- Created: Thursday, 21 July 2011 10:33
- Written by London FRFI
What is the crime of robbing a bank, compared with the crime of founding one? so said Bertold Brecht.
With this in mind, supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! descended on RBS at the Angel Islington in north London on Saturday 16 July dressed as bankers and robbers to highlight the daylight robbery of our health, education and public services.
On Saturday 11 June in Angel, north London, Robin Hood and his merry men joined a Speak Out Against the Cuts event, targeting the Angel branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland, recipient of £45 billion of public money in the 2008 bail out.
The event was called by FRFI and publicised via the UK Uncut website. Protestors highlighted the role of RBS and other banks in precipitating the capitalist crisis, and the fact that saving the banks is a priority for the British government, at the expense of the public services that millions of ordinary people depend on.
On Saturday 28 May, Angel, north London, was the site of a drop-in surgery for people worried about the bad effects of the cuts on their health. This event was called by Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! as part of the UK Uncut day of action to save the NHS, which saw banks throughout the country occupied and turned into hospitals.
Protestors dressed as doctors, nurses and patients set up their cuts consultation inside the Angel branch of RBS, recipient of £45 billion of bail out money – 40% of the annual NHS budget!
The patients’ recovery was assisted by ukulele players and energetic speeches, making sure that the public understood why we were there.
On 21 May, Angel in North London was the scene of a vibrant street rally against the cuts, called by the RCG and supported by hundreds of passers by angry at cuts to services and welfare rights.
RCG supporters set up a stall with colourful banners and a sound system, which they used to talk about the cuts in the context of a deliberate attack against working class living standards. We are clearly not all in this together when the real incomes and standard of life for most people in the country are falling, while those on the Sunday Times Rich List managed to increase their wealth by 18% over the past year. Passers by stopped to sign a petition and take leaflets about a local anti- cuts meeting in Holloway on Weds 1st June.
On 14 May supporters of Palestine Action Group (PAG) and Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! in Newcastle staged a vibrant demonstration outside Marks & Spencer in commemoration of the Nakba (catastrophe) in 1948, when 700,000 Palestinians were expelled as the state of Israel was brought into being.
The protest focused on the continuing theft of Palestinian land, through the construction of the ‘apartheid wall’, and violence by armed Israeli settlers and the Israeli military. The state violence of the Israeli Defence Force, who demolish homes and bomb civilian areas, and the violence of armed fascist setters cannot be separated. Both aim to make life so difficult for the Palestinian people that they choose to leave their land.
On Monday 28 Feb FRFI supporters joined the protest outside Camden Town Hall as the Labour controlled council inside passed cuts to local services.
Gradually the march built up with a sizable contingent of local people, young people and people whose services are directly facing cuts, City Farm, Day Care Centres and Youth Clubs. On the march a good chant got going, ‘ConDem Labour all the same – they all play the banker’s game etc. SWP supporters and others refused to join in, opposing the position that Councillors who vote for the cuts are enemies of the working class.
On 17 February, around 200 demonstrators, including supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!, marched on Islington town hall in north London to demonstrate against the council's 2011/12 cuts budget. The budget will contain £52 million in cuts to jobs and local services, including 350 job losses and swingeing cuts to youth services, day centres, transport services and rises in tenant charges. Demonstrators made their presence felt on the steps of the town hall, before entering the public gallery to make their feelings felt.
In an Equality Impact Assessment delivered to the meeting, the council declared that its priority was to ‘make Islington a fairer place’. The blatant untruthfulness of this was demonstrated only a few paragraphs later, where it noted that the cuts would have ‘a direct impact on residents who receive services from the Council and this will mainly be younger, older, disabled and poorer residents’. With cuts that mean slashing essential services to these very people, the Labour council has shown just whose side it stands on.
Photo: Islington Labour Party joined the IHOOPS march, 5th Feb 2011, despite the fact that it is the Labour Council implementing the cuts.
Thousands of Islington residents took to the streets on Saturday 5 February, marching against proposed cuts in the borough. FRFI supporters joined the demonstration, organised by Islington Hands of Our Public Services (IHOOPS), which marched from Holloway to Angel.
The budget drawn up by the Labour Party council is brutal, with £52 million being cut this year alone. Up for the chop are services for the most vulnerable, including Sotheby Mews day centre. Sotheby Mews provides day services for elderly residents, and is a lifeline to its users – however, the Labour-run council has declared users are ‘not heavily reliant on it for their well being’. Users of the centre who joined the march disagreed. Speaking to FRFI, one user of the centre, Elizebeth Clare, said that ‘so many people depend on it, and it's a lifeline, especially to those who have the first stages of alzheimers’. Refuting the other council claim that the centre is underused, Ms Clare said that ‘We've counted up the amount of people who come there. It's well up to full capacity. They are using this to close it down’.
FRFI student society members had contingents on yesterday’s protest, one starting at the London School of Economics and the other at University College Union. We joined forces to march into Parliament Square to oppose the government’s bill to raise university tuition fees up to £9,000 a year. Police had put up metal barricades to keep protesters out of the square, but as up to 30,000 school, college and university students poured into the surrounding road, the barriers were quickly flattened and the green taken over. Almost immediately police in riot gear, on horses and in vans blocked the entrances to the square ‘kettling’ the youth into the area. If you leave a kettle on it boils over.
On 30 November 2010, FRFI supporters were among over 4000 students demonstrating in central London against the increasing commodification of education and the brutal cuts being inflicted upon the working class to pay for capitalism’s crisis.
The National Campaign against Cuts and Fees (NCAFC) called the ‘Day X2’ protest to coincide with a parliament debate on the white paper discussing imminent tuition fee increases. The march assembled around Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square at 12.30pm and planned to take a short route to Parliament Square along a route agreed with the police.
A short way along the pre-planned route, the police formed a thick line across the road reinforced with metal barricades. Fearful of being kettled again (kettling is the police tactic of containing protestors for hours at a time in small areas), the marchers turned around and sprinted through St James Park, attempted to reach Parliament Square. Flying squads of the Territorial Support Unit used violent tactics to try and re-apply the kettle and make arrests. A UCL student attempting to avoid a kettle was rugby-tackled by police into railings near Westminster Abbey and there are reports that police were armed with CS gas.
FRFI student society members at the University College London (UCL) are among up to 200 students who occupied a central area in their university at midday today. UCL is one of 13 universities currently being occupied around the country, from Essex to Edinburgh as part of the national day of action against the three-fold increase in tuition fees announced by the ConDem government. FRFI supporters said: ‘We are using the occupied rooms and facilities as an open space for political debate, film screenings and to co-ordinate with the other university occupiers to build a national campaign against the brutal assault on students and the working class.’
The UCL occupiers’ statement says: ‘We stand against fees and savage cuts to higher education and government attempts to force society to pay for a crisis it didn’t cause. Promises have been broken, the political process has failed and we have been left with no other option. We stand in solidarity with all those fighting these cuts nationally and internationally. These cuts are a product of ideology and not necessity. Join us!’
On 9 November, London supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! joined the Mumia Abu Jamal Defence Campaign, George Jackson Socialist League, African People's Socialist Party and other groups for a lively protest outside the US embassy. The demonstration was part of a global demonstration on the day that Mumia's legal team was to present an oral argument before the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia. Other demonstrations occurred in Germany, France, and across the United States and other countries.
‘What do we want? – Justice! Justice for who? Jimmy Mubenga!’ ‘No borders! No nations! No deportations!’ Central London echoed to the chants of 200 protesters on Friday, as FRFI joined a demonstration that marched from the Angolan Embassy, along Oxford Street and down Park Lane, bringing traffic to a halt, before converging on the Home Office. The FRFI banner read: ‘No deportations! Fight Britain’s racist immigration laws’.
On Tuesday 8 June Bolivar Hall, London was packed for the big-screen premier of the new Rock around the Blockade (RATB) documentary Cuba: Defending Socialism, Resisting Imperialism.
The event began with introductions from the producers, Anthony Rupert and Ethesham Haque, activists in RATB, who explained that most of the filming was done during a solidarity brigade to Cuba in spring 2009.
On Saturday 3 April comrades and friends of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! London staged a mock election at the Angel, Islington with the slogan ‘General Election, General Fraud!’ Members of the public signed our petitions against the closure of Whittington Hospital’s A&E department, to stop cuts in public services and to put the Labour government on trial for war crimes.
Passers by cast votes in our ballot box, a symbolic gesture encouraging them to think about the issues that matter to them – instead of voting for political parties or personalities with the same corrupt capitalist policies. The public's ballot papers listed issues which don’t form part of the phoney debate in the run up to the general election, for example:
On Saturday 27 February London FRFI joined the march to stop the closure of the A&E department at Whittington Hospital, North London.
FRFI supporters formed a lively contingent at the back of the march and chanted all the way from Highbury Corner, along the Holloway Road to the Hospital in Archway. Around 2,000 people marched, shoppers and pedestrians stopped and some joined in, drivers hooted in support and there was that uplifting feeling of strength of a campaign that involves everyone, from babies to pensioners, from doctors and nurses to patients and relatives, and all local residents.
The London meeting of the Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! Speaking Tour event organised by the Revolutionary Communist Group took place on Saturday 18 October 2009 at Bolivar Hall, London. The day school consisted of two discussions: one on Socialist Cuba and ALBA; the other on the capitalist crisis and imperialism. The speaker on Cuba provided an in-depth analysis of how Cuba survived periods of economic crisis, without betraying its socialist principles and welfare-based development model. Measures taken during Cuba's Special Period and in the current crisis demonstrate how in practice the socialist alternative to the destruction and brutality unleashed during crises under capitalism. The discussion also assessed the building of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) as a barrier to imperialist domination and capital penetration from the US and Europe and highlighted the importance of the Bank of ALBA, and the new virtual currency, the SUCRE, which will be launched early next year for ALBA trade.
