October 3, 2020 | 2 minutes read
Fascism in Ascension: against the intensification of border violence
Advocating for reparations and a society free from colonial violence, we fight for all working and oppressed people, in love and solidarity.
A recent report by the Financial Times revealed that the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has considered incarcerating people seeking asylum in Britain on Ascension Island – a British colonial territory and military airbase more than 4,000 miles from the mainland, nestled in the south Atlantic. This is just one manifestation of the current intensification of border violence by the Tory government. As socialists and communists in the “former” British Empire, we must fight these racist and deadly mobilisations. Advocating for reparations and a society free from colonial violence, we fight for all working and oppressed people, in love and solidarity.
The consideration of this policy represents an intensification of Britain’s current colonial border regime, dubbed by Theresa May as the ‘hostile environment’. However this new formation of Britain’s border policy is no break from the past. This policy is part and parcel of how Britain has profited off colonised people historically, and has sought, through its border policies, to produce and reproduce the white supremacist logics of empire. This current escalation is no aberration in the British state’s history, and is merely an intensification across hundreds of years of internment, dispossession, deportation and brutalisation of colonised people across the globe. This includes concentration camps in Kenya, ‘black sites’ and ‘rendition’ sites across the Middle East, and detention facilities like Yarl's Wood and Dungavel in South Lanarkshire.
As thousands of people escape from the wars, climate chaos and conflicts caused by imperialism, they have been apprehended at the borders of Europe. These people are trying to cross the channel to seek refuge in Britain, and yet are met with further violence. The British state is actively flaunting even more brutal options for supposedly ‘deterring’ people seeking refuge on this island. The government says they want to '"prevent a slow-moving, heavily overloaded migrant boat from making progress", yet again using dehumanising rhetoric against people simply trying to survive in a world Britain has helped to make lethal.
This language frames Britain as a benign protagonist in people fleeing their homes in the Global South. In what world is Britain a victim? As communists and anti-imperialists, we absolutely reject this. Formerly the largest Empire in the world, a beneficiary of the transatlantic slave trade, a modern predatory power that still benefits through neocolonialism and imperialism across the globe, and a by capita net contributer to climate chaos - Britain is historically the largest contributor to dispossession and destitution, globally.
Members from the Scottish Branch of Red Fightback were particularly buoyed by a recent session hosted by Land In Our Names, discussing the active ways that Scotland could provide land as a means of reparations to colonised people from across the former British Empire. This feeds into our work across our branches to bring anti-imperialism into concrete action. This human and loving proposal stands in stark contrast to the British state’s fascist ideas of building wave machines in the channel, deporting people to Ascension Island over 4000 miles away, or potentially using remote Scottish Islands to imprison people.
All communists in Britain have a historic duty to actively fight for every person seeking refuge on these shores and colonised people already living in Britain. In love and solidarity between working people in the imperial core and across the global south, we must fight for a reparations based society and ecology!
No to Deportations! Yes to Reparations!