Archive | March, 2011

No Cuts to ESOL, No Cuts at All!

22 Mar

Demonstration 24 March

Government cuts in ESOL funding could devastate language provision for people who don’t speak English as their first language.

This is the latest in a series of attacks to the already limited services that migrants and asylum seekers can access, and part of the wider attack on education, jobs and public services.

As the Government proposes cuts to English classes, ESOL teachers and students have declared 24th March to be a Day of Action
to protest against the Government’s policies on ESOL. There will rallies, marches and events all over England.

In Newcastle, a march, co-ordinated by Tyneside Community Action Against Racism,  will take place at 4.30pm on Thursday 24th March, beginning at the Centre for Life, near central station, city centre, and ending with a rally at the Monument. The march is on the same day as strikes by college and University lecturers in protest at education cuts.

All welcome!

More information about the cuts;

Currently, ESOL classes are free to students in receipt of a range of
benefits, including Job Seekers Allowance, Income Support, Working Tax
Credits, Housing Benefit, or Council Tax Benefit.  But from September
2011, only those getting JSA and some receiving the new Employment Support Allowance, will be entitled to free classes.

National surveys show that over 50% of students and in some areas as many
as over 70% currently studying on free courses will be expected to pay
because they will not fall within the new rules.  This includes people in
low waged employment, spouses of people receiving benefit and asylum

Funding for ESOL programmes has been cut by 50% over the last three years.
The cost of classes is expected to rise to around £900 a year.
Campaigners warn that this will price many students out of learning

Campaigners have argued that these new measures discriminate in particular
against women, who make up over half of current ESOL students. They argue
further that it will make it more difficult for those who don’t speak
English as their first language to find sustainable employment, access
services, support their children in schools or to participate in society.
They point out that migrants bring important skills and experience to
the UK and are keen to contribute to society.

info from:


Next meeting Thurs 17 March

15 Mar


The King’s Manor pub

132-140 Newbridge Street

Newcastle Upon Tyne

(near Manors metro station)

Following on from the successful Films Without Borders film season, we’d like to invite people with an interest in the No Borders network or ideas, or anyone who’d like to find out more about the group or get involved, to come to a meeting. We’d also invite anyone who came to the film season to share their thoughts and feelings about some of the moving films and performances that we watched.

All welcome – the meeting will be fairly short, and will provide information about the No Borders network as well as the No Borders North East group. There will be ideas about how to get involved for those who think they might want to.

We’re a friendly group and look forward to meeting you.

The agenda of the meeting is:

1. introductions
2. history of the No Borders network and overview of the No Borders perspective
3. the local group – history and what we’ve done
4. the film season – what we thought of the films/talks, what they made us think about, how they made us feel
5. ideas/plans about what to do next – English Language Conversation Group fundraiser, English Language Conversation Group  weekly sessions, seminar series, supporting other local NB groups to do film seasons, action against ESOL cuts, reading group, plus more
6. How to get involved

7. Any Other Business
8. End and date for next meeting

Norooz fundraiser this Sunday!

14 Mar

This Sunday at The Jazz Cafe

Food!     Music!      Dancing!     Conversation!     FUN!     & more!


£5 recommended entry fee (all proceeds go to the English Language Conversation Group)

Live Swing-Folk- Balkan-Soul-New Orleans R&B-Calypso music from the talented:


Check them out!

See you there. 🙂




Films without borders, crossing Arizona.

14 Mar

During the film season we screened Crossing Arizona, as the second night of the films without borders season. The discussion which followed the film brought up many issues and points which people might like to explore further.
Here is a list of things which came up in discussion and links to further information:
The journey people take before they reach the US (with many border points before the US and Mexico border). Here is a report by Amnesty International on abuse of migrants travelling through Mexico. There is also a book called Enriques Journey which follows the journey of someone travelling from Honduras to the US , which talks about communities providing food to help people ridinf the trains north.
-What happens to people once they have crossed the border? Here is a CNN report on a former border point worker English version
Spanish version
The current situation in Arizona:
Here is a link to the NoMoreDeaths group who are constantly working here and updating their site with news and reports.

Wider issues/struggles glimpsed in the film. Here is a link to the filmaker’s site which has more info than the film could cover including recommended reading, news stories, cross-border alliances.

Parallel situations throughout Europe : “According to the following press review at least 14,921 people have died since 1988 along the european borders.” Fortress Europe‘s website.

A site dedicated to the situation in Greece.  This site is frequently updated too.

Someone mentioned this is a good film to watch about the Spanish border with Africa called 14 kilometers.

And more close to the UK, is Calais.


Hunger Strike Victory! – 300 Hunger Strikers Statement

14 Mar

The struggle is complete. With the documents in hand and our heads up high, we return to our homes and our work vindicated, after 44 days on hunger strike.

The struggle continues. The announcements for an 8-year limit and the increase of work credit as prerequisites for the issuing and renewal of residence permits must become law immediately.

The struggle is the only option. The struggle against the daily exploitation and racism’s walls, the struggles for the legalisation of all migrants with no prerequisites, for equal rights between local and foreign workers, for a life with values and dignity, these are our next steps. Together with the anti-racist and migrant movement we will walk along this difficult path, the path of struggle.

The struggle unites us. With the documents in hand and the head up high we salute and wish farewell to everyone who supports us. To the people in solidarity in Greece and all other countries in the world, the doctors and their colleagues, all who stood by our side in these days of the hunger strike, in all days when our lives and our deaths demanded vindication and freedom.

See you at the struggles!

–         Protest gathering, Monday 14/03, at the Ypatia building
–         Protest gathering, Monday 14/03, 7pm at the Piraeus port (Agios Dionisios)

The 300 migrant hunger strikers

Solidarity with Hunger Strikers in Greece

1 Mar

A hunger strike by 300 migrants across Greece began one month ago. It is the latest in a long line of hunger strikes by refugees denied asylum by a regime that currently only approves 0.6% of all applications it receives, that has been regularly criticised by the UN and the rest of the EU for the appalling conditions in its detention centres and its general abuse of foreigners.

February 28, 2011 – Athens: The number of  hunger strikers brought to hospitals has risen to 36. Meanwhile, 36 other immigrants are on thirst strike, since Sunday noon. Thessaloniki: 12 hunger strikers are brought to 4 hospitals.

February 27, 2011: Athens: 16 hungerstrikers are brought to several hospitals in Athens,Thessaloniki: the 50 hunger strikers have announced their decision to abstain from sugar too, now only receiving water and salt.

Solidarity actions are taking place.

from , and

Things you can do:

Send letters, fax and emails of protest to the Greek ministries of interior, of citizen protection and of health and to your local Greek embassy and consulate!
Help spread the word to media, and send press releases to your local, regional, national and european media. Here you find the press release we sent out, and sample letters…lease
Send copies of your press release and solidarity declarations to:

Pass this message on in your networks and urge other people to act, too!

Please act and help spread this – solidarity is the proverbial weapon these days. The hunger strikers are asking for your support!!!


fax numbers:
Ministry of Interior, fax: 0030 2103665089,
Ministry of Citizen Protection, fax: 0030 2103387708
Ministry of Labour, fax: 2105249805, 0030 2103213688