I attended the AGM of the LCFM over the weekend, here are my notes.

To be honest I got their late and missed the first two plenary speakers, but got there in time to hear,  Marena Zukowska, of POMOC, who spoke about the problems of motivating [Polish] migrants to get active in politics; they had found that local elections were important means of engaging Polish people allowing them to express their views. Before this could happen they engaged in community actions of solidarity which often became political, acting as an on-ramp for political activity. (It is clear to me that the hostile environment has made many immigrants fear that registration for the vote will lead to unwanted activity by the Home Office and ICE.)

A statement from Osime Brown’s mother was read out, from which I  learn that it’s clear that legal interventions work. This is something that was reinforced throughout the day and leads me to ask, “Has the Home Office become a scofflaw organisation?” Certainly, Patel’s engineering of the dismissal of her Permanent Secretary will not have helped the department ‘speak [legal] truth to power’.

Border Force have been instructed to tow boats back to France, this is called push back and Home Office workers object to this as its inhumane and contrary to international law. Their Union, PCS, objected and the HO investigated if asking the Navy to do it would be feasible. The Navy also asked for legal justification. PCS is funding the legal case against the Home Office over the Rwnada deportations and NEC are under pressure to ballot members for industrial action[1] to refuse to work on Rwanda deportations.

PCS have an open borders policy, I asked for a copy for it. John summarised it as, ‘liberal, progressive and humane’.

Given the progressive response by PCS members working in the Home Office, John was asked about the ISU, which had split from the SCPS, led by Immigration Service staff in 1981 over the latter’s objection to the and call for repeal of the 1971 Immigration Act.  ISU have 3,666 members generating £463k, a monthly fee of £9.80, they only pay the accounts officer.

I attended a workshop on Ending detention centres. We heard testimony that they are inhumane and that atrocities occur. They quoted a Panorama programme, BBC Panorama – “Undercover: Britains Immigration Secrets” in 2017; the point was made that the detention centres are privatised so the costs go straight to Serco and G4S. While some demos and even blockades have minor successes, effective opposition is in the courts and we heard presentations from Duncan Lewis, a law firm, and from Care for Calais on the effectiveness of legal intervention on stopping deportations to Rwanda. This area of law is one of those that ‘ll be most impacted if the UK were to leave or significantly weaken the ECHR. I note that most of the recent ECHR rulings against the UK have been in the areas of the administration of Justice.

The final session was addressed by Ben Smoke, one of the Stansted 15, Ana O from the LCFM NC, and Nadia Whittome MP.  My highlights from this are,

  1. During the court pursuit of the Stansted 15, the CPS decided to prosecute them for Terrorism and yet the final court disposition .stated there was no case to answer. Given some of the CPS decisions, such as not to prosecute right wing politicians for electoral finance breaches, this seems to have been a particular case of bad judgment, a harbinger for some equally poor decisions taken by Jeremy Wright’s successors. This article at the defendants solicitors web site, linked article contains a quote from Raj Chada, their then Head of Criminal Defence,

“It should be a matter of great shame to the CPS and the Attorney General, that terror related legislation was used against peaceful protestors. Both have questions to answer as to why they authorised such an unprecedented charge.

Raj ChaDA
  1. Free movement is about the rights of people when they get here, in particular in the work place but also of course under the hostile environment in housing market, banking services and health services.
  2. The anti-raids network is an effective anti-racist anti deportation movement, Labour is no longer part of this.
  3. And from Nadia’s speech I am reminded that Govt’s need movements to keep them on the straight and narrow, when they’re awful they can oppose, and when they’re friendly they can ensure that countervailing pressures are in place so they are not blown of course.

It was an inspiring day.

The Campaign has a model motion for Labour Parties and Union branches.

No person is illegal!
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