By Niamh Flannery
To say that the suppression of human rights in Britain has reached catastrophic proportions, is an understatement. As a 20 year old woman from an Irish background, an anti-fascist and an Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign activist, I have become increasingly aware of the lengths the British state will go to, to oppress other countries and people throughout the UK. I have seen how BAME people in particular continue to be the victims of brutal and deliberate racism and working class oppression. From Windrush to Grenfell, Stephen Lawrence and Christopher Alder to Belly Mujinga, we continue to see how deeply entrenched and systemic racism is in Britain. Covid-19 has also highlighted the extreme inequalities in British society and throughout the world and the disproportionate number of BAME people who are key workers, working on the front line and have contracted the virus and who have died. State terrorism, involving acts of violence against groups and individuals by the state, is used to suppress any form of dissent, and the people who oppose state violence are labelled ‘terrorists’ and ‘thugs’ and victim blamed and criminalised by the state. We saw this at Orgreave, Shrewsbury, Hillsborough etc and we are seeing this now when we gather to oppose and highlight social murder, corporate manslaughter and deliberate acts of racism and police violence and brutality. The recent police murder of George Floyd in the US is another monstrous act of police cruelty and brutality and the latest indication of a political system that remorselessly denigrates the lives of BAME people. Britain and the US are sabotaging, forbidding and outlawing the rights of people to peacefully protest against and highlight these injustices, but we must continue to actively fight against oppression and oppressive regimes.
In an open letter to the framed and falsely imprisoned US civil and human rights campaigner, Angela Davis – James Baldwin wrote:
“If we know, then we must fight for your life as though it were our own …. For, if they take you in the morning, they will be coming for us that night.”