While our Day of Action is a celebration of migrants and migration to the UK, past and present, 1 Day Without Us remains involved in much more than that. As part of our pledge to stand with migrants, we have always encouraged participation in 1 Day Without Us from a range of organisations along various left-wing positions, and believe that the struggles of migrants and workers are bound up together and must be challenged together.
On 20th February 2017, 1 Day Without Us held our very first Day of Action, resulting in over 160 events being held across the country. Besides support from the National Union of Students and several trade unions, 1 Day Without Us also provided a platform to groups fighting for migrant rights and workers’ rights. In Liverpool, we had a rally against migrant criminalisation by the Liverpool Solidarity Federation that called out to migrant workers, and working-class people in general, to take a stand against the criminalisation of migrant workers and the division of the working class. In Bristol, a day of action against racism and austerity was called on our behalf, while in Leicester, a walkout from work was held. Meanwhile, the Bakers’ Union’s Fast Food Rights campaign used 1 Day Without Us to stage a demonstration with the RMT in solidarity with migrant workers, and to demand a £10 minimum wage for all. Even when groups did not take part in the Day of Action itself, they used our platform to fight for their rights; the English Collective of Prostitutes (a sex worker-led campaign that fights for sex workers, including for their rights and safety) published a rights sheet and call to action in response to 1 Day Without Us, calling for an end to the deportation of EEA sex workers from the UK, which puts their lives at risk.
For our next Day of Action on 17th February 2018, 1 Day Without Us continues to take the position that migrant rights and workers’ rights are inextricable, and that we can (and, indeed, must) fight for both while continuing to celebrate migration. We don’t believe that migration is simply a negative phenomenon or a problem that can be solved by forcing people to remain in their countries. Migrants are people, not commodities, and migration is not simply a consequence of global inequality or neoliberalism. Our movement stands with migrants from all walks of life, whether they are here in the UK by force or by choice. We stand with both migrant and British workers and we reject and attempts by politicians or employers to divide us from each other or scapegoat migrants for economic and social problems that they may also be victims of.
If you stand for this, too, we invite you to take part in building our Day of Action, and to join us on 17th February 2018 in unity, solidarity and celebration.
Proud to be a migrant, proud to stand with migrants!
By Robert Liow