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Free Movement of People: Black / BAME labour movement activists summit

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SOAS University of London

10 Thornhaugh Street

London

WC1H 0XG

United Kingdom

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London summit of Black trade union and BAME Labour activists at critical time to stop Brexit's historic racist attack on Free Movement

About this Event

We recognise the racist incitement of anti-immigrant attitudes central to the Brexit campaign, and it’s role as a catalyst for an expansion of a far-right agenda into mainstream politics. Brexit lays the basis for another Windrush Scandal, and is Britain’s contribution to dangerous growing white nationalism across Europe that physically threatens our sisters and brothers settled and arriving, from Africa, Asia the Middle East and Latin American regions.

This summit is called as a rejection of the position that ‘free movement will end’. We will discuss how we shift the Labour Party and labour movement to fight to defend it as a necessity of fighting racism. So long as loved ones are divided across borders, jobs move, goods move, war, poverty and environmental damage forces people to move, the demand for freedom of movement will never be closed, nor should it be.

As BAME organisers and activists we represent and organise in some of the most dynamic internationally connected communities in London. Together we have tremendous power and can make a national impact with what we say and do to fight Brexit racism.

This call for a summit is a rejection of division, and a call to action for all of us to be here as who we are: African, South and East Asian, Caribbean, Arabic, Latin American, Muslim, Jewish, over generations our communities have struggled in a deeply racist Britain and won huge victories that benefitted the whole working class. Now we may be newly arrived, for work, or study, or family, refugee and asylum seekers, or long-established permanent residents, with indefinite leave, of the Windrush-era or before, hailing from the EU or the rest of the world. It is we who must - as people facing the sharpest impact of racism - seize the initiative for the defence of free movement of people, and inspire our communities of all races to join us and take our lead.

The majority of Labour Party supporters and the labour movement generally can and do stand on the side of free movement of people. There’s been a mix of fear and hostility shown toward those speaking plainly about the racism in Brexit. This summit is necessary to achieve a radical change, by setting out a public declaration and strategy, opening the way to building a movement that is ready to fight on all fronts – from the workplace, schools and communities to parliament, and across the labour movement.

We must act with urgency at this critical time of political turmoil,our action can be decisive to the direction of politics and society. We stand and win together, or we divided we fall.

Agenda

11am registration

11:30am Welcome, SOAS Unison Black Members Officer

11:45 – 3:45pm We divide the day into three sections on the themes below. Each will hear a presenter lead off, followed by discussion.

  • Section 1. (Lead by Antonia Bright, Sidi Abale, Movement for Justice) Defending Free Movement to fight racism. Fighting racism to Defend Free Movement.
  • Section 2. (Lead by Henry Roberts, Jocelyn Cruywagen, Lambeth Black Workers Group) Black workers leadership in tackling institutional racism in the workplace – Lambeth Black Workers Group.
  • Section 3. (Lead by Alex Owolade, MFJ and delegate to Labour Party Conference from Streatham CLP) Acting on the dynamism and centrality of Black and Asian leadership to change the labour movement.

3:45pm Conclusions, summary of actions and next steps. Refreshments will be provided.

*Important note: Please be aware that this event is open to labour movement activists who experience skin-colour racism – and identify in that sense with Black or ‘BAME’, (acronyms vary between unions). It is intended for Black activists, to have a space to talk about racism as it affects us specifically, and how we can most effectively intervene in the labour movement to address our needs.

To support, help build, and get your group involved contact:

Antonia Bright (Black Members Officer, SOAS Unison): antonia.bright@ueaa.net

Henry Roberts (Lambeth Black Workers Group): hroberts@lambeth.gov.uk

Jocelyn Cruywagen (Lambeth Black Workers Group): jcruywagen@lambeth.gov.uk

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Location

SOAS University of London

10 Thornhaugh Street

London

WC1H 0XG

United Kingdom

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