J.K. Rowling and The Chamber of Terfdom: by Paul Haw.

Paul Haw is Dorset IWW Branch Secretary, a volunteer youth worker and campaigner on LGBTQ+ and disability rights.

J.K. Rowling and The Chamber of Terfdom.

I’m going to be 27 by the time 2020 comes to a close and as someone who is firmly in the millennial category, the whole universe of Harry Potter has been a fixture in both my childhood and my adult life. As a kid I remember my dad taking time out from his taxi driving job on a Friday night so he could join the queues at my hometown’s sole bookshop to be one of the first to obtain the new Harry Potter book.

The first time I remember going to the cinema was in 2001 to see the first Harry Potter film and I remember my excitement to see the story on the big screen as a seven year old boy shivering outside the tiny, two screen cinema that was in the big town about a half hour’s drive from our house. I remember how magical it was to escape into that world and I remember the messages of overcoming adversity resonating with my young self, being the only boy in the class with cerebral palsy and having to wear brightly coloured leg splints and having daily sessions of physiotherapy.

In my teenage years, I retreated away from this world and dove full throttle into the worlds of Edgar Allan Poe, H.P Lovecraft, B-movies, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and 1980s slasher horror films. I believe these campy, macabre worlds were probably linked to the love my childhood self had for the kitchy, campy, creepy world of Harry Potter. As I approached my twenties and got diagnosed with a bipolar spectrum disorder, the world of my childhood provided much needed comfort at a time where I was experiencing frequent episodes of depression and psychosis whilst trying to complete a degree in English and live on my own for the very first time. Even during the current COVID-19 pandemic, one of my coping mechanisms at the beginning of lockdown was to watch a Harry Potter film on Saturday night by candlelight whilst eating Chinese takeaway.

All of this means that I was deeply disappointed by Rowling’s recent tweets that parroted the TERF talking points about “sex-based rights” and her absolute revulsion against the term “people who menstruate”. The damaging implications of sex essentialism have been documented on this blog and many others and I shall not repeat those same points. However, it says a lot that the world’s first billionaire author decides to use her time during a global pandemic and an uprising against state-sanctioned racism to further marginalise and vilify one of the most oppressed groups of people on this planet.

As a response to the criticism and fury she received on Twitter from trans people, queer people and their allies, she decided to write a 3,600 word essay on her blog. I’m not going to link it here because I do not wish to befoul this blog with transphobic rhetoric but it’s very easy to find if you want to read it; although, I would advise that it is very intense and it will probably be quite an upsetting read. I cried tears of rage reading it and I cried for the trans youth that I work with as a youth worker for a local LGBTQ+ charity.

In the essay, Rowling provides a narrative of her life in the early 1990s before Harry Potter exploded into our cultural consciousness. She frankly and openly talks about being a survivor of severe domestic and sexual abuse. As a sexual abuse survivor, I empathise with her and I do hope that she has been able to access the support needed to be able to process the trauma she has experienced.

The question that remains, however, is why did she choose this moment to speak about it? It plays into the unfounded, deeply bigoted caricature of trans women being men who just want to pose as women so they can sexually assault women in public bathrooms. When we look at the reality, we see that in the 21 countries which have introduced self-ID for trans people to change their birth certificates, none have reported an increase in sex crimes as a result. We can also look at several US States, the most notable being North Carolina, where bathroom bills were introduced and we see an increase in assaults being perpetrated against trans people in bathrooms and an increase in those same assaults against cisgender people who present in a gender nonconforming manner.

It is also important to consider that one of the “leaders” of the TERF movement, the increasingly irrelevant and deplorable former Labour Party hack that is Linda Bellos is actually on film saying that she would beat up a trans woman if she happened to be in the same bathroom as her. Approximately every 72 hours, a trans person is murdered somewhere in the world because of their gender identity and by playing into myths and caricatures, JK Rowling has put those people at increased risk.

