Labour Party’s Racist Asylum Policy

In the latest Queen’s Speech, the Labour Government signalled not only the fact that it would continue to play the ‘racist card’ but also that fact that every card in their deck is racist!

On asylum they gloat “applications in September 2003 have fallen by more than 50% when compared to October 2002 (from 6700 to 4223) in line with the Prime Minister’s target” [1] Any fair-minded person may ask how one person (even the Prime Minister) in Britain can set a target for reducing asylum applications from around the world? Has he done deals to make everyone’s life better where they live making less people want to leave their homes and families to travel to an uncertain and often hostile future in Britain? No! quite simply even to apply for asylum has been made so difficult that only a few actually qualify for application (this is by no means a guarantee of achieving asylum status). Even the fear of imminent death for your family or yourself is not enough by itself (unless it suits a political goal of imperialism) to qualify for making an application.

There are many reasons for seeking asylum in imperialist countries like Britain, probably the most common is being exploited in your own country by British (or other foreign) imperialism to the point where you can work seven days a week and still go hungry and clothed in rags without decent shelter; or being persecuted by your government which is a puppet of imperialism and must crush you in order to allow imperialism to ‘peaceably’ rob your country of its wealth; or perhaps your government is paying off interest on old debts to imperialism that never get less but instead increase constantly leaving less and less for your people and causing civil strife, inter-racial enmity and local wars. It we take note of the increased imperialist wars of plunder, led by the Labour Party, we can see that the world has become a much more dangerous place to live and any fair-minded person (who didn’t know how imperialism works) might suppose that applications for asylum would increase in this situation instead of being cut in half. But of course imperialism is not fair and the Labour Party is a fully-fledged party of imperialism. The Labour Party document continues: “We have removed a record number of asylum seekers, including dependents, 14,400 in 2003/4” (ibid). Indeed, according to their figures, the number of asylum seekers ‘removed’ in the second quarter of 2003 was a 7% increase on the first quarter. There is an inalienable right, which belongs to all (should belong to all) to pick up your belongings and move to another place. Over the years this right has been whittled away and replaced with notions of ‘legal and illegal’ immigration. One of the most noticeable things about the document being quoted from is the lack of qualifications attached to this term ‘asylum seeker’. Does this mean then that the Labour Party are now recognising that inalienable right to live where you please? No, it must means that they no longer differentiate between those, who by imperialism’s own rules are, legal or illegal. Just stop as many as possible getting in and get as many out as you can of those that are here is the only criteria being used now it seems.

Given the above, is it to be wondered at that for many people, who do live in fear of their lives, the only way out is through the ‘people traffickers’. To use this method you have to be prepared to be a virtual slave for the rest of your days as you will forever be paying off the ‘debt’ of your carriage to an imperialist country. These victims, of both the traffickers and imperialism, find themselves smuggled across borders with no papers, little hope of freedom and the constant threat of violence from their ‘owners’ as they are used as sweatshop labour or sex ‘machines’ (either way they are not considered as human by their owners, merely commodities to be used, hired out or sold on) and yet it must be remembered that for many of these victims this is an escape from something far worse!

The Labour Party claims “… our approach is not to demonise asylum seekers but to tackle flaws in the system …” (ibid). They continue, ” it is only by raising and retaining public confidence in the asylum and immigration system that we can tackle the scare tactics of the far right” (ibid). This is the ultimate hypocrisy! The other side of the coin to these new ‘Asylum and Immigration’ Laws are the so-called ‘Anti-Terrorism’ Laws under which over 500 Black/Arabic/Eastern European people have already been arrested, questioned and later released without charge. If this is not demonisation of not only asylum seekers, but also the resident Black/Arabic and Eastern European communities what is it? The Labour Party with its inhuman (if you doubt this term check the legislation and rule changes affecting immigration and asylum seeking since they came to power) treatment of asylum seekers, it’s scapegoating of the black (particularly Muslim) population as potential ‘terrorists’ while it leads British imperialism’s terrorist drive for conquest and plunder around the world, has been doing nothing short of carrying out the wildest demands of the BNP. In fact, due to its position as the government the Labour Party can (and does) implement its racist policies. It then gets simple-minded dupes at election times to campaign against the BNP by advising people to ‘Vote Labour to keep the racists out’!. But it is surely the height of folly to vote for the powerful racists in order to keep out the weak ones.

There is a group in Sheffield (we are sure that there are many more throughout the country) whose chosen title is ‘Coalition against Racism – Unite to stop the BNP’ In this organisation members of the three main political parties rub shoulders with trade unionists, socialists and others to campaign to stop people voting for the BNP. In fact they keep the BNP in the spotlight all year round! The group points to the handful of BNP councillors across the country and laments “For evil to triumph all that is necessary is for good people to do nothing!” [2] They seem oblivious to the fact that the vast majority of councillors in the country, along with the vast majority of MPs are members of the major imperialist parties – Labour, Tory, LibDem – and these ‘good people’ are doing nothing about their racism. In fact one of the supporters of the Sheffield Campaign against Racism – Unite to Stop the BNP is none other than that well known campaigner for black people’s rights, David (stop whingeing) Blunkett. To those members of the Labour Party who declare themselves against their leadership, against imperialist plunder and war, against racism, we have to say, if you pay your membership subscriptions, if you stand in elections for that party, if you vote for and try to persuade others to vote for that party, then you actively support both its leadership and its policies. While ever you remain a member of the Labour Party you are part and parcel of the imperialist murder and plunder, and the racist policies of that party. There is no innocent member of the Labour Party.

Imperialism demands disunity in the ranks of the working class and the Labour Party willingly points the finger at asylum seekers.

Imperialism wants a scapegoat to take the spotlight off its terrorist wars of conquest and plunder and the Labour Party points at the black community and screams ‘potential terrorists’. Those who fear fascism would do well to take a good long look at the role of the Labour Party.

The Labour Party is in office to protect the interests of British imperialism. One of its main weapons to protect imperialism is the promotion of racism. Unless this is understood any campaigns against racism will be trying to work in a straight jacket of its own choice and the result will be more racist legislation and attacks along with continued and heightened exploitation of ALL members of a disunited working class at home and more wars of conquest and subjection abroad.


[1] Queen’s speech 2003: A future fair for all, published by the Labour Party, 26 November 2003.

[2] Sheffield Campaign against Racism – Unite to Stop the BNP; leaflet advertising meeting.