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[ 15. May 2010 ]

Scapegoats, Serco and Solidarity

Serco stop abuse in Yalr's Wood

Another week of the election, another week of scapegoating migrants equals another week in which the deportation machine strides on; imprisoning men, women and children before deporting them to wherever is most expedient.


The mainstream political parties' rhetoric surrounding immigration has become less and less distinguishable from that of the BNP. They point their fingers at migrants, positioning one group of oppressed and marginalised people as the cause of others dispossession of other groups.

This anti-migrant discourse is further developed by the mainstream press - including the Nottingham Evening Post - who seek to flog their rags with sensational headlines which blame migrants for all of society's ills, unwilling or unable to develop a broader analysis.

Meanwhile, resistance continues in the form of migrant protests within the detention estate and solidarity attacks on the companies profiting from running migrant prisons, such as Serco.

Private industry works in tandem with the state as it oppresses for profit and power - companies such as Sodexo, Serco and Global Solutions Limited reap the financial rewards of the border industry. The UK Border Agency continues to reinforce the borders with the latest in surveillance technology. In Calais, where some Nottingham activists continue to spend time, more money is being poured into the creation of suffering for those wish to come to the UK. Controlling borders has always been about the control of capital, now though the border control is an industry in its self. New contracts and new technologies are being created, further embedding European governments migration policies with the interests of multi-national corporations.

This year has seen women in the Serco ran Yarlswood detention centre on hunger strike and prisoner resistance in the GSL ran Oakington detention centre, these occurrences emphasize the continued struggle which goes on daily against systematic oppression at the hands of the state. In parallel with this over the course of April three separate attacks were carried out on the offices and vehicles of Serco, with their property being burned in Bristol, Nottingham and London.

On the 8th of May the Nottingham Student Peace Movement put on their annual conference and this year it will be focusing on the issues of migration, connecting them to other themes such as capitalism, climate change and the military industrial complex. It is the aim of the conference to challenge assumptions and develop critiques of current paradigms surrounding migration which permeate mainstream society, academia and activism. This event is of particular relevance due to the University of Nottingham's ties with Sodexo. In april the Lakeside Arts Centre which sits at the feet of the University and has contracted it's catering out to Sodexo the same company who have been given the contract to supply the goverment issued identity cards for asylum seekers, a contract worth millions for Sodexo whilst infringing on another aspect of asylum seekers liberties and freedoms. The millions of pounds they are making from this act of oppression is on top of the tens of millions they made in the eight years they ran Harmondsworth detention centre, which is the largest site of migrant oppression in the U.K, imprisoning 500 men, women and children at any one time. As well as enjoying the financial rewards for this aspect of their business, Sodexo also run the hospitality and catering at the National College, on the Jubilee campus of Nottingham University.

A month later from the 1st to the 6th of June a week of actions against the deportation machine has been called for by the Stop Deportation Network. During the week groups and campaigns from around Europe will organise autonomous actions against the deportation machine. Deportations of migrants are now co-ordinated efforts involving private industry and unaccountable government agencies such as Frontex and IOM. This is the just one highlighted week in the resistance against nation states and the border system and suffering which they cause. Other flash points this year will include the 15th of May, when there is a day of action for the Freedom of Movement for all, and the 23rd and 24th of May will see demonstrations against Frontex exhibitions. These will be followed by weeks and days of action across Europe, until September when in there will be a No Borders camp in Brussels which will bring together the struggles against nationalism, surveillance, detention, deportation, and the privatisation of the borders.

Article published first on 07. May 2010 @ ::