#DearBA – End deportations now!

To mark its 100th ‘birthday’, British Airways is running an ad campaign centred around 100 so-called ‘love letters to Britain’. Over the past months, pressure has been mounting on BA to end its practice of deporting people on their flights. Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants have published 100 letters to BA demanding that BA stop deportations. This is rs21’s letter, written as part of the project.

Poster from QTIPOC Narratives in Brighton via Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants

Dear British Airways,

You have asked for ‘love letters to Britain’. We have no love for Britain. Workers all over the world have, throughout history, discovered an enduring and measured hatred of Britain. British colonial occupation of a quarter of the globe has historically been organised through manufactured famines, from Ireland to Bengal, intense repression of workers’ organisation and violent population control. These practices were enforced by the British state as an integral part of securing a market for British capital and repressing all progressive movements which threatened the profit margins of British enterprise. The advanced workers of the world were at the forefront of the liberation movements which broke the shackles of British colonialism, and the advanced sections of the British working class stood in solidarity with those struggles in recognition that they shared a common enemy: the British state and the ruling class.

Although the boundaries of British colonial occupation have retreated, imperialism continues to ravage the globe. British arms sales fan the flames of endless war and have contributed to mass famine in Yemen. Capital continues its dominance around the world, leaving poverty, starvation and emiseration in its wake. Millions are driven from their homes by war or in search of a better life and catastrophic climate change threatens to make vast swathes of the planet uninhabitable. The same methods of violent population control which were developed through colonial administration are turned inwards to British domestic life; methods of surveillance, arbitrary detention and deportation. In Britain racist and repressive ‘counter-terror’ and ‘migration control’ systems work in tandem to create and reproduce racist divisions in British society in a climate of intense suspicion and xenophobia.

The system of borders suits capital by creating entire sections of the working class who are made vulnerable and exploitable by the threat of deportation and criminalisation, therefore forced to accept lower wages and endure discrimination. This weakness in working class unity can only be addressed by a united struggle against the system of migration control which divides workers. You force your workers into complicity in this division by making them work hand in hand with border guards and carry out the British state’s practices of deportation.

In October 2010, on a British Airways flight, Jimmy Mubenga was killed by security guards; guards who were subsequently and unsurprisingly exonerated by the British state. Your own staff suffered traumatic breakdowns due to being made the unwitting accomplices of brutal state repression, as in the case of Louise Graham, dismissed after a mental breakdown as a direct result of Mubenga’s killing.

As long as you accept contracts from the British government to fly people to their deaths you have blood on your hands. Participation in violent deportations may boost your profit margins, but you are wrong to think that it is in your interests. The more your workers are forced into unwitting complicity with this violence the more they will draw connections between the bosses who underpay and exploit them and the border guards who shackle and deport their migrant friends and comrades. You would be right to fear that solidarity. 

You have asked for ‘love letters to Britain’. The working class have no country; we have a world to win.

rs21 – Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century

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