.

It is the only national organisation that campaigns against
deportations and tries to help those at risk set up and run their own
campaigns to stay in Britain.

It has done this for the past ten years and has become the
backbone of support for all anti-deportation campaigns.

The NCADC charges nothing for its work. Now, faced with a
campaign of hate from the national press, it faces closure.


Hate mail

The Daily Mail spurred on this campaign. Angered by a
£340,000 Lottery Grant to the NCADC, the Mail started spreading
lies. It claimed the organisation supported criminals and terrorists.

It egged on its readers to contact the Community Fund (which
distributed the Lottery Funds).

The flood of distortion and the hate mail that followed persuaded
David Blunkett, who was then Home Secretary, to set up an inquiry
into Lottery funding. Now the NCADC has had its funding
removed.

Already a number of offices have closed. Others will follow and
the whole organisation is in danger of going under in May.

Closure will leave frightened, vulnerable people on their own trying
to fight the Home Office and immigration law. An asylum seeker
said : 'We need to campaign for NCADC to keep their doors open for
those who are suffering under the threat of deportation to where their
human rights were severely abused. The work they are doing needs
some money and this is very important because they can't achieve
their objectives and help refugees and asylum seekers without it.
They can't disappear because our lives depend on them’


Support NCADC

If the NCADC folds it will be another victory for the government in
its attempts to keep refugees out. It leaves the field open to racists
and little Englanders. The NCADC needs money urgently. Our
readers can help. Standing order and one-off donation forms can be
downloaded from: http://www.ncadc.org.uk/donations/donate.htm

While you are there, take a look around their website and see some
of the many campaigns NCADC is assisting. We cannot let the Daily
Mail win.


Support for anarchist asylum-seeker

Vahagn Orujyan is an Armenian member of the anarchist/libertarian
communist network ‘Autonomous Action’ operating across
countries of the former Soviet Union.
In November 2005 whilst protesting about a state referendum
right-wing vigilantes attacked him and his comrades. He fled the
country but has had to leave a wife and children behind.

He is seeking asylum on the grounds of his political convictions.
The date of

Vahagn’s next Asylum and Immigration Tribunal hearing is on
the 29th of June in Manchester.

Offers of support, which we will forward, to: solidarityaf-north.org


Earth First! Gathering announcement

This years Earth First Summer Gathering will be held in West Wales
16th-20th August.

“Exploring Alternatives to the corporate world of greed, lies and
exploitation”.

Email: efgathering@aktivix.org

Web: http://www.earthfirstgathering.org.uk

Write to: EF! 38 Wells Rd, Colchester

CO1 2YW

Phone 0845 223 5254


Leeds 6 May - City of Shame tour

Contact: info@leedsnoborders.org.uk

---

Anarchist Federation,

BM Anarfed, London,

WC1N 3XX

Email: info@afed.org.uk

Also visit: http://www.afed.org.uk and http://www.iaf-ifa.org

Subscriptions to resistance costs £4 from the address above for 12

issues. A two issue subscription to our magazine, Organise! for

revolutionary anarchism, is also £4.

You can subscribe to resistance by email for free, or

download current (and back issues) from
http://www.libcom.org/hosted/af/res/

or http://flag.blackened.net/af/res/
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