First of all thanks to all the people who came down! Thanks to all the acts for giving it their all! And thanks to RATB for putting it all together.
A smashing evening!
Here are the pictures from the night @ 'Pleasure Unit':
"The ZongZing Allstars",
"MC Drop Dread Fred"
WHO WE ARE
Rock around the Blockade was founded in 1995 by the Revolutionary Communist Group and supporters of the newspaper Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! and is open to anyone who supports Cuba's socialist revolution.
Short report from todays Congo demo
About 40 people assembled outside the Home Office in a very lively protest.
100 people marched to the city centre, where they staged a sit-down, and then moved on to the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal. Lively and loud.
Over 100 people, a soundsystem and 30 Glasgow school kids
Activists from the Revolutionary Communist Group (RCG) and Rock around the Blockade (RATB), which campaigns in solidarity with the Cuban Revolution, took to the streets across Britain on Saturday 7th April, to demand freedom for the Cuban Five and an end to US occupation of Guantanamo Bay. The protests were among several activities organised by RCG/RATB during three months of international action called by the Union of Young Communists in Cuba, to demand the release of the five heroes. Today’s events were timed to coincide with demonstrations in New York and Los Angeles called by the April 7th Coalition in the United States.
Saturday 19 May 2007, members of several organisations: Rock Around the Blockade set up by the Revolutionary Communist Group, North London Cuba Solidarity Campaign, the Communist League and the Young Socialists, held a joint solidarity event to call for the immediate release of the 5 Cuban heroes. The protest was held in Trafalgar Square, in the centre of London, where protesters held up placards demanding the release of the Five, an end to the illegal US blockade of Cuba and incarceration for infamous terrorist Luis Posada Carriles. Many passers by, including tourists from around the globe, stopped to listen to speeches and slogans and took leaflets about the case of the Five and the example of the Cuban Revolution.
On Saturday 9th June a lively and angry contingent from the Victory to the Intifada campaign joined the national demonstration called by the ENOUGH coalition to demand an end to the 40 year occupation of the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza. Organisers claimed 20,000 people participated in the march, although the actual figure was closer to 5,000.
HMP Styal - Wednesday 13 June 2007 Demonstration to protest against the death of mother Helen Mary Cole, 48 who died in the 'care' of the prison on 3 June 2007.
STYAL PRISON CHESHIRE
HELEN COLE, 48
DIED 3 JUNE 2007
On 13 June and 9 July FRFI supporters in Manchester and London joined the demonstrations outside Styal and Holloway prisons organised by Pauline Campbell. Since 2004 Pauline, whose daughter Sarah died in Styal, has mounted a relentless campaign to expose the inhumanity of the system. At the Holloway demonstration, in protest against the death of Marie Cox on 30 June, Pauline was viciously assaulted by the local police as she and Gwen Calvert, the mother of Paul Calvert, who died in Pentonville symbolically blocked the path to the prison to prevent any more women being brought into the gaol.
On 19 May a successful day of action took place in cities throughout England and Scotland in protest against the British government’s continuing attacks on asylum seekers. The action was called and co-ordinated by Tyneside Community Action for Refugees, who organised a 200-strong demonstration in Newcastle city centre on the theme of ‘You will not snatch us silently!’
On 22 August London FRFI was invited to speak at a meeting organised by the Congo Support Project to organise resistance to deportations to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and in particular to oppose a planned mass deportation by charter flight on 30 August. The meeting was chaired by the Congo Support Project, with other speakers from the Refugee Council and Congolese organisations CCUK and Congolese Rights. We reproduce below our contribution to the meeting. The next day, 23 August, the High Court ruled that no deportation of asylum seekers to DRC could take place prior to the completion of the Country Guidance Tribunal at which the safety of deportations to DRC is being challenged. The Tribunal opened in July and has been adjourned to 17 September.
On Tuesday 28 August, an RCG comrade joined a mass demonstration against removals to the Democratic Republic of Congo outside the Home Office immigration reporting centre in Glasgow. Up to 150 asylum-seekers and refugees protested, chanted, sang and spoke against deportations and dawn-raids, denouncing the Kabila dictatorship and Britain’s tacit co-operation with his regime.
On 22 September London FRFI joined the demonstration organised by No Borders to protest against the building of a second immigration prison at Gatwick airport. About 400 people marched from Crawley Town Centre to Tinsley House Immigration Removal Centre. The demonstration was part of a week of action and protest camp called by No Borders and supported by a wide range of organisations and individuals.
From 17 to 25 September the Immigration Appeal Tribunal considered submissions that the 'Country Guidance' on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), is incorrect and deportations cannot be safely carried out. (Country Guidance is intended to provide immigration judges with information to assist their assessment of asylum claims.) The Tribunal has heard all the evidence and the three judges have retired to consider their verdict. Whatever the court decides, the view of the many people from DRC who have been demonstrating all year in cities across Britain and who made their presence felt outside the court is clear - DRC is not safe!