Sunday, 31 July 2011

WAST march on UKBA Liverpool

On Friday 29th July, members of the Manchester-based Women Asylum Seekers Together (WAST) and supporters from the community marched from Liverpool’s St. George’s Hall to the UK Borders Agency headquarters.

The march was well-attended, consisting mainly of women and children in the process of seeking Asylum, as well as local activists, friends and supporters.  With so many young children on the march, it was especially worrying when six members of the English Defence League appeared.  We already knew that the North West Infidels contingent of the EDL were particularly vile, but turning out to harass mothers and children for seeking to escape from rape, torture and violence was a new low even for them.  That said, nobody was intimidated and few bothered to engage with them.  They, themselves, just held out their flags and seemed a little uncertain as to why they were there or what they wanted to say, in contrast to the women of WAST whose placards, chants, songs and pamphlets presented a strong, clear message: seeking asylum is not a crime.

After the march, women spoke of the violence and oppression they had sought to escape, and of the further violence and oppression they were facing as a direct result of an asylum system that treats them as criminals and leaves them without enough money to live on, or the right to legally earn it. After the speakers, the WAST choir sang songs about freedom, exile and better times to come.

WAST’s list of demands for the UKBA can be found on the Facebook event for the march, and covered the need for legal aid, support for women who have suffered violence, an end to detention and destitution and a recognition of the human rights of asylum seekers’ children.

You can find out more about WAST and donate to them on their web site,

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Revolution in Egypt: Interview with an Egyptian anarcho-syndicalist

Radical Notes Journal has recently posted up a PDF of an interview with an anarcho-syndicalist in Cairo. My attention was drawn to it because the same document was sent to me by email.

In the following conversation, Jano Charbel talks about the character of the revolution in Egypt, the recent history of workers’ struggles, the role of Islamists and unions, gender relations and the perspectives of struggles. The interview was conducted by two friends of the classless society in Cairo in spring 2011.

You can read the full text here (PDF).

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Wirral Social Services, Alternative Futures Group and the cuts

Cross-posted from

Care company Alternative Futures Group (AFG) recently announced to their employees and family members of service users that Wirral Social Services have decided that there are “too many registered homes” on the Wirral and AFG were to close all of its registered care homes in the area. All service users currently living in AFG registered care homes (including severely disabled individuals) are to be moved to cheaper (for social services) supported living accomodation.

Supported living involves a lower level of staffing and support for service users and is generally considered to be appropriate for more able individuals, as a result many service users will be moved out of homes that they have lived in for many years with and qualified nursing staff have been made redundant.

Support staff have been threatened with immediate dismissal if we discuss the changes outside of the company or say anything “disparaging” about the decision. We have not been consulted at any stage and both the company and Social Services have consistetly refused to explain to staff or families of service users why the decision has been made or exactly what the arrangements for service users and staff will be.

This is not an isolated instance of poor management or planning. As Social Services continue to look for places to make cuts, both vulnerable people and the staff that are employed to support them will continue to suffer.