Rowling also moves onto the topic of incels. Incels, for the record, are men who believe that they are owed the right to sex just because they happen to be male. They are angry that women choose not to sleep with them and several incels have gone on to commit murders of those women. They also harbour a hatred for the men that they see as stealing their opportunities to pursue the women that they wish to sleep with. Elliot Rodger murdered six people in California back in 2014 as “retribution” for his lack of sexual experience and activity.

In 2018, Alek Minassian murdered 10 people in a vehicle-ramming attack in downtown Toronto to instigate an “incel rebellion” and had written several internet posts praising Elliot Rodger. Many incels look at the Ecole Polytechnique massacre of 1989 as a positive thing and something to be inspired by. In this massacre, Marc Lepine burst into an engineering class, forced the men and women in the room to stand on opposite sides and shoot all six women there. He then rampaged for a further twenty minutes, killing eight more women before killing himself. His motive was to “fight feminism”.

Rowling will be acutely aware of how horrific these events are and how the state does not take violence against women seriously enough. Again, we have to question her motives around bringing up these issues in this particular moment. It is morally abhorrent and repugnant of her and her supporters to link trans people and their allies to incels. I’m a cisgender man but I stand with trans people who are just trying to live their lives as their authentic selves and be recognised as such. We are not murdering women to further this cause and we are not terrorists. We simply believe in human rights and in bodily autonomy. She should be ashamed of herself for insinuating that there is anything linking us to the incels and it proves that her interpretation of feminism is fundamentally and objectively wrong.

The final part of her essay I wish to address is where she talks about “Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria” (ROGD). ROGD is a pseudoscientific term used by the TERFs and their allies to try and explain away the large increase of young people seeking help and support with their gender identity. They like to blame a plethora of things for this which include but are not limited to; Japanese anime, tumblr, YouTube and autism. There is a link between being autistic and being transgender but that link is being actively researched by experts in the fields of neuroscience, neuropsychology and cognitive psychology and will probably take a long time to come to any semblance of a conclusion. On the other hand, ROGD has seemingly been invented in a chat room on Mumsnet.

As a youth worker who is directly working with these young people, I can confidently say that ROGD is baseless and unfounded. Young people have access to the internet and they are able to learn about gender outside of a Eurocentric viewpoint. Young people have always explored their gender identity but it is only now that they have the tools and the vocabulary to be able to do so fully. Do I think that every single one of my young people who identify as transgender is going to end up transitioning as an adult? Possibly, possibly not. In spite of that, it is important that young people are able to access the support and guidance that they need whilst exploring their gender identity.

They need compassionate and empathic people around them especially as 80% of trans young people will self harm and about half will attempt suicide. These young people are very vulnerable in a world where transgender people are treated as though they are the lowest class of citizen and by using ROGD as an excuse to explain all this away, Rowling and her allies are creating moral panic reminiscent of the moral panic around gay men in the 1980s and 1990s. It is this kind of language that causes governments to enact legislation like Section 28 that will damage a whole generation of young people.

I do not believe that JK Rowling is an inherently hateful person because a hateful person could not have written the Harry Potter series which is essentially an antifascist parable; despite its use of questionable antisemitic and racial stereotypes. What I believe is, like many women who grew up in second wave feminism, JK Rowling is using her platform to try and stay relevant in a culture that has long since moved on. I also believe that she has possibly been radicalised by the likes of Linda Bellos and Graham Lineham on Twitter. Rowling does not need to indulge in this desperate attempt to remain culturally relevant as Harry Potter has become a permanent and ubiquitous fixture of popular culture. People come from around the world just to have their pictures taken at Kings Cross Station where they’ve set up the entrance to Platform nine and three-quarters.

Rowling has often tried to pander to us LGBTQ+ folks, wildly announcing that certain characters in the series are LGBTQ+ when no hint of that was given in the original stories. It is this that makes her latest outbursts beyond offensive. She has used our community to make money and royalties for herself whilst throwing the most vulnerable people in our community under the Hogwarts Express.

