What We Have Been up to:
We have not been very good at keeping people up-to-date with our activities, but that does not mean we have not been doing them. Here is a brief rundown, in no particular order, of some of the fun things you might have missed out on:
A fundraiser for the Kurdish Red Crescent.
In conjunction with our friends at the Sussex Kurdish Association we put on a little food and party night at the Cowley club to raise cash for the displaced people of Kobane. Massive thanks to Moma Swift, Sam Berkson, Chris Parkinson, Bunty Looping and Fiddlesparks for performing. £140 was generously put up in solidarity with those struggling to build an autonomous region in northern Syria. Not only are the Kurds having to fight the Islamic State, they are also struggling to bring about an autonomously organised society. See this article for more info:
Do send more information about the situation to firstname.lastname@example.org. Unsurprisingly, the radical, anarchist side of the struggle in the Middle East is not much reported over here.
Most months we show a film highlighting some aspect of migration in the border regime. The most recent was the excellent, if devastating, ‘The Land Between’. This film by David Fedele documents the bottleneck and suffering created by the fence around Spain’s enclave in Morocco. Fortunately, the film is available to be viewed online here:
If you want to better understand the true meaning of “Fortress Europe”, brace yourself and watch it.
The situation in Calais is as dire as ever. There has been a concerted effort to move the stateless people trapped in Calais out of town. There has been a concerted effort to make their life difficult at the new site. The displaced people and their supporters continue to resist. Have a look at this website for more info:
Much the same could be said about the situation at the Spanish border with Morocco. The details have a look at this website:
We put on tasty vegan roasts, collected donations at our screenings and ran a jumble sale to raise cash to support the resistance. So far, about £300 has been split between the two groups.
Healthcare and Immigration
In a frightening attack on both migrants and on the principle of a healthcare system free at the point of access, the UK government massively expanded charging for NHS services by massively restricting the category of UK resident. To make things worse they have brought the UK border into the NHS. NHS staff will now be expected to check on immigration status and share their findings with the Home Office. These changes need all-out resistance if we are going to protect some of the most vulnerable people in the country, and if we are going to protect the principal that healthcare is a right that should be freely available to all according to their need and not according to their ability to pay.
Some of our members have been working with Docs Not Cops, Sussex Save the NHS, Brighton SolFed and Doctors of the World, to raise awareness of the scary, but poorly documented, changes and to start to organise resistance to them.
More info here:
Protest and Activism
Growing unrest among the captives of the detention estate was sparked into protest and hunger strikes by Corporate Watch’s, Stand-off Films’ and Channel 4’s investigations into this dark corner of the UK.
From Corporate Watch:
From Stand-off films
Harmondsworth Hunger Strike 9 March 2015 – vimeo.com/121766147
Response to the March Harmondsworth hunger strike. vimeo.com/121978747
From Harmondsworth IRC: the silence and noise around the hunger strike vimeo.com/122324903
From Channel 4:
We have not been as on it as we should have been with this one, but there have been some great actions – not least the hunger strikes by the detainees themselves. My personal favourite was the blockading of a transport of Afghani deportees. The protesters locked themselves onto the bus and bought valuable time to challenge successfully the legality of the deportation.
A few of us did go to the latest installment of Movement for Justice’s ‘surround Harmondsworth’ protest, www.facebook.com/movementforjustice. We had a lot of fun making noise and causing trouble.
The protests are making headway, as the campaign to close Campfield pointed out, all of the following has occurred in the space of a few weeks:
1. An all-party parliamentary inquiry published a report on The Use of Immigration Detention and recommended a 28 day time limit to detention, proper judicial oversight of individual decisions to detain people, less use of detention, and more use of non-punitive community based alternatives to detention (3 March)
2. The biggest-ever wave of protest by immigration detainees in the UK began and spread to 8 of 11 detention centres in the UK (9 March)
3. The government withdrew its application to double the size of Campsfield immigration detention centre near Oxford from 256 to 566 places. (12 March)
4. The Labour Party has said that in power it would end the indefinite detention of asylum seekers and migrants. (26 March)
5. The government has announced that it will close Haslar immigration detention centre near Portsmouth (26 March)
6. The government has announced that it intends not to detain more asylum seekers and migrants in future, the first time any government has made such a commitment. (26 March)
I sense a change a coming.
As well as protests against the detention estate, action in support of individuals continues on a case-by-case basis. We have raised some money towards people’s legal expenses and some of us have been taking action to support Apata Aderonke Adejumoke battle with the (not your) Home Office. More details here:
a petition in support of Aderonke with info about her campaign and case, causes.com
The situation in the Med is terrible. There is no possibility of a safe passage to Europe for people fleeing conflict in Africa or the Middle East. Unsurprisingly, many people from all over those regions choose to risk death at sea for the chance of a decent life. 3000 people have drowned in the last few weeks. The responsibility for their deaths lies squarely with the architects of fortress Europe. One of our members helped Amnesty arrange this action:
There will be more.
Brighton SolFed, Mayday Mayday
Everybody’s favourite anarchist trade union, celebrates the workers struggle
1st May, Mayday
2nd May, Syndicalism in Brighton, Cowley Club, 4-6 pm
3rd May, May the 1st, history and anarchism + a roast, Cowley Club, 1-6 pm
4th May, Demonstration and picnic, meet at the Old Steine, 12 noon.
People’s Assembly, Anti-Austerity Drama
Saturday, 2nd of May, 1-2.30 pm
The People’s Assembly will be performing at locations all over the centre of Brighton. They will be getting the message out that austerity is bad, privatising the NHS is bad, there is a housing crisis and it can all be different.
Sussex Defend the NHS Organising Meeting
Tuesday 12th May, 7 pm, the Brighthelm Centre
Help organise the resistance to the privatisation of the NHS.
Brighton Migrant Solidarity Monthly Film-Screening, The Med
Monday 25th May, 7-9pm
A film, possibly Il Mare di Mezzo, detailing the horrors inflicted on you by our immigration policies if you need to enter Europe across the Med without papers.
Sussex Defend the NHS open forum, the NHS and 3rd sector.
Thursday 28th May, the time and place to be confirmed
An open forum to discuss and understand more about the situation with the NHS and the not-for-profit sector.
Confused? Questions? Suggestions? Want to join us?