What are Charter Flights?
Charter Flights are unscheduled planes hired by the Government to deport large numbers of people at once. They have no regular passengers, only deportees and 'guards.' These modern-day slave ships are the most brutal part of the deportation industry. They fly every two months to Nigeria & Ghana, Pakistan, Jamaica and Afghanistan. Our friends, relatives, neighbours, fellow students and work colleagues are snatched, detained, then shackled and flown to countries many have not seen for decades, where they are dumped like cargo at an airport. Charter flights deport people who have built lives in the UK, been here most of their lives, have parents, partners and children here, students who have not finished their courses, people with serious health problems and others who are carers to elderly & disabled relatives.
This is an over-reaching, racist policy hitting individuals & families that never thought they had an 'immigration problem.' It creates more enemies for the Government, so it's vulnerable when our communities act to stop it.
Organising our communities to stop immigration raids and mass deportation
Our aim must be to stop the immigration raids that are stepped up in the run-up to each charter flight, sweeping up anyone they get to fill the plane, without papers or belongings. Stopping the raids is central to ending mass deportation. People in our communities, especially youth, have shown that they are ready to act; this has happened in Peckham, in Tower Hamlets, at East Street Market etc. Such action needs to be more widespread and that requires organisation and consciousness.
The first step is to replace a culture of silence about 'immigration problems' with a culture of openness, defiance and preparation. The authorities want people to feel defensive, guilty or ashamed about immigration problems; it's another form of divide-and-rule by those who really are guilty but feel no shame - the politicians responsible for scapegoating & criminalising immigrants. If your immigration status is insecure and you are at risk of detention & deportation, discuss it with your friends & family, work colleagues, fellow students, neighbours etc, so that they are prepared and ready to support you and each other.
That is the basis for collective means of struggle in & by our communities: mass action against raids, school & college walk-outs, demonstrations etc.
The Movement for Justice is building a movement of action rooted in our communities, with wide support and with those at risk of deportation play a leading role. Organised mass community action is the only force that can stop raids, deportations, charter flights, and turn the tables on the oppressive Home Office. Without the power of a movement, lawyers, MPs etc. (however supportive) face a losing battle.
To build that movement we must go beyond our immediate local, ethnic or religious communities. We must stand united as black, Asian, East European, Latin American etc., whatever our gender, sexuality or religion. That will not happen spontaneously; it demands organisation, consciousness and leadership, and that is the essential role of the Movement for Justice. Join us to build a movement to change the direction of British society.
Organising internationally - Stopping the collusion with Britain's racist policies
Our multiracial, multinational communities have close ties to the countries many of us and our families come from - it's a legacy of British imperialism. Many families depend financially on money sent from relatives in Britain, or on business links with our communities. Politicians from Jamaica, Nigeria etc. are frequent visitors to Britain and promote relations with the diaspora communities here.
By mobilising our connections we can build an international movement against the charter flights. We want to break the collusion with those mass deportations by governments in former colonies. That opportunity is greater now as the international situation has strained the relations between the governments of Britain and the former colonies - we share a cause with oppressed peoples around the world and we must act on that. Theresa May's government policies attack ALL our communities: here, with more poverty for working class & struggling middle class people of all races, and around the world by the super-exploitation of poorer countries, slashing student visas which harms the next generation's education, and cuts to aid by the UK and other imperialist powers. It's a policy to 'cut loose' poor communities in Britain, and poor countries around the world, which are only 'of use' to them where there is profit for giant corporations or some military advantage.
International student numbers from poorer nations have been drastically cut, and thousands are sent back without being able to complete their courses, penniless and without a qualification to show for it. This is part of the 'cutting loose' of poor countries. It's this same policy that threatens many poorer universities here with closure, denying black, Asian, immigrant and working class youth access to higher education, as part of May's attack on public education.
Britain is betraying its former colonies and our communities. Anger and protests are growing in those countries against the UK government using them for its racist deportation plan. Join Movement for Justice and be part of our joint actions - starting in Lagos and London - to stop mass deportation charter flights. Help get this talked about in the community press, in your school, college, church or mosque - everywhere we can spread the mobilisation to tell Nigeria, Ghana, Jamaica and Pakistan to say 'NO', to stop co-operating with British deportations. Only a growing mass movement can make the change.
The challenge we face
Britain's black, Asian, Muslim & immigrant communities saw the Brexit campaign for what it is: a racist campaign that threatens immigrants and everyone in our communities, regardless of citizenship or birthplace. Many of those who could vote in the Referendum saw a Remain vote as a way to protest against this racism. 73% of black voters, 67% of Asian voters & 70% of Muslim voters opposed Brexit. The most integrated areas had the biggest anti-Brexit votes: Lambeth 78.6%, Southwark 72.8% etc. 73% of voters under 24 - the most multiracial generation, opposed Brexit.
The impact of Brexit demonstrates its racist character: a 41% increase in racist, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim attacks; growing influence of far-right politicians like Farage, Trump and their allies across Europe and a more 'hard-line' racist Government under Theresa May, that is increasing the attacks on our communities with more anti-immigrant policies and a drive for more and faster deportations.
The Brexit swing towards a more racist, xenophobic Britain can be defeated if we mobilise our communities in action. The leading role falls to those who best understand the racist threat of Brexit and have the most to lose and the most to win: the black, Asian, Muslim and immigrant communities and the youth. If we lead in action we can we change the direction of British politics and lift others out of the despair of Brexit.
That is why the Movement for Justice has organised two Weeks of Action this month to launch a community fight against the Government policy of mass deportations by 'charter flights' that target some of Britain's largest black and Asian communities. We will be marching through Brixton & Peckham, mobilising the Nigerian, Jamaican and other diaspora communities and taking the fight to the embassies to demand that the Jamaican and Nigerian governments stop colluding with Britain's racist mass deportations. Ending that policy and the immigration raids that are part of it will be a huge defeat for a May's racist strategy.
Join us on the weeks of action events! If you want to build this movement contact us, organise a student or community meeting with a Movement for Justice speaker, get involved!