I still love those stories of my childhood and I am taking relative comfort in Barthes’ The Death of the Author to take some sort of ownership of those stories and to separate them from a woman I once admired. Her following is large but the loudest voices in that following are the minority and many of the actors who brought those stories to life have expressed their unequivocal support for transgender people. We will win this fight and we must stand in solidarity with our trans siblings, always.

It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities”

– Albus Dumbeldore

Paul Haw

The Birth of Close Supervision Centres By Kevan Thakrar

IWOC

When the Conservative party took control of the country in 2010, the so-called justice system was struggling to maintain the facade that it was fair, equal or anything else positive which is prohibited by its design. It cannot be said to be a flawed design, since it achieves exactly what it intends in oppressing the poor, lower classes, and non-white population whilst enabling the privileged to exploit them with impunity. The cuts that followed made the situation even worse, injustice becoming the norm for all affected in any way by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

As has always been the case, those suffering the greatest oppression are the unfortunate victims of the Injustice System who end up imprisoned. Within this group, there are greater and greater degrees of oppression, ranging from the privileged few who were too blatant in their wrongdoing necessitating a prison sentence who are allocated to cushy Category D open prisons automatically, all the way up to maximum security Category A prisons. Beyond this, is the Close Supervision Centre (CSC) system which is reserved for around 50 prisoners to receive the harshest and most brutal treatment.

The one good thing that any Conservative Secretary of State for Justice has done since taking power has been to sack the sadistic failure of the Prisons and Probation Service, director Michael Spurr. This animal was personally responsible for the creation of the CSC system, having previously been in charge of running the Continuous Assessment Scheme (CAS) whereby prisoners were transferred from segregation to segregation every 30 days. Once it became obvious that the CAS could no longer be maintained due to being in gross violation of all basic minimum standards, Spurr took on a project to find a way to enable the torture of the prisoners hated most by those running the MoJ.

‘The Spurr Report,’ published in February 1996 as a restricted policy document with the sub-heading ‘Management of Disruptive Prisoners — CRC Revival Project,’ paved the way. CRC stood for ‘Control Review Committee,’ and control is exactly what they have been about, although control of the individual rather than the system as a whole. One paragraph of this report makes the intent of the CSC clear for all to see:

“[…] It is potentially important to recognise the potential introduction of the proposed new regimes in CSCs as a ‘natural experiment’ in which we can learn more about the response of hostile, disruptive and often personality disordered individuals to structured intervention. Achieving lifetime changes in personality,  thinking and behaviour will take several years. Also, these men may be serving long sentences and some may never be released. Outcome measures will need to focus on personality, thinking and institutional adjustment rather than subsequent offending in the community […]”

This ‘experiment’ of subjecting men to extreme psychological torture through permanent detention in inhumane conditions surrounded by mentally ill prisoners, operated by massive amounts of prison officers outnumbering the prisoners, with the stated objective to destroy the personality of those allocated CSC status, has been functioning since 1998. As Spurr rose through the management to become overall leader, he ensured funds were pumped into this ‘experiment,’ even through the crisis caused by governmental budget cuts. Hopefully now that he has gone, this illegal use of taxpayers money which could be much better spent elsewhere will end.

Having now spent ten years detained within the CSC, I can confirm that every victim of this sadistic ‘experiment’ has been harmed with often devastating effect. Some men have seriously self-harmed, some self-mutilated, others have been driven totally insane. Suicide has occurred disproportionately. Expendable to discover the ‘outcome measures’…

The CSC needs to be terminated, if not for humanitarian measures then because it is simply not affordable. The disgraced inventor has gone, surely now is the time for his creation to follow. His replacement has an impossible job in attempting to clean-up the disgusting mess he’s left behind, the best place to start has got to be the most inhumane. The psychologists used to legitimise the system would be much better utilised elsewhere at a time where a lack of psychological assessments is commonly cited as justification to delay the release of those due for parole, and the financial resources could be used to plug some of the gaps causing a breakdown in the prison system.

