New video about Brighton Anti-Fascists

Anti Fascist Network

Check out this new short film featuring AFN members Brighton Anti-Fascists talking a little bit about what they do and why they do it.

Like what you see? Get in touch with your local group and get involved.

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How bad is global inequality, really?

Local Futures

Most everyone who’s interested in global inequality has come across the famous elephant graph, originally developed by Branko Milanovic and Christoph Lakner using World Bank data (see below). The graph charts the change in income that the world’s population have experienced over time, from the very poorest to the richest 1%.

We can update the elephant graph using the latest data from the World Inequality Database, which covers the whole period from 1980 to 2016 using a method called “distributive national accounts”. Here’s what it looks like in real dollars (MER), developed in collaboration with Huzaifa Zoomkawala:

The elephant graph has been used by some to argue that neoliberal globalization has caused inequality to decline since 1980. After all, it would appear that the biggest gains have gone to the poorest 60% of the world’s population, whose incomes have grown two or three times more than those of the richest 40%.

But this impression can be misleading. It’s important to recognize that the elephant graph shows relative gains, with respect to each group’s baseline in 1980. So the poorest 10-20th percentile gained 82% over this period. That sounds like a lot, on the face of it. But remember that they started from a very low base. For people earning $2.40 per day in 1980, their incomes grew to no more than $4.36 per day… over a period of 36 years. So, about 5 cents per year. [ … 433 more words]

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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

The Working Class has no country! Solidarity with Brazilian couriers in Dublin.

Borders serve only the bosses, states are cross-class alliances. Away with them!

From IWW Ireland.

Brazilian Deliveroo couriers in Dublin have been leading a campaign against xenophobic attacks and thefts.

All of us who have worked as couriers know the physical dangers we face on a day to day basis. Not only must we navigate urban traffic, often in the dark or adverse conditions, but we have very little control over the areas we travel to, and those of us on bikes and mopeds are continuously physically exposed.

These factors are compounded by inequalities within society around race, nationality, gender, sexuality, age, physical ability, and so on. An area that feels safe to a white man, might not feel so safe to woman of colour, or some may face racial profiling from police or Immigration authorities as they go about their jobs.

On top of this, our work require that we carry around expensive equipment, whether vehicles or smartphones. This can make us targets for thieves, who in certain areas have set up strategies specifically targeting couriers for their vehicles, smartphones, and whatever else they may be carrying.

The arms-length nature of our relationship with our ’employers’ means that they can shirk most of the responsibility for our safety or for any loss or damage to equipment. Where insurance schemes are offered, they are limited in scope and can be hard to access.

These are all aspects of precarious employment – various means by which risk is pushed down on to us, the workers, while those who employ us are set to reap the rewards.

In Dublin they are setting an example in how to challenge this state of affairs – by standing together, collectivising the struggle, and forcing those who seek to reap the rewards to account for the risks we must face.

From across the UK and Ireland we declare solidarity with our fellow couriers in Dublin, and all those who stand up against violence and xenophobia in their workplaces and beyond.

We can only fight precarity with solidarity!