Don’t let far-right divide us
The far-right’s attempt to burn down the Knowsley Hotel and terrorise the people seeking asylum who are living there is a shocking reminder to workers across the country that the far-right Britain First and Patriotic Alternative’s aim is to violently divide the working class and spread their hatred of minority communities.
This attack did not come out of nowhere – the Tory government’s incendiary language and hostile policies against the people who come here to claim asylum aim to divert blame for economic hardship and its attacks on workers towards those vulnerable people who have come here in search of sanctuary, hoping to rebuild their already devastated lives. At times of economic downfall, the ‘immigrant’ becomes the scapegoat for all that is wrong.
The government’s hostile rhetoric and brutal policies have emboldened the far-right to spread their racist, xenophobic and divisive politics. The far-right play into the fears of the poor and impoverished areas with their hatred and their far-right ideologies.
There has been a failure to address far-right hatred and the dangers posed by Islamophobia and racism towards vulnerable communities which has a clear link to anti-immigrant hostility and subsequently to the frenzied attack that took place in Knowsley – it only took speculation and rumour to light the spark for the mob reaction on Friday.
Knowsley is one of the poorest communities in this country, with people who feel the pain and deprivation that years of austerity and neglect have created – with cuts to essential services and rising costs. Rage should be addressed to this government, which ensures that the rich gain and the poor pay.
People seeking asylum are isolated and imprisoned in a system whether in a hotel, a detention camp or within the community as they are kept apart from local communities – with no right to work, no choice in where they live, no choice in accommodation – they are confined in an anti-immigration system. They cannot access the mainstream benefits system, receiving just £9.10 a week in a hotel or £45 in other accommodation such as a shared house.
People seeking asylum are alienated and powerless – they can be detained or deported at any time and live in a permanent state of fear. Deportation could mean being sent back to the country from where they fled or to a third country, such as Rwanda, with which this government hopes to achieve a deal.
Far-right propaganda propagates lies, not “facts” – such as all people claiming asylum get free mobile phones! Needless to say, this unimaginative lie, which has been propagated over many years, has not been publicly corrected by politicians as it serves to maintain their own dishonesty that “asylum seekers are on the make”.
Rishi Sunak says he will criminalise anyone who arrives in the UK in a small boat in an attempt to stop anyone seeking asylum across the Channel. There is no safe and legal route open to people who are so desperately in need, and no one would undergo such a dangerous journey, that leaves many traumatised and dozens drowned if there was another way. Safe routes must be opened to all who seek sanctuary here.
The unions, social movements and the left must confront the far right and build a defence for all those under attack. The same scenes are being witnessed across Ireland, France, Spain and Italy, which shows the far right is a product of capitalist decay.
We must build links and unite our struggles with all communities, especially those feeling the pain of the cost of living crisis, who are neglected and disenfranchised. A fundamental question for the trade unions is to call for an end to immigration controls – immigration controls aim to divert workers’ consciousness from the real source of injustice, that is, capitalism that is exploiting and oppressing us.
Defend immigrants, and unite our communities!
We are all working class!
End all immigration controls!