The Daily Mail has made an art out of immigrant-bashing. Hardly a day passes without the UK’s second most popular newspaper story of a (usually ‘illegal’) immigrant committing crimes, claiming benefits or just having the audacity to enjoy themselves in some way or other.
However, activists who wanted support the 2-3000 people living in improvised illegal camps in Calais, France have had the last laugh. The Mail was offering (until 1st February) £1 return ferry trips from Dover to Calais (plus a free bottle of wine!). A couple of journalists realised that this was the perfect opportunity to show some winter solidarity to these people, who live in the most squalid and dangerous conditions and are subject to constant harassment by the French police. Some have died trying to cross over to the UK, others have died or become severely ill in the cold and wet weather.
Strike! Magazine helpfully provided people with a simple guide to the offer, including the advice ‘Pack up a backpack or load up a car with tents, blankets, (men’s) shoes, winter jackets and a couple of sets of dominoes. If you have none of these things, take a warm hug and a friendly smile’. They also provided the locations of camps a phone number for contacts there. In a powerful piece in The Guardian, the Strike! Collective put it simply – ‘We could very easily meet all of the migrants’ needs just on the waste and leftovers from our capitalist societies: currently, it’s deemed illegal to collectively do so.’
We can only say bravo to the Daily Mail for making it that bit easier to give solidarity and support to our brothers and sisters who are denied their basic dignity and rights on the borders of Fortress Europe.