The CSC looks like a punishment, sounds like a punishment, feels like a punishment, but Spurr made clear that under no circumstances should the CSC be said to be aiming to punish. He wrote:

“This point is crucial and will be the basis of our defence in any judicial review.

If the proposals outlined above are adopted, it is inevitable that there will be a legal challenge and judicial review is likely.”

So this scumbag knew he had designed an ‘experiment’ which was not lawful from the start, creating propaganda to accompany it to enable its existence. Michael Spurr’s repulsive character is clear for all to see from his invention, only if his successor puts a stop to the CSC could they be said to be any better.

Kevan Thakrar A4907AE Close Supervision Centre
HMP Full Sutton
Stamford Bridge
York
YO41 1PS

www.justiceforkevan.org

Contactable via emailaprisoner.com

Urgent: Protect Kevan Thakrar from racist violence

This evening prisoner Kevan Thakrar called to inform IWOC that a known racist attempted to take his life this afternoon.

Kevin McCarthy stabbed Kevan more than four times while Kevan was at the food servery. He used a wooden shank and shouted “die, die, die!” whilst stabbing Kevan. Kevan has four puncture wounds on his back and bruises and scratches after also being hit on the head. Kevin walked past two prison officers neither of whom intervened to prevent or stop the attack until Kevan turned round to defend himself. Even then, no officers put their hands on Kevin or restrained him. No alarms were pressed/no shouting for help. Kevin McCarthy actually walked back into his own cell and locked himself in. The prison failed to take him to hospital but he was treated by two nurses on the wing.

This is the second attack Kevan has experienced in HMP Full Sutton in recent months. Kevan’s solicitor had raised a complaint about Kevin McCarthy prior to Kevan being moved onto the CSC because Kevin has perpetrated racist attacks against other prisoners before. Kevan is shaken and in need of support to demand the prison move him to a safer location and take action to stop further racist attacks on his life. Feel free to use your own words as well as the sample scripts below.

Call script:

Hello, I am calling on behalf of Kevan Thakrar who is currently in the CSC at HMP Full Sutton. Kevan was stabbed four times yesterday by a known racist prisoner. Two prison officers were present and did not act to prevent or stop the attack until Kevan turned around to protect himself. This is the second attack Kevan has experienced in HMP Full Sutton in recent months and yet he is still held in the CSC.

I am really concerned about Kevan’s safety in the CSC and I am calling to demand that he is moved out of the CSC and to a safer location immediately.

Letter template:

I am writing as a concerned community member on hearing of a physical attack against Kevan Thakrar (A4907AE) that occurred yesterday, 23rd December at the Close Supervision Centre, HMP Full Sutton.

As I understand it, two prison officers were present and did not act to prevent or stop the attack until Kevan turned around to protect himself, the officers did not restrain the person attacking Kevan and no alarms were raised.

This is the second attack Kevan has experienced in HMP Full Sutton in recent months. Kevan has made complaints about threats of violence from known racist prisoners but no action has been taken. The person who stabbed Kevan is known to have racist views, and shouted ‘die, die die’ while stabbing Kevan. Kevan’s solicitor had raised a complaint about the person who stabbed Kevan before Kevan was moved onto the unit, as this person has made racist attacks on others.

In addition I believe that Kevan has not been seen by a Doctor and the person who stabbed Kevan remains on the same unit as him.

I am extremely concerned about Kevan’s safety and wellbeing in the CSC. Kevan has PTSD and these acts of violence add further traumas and I imagine he must be fearful for his life.

The environment created in the Close Supervision Centre makes it more likely for these acts of extreme violence to occur, and Kevan is at risk of further attacks there.

