The Socialist 24 August 2001
Fighting For Decent Pay And Union Rights
Unite And Fight Racism
'REVELATIONS' THAT over 1,000 asylum seekers are detained in prison provoked criticism from the UN, which labelled the practice as "shameful". The latest figures set imprisonment at 1,142 with another 688 in reception and detention centres.
Until now it seems that the UN have turned a blind eye to New Labour's brutal policies towards those legally seeking refuge from torture, death threats and assassination attempts from repressive regimes .
Asylum seekers that aren't imprisoned are routinely displaced from family and friends as part of the 'redistribution programme' and housed elsewhere in the country in B&B accommodation or in run-down tower blocks on estates already hit with poverty, crime and unemployment.
Labour and the Tories alike try to blame refugees and asylum seekers for the chronic lack of affordable housing, real jobs and public services.
Yet areas like Sighthill, Glasgow where 22-year-old Firsat Yildiz was recently killed in a racist murder, had these problems long before asylum seekers arrived. Glasgow city council dumped most of its quota of asylum seekers into Sighthill flats which had lain unused for years because of their run-down state. The council is making money by housing asylum seekers in intolerable conditions with little or no support or protection.
In Liverpool around 600 are housed in tower blocks abandoned ten years ago as unfit for human habitation. The residents have since demonstrated against their living conditions and ten are on hunger strike against Landmark, the company responsible.
It's New Labour's cuts to the funding of the public sector and privatisation of council services and homes, transport, education facilities, hospitals etc that are causing the problems, not asylum seekers.
Labour and the mass media's hysteria about asylum seekers has given confidence to the far right. With Labour's anti-working class policies and cutbacks on one side and the fascists marching through our towns and cities spreading racism and homophobia on the other, it's time to organise and fight back.
The fascists have no answers to the miserable conditions of working-class people under capitalism; they use violence and racism to divide us.
We have to unite and oppose them wherever they are spreading their poison; we say: "no platform for Nazis!"
There's enough wealth in Britain to provide decent services and a living wage that means people don't have to struggle for survival. But that wealth is in the hands of a small elite.
A united struggle of all workers, black and white, could take over that wealth and redistribute it in a socialist plan of production to eliminate want, poverty and end racism once and for all.
Messages of support for the Landmark hunger strike to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fax:0151 726 9515.
Phone 07801 554 918.
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