Event report: Save the NHS March, London - 4 March 2017

nhs socialism3

On Saturday 4 March 2017, London branches of the Revolutionary Communist Group (RCG) attended the People's Assembly March for the NHS, to protest against cuts and privatisation. The event was attended by thousands of people including many doctors, nurses and other NHS staff, who are directly affected by these brutal cuts everyday. We marched in the anti-racist block alongside the group Docs not Cops which fights against racist passport checks of migrants in the NHS.

The RCG contingent focused on showing the link between healthcare services in Britain and Cuba, talking about how socialism allows a relatively poor nation like Cuba to have a health service that out-performs Britain and the US. The British ruling class is partially right when it says that Britain can no longer afford the NHS, as only through socialism can a truly sustainable and open health service for the working class be created.

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March to stop Trump’s Muslim ban and stop May supporting it – 4 February

Trump London

On 4 February, a strong RCG contingent joined the London protest to stop Donald Trump’s Muslim ban and oppose Trump’s upcoming state visit to Britain. The march was called by the Stop the War Coalition, Stand up to Racism and other organisations. The protest marched from the US embassy at Grosvenor square to Downing street, and attracted around 10,000 people.

RCG supporters went to spread the message of anti-imperialism, anti-racism and how the issues that surround Trump and his rhetoric are very real and material issues that face many people in the UK as well as in the US. Slogans on RCG placards included: ‘Trump is the symptom, capitalism is the disease, socialism is the cure’, and ‘Fight Britain’s racist immigration controls’. RCG speakers and chants made clear that, whilst Trump is more explicit in his racism and sexism than other US governments, Obama led a violently anti-working class government, which deported huge numbers of migrants, tightened racist immigration controls, and dropped more than 26,000 bombs in 2016 alone. The British government, whether led by Conservative or Labour politicians, has also stepped up racist immigration laws. Imperialist countries rely on racist immigration controls, and these will increase as the crisis intensifies. Only a movement which fights for socialism can fight racist immigration controls.

It was positive to see so many people out on the streets demonstrating against racism, even if many attendees are yet to see that the issue is much wider than just Donald Trump’s personal characteristics and appearance. Resistance to Trump’s government will need to grow and radicalise, but in Britain it will need to spark a movement against the racist nature of the British imperialist state. The RCG is committed to making sure that happens.

Trump London

Holloway Prison Protest - 31 Dec 2016

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Members and supporters of the Revolutionary Communist Group joined Reclaim Holloway, Sisters Uncut, the Irish Republican Prisoners’ Support Group and others outside Holloway prison in north London on New Year’s Eve. A well-crafted visual display representing women and children carried messages and documented realities about women in prison. As each item was pegged on to the line protesters spoke about the realities of gender, race and class oppression behind women’s incarceration. 

One comrade spoke about her long-term relationship with the prison:

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Tenth demonstration in solidarity with the women of Yarl's Wood

On Saturday 3 December, the Revolutionary Communist Group supported a demonstration outside Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre in Bedfordshire, the tenth in a series called by Movement for Justice by Any Means Necessary.  The demo was called in the wake of the Brexit vote to stand in solidarity with the 400+ women detained indefinitely at Yarl's Wood and to demand the closure of Yarl's Wood and all other detention centres.  There were approximately 2,000 people in attendance who had come from all over the country.

We assembled outside Twinwoods Business Park and marched to Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre.  When we eventually got to Yarl's Wood, we set up our 'Fight Britain's Racist Immigration Laws' banner, near where Movement for Justice had set up a sound system for speakers to give speeches.  The detainees from behind the fence could be seen at the windows and many stuck their hands out to wave, shake items of clothing and hold up signs they had written.  Many other demonstrators present were kicking against the fence that surrounded the detention centre.

Movement for Justice connected a mobile phone to their sound system and had the detainees inside Yarl's Wood give messages over the phone. They gave harrowing accounts of life inside the detention centre and the brutal treatment they receive from the guards there.  This was a very emotional and moving demonstration to attend, but there was a genuine sense of solidarity and connection between the demonstrators and the women inside Yarl's Wood, despite being on different sides of the fence.

Towards the end of the demonstration, some demonstrators went around the detention centre and to the visitors' entrance which displayed a big Welcome to Yarl's Wood sign, alongside the Serco logo, as though to create a guise of normality.  Several demonstrators managed to get inside, and this was followed by confrontations with the police.  Demonstrators formed a human barricade to protect each other.

Movement for Justice by Any Means Necessary did a very good job running and organising this event and there was a genuine unity between all the demonstrators and with the women of Yarl's Wood.  As well as unity, there was also a strong sense of anger from everyone present at both the racist nature of Britain's immigration laws and the inhumane treatment of migrants in these detention centres.  We can expect the next Yarl's Wood demonstration to be even bigger as more people are mobilised against state racism in the wake of the wave of reaction growing across the world. In the meantime, we need to continue pushing for the closure of all detention centres and we need to continue the fight against racist immigration laws and deportations in every community and workplace.

Shut down Yarl's Wood!

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!

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