As per the Adult Safeguarding in Prison policy (National Offender Management Service 2016) Point 1.5 states that ‘All adult prisoners are protected from abuse and neglect, and prisons effectively discharge their duty of care towards them. Reported incidents of abuse and neglect are managed appropriately’.

I am urging you to move Kevan out of the CSC and to a safer location immediately in order that HMP Full Sutton adhere to their policy obligations.

Write to Governor Gareth Sands at HMP Full Sutton (gareth.sands@hmps.gsi.gov.uk) or phone the prison on 01759 475100.

Email the Executive Director for High Security & Long Term Estate for HM Prison and Probation Service, Richard Vince demanding Kevan be moved from the CSC to a safer location: Richard.Vince02@hmps.gsi.gov.uk

Email Sir Greg Knight, MP for East Riding: sothcottt@parliament.uk

Keep Kevan updated with all your actions by email through emailaprisoner.com or letter to:

Kevan Thakrar, A4907AE
HMP Full Sutton
York
YO41 1PS

All out in support of Striking University Staff!

University staff represented by the UCU at 60 universities across the UK are on an 8 day strike starting November 25! Why? Universities have failed to uphold promises about pension contributions and pay, equality, casualisation, and workload.

According to the Universities and Colleges Employers Associations (UCEA), pay has dropped by around 17% in real terms since 2009, even with an overall £2 billion surplus at HEs. On top of this, the disability pay gap remains at 8.7%, the gender pay gap at 15%, and black academic staff earn 12 to 13% less than white colleagues. Over 170,000 staff are also employed through fixed or casual contracts, leading to employment uncertainty.

Conservative union laws have meant that although, overall, more than 75% of UCU union members voted for strike action, only universities that met the 50% participation threshold have been able to call for a strike. This is a perfect example of the political effort expended to suffocate the labour movement in the UK. Thus, it is worth remembering that although not all universities are on strike, all universities are affected by the above statistics.

Corporatisation of Education

This strike needs to be understood in the context of the general trend of ‘corporatising’ universities and education at large. Universities are being increasingly run as a business which means that any and all costs need to be suppressed for the sake of the bottom line. As such, staff have salaries stop rising, recruitment decreases, workload increased, and contact hours with students are slashed. This makes it impossible for universities to meet their social and civic duties of educating the next generation. Students become nothing more than the products on the assembly line of the university factory.

I’m a student, this strike is inconvenient

Strikes are inconvenient for everyone. No one wants to be out on a picket line to demand for their most basic rights, especially during the winter season. If your university is on strike, it’s important to remember that a strike is a last resort and happens only when employers refuse to do the right thing. It’s a university’s unwillingness to treat staff fairly that has led us here.

It’s also important to remember that drops in staff working conditions also means that your quality of education decreases, even though your fees keep going up. We believe that teachers and students deserve the best, and that the way to get that is by fighting together.

How can I support the strike?

If your institution is on strike, do not cross the picket line! Better yet, why not join it and have a few conversations with striking staff to better understand their concerns. Picketers also always enjoy a bit of music and some snacks and warm drinks. If you choose to join the picket line, make sure you follow UCU picket line guidance.

If your university is not on strike, we would encourage you to pick a day and visit the nearest picket line. You can also print out our leaflets supporting the strike (long version / short version) or these ones prepared by the UCU and distribute them on campus. We would also urge you to have conversations with your professors about these strikes and their work conditions as well as ask for your student union to endorse the strike – which the National Union of Students has already done.

The IWW

It goes without saying that the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) are fully behind this and every struggle fought by the working class in the UK and around the world. There is no doubt that education has a central role in our society. The worsening conditions under which our educators work under, from university professors to scientists in research institutions, are symptomatic of the steady onslaught of capitalism which has submitted all activities to the interest of profit.

We believe, as we always have, that it is the historic mission of the working class to do away with capitalism. Only then, absent the constant roadblocks set up by capital, can education, and indeed all social services, achieve their mission of empowering workers and advancing science.

