Dear IRR News subscriber,
On 4 March, Italy, which just witnessed the wounding of six Africans in a two-hour shooting spree in Macerata by a racist, holds its general election, with the increasingly popular Northern League and Forza Italia threatening mass deportations should they come to power. IRR News’ calendar of racism and resistance reveals how more governments throughout Europe bow to the far Right and adopt anti-migrant and racist policies. In France, Emmanuel Macron announces tighter asylum laws, and in a further crackdown on humanitarian actions, a 73-year-old Frenchwoman who took two children from the French-Italian border to claim asylum in Menton has found herself prosecuted. In Spain, the government is calling for a deal with Morocco to stop migrants arriving. The Finnish interior minister defends deportation laws which sent an Iraqi back to his death, while the Danish Social Democrats are competing with the Danish People’s Party for the racist vote, in proposals to cut ‘non-western’ immigration. In Bulgaria, a march is held in memory of a 1930s Nazi general.
The other Europe, though, is visible not only in the daily humanitarian actions of countless volunteers, but also in the protests in forty-seven European cities against deportations to Afghanistan, and those in Italian cities against racist violence and the resurgence of fascism, a week after the shooting.
The dangers of having the extreme Right in government, as well as the growing grass-roots resistance movements, are well-documented in Liz Fekete’s new book Europe’s Fault Lines: Racism and the rise of the Right, launched at the Ahmed Ullah Centre in Manchester on 7 February. On 20 February, at Waterstones in London’s Trafalgar Square, she discussed the book in a wide-ranging conversation with Bridget Anderson (author of Them and Us and expert on migrant labour exploitation), and Riz Hussain of Jawaab. The IRR has a special offer on the book.
Reminding us of the importance of local actions in support of community, Suresh Grover (of The Monitoring Group) reports on a mass turnout in Southall to save its town hall, a historic site of resistance against racism and a community resource.
Finally, a note for the diary: ‘The heart is where the battle is: a celebration of Sivanandan’s legacy’ on the afternoon of 23 June at Conway Hall, London. (Reservations can be made in a few weeks through Eventbrite.)
IRR News Team