Please come (and encourage others to come) to NO ONE IS ILLEGAL’S first Oxford public meeting:
7:30 pm Thursday 16th June 2011 in The Old Library, Oxford Town Hall.
Main speakers: Tracy Walsh (UNISON), Victoria Brittain and Rahila Gupta (writers and activists).
Click To Download Flyer. Please print, display and circulate.
Contact details at end.
Statement in support of the meeting, from John McDonnell MP:
“We live in a world where the planet can be circled in days; a world in which people, seeking escape from threats to their physical safety and human rights or living in hopeless poverty, can travel thousands of miles to seek security. The walls around Europe cannot be built high enough to keep these people out and nor should they be. It is time now to accept the reality of a world without borders that is emerging and to start planning for this inevitability. We can then constructively face the vista of issues we need to address ranging from the role we must play in eliminating the push factors of poverty, oppression, climate change and war that are uprooting people from the developing world to determining how we can eliminate the brutality with which people are currently being treated.”
John McDonnell MP, May 2011
Statement from meeting organiser, Bob Hughes:
FROM ARIZONA TO DENMARK, the far-right marches to an anti-immigrant drum, and no concession is enough for them.
For nearly 20 years, mainstream politicians have chosen not to confront, but to try to accommodate their demands. There has been apparent consensus, right across the political firmament, in all the countries of the “rich world”, that (certain kinds of) migrants are a great problem (in some way); that they must be controlled and if possible got rid of, by almost any means, at almost any cost.
The human cost exceeds our capacities to describe or comprehend it. The 15,725 known deaths at the EU’s borders between 1993 and early 2011 are just the “cherry on the cake” of abuse, precarity, overwork and ground-down bare existence on which 500,000 and one million invisible, “illegal” people subsist in Britain alone.
Instead of helping them, mainstream “left-of-centre” politicians have thrown themselves heart and soul into the witch-hunt, competing with petty racists for its leadership.
They have helped to turn a vague, abstract noun, “immigration”, into the cast-iron, un-trumpable card in a greater political game: the disparaging of human equality; the dismantling of collective provision, and the restoration of pre-1930s style inequality, elitism and brutality.
No career-minded British MP yet dares to challenge that orthodoxy, but a few brave and principled ones are speaking out (see statement from John McDonnell MP, above).
:: But can’t controls be made fair? ::
Those who’ve tried to help casualties of the new laws are ever more firmly convinced that there is no way, in practice, that they could ever be made fair or humane. They’ve never been intended to be humane. The only practical solution to the suffering they create, is to scrap them.
Yet a wishful orthodoxy has persisted, that controls could be made fair and humane, and so keep everybody happy: the fluffy humanitarians as well as the hard-liners and racists. Some otherwise resolute fellow-campaigners for migrants’ rights have argued that condemning controls would be “unrealistic”, “put us outside the political pale” or “off the radar”, or might even be “dangerously counter-productive”.
This is the thinking we want to challenge at our meeting – and create political space in which it is possible to confront racism and the Right in forthright terms, and develop an open, public discussion of what a world without borders could be like, where all human beings are treated as if they are, indeed, human beings.