With this in mind, we call on our members across all Branches and Industrial Unions to take concrete actions in supporting this strike.

If you are employed by an educational institution, please reach out to the IWW’s Education Workers Union (IU620) on education@iww.org.uk

Download our leaflets in support of the strike:

EU Nationals Pre-Settled/Settled Status

From IWW WISE-RA International Solidarity Department international@iww.org.uk

This is a reminder for all EU national workers in the UK territory.

Fellow Workers,

Considering the last declarations about the possibility to end, without any other legislation in place, the freedom of movement between the EU block and the UK, we need to remind all EU nationals to apply and submit for the pre-settled or settled status. Once the approval is received, it guarantees the continuation of the rights of the EU nationals, such as the right to work and to access the NHS services. It’s possible to apply until December 2020 with the application system put in place in March 2019, but if the current government manages to delete all the EU nationals rights in one night, there will be no other document able to prove the right to work and live in the UK. Especially there will not be any other system in place to use, such as a visa, maybe for months.

The Home Office sent out an email the 15th August stating that 1 million EU citizens were granted the status, if the total number of 3 millions EU nationals is right, this means that there are other 2 million people that need to fill the application or are waiting for the answer.

My concern is that a no deal Brexit will affect the most vulnerable workers in the UK, impacting on people that have more difficulties accessing internet, speaking English or access help points and offices. The application is online at https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families, the app to verify the passports works only on Android phones. If someone doesn’t have access to an android phone, they will need to send the passport by post to one of the Home Office offices.

I think we need to remind our members to apply if they didn’t and to remind it to our colleagues, if there are EU citizens in the working place.

Some of the information circulating on the press at the moment is incorrect, if there are any doubts about the application you can use the Home Office sources or you can contact us.

Message from F.W. Kevan Thakrar

Wednesday 24th April 2019 Kev Thakrar – A4907AE HMP Whitemoor – Seg

On Tuesday 23 April 2019, I was transferred from the Close Supervision Centre (CSC) to the main segregation unit (seg) at HMP Whitemoor. Although I was already being subjected to a solitary confinement regime on the CSC sinc 13/02/19, I could at least access some basic gymnasium equipment which I require to complete remedial work set out by the physiotherapist for injuries sustained in previous assaults by prison officers. I was also able to attend weekly religious corporate worship with two other prisoners, but this legal entitlement will no longer be facilitated. Only days before the move, I had finally reached the top of the waiting list to see the NHS Clinical Psychologist, to begin therapy for my Post-Traumatic Stress acquired the same way as my physical injuries, and had the initial session. Not now being able to enter a room which could in any way be described as a therapeutic environment that too looks unlikely to continue.

Contrary to what Acting CSC Governor of HMP Whitemoor, Martin Butler, had informed me through the local CSC Monthly Review process, when he attended the CSC Management Committee (CSCMC) meeting on 16/04/19, he did not tell them he believed I was ‘suitably placed’. Instead, Butler had concocted a way to manipulate the rest of the CSCMC to agree to move me, which he had been corrupted working on for months through the sustained false reporting regarding myself.

After the last CSCMC and my Letter Before Action was lodged regarding my treatment, regime, CSC status, and lack of identified CSC risks or exit strategy, Butler asked his pal Governor Andy Juden to complete a so-called report which would undermine all of my complaints and paint me out to be the cause of all of the failings on the CSC. He duly obliged; his finished work being some of the most corrupt nonsense I have ever read, where he totally fails to acknowledge the legitimacy of a single complaint, and characterises all of them as somehow being the problem rather than responses to problems.

