Sunday, August 11, 2013

'Go Home' Racist Van Meeting in New Cross

On July 22nd 2013, the Home Office sent its infamous 'Go Home or Face Arrest' vans out on the streets in parts of London, targeting undocumented migrants. The next day, a shopkeeper in Peckham (Sally from Persepolis) tweeted that a racist had shouted that she 'f*** off back home'

There's no surprize in this sequence of events, variations on 'Go Home' have been racist slogans par excellence for many years - used by the National Front in the 1970s among many others. And when the Government is legitimising the use of the phrase, it's hardly surprizing if racists on the streets feel emboldened to use it too. I'm sure Sally wasn't the only person to hear it in the past couple of weeks. No doubt many pointed out the same irony as she did:  'As she's from Essex she was wondering if she should do it after the rush hour'. I don't think Sally is any kind of migrant as it happens, she just runs a shop that sells Iranian produce. But as for actual undocumented migrants, many of them have been here for years too and this is their home. Indeed some of them were even born here, since bizarrely children born in the UK and living here permanently do not automatically become British Citizens.

Still the 'racist van' fiasco has at least made people sit up and take notice of the dubious practises of the UK Border Agency, including targeting people using public transport (not a new phenomenon - see this report from Transpontine last year on Immigration Fishing Expeditions).

The Refugee and Migrant Forum of East London (RAMFEL), the Migrants Rights Network (MRN), and solicitors Bhatt Murphy and Deighton Pierce Glynn have joined forces to run a series of workshops across London to support migrant and refugee community organisations, activists and interested individuals to campaign against the ‘Go Home’ campaign and the summer of attacks on immigrants.

They say that these short two hour sessions will 'provide an update on what has happened; explain the rights of those targeted by immigration checks and stop and search;  explain what groups and individuals can do to campaign on a local and national level, (including how to lobby elected members and decision makers to make sure anti immigration activity is monitored in your local area); how to respond to the current various national consultations that will affect migrants'.

The South London workshop will take place on Tuesday 20th August 2013, 6 pm to 8 pm, in  Room 144, Richard Hoggett Building, Goldmsiths College, Lewisham Way, SE14 6NW.

For more information contact Lucy Mercer on 0208 478 4513, or Juan Camilo

No comments: