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Anarchists intervene in National Day of Action to Defend Asylum Rights

Ricardo Malatesta | 24.05.2007 16:11 | Anti-racism | Migration | Birmingham

Anarchists in Coventry supported a demo.and march to the Midlands Enforcement Unit in Solihull on 19th May.

A demonstration in Coventry city centre was called by Coventry Refugee Centre, Student Action for Refugees and Coventry Peace House. There was a stall in Coventry city centre as people gathered round with placards, and an interview with the local paper. The Boys in Blue turned up to ensure our 'safety', a march organiser told me that they had contacted her after seeing it advertised on brum a warm hello to all our regular readers, lol!

We then marched around the city centre and to Solihull where we had a demo outside the Midland Enforcement Unit. 150 people in Coventry had written protest letters to be handed into the unit on Monday, to end up with the Immigration Minister.

We went along having written a leaflet which gives a libertarian socialist take on these issues. The text of which is below:

Asylum and Immigration . . . Don’t Believe the Hype!

Politicians, media barons and far right extremists – this motley crew would prefer you to believe that without border controls the rest of the world would move to Britain, to rip off tax payers. They’d rather you blame vulnerable sections of the working class for societies ills, in order to divert attention from the real causes of inequality and injustice: Big Business and the State. This leaflet is written by local anarchists and doesn’t represent the views of everyone campaigning to defend asylum seekers. Read the Anarchist Alternative over the page.

Myth: We’re being flooded with asylum seekers
- Britain is the world’s fourth largest economy, but was 18th out of 50 industrialised countries for asylum applications per head of population. Asylum seekers represent 0.5% of UK population.

Myth: Asylum seekers are here for benefit fraud
- In 2003 0.5% of benefit claimants were asylum seekers. If destitute, they can receive 70% income support, or £39.34 a week. About 10p per person per week supports asylum seekers in the UK.

Myth: Asylum seekers get the best housing
Asylum seekers have to stay in private rented accommodation while their applications are being processed. Sometimes they are put in council housing which is waiting to be demolished or in a hard to let area, without being given assured tenancies. 100s of thousands of properties are kept deliberately empty by speculators and landlords, to keep rent and house prices artificially high; the madness of the profit system. In the short term we need campaigns led by public service workers, local communities and homeless people in a struggle for more resources. We must not let racism divide us, we are strong when united.

Myth: They are taking our jobs
Asylum seekers - crazily most are not allowed to work whilst they are awaiting decisions on whether they can stay. Economic Migrants- The Home Secretary recently admitted they pay £2.5bn more in tax each year than they take out in services. Illegal immigrants would pay £3 billion tax if legalised. Europe actually needs immigrant labour due to the ageing workforce. To prevent Bosses using immigrants to undercut wages and conditions we need to unionise them in a campaign for decent pay for all. The International Workers of the World union ( and the Solidarity Federation ( support this.

Myth: We’re a soft touch
-The Asylum and Immigration Act 2004 criminalises those who arrive without the proper documents with up to two years in prison (about 11,000 people in detention). For many, a false document is the only means of escape (3 out of 4 from war or conflict zones), as governments often refuse to issue passports to known dissidents or imprison them if they apply. Legal Aid has been cut in Britain effecting asylum seekers.

The Anarchist Alternative … Wot Anarchists Fink!

We don’t put faith in politicians to change things but put pressure on the system by organising and using direct action. We support asylum seekers through campaigns to close detention centres, disrupting flights to stop deportations, socials for refugees and family support campaigns. We oppose nationalism and militarism. We promote international friendship and support with working and poor people in other countries (at a grass roots level), as we believe we have more in common with them than power elites in our own country – whose competition with the ruling elites of other states results in working class people being sacrificed by fighting in their wars for prestige, power and wealth eg oil.

In the long term we want to change to a society that would be democratically run and controlled by ordinary people. Committees of workers and consumers / service users / residents (made up of delegates who are asked to implement the decisions of their workplaces and neighbourhoods, and are subject to immediate recall) would network together and draw up rational plans of production and arrangements for public life.

Society would no longer be run by money grabbers, un-elected bureaucrats, war mongers or politicians whose system creates profits for a privileged minority, by lining their pockets at our expense and the world’s poor. This would end the need for people to move home in order to escape poverty and chaos. Anarchists defend people’s right to move away from danger and live where they want. We’d like a world without borders, wars, inequality or immigration controls; instead a freely organised people.
Contact us on this or other issues:
Anarchists in Coventry and Warwickshire: / tel. 07807 386276
Birmingham/Solihull: /

Ricardo Malatesta