We are a loose network of groups and individuals working to build the resistance to immigration raids since 2012 by producing and sharing information and materials. The following statement was agreed by those active in the network in September 2016.
What is the Anti Raids Network?
Every day people are resisting immigration raids in their homes, workplaces and neighbourhoods. The aim of the Anti Raids Network (ARN) is solely to gather and spread information which could be used to oppose raids. Information includes alerts about raids, practical and legal resources, and stories and examples of resistance.
This is not the only initiative
ARN does not claim to organise or speak on behalf of those involved in this struggle against raids. Indeed, most of the people resisting raids will never have heard of ARN. ARN welcomes the creation of new initiatives against raids.
Diversity of tactics
People fight raids in many different ways. To give just a few examples: giving out legal information in different languages; running info-stalls to talk about raids in our neighbourhoods; gathering neighbours to challenge raid squads; helping people at risk to get away; physically stopping arrest vans; resisting inside detention centres, and supporting their struggles; organising in workplaces … and much more. ARN stands in solidarity with all those resisting raids, whatever ways they choose to fight. While individuals and groups may have their own different views about what tactics work best, ARN will not put out statements condemning any actions against raids.
Do it yourself
The network strongly supports resistance based on “doing it yourself”. That is, we all are most powerful when we join together in our streets, workplaces, and neighbourhoods, build up solidarity, and take action for ourselves. We do not work with political parties.
Individuals or groups involved in ARN can act for themselves without seeking permission or consensus from the whole network. We ask only that those using the ARN name (1) support this and the earlier basic statement of principles (below), and (2) don’t claim to represent the whole network. Within that framework, any one is free to set up their own “Anti Raids” initiative: diversity of views, ideas, materials, etc. is encouraged!
There are a few network-wide resources, for example: the central Anti Raids blog (this); email; and twitter accounts. The main purpose of these is to act as a general contact point and to spread basic information and alerts about raids. They can also act as platforms to publish ideas and opinions coming from individuals and groups within the network. They are not there to promote one “central” or “consensus” Anti Raids position, and may reflect a diversity of positions (again, so long as they hold to the shared basic principles).
We are against hierarchy: that is, we don’t want to have leaders, rather we should all take responsibility to organise ourselves as equals. We are against both formal leadership roles and “informal” hierarchical structures. Anyone who dominates others should be challenged.
The network is open to anyone who shares the basic principles. The participation of people whose immigration status puts them at most direct risk from immigration raids is encouraged and supported. But migrants should not have to stand alone in this struggle, we are all implicated in this fight. All who participate in the Network should do so as equals, treating each other with respect, directness and honesty.
Please see here for more on how to get involved in the Anti Raids Network.
Who is behind the Anti Raids Network?
The network was set up in spring 2012 by a number of London-based groups, including the Latin American Workers’ Association (LAWAS), No Borders London, South London Anti-Fascists, Precarious Workers Brigade, The Prisma, Stop Deportation, South London SolFed, People’s Republic of Southwark, as well as independent individuals – with and without papers. The network evolved into a decentralised structure of local Anti Raids groups, as well as various individuals producing and disseminating materials for the network.
The information in the ‘know your rights’ cards and the workshops has been thoroughly researched and produced in conjunction with immigration lawyers. Translations have been proof-read at least twice. Feel free to print and distribute!
What we believe
The following is an earlier agreed set of principles discussed and drafted by the different groups and individuals involved in the Anti Raids Network.
1. We believe that all people should be free to travel and live where they want, whatever countries we were born in, whether we were born rich or poor, and whatever passports or papers we have. In this world the wealthy are free to move wherever they want. They use immigration controls to divide us by labelling us “citizens” and “migrants”, “legal” and “illegal”, “genuine” and “bogus”. We are against all immigration controls. We believe that no one is illegal. We believe in freedom of movement.
2. We believe that all people should be free from violence, attacks, and harassment by the state, its armies, police, and immigration officers. We oppose all state repression.
3. We oppose all forms of racism; from individuals, the state, the media and other institutions. Immigration controls are inherently racist.
4. Immigration controls are part of a vicious global system of capitalism and colonialism. The British Empire and other colonial powers are not just history. Powerful corporations and governments are still colonising and destroying the world for profit, and the entire economy functions on plundered resources such as oil. They use immigration controls to protect the wealth they have looted over centuries, to push down wages, and to stop us from uniting.
5. Our weapon is solidarity. The only way to fight immigration controls, and other attacks by the rich and powerful, is to create networks of resistance that bring together individuals and communities. We need to come together on the streets, in our areas and workplaces, and fight side by side with our neighbours.
6. Immigration checks and raids on our homes, streets, communities and workplaces are violent attacks on us by the racist state. They can have extreme consequences, including lengthy periods of detention, deportation and, in some cases, death. Raids and checks need to be opposed wherever and however we can.
7. We can use the law to oppose immigration controls, by challenging the legality of raids, and by spreading information about our legal rights. However, we remember that the law belongs to the powerful. We only have certain rights because people have fought for them. They will take away legal rights wherever they think they can get away with it. Legal challenges are not our only path, but just one part of creating resistance.
8. The Anti Raids Network is just one network of groups and individuals in London; we are not the only people fighting immigration raids. We encourage everyone to take action in your own areas and in your own ways. We encourage anyone to use and spread our materials (bust cards, posters, videos, etc.), or change them to suit your needs, and fight for yourselves and your communities.
9. Ours is a non-hierarchical network: we have no leaders. There are no officials or central committee. We are individuals and members of different groups who share these aims and principles, and want to work together. We have respect for each other and work together as equals.
10. Fighting raids is one way we can come together with our neighbours and create communities of mutual aid that can challenge racism, capitalism and social control.