The IWW Education Workers Industrial Union (Wales, Ireland, Scotland & England Regional Administration) stands firmly behind the US uprising triggered by the brutal murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police, which is, unfortunately, only the latest in a string of murders. We wholeheartedly support any and all methods protesters see as meaningful in bringing about the justice they seek and reaffirm our call for the abolition of the police whose purpose is to uphold capitalist relations of production by reinforcing racial prejudices and criminalizing those in poverty.
We also acknowledge that anti-black racism is not exclusively a US phenomenon. Many of the cities in our regional administration were built by profits extracted from slave labour. The Black community continues to be disproportionately targeted by policing activities and killed in police custody. The latest COVID-19 pandemic has also proved that institutionalised racism extends well beyond policing and into the healthcare system where members of Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities are disproportionately affected. Furthermore, the UK government grants export licences worth millions of pounds for the sale of anti-crowd gas, riot equipment, so-called “rubber bullets”, and other small arms to the US.
As education workers, we also denounce the intrusive policing of learning spaces under the guise of ‘counter-terrorism’ perpetuated by programmes such as Prevent, and the creation of border control-like departments within institutions for the policing of students on study visas. We also acknowledge that educational institutions still have a long way to go to combat racism on their campuses and in their classrooms as documented in reports on racial abuse.
We encourage our members and the public at large to attend protests in solidarity where they see it as safe to do so. Below are links to resources, funds, and email templates that can be used to put pressure on schools and universities to address and tackle racism, and ways to support the protests in the US.