IRR News (25 October – 8 November)
Institute of Race Relations weekly digest - Against Racism, for Social Justice
Dear IRR News subscriber,
Testimonies to the London hearing of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal, held at Friends House on 3 and 4 November, revealed the workings of the hostile environment – in health and education, in policing and detention – and some of the inspiring acts of resistance and solidarity they have evoked. But they also described the struggles against exploitation and rightlessness at work in the global north, where migrants treated as no more than units of labour perform the hard, heavy and exhausting work – in warehouses, agriculture, hospitality, care and domestic work – that cannot be outsourced to the global south, often in conditions akin to modern slavery. We await the final verdict of the Tribunal, which together with the evidence, will be posted on the website of the PPT London hearing.
Some of the most inspiring testimony of solidarity and collective self-empowerment at the Tribunal came from migrant women. Continuities of migrant women’s struggles are also at the forefront in the discussion between the IRR’s Sophia Siddiqui and Amrit Wilson, whose seminal 1978 book Finding a Voice: struggles of South Asian women, the first text to document Asian women’s resistance to gendered racism, has just been republished. The discussion ranged over the connections between past and present struggles, the need for unity across communities and Amrit’s work in the ending Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) movement. Read the interview in full here, and read Sophia’s gal-dem article that explores how often-overlooked episodes of resistance give a historical backdrop to activism today. In Wilson’s words, ‘if we remember our rich collective past, we will find ourselves stronger in battles ahead’.
As our regular calendar of racism and resistance shows, the defence of the Stansted 15, charged with endangering airport security for stopping a deportation charter flight, opened at Chelmsford crown court this week. We wish the defendants well, as we hear from the fiancée of another person charged with a crime of solidarity. Meena Masood of #FreeHumanitarians urges solidarity with Seán Binder, and his colleagues Sarah Mardini and Athanasios Karakitsos, all arrested in Greece in August and detained on charges of espionage, assisting illegal entry and membership of a criminal organisation.
IRR News Team