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Proletarian issue 20 (October 2007)
Comment: Learco Chindamo
It's Britain that made Philip Lawrence's killer and it's for Britain to deal with his rehabilitation
As the life sentence of Learco Chindamo draws to a close, certain bourgeois journalists and politicians are getting a bit hot under the collar and have been going on at great length and in frenzied fashion about ‘victims’ rights’ and ‘foreign murderers’.

Learco was imprisoned in 1995 for stabbing to death headmaster Philip Lawrence, and the judge in the case decided that he should serve at least 12 years behind bars. That time is nearly up and he is becoming eligible for release, but here’s the rub for those aforementioned moral whores of the press and parliament – Learco was not born in Britain but in Italy, even if he has lived in this country since the age of five. Britain is where he received his miseducation.

Had Learco been born in Britain, he would have served his sentence and, at the end of it, walked free to try to put together whatever kind of life he could. But Learco is a foreigner and therefore we have the scene of the great and good of the land baying for an extra punishment for him, namely, deportation! It was Britain that made Learco anti-social, yet some people seriously think that the accident of his Italian birth gives us the right to pack him off to Italy.

In any event, deportation is not a punishment for murder. Whatever the crime and, indeed, whatever the punishment, what kind of notion of justice is it that says “and for foreigners we’ll add the extra punishment of deportation as well”? The only situation where deportation is appropriate for criminals is when they are not residents of this country, which is clearly not the situation in Learco's case.

The eminent ‘pillars of society’ who are raising a clamour on this issue at the moment claim to be moved by, and speaking on behalf of, the ‘rights’ of Philip Lawrence and his wife Frances, but as Sam Leith said in an admirable article against the tide in the Telegraph: “the victims of murderers do not have human rights, on account of being dead. The bereaved relatives of these victims do have human rights. They have exactly the same human rights – like it or not – as the murderers. You do not – as compensation for losing a loved one to a murderer – acquire a special new human right that entitles you to decide what happens to the murderer once the judicial process has run its course, and where he or she will live.” (‘Chindamo is a product of this country’, 25 August 2007)

Contrast this common-sense position with the utterance of home office minister Tony McNulty, who declared that Learco has “forfeited” his rights due to the heinous nature of the crime.

Where Sam Leith dares not tread however is the reasons behind this clamouring for extra punishment for foreign offenders. It is not mere stupidity that has moved those raising their voices in favour of the deportation of Chindamo. Quite the reverse. Their demands are all part of the ongoing campaign to keep working people separated on as many levels as possible by making it acceptable to treat foreign workers as something less than British workers and to try to convince British workers to support this position.

The trap for British workers, if they fall into it, is that by letting our common enemy take away the rights of foreign workers, British workers will become much less able to resist the erosion of their rights too. And as sure as night follows day, attacks on British workers’ rights will surely follow any successful erosion of the rights of foreign workers. Therefore, we must resist anything that impinges on any workers’ hard-won rights in the only way possible, by standing together regardless of place of birth, nationality, colour of skin, language, sex or age, and ultimately overthrow the rotten system that exploits us all.
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