All lives cannot matter until Black Lives Matter, and Black lives do not matter unless there are structural changes to the way our society is set up. Below are some of the issues that we believe in and that many organisations up and down the country, including ours, are fighting for.
FUND BLACK FUTURES
• An immediate reversal of all cuts made during austerity
• Safe, secure, unionised and well-paid green jobs
• Enough social housing built so everyone has access to an affordable, secure and decent home.
• Rent controls
• Immediate rehousing of those affected by Grenfell
• Protect, reinvest and reverse the privatisation of the NHS.
• Funding for community land trusts and food co-ops.
The deliberate divestment away from our communities in the last few decades means that more than 14 million people are living in poverty in Britain today. Nearly half of Black African Caribbean households live in poverty, compared with just under one in five white families. Your chances of living in poverty are even higher if you are a single mother, if you are disabled, or if you’re trans. And we know that this is made worse by the pandemic.
We are looking for grassroots projects which are providing the vital necessities for Black communities which have been eroded by austerity and/or the pandemic. We will prioritise groups supporting those worse effected by austerity and the pandemic, and are keen to support longer-term, sustainable projects. Crucially, we see these survival projects as one part of a wider project of systemic change, and will be looking for applications which are committed to a vision in which Black communities don’t just survive, but thrive.
• An end to school exclusion and offrolling.
• An end to school-police partnerships including Prevent, hostile environment and anti-gangs programmes.
• A curriculum which includes colonial, Black and Global South histories, literature, religions and geographies. This should be led by experts in these fields, including Black academics.
• Mental health, social care and youth services in all schools.
• More investment in SEN services in schools.
• Investment in anti-racist education and accountability for schools which do not tackle racism and other forms of discrimination and violence from students or staff.
• The reinstatement of the Educational Maintenance Allowance
• Scrap tuition fees and student debt.
Black children are three times more likely to be permanently excluded from school than their white counterparts. Black children are more likely than average to be failed by the school system, experiencing racist bullying, harassment and often leaving fewer qualifications. But Black communities also have a beautiful culture of resistance through education.
We are looking for projects which are resisting racism in education, as well as those building educational alternatives. Challenging unfair punishment and criminalisation of Black students, improving access to further and higher education as well as decolonising curriculums all vital forms of resistance that exist in state education. But projects in which our young people are active participants in what is learned and how that learning is achieved is an educational philosophy which we also want to see it grow. Working with young people to learn more about the histories of our communities and peoples, as well as the issues we face today is a crucial component of any political movement, and we will be looking for projects that work in this tradition.
BLACK ARTS AND CULTURE
Black cultures have always been an integral part of our political movements, from dance to literature, film-making to spitting bars. The diversity of black cultures are one of our movements’ strengths, and we conceive of culture in its broadest sense.
We are particularly interested in cultural and artistic projects that are making political interventions which align with our values and platform. We are also looking for projects that are working with grassroots community groups/political movements and are led-by black creatives.
END THE HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT AND BORDER CONTROLS
• Immediate end to immigration enforcement, raids, detention and deportations (including charter flights).
• An end the ‘hostile environment’ and any policy which turns housing, employment, education, healthcare or any other public service into a border agency.
• An end to ‘no recourse to public funds’ including NHS charges.
• Equal status for all undocumented and under-documented people living in the UK via an accessible regularisation programme.
• Repatriation and reparations for all deportees, including those deported as part of the ‘Windrush Scandal’.
Over 130,000 people were deported from Britain in the last ten years. As migrants flee underdevelopment, war and climate change that they did not cause, justice doesn’t mean border controls, it means reparations for slavery and colonialism, and safe passage.
We are looking for projects which are challenging borders wherever they occur – in our ports, within our public services or on the streets. We are also interested in organisations which provides support for migrants, particularly undocumented people who are criminalised and often forced into poverty. Organisations in which migrants are active participants will be looked upon favourably, as will those which align with our vision for a world free of borders..
DEFUND THE POLICE – INVEST IN COMMUNITIES
• An end to prison and police expansion.
• Immediate dismissal of any police officer who is discriminatory, corrupt or uses excessive force.
• An end to police surveillance and data-collection technologies (e.g. facial recognition and digital comms monitoring).
• An end to ‘Prevent’, the ‘war on terror’ and the surveillance and criminalisation of Muslim communities.
• An end to the incarceration of children, including in so-called ‘secure schools’.
• An end to the gangs databases, gang injunctions and joint enterprise doctrine.
• An end to the arming of police (e.g. tasers, spithoods and firearms).
Calls to defund, with a view to abolishing the police and prison system, is one of the core political principles of UKBLM. But this vision can only be achieved if we can create the alternative structures of harm reduction and care that make people less likely to come into contact with the police and prison system.
We are looking for organisations which are pushing for abolitionist reforms: changes to the system which reduce our reliance on police and prison power, while empowering community-led forms of harm-reduction, transformative justice and care. Examples of this include, but are not limited to, projects for young people at risk of being affected by violence, projects for people with mental health problems or neurodivergence and support for imprisoned and formerly-imprisoned people. We will also of course be looking for groups challenging police power directly, including police monitoring groups, advocacy for those effected by police violence and campaign/protest groups.
• An end to the sale and manufacture of weapons and military infrastructure.
• An end to all British military operations abroad, including Iraq, Afghanistan and across Africa.
• An end to militarily occupied lands, including Palestine, Western Sahara, Kashmir and Kurdistan.
• An end to government support for oil and mining companies, financial institutions and other multinational corporations exploiting Black and other Global South people and environments.
• An end to economic, military and diplomatic support for all oppressive governments across the Global South.
• An immediate end to all Global South debts paid to Britain, the EU, IMF and World Bank.
As members of the diaspora, we stand in solidarity with our family across the globe. Britain and Europe’s imperial history underdeveloped the peoples they colonised. Imperialism created racial capitalism, where racism shapes how land and resources are stolen and how people are exploited. Over 100 companies on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) have African mining operations that control over $1 trillion worth of Africa’s most valuable resources. While $134 billions flows to Africa in the form of loans, aid and investment each year, $194 billion is taken from the continent through profits, tax dodging and climate costs. Britain’s militarism, economic exploitation, environmental destruction and the propping up of oppressive governments in African and other parts of the Global South continues the legacy of colonialism.
We stand in solidarity with Black and other Global South peoples resisting exploitation, violence and environmental destruction in all its forms.