Butler gleefully delivered quotes from Juden’s work to the CSCMC, enabling the decision to be made. That said, I suspect he will not be entirely satisfied with the result as he is also the Seg Governor here so will now have to deal with the fallout of this. After lockdown on bank holiday Monday 22/4/19 a letter from Butler dated 17/4/19 was slid under my cell door, entitled ‘FEEDBACK FROM CSCMC’. This reads ‘the CSCMC have decided that you will be moved into a designated cell in Whitemoor segregation unit. The reasons for this are that following the report of Gov Juden, We believe that the dynamics of the unit are not conducive to a progressive unit. Namely that staff are compassion fatigued and the findings r.e your complaints “Mr Thakrar submits a significant number of complaints, I can’t establish any external driver and the other residents within this unit do not come close to meeting his levels of complaint. I as a result feel the issues that drive the number of complaints reside with Mr Thakrar, not staff or procedures used to manage him”.

So that was the official line, but having already heard rumors that one of the founding members of the racist extremist prison gang calling themselves Death Before Dishonour (DBD) was due to arrive on the unit and had refused to locate if I was there, I was not surprised when first thing in the morning of the 23rd April, Douglas ‘Gary’ Vinter was moved into a vacant cell. Almost immediately he began shouting abuse out of his cell window, going on to boast that Butler had told him three weeks prior that he would be swapping places with me, him having been in the segregation unit for a cowardly failed racist attack from behind on another prisoner at HMP Full Sutton CSC last year. It seems that Vinter conspired with Butler to enable the move, with the CSCMC being put under pressure to let him out of the segregation unit due to his legal action against the regime and both of them sharing fascist views.

I always knew Butler did not want me to be on the CSC unit here, when attempts to organise the move whilst I was at HMP Long Lartin segregation unit last year were being made, the governor informed me that Butler had vetoed it. I was only able to actually make it onto the CSC unit by being transferred when Butler was on leave and not aware of it. Throughout my time, oppression, provocation, and discrimination I sustained increased and although I was aware of some of the false reporting taking place, when I obtained disclosure of my prison files it was irritating that it had begun from almost the moment I arrived so I never had the chance in getting a positive outcome. The corruption is endemic, the prison system is institutionally racist wholly lacking in integrity and the CSC system being the pinnacle of the sadistic concept.

After all of this, as I sit in this segregation cell touching distance from an on-screen toilet without even a lid, the ridiculous psychologist who has been refusing to meet with me or facilitate any sessions since November, Ieva Cechaviciute, slides a letter under my door. It seems all of her excuses blocking her from working with me have now vanished, and she is ‘renewing 1-to-1 weekly psychology sessions’. The only problem is, due to my Post-Traumatic Stress, I am unable to enter close conditions as she is aware which was part of the reason for my move out of Long Lartin segregation unit. So, she has booked a session for tomorrow, and will repeat this weekly in an act of blatant disability discrimination, in the close visit from renamed ‘the bubble’ to confuse its actual function being known. This coming from someone who was reported to the psychologist regularity body, the Health+Care Professions Council (HCPC) last year, and remains under investigation for her conduct towards me.

This looks likely to be a long-term situation unless the CSCMC can be brought to see the error of their ways. My barrister is currently drafting advice to enable the progress of a judicial review against all of this, but whilst we wait for the audience legal process to re-reward it would be greatly appreciated if those who are able to do what they can to support me. This includes writing to Her Majesty’s Inspector of Prisons at 10 South Colonnade, Canary Wharf, London, E14 4PU, demanding they conduct an urgent full unannounced inspection of the entire CSC system looking intently at my situation and the lack of any risk assessment to base my CSC status upon. Maybe organising another demonstration of publicising this as far as possible to help. The last time I was in this segregation unit 2013-14, it lasted for nine months, and I would much prefer a shorter stint in isolation this time!

Kev Thakrar

Justice for Kevan Thakrar

Justice for Kev facebook page

IWW-UK Incarcerated Workers Organising Committee.

Call to action: protect Kevan from racist violence

Incarcerated Workers Organising Committee UK

IWOC member Kevan Thakrar is urgently in need of support from people outside of prison. Having been held in what amounts to solitary confinement in Close Supervision Centres (‘prisons within prisons’) for the past nine years, Kevan has recently been subject to severe racial abuse from other prisoners at HMP Whitemoor.

