On the heels of the deportation of Hassanat Aliyu and her three children, who were taken from their home in the early hours on 6th March, the Border Agency continues its targeting of immigrants in an overt attempt to produce a split along the familiar and well-trodden lines of race and nation. A recent story from the Newcastle Chronicle reports that in February, restaurants and grocers in Newcastle were raided by the UK Border Agency (http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/local-news/border-chiefs-stage-raid-upmarket-1352531). While the article focuses on Akbar’s Curry House and the arrest of three Pakistani, Nepali, and Iranian workers, The Chronicle’s reporting on behalf of the UKBA reveals a number of troubling trends that indeed, conflicts with the work of many journalists whose reports are left buried under the institutional racism of the media and government. Left unreported in the article is the fact that the UK, European Union, and the United States routinely detain and deport migrants. As Chronicle journalist Sarah Scott reported in another (and more responsible) article on the wider context of Hassant’s deportation, the UK deports people every eight minutes, while over 400,000 people have been deported from the United States in 2012 alone (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/31/obama-deportation_n_2594012.html) — with plans to ratchet up these startling numbers that criminalize the very act of movement. New methods of immigrant detention—from interdiction at the external and now internal borders of Britain and the United States, to the use of remotely piloted drones— provide the state with more power, private industries with more profits, and civil society with an utter distrust of immigrants, cast as outsiders through the mechanisms of racism.
The evident collusion between journalism and the security state in the Chronicle article is the first element that we need to unravel in order to reveal how we are dubbed and duped into being pawns in the great games of class and race war. First, the article encourages you to report suspected illegal immigrants to Crimestoppers. They desire your active participation! In making this call for your participation, the state hopes to make you an integral part of its machinery, the ever watchful and suspicious eye working on behalf of the state. Second, what constitutes ‘suspicious activity’? What does a suspicious person look like? Even with our lazy eye, we can see that this is an unveiled attempt to simply provoke fear and mistrust towards the people we live and interact with. To move to what the article is reporting, we can also see that the actions of the UKBA point to the further rise of the British security state at a time of seeming austerity, where the state is more than content to cut social services while spending its precious cash in forcing immigrant others out. The impact of such calls by the state and the so-called independent media is clear: the threat and danger in Britain comes from low wage workers, people who have moved in the face of histories of colonialism and contemporary neo-imperialism that provides profits for corporations and the state.
As bombs explode on the tenth anniversary of the US and British led violence and devastation of Iraq, we must reject the calls that seek to divide us, to pit your precarity against the precarity of migrants and racialized minorities. The desire to divide, as we know, is a tactic that Britain has long used at its disposal, from Ireland to the Indian subcontinent, and as illuminated by these most recent, ‘routine’ raids, within the borders of Britain. As past and current social movements expose, however, through our united struggle against the apparatus that seeks to dominate and divide us. Though the state (and the press) justifies these raids, detentions, and deportations in the name of your (unless you are an immigrant) job scarcity, illegality, the ‘bogus’ refugee, and safety, we must recognize such ruses whenever and wherever they appear— in newspapers, television, or in the actions (and inactions) of the police and Border Agency. Just as we fight against the lowering of our conditions and the reality of flexible labour, we demand justice for workers and people on the margins in the shadows of racist and imperialist Britain.
End press collusion with the UKBA! No scapegoating of migrants and asylum seekers! Decent jobs for all!