Fighting regressive legislation: No defeat is ever complete

Fighting regressive legislation: No defeat is ever complete

Fortnightly Bulletin

Written by: IRR News Team

IRR News 14 – 28 April 2022

The fact that within the last 72 hours opposition in the House of Lords to four bills, including the Nationality and Borders Bill and the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, has crumbled, is, to say the least, a setback for the struggle for racial and social justice. But no defeat is ever complete and the stories we document this week in our regular calendar of racism and resistance, suggest that opponents are not going to allow these laws, and others yet to come, to set regressive new norms.

As ever, anti-racist strategies combine legal and strategic interventions with community self-defence. The first legal challenge to the home secretary’s plan to send people seeking asylum in the UK to Rwanda on a ‘one way ticket’ has been launched by an asylum seeker eligible for removal under the plans. It is likely to be followed by more legal challenges, say the Immigration Law Practitioners Association. Meanwhile, local networks in south London, acting in the tradition of community self-defence, mobilised quickly to challenge what they describe as the ‘excessive force’ used during an immigration raid on a Chinese takeaway. And in Sheffield, the South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group used all its resources, again to challenge the use of excessive force, including pepper spray, at a Kurdish Community protest outside Sheffield town hall.

With more regressive legislation in the pipeline, there are additional fights to be fought. This week, the IRR joined with 45 peace and justice groups, trade unions and religious organisations, to launch the Protect the Right to Boycott declaration which challenges profoundly undemocratic legislation – s 100 of the Public Sector Pensions and Judicial Offices Act, for instance, and another expected in the Queen’s speech in May, which will deny public bodies including public-sector pension fund administrators, local authorities, universities and others the right to decide not to invest in companies or states involved or complicit in gross violations of human rights. We support the declaration in the knowledge that comes from our long involvement in racial justice campaigns that BDS campaigns have a long and honourable history in our movement. For the history of anti-racism is replete with examples – from bus boycotts against racial segregation, to arms embargoes against apartheid – of boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns against state and corporate racism, discrimination and human rights abuses.

IRR News team

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The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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