First it was stop the boats, then the strikes and now Gary Lineker. The real problem is the Tories


“Whether its public sector workers, refugees or protesters, we stand for unity and solidarity against this brutal government. The rounding on Gary Lineker shows that dissent, opinion and freedom of speech are under attack from their agenda.”

By Myriam Kane, Black Liberation Alliance 

This past week has seen the already incendiary debate on immigration reach a new low, with yet another immigration bill claiming to solve the ‘small boat crisis’ whilst riding roughshod over refugee, migrant and human rights. 

Rishi Sunak has made ‘stopping the boats crossing the channel’ one of his top 5 priorities. However, polling shows consistently that the biggest concerns of the general public according to the Office of National Statistics, are the cost of living (93%) the NHS (84%) economy (74%), Climate Change and the Environment (61%). Sunak made the political choice to throw the existential threat of climate change under the bus, in favour of creating a hostile environment on small boats, because he needs distraction to divert attention from the catalogue of failure, scandal and self-serving that 13 years of Tory governments have come to embody.  

Whenever we hear a politician say ‘stop the boats’, let’s remember that it was waves of migrants, on boats like the Windrush, that built the public services like the NHS, the Transport system and so many other services this country is so proud of. It is ironic that Suella Braverman, Rishi Sunak and Priti Patel all come from families that will have stepped off a plane or a boat at some point to be here. Yet they are the successors of a shameful political system that rounds on refugees and enacts brutal deportations. 

That is why the Black Liberation Alliance will be joining the #ResistRacism UN Anti-Racism Day Demonstration as a demo bloc on Saturday 18th March.

The Black Liberation Alliance did not celebrate when Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister. We are a group of young people and students which stands for the unity of African, Asian, Arab, Caribbean and other Black & Indigenous communities. We draw links between the struggles against racism, imperialism, war and climate change. We understand that our communities bear the brunt of these crises both here and across the world. The appointment of Sunak, Kwateng, Patel, Badenock or Braverman to some of the most powerful positions in the country didn’t represent a step forward for our communities. Their agenda is successively worse for us than their Tory predecessors of the last 12 years. It should be a badge of shame that hate crimes have increased in the last recorded year, with racially motivated hate crimes making up the largest proportion.

We are witnessing an emboldened police force, with Child Q and other Black children being strip searched and Chris Kaba was shot dead by the police in the last year. What this shows is that in tandem with hostility to migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, the hostile environment always hits Black communities. This is clear from recent legislation: The Nationality and Border Act contains a law that allows dual nationals to be stripped of their citizenship.  This could easily lead to another windrush scandal.  

Whilst Black communities are impacted, these proposed laws are also widening their targets. The Public Order Bill in Parliament this week will increase stop and search police powers already blighting black communities, to protesters.  It is no coincidence that the Tories are simultaneously proposing a Strikers Bill to target public sector workers on the right to strike.  The Tories want to decimate the public sector in favour of privatisation. They are passing these laws because movements like BLM and the trade unions are effective. We are clear that we must oppose these proposals because if passed, they will mount even more attacks on the rights of workers and protesters.

And this is why the strikes are so important. At a time of spiraling costs and economic turbulence, half a million workers went on strike this February, the biggest strike action in decades. Supporting the strikes is defending Black communities because the cost of living crisis disproportionately impacts on us.   This is where our communities are more likely to work and we are more likely to use the services of the public sector. Studies in the US show that unionisation raised the living standards of the African American community. And that this effect was reversed when Trump attacked unions. This is why we must unite to oppose Trumpists in our government when they do the same here. 

Whether its public sector workers, refugees or protesters, we stand for unity and solidarity against this brutal government. The rounding on Gary Lineker shows that dissent, opinion and freedom of speech are under attack from their agenda. All those that stand for a better world must unite and we must win, if we are to ensure a future in which people and planet come first over profit.

We should take hope from younger generations who already have an affinity with the concept of striking. Youth strikers the world over walk out of education to stand up for the environment. Black Liberation Alliance is clear that the struggles to oppose racism, cuts and climate breakdown are interlinked and all need solidarity. This is why we are calling for solidarity at the picket lines, in support of striking teachers and lecturers,  and for support for union actions when unions mass mobilise.

Finally, we call on everyone to reject the racist politics of mass distraction and division by joining the #ResistRacism Demonstration this Saturday 18 March.

Featured image: Stand Up To Racism March in London 17/03/2018. Photo credit: Tim Dennell under Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0).

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