Anti‑Deportation activity in Manchester

Ian Parker reports from Saturday’s demonstration.

 

Saturday 17 June saw a concerted effort by Red Roots Collective, a group of Iranian socialists in Manchester, to bring together a range of left and solidarity and support organisations for asylum-seekers and refugees to protest. The Manchester Anti-Deportation campaign now brings together an impressive range of organisations, but we need more, and now the task is to bring in ordinary members and members of different communities in Manchester, reaching out beyond the layer of activists that usually attend demonstrations of this kind.

Anti-Deportation activity in Manchester

Rally and march and rally

At the rally before the march there were speakers from Patients not Passports * and an intervention from a Greek comrade who spoke as follows:

“I am sure that many of you have already seen and read what happened in Greece and specifically in Pilos off the Greek coast, where a fishing boat with refugees drowned and 78 people lost their lives while more than 500 are missing. This is not the first time that people lose their lives while trying to cross the dead borders of Europe, while the Mediterranean Sea is constantly announced as one of the deadliest borders.

Only between January and March 2023, 441 migrants were found dead. In 2022, it was estimated that 2,062 migrants died while crossings the Mediterranean Sea. Since 2014 when the International Organization for Migration launched its missing migrant project, it is estimated that 27,000 people recorded as dead or disappeared while trying to cross the Mediterranean, a crossing that is very dangerous, far from safe, can take several days and it takes place in overloaded boats. 

And remember that given many sinkings are never recorded, the number is believed to be far higher. 

What happened in Pilos is not an accident; it is a crime! 

Yesterday, the survivors of Pylos revealed that the Greek coast guard tied up their boat, towed it, and then sank! 

EU and the Greek government can pretend to be shocked by this last incident. The Greek government has called for three days of national mourning. How pretentious this is a week before our national elections?! 

We know that this is the outcome of their deadly policies. 

EU policies reiterate the dangerous crossing from Turkey to Greece and other Italian costs. 

I say enough is enough. We need to demand: 

Open the Borders 

Safe passage for refugees 

Close the detention centers, hot spots, and camps in the deadly EU zones. 

Rights, Asylum, and Proper Accommodation for Everyone. 

Say it loud and say it here, refugees are welcome here!” 

The march started at All Saints on Oxford Road and made its way to Piccadilly Gardens (avoiding along the way a demonstration by Iranian Monarchists who were making their way down Oxford Road from the Central Library). The march was not large, and we have been told by comrades that many refugees and asylum-seekers in a vulnerable position do not find such demonstrations to be a safe space, not the best place for them to appear publicly.

Anti-Deportation activity in Manchester
Anti-Deportation activity in Manchester

Statement

A statement was prepared by Red Roots Collective comrades and, in consultation with other groups in the Anti-Deportation Committee in Manchester, a joint statement was agreed and read out at the demonstration on Saturday that we now urge other groups involved to reproduce. Here it is:

“Join the Anti-Deportation Campaign!

Collective Statement of Organizations that are Supporting Anti-Deportation Campaign

Our earth is in great danger because of imperialist interventions, wars, coups, colonial projects and climate change. Some places are becoming uninhabitable. People cannot live under civil war, famine, and with no water. And it is self-evident for us, that those people who leave their homelands, desperately, in search for a place to live, have absolutely done nothing wrong to be blamed. It is the deadly fault of our governments.

The UK government is trying to conceal its crises, saying that it is not them but the immigrants and asylum seekers that are creating economic crisis. They say that flow of immigrants into Britain is destroying, what they call, “the Nation”. They are still trying to sell their myth that our country is the country of white, non-immigrant people. [And only this nation knows how to work and how to live and immigrants are corrupting the country, because they don’t know how to work and live.]

We don’t buy this non-sense! Our country has always been a multi-ethnic country! The wealth of our society has been created by all communities! Including Irish, Europeans, Africans, Caribbeans, Asians, and many others. Our working class is a multi-ethnic, vibrant working class. In spite of the picture painted by the politicians and media, UK government is under no pressure from asylum seekers and refugees. In comparison with other European countries, like Germany and Italy, the number of applications that UK has received is insignificant . UK is one of the wealthiest societies in the world. Not only refugees and asylum seekers, but all of us, who are suffering from cost-of-living crisis can live in better conditions. However, the owners of capital, are interested in their own profit-making projects at the expense of peoples’ dreams for a decent, normal life.

Blaming the immigrants and asylum seekers is another form of divide and rule that the racist government is using against us. The government tries hard to restrict the rights of immigrants and refugees to stay and work. These efforts include the Rwanda deportation plan, inhumane treatment of asylum seekers in detention centres, and cruel Illegal Migration Bill. They are trying to create an arbitrary rift amongst us! Between all of us who are angry about the cost-of-living crisis and searching for a solution, and those who are under the most inhumane pressures from the racist home office, struggling for basic human conditions of life: food, shelter, right to work, free access to healthcare and public transport.

Enough is Enough! We are not gullible creatures that can be divided and ruled! We fight for all the working class! Let us be the voice of the voiceless people, the asylum seekers, all the economically downtrodden. Let us build our communities and neighbourhoods from below and, through solidarity and care, defend ourselves against the vicious attacks of the government on our everyday life. Let’s support immigrant communities and strengthen our society. It is us who work and create the wealth of our society. So, in the future, it is us who should control it.

Solidarity.”

Get involved: antideportationcommittee@gmail.com


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Ian Parker is a Manchester-based psychoanalyst and a member of Anti*Capitalist Resistance.

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