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(en) Britain, RESISTANCE BULLETIN #159 - Calais: A Call to Action

Date Fri, 12 Feb 2016 09:44:27 +0200

It seems as if something in the consciousness of our society has recently snapped. For well over a century the right wing press and the politicians have demonised migrants, labeling them as scroungers and criminals. They confidently repeated their views as the opinion of the majority. ---- This attitude, the kind behind articles that spoke of inconvenience to British holiday makers as the worst result of a refugee crisis, sat oddly next to other stories that were emerging. Stories of war torn cities in Syria, of boats crowded with desperate families, of millions in Turkish and Lebanese refugee camps, and most strikingly of those who had died on the shores trying to reach safety. ---- Hundreds of thousands of (mostly working class) people decided that not only was the old attitude bullshit, but that they were going to do something about it. What followed is
perhaps the largest humanitarian mobilisation to occur without the backing, or the need, of the major charities and nongovernment groups.

Activity sprung up across the UK as
working class people became intent
on showing their solidarity with
migrants stranded in Calais by the
government's border policy. They
raised funds, gathered clothes,
tents, and other essentials and
continue to make there way over
with vans of volunteers. Others
offered up rooms in their homes to
house migrants, donated money,
and came out in huge numbers on
'refugees welcome here' marches.
Further afield aid stations were
created on the edge of Europe, and
people gathered to welcome and
support those arriving by train and bus.

This has been an inspiring show of human empathy, that
has gone beyond old models of charity to a genuine show
of mutual aid and solidarity across borders. It isn't just
hand outs that are on offer, it is an honest attempt to
stand shoulder to shoulder with those forced from their
homes. Nowhere is this clearer than on the ground in
Calais itself where migrants organising marches against
their mistreatment were joined by visitors and locals

A real difference is being made, and can continue to be
made despite politician’s lies, the anti-migrant crackdown
by police across the continent, and the inevitable backlash
from dis-empowered racists on the far right. Solidarity is
the greatest weapon of the international working class,
and with it changes can be won for all of us, wherever
we are from

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