These prisoners are members of the ‘Death Before Dishonour’ group, a network dedicated to abuse and violence towards Muslim prisoners, whose members have carried out acts of extreme violence. Kevan has previously written about the ways in which racist abuse is condoned and encouraged in prisons. Journalist and ex-prisoner Eric Allison has also written about the racial abuse Kevan has experienced in the past and the systemic Islamophobia at HMP Frankland.

Please write to prison and Ministry of Justice officials to demand that Kevan is protected from prisoners and officers perpetrating racist abuse and violence, and that he is afforded his basic human rights such as time out of his cell, meaningful human contact in the prison and contact with family and friends.

You can write to:

CM R. Grice
Head of Security
HMP Whitemoor
Longhill Road
March
Cambridgeshire
PE15 0PR

Or phone the prison on: 01354 602 350

David Gauke
Secretary of State for Justice
102 Petty France
Westminster
London
SW1H 9AJ

Or contact him at the Ministry of Justice: https://contact-moj.dsd.io/correspondence/topic

Steve Barclay
MP for North East Cambridgeshire
stevebarclay.net/contact

You can also write to Kevan. He may not always be able to reply but really appreciates support and solidarity:

Kevan Thakrar A4907AE
HMP Whitemoor
Longhill Road
March
Cambridgeshire
PE15 0PR

Justice for Kevan Thakrar demo at M.O.J. 13th March 2019

On 13th March, the Justice for Kevan Thakrar campaign will demonstrate at the Ministry of Justice to mark the ninth year of Kevan’s solitary confinement in Close Supervision Centres. 

Kevan was first placed in the CSC after suffering an assault by four prison guards in his cell at HMP Frankland in 2010. He defended himself, for which he was charged with attempted murder and GBH. Despite being acquitted of these charges in court, he was sent to a CSC as a punishment and remains in the CSC system to this day, with no indication of when he may leave.

Kevan is regularly held in his cell for 23 hours per day and is prevented from speaking with other prisoners. Numerous studies and papers have pointed out the severe damage solitary confinement can cause for those placed in it. As a 2006 paper in Washington University Journal of Law & Policy put it, it has ‘long been known that severe restriction of environmental and social stimulation has a profoundly deleterious effect on mental functioning’. To quote from a paper in the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, ‘psychological stressors such as isolation can be as clinically distressing as physical torture’.

Kevan’s indefinite isolation clearly contravenes the position of the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and on these grounds we request his immediate release from the CSC system.

facebook event

IWW statement on Home Office courier raids

It has been reported in the press that the Home Office have been coordinating police raids on gig economy couriers suspected of working with false documentation.

In some cases, under the ‘substitution’ clause in the courier contract, account holders will rent out their accounts to other workers. Deliveroo claim that this puts the onus on the account holder to perform background checks.

It is clear that these companies wish to benefit from access to a highly vulnerable workforce by using the ‘substitution’ system to shirk liability for illegally employing people.

We don’t condone or support any form of rent-seeking – the lowest form of capitalist profit making – and particularly condemn those who rent out their ‘right-to-work’ and make a profit at the expense of some of the most vulnerable in our society.

We stand in solidarity of all those making deliveries for Uber Eats and Deliveroo, regardless of immigration status or “right-to-work”, and condemn the police and Home Office victimisation of workers.

As Brexit looms on the horizon, it seems likely that the ‘hostile environment ‘ is going to intensify and expand to more of our fellow workers. In recent months, we have already seen police raids against other groups of workers in precarious jobs, notably sex workers.

If you witness, or hear of, police gathering to conduct raids, we encourage you to let your fellow couriers know so they can avoid the area.

An injury to one is an injury to all.

Further information and advice the Anti Raids Network is a loose network of groups and individuals working to build the resistance to immigration raids by producing and sharing information and materials.