Tommy Robinson has nothing to offer working class prisoner families – Smash IPP Anti-Fascist Statment

We are sad and angry to announce that Tommy Robinson, far-right founder of the English Defense League, has been trying to recruit IPP prisoner families.

More than 3989 people are serving IPP (Imprisonment for Public Protection) sentences in British prisons. Five years since the sentence was legally abolished, thousands still languish in jails with no release date. Parole board delays, prison overcrowding and sheer neglect is leading to unprecedented rates of prisoner suicides. IPPs have one of the highest rates of self harm in the prison system in its entirety. 80% are over tariff and desperate to be free. Smash IPP campaign to free all IPPs and abolish the life license as well as supporting individual IPP campaigns.

We can confirm that Tommy Robinson has been pro-actively trying to contact active and visible family members and IPP campaigners in an attempt to spread his racist hate. His thousands of social media followers are attractive to desperate and frustrated prisoner families.

This has led to necessary anti-racist and anti-fascist internal education in our collective and has led us to write this statement. We are asking for support from anti-fascists and organisers that are confronting white supremacy.

Prisons are essential tools of social control. What determines the survival and expansion of prisons is their success in controlling particular segments of the population. We know British Prisons are a vital tool of white supremacy; 25% of the prison population comes from an ethnic minority background, 18% are ‘foreign nationals’ and 13% are Muslim. These are all groups of people who are highly criminalised and targeted at every stage of the criminal justice system. In addition to this detention centres are a lucrative rascist instiutions, see the anti-raids network for more information.

The overwhelming majority of prisoners in the UK are white working class young men – a perfect breeding ground for the far-right. It is essential therefore that those engaged in militant anti-fascist struggle stand in solidarity with those fighting the prison system, working with prisoner families, and doing prisoner support work. Likewise, numerous anti-fascist have got sent down in recent years and understand the reality of the prison system.

Smash IPP is an anarchist collective that has aimed to support prisoner families and their campaigns to free their loved ones inside and abolish the IPP sentence retrospectively. We are asking for practical support and solidarity to resist the co-option of working class struggle against prisons in the UK by fascists. We hope an increased awareness of all of these issues will enable more people to connect the dots between the far-right, the state, police, and prisons.

We want to make it loud and clear that fascists are not welcome in the anti-prison movement. This will not become your recruiting ground. Yes, we are angry. But we will not place blame for the violence we see in this world on immigrants, people of colour, Jews, or Muslims. We stand in solidarity with all these groups of people who are harmed by the prison system.

We dedicate this statement to Heather Heyer, recently killed by fascists in the United States.