Nottingham RCG response to Shut Down Morton Hall/Nottingham City Monitor Statement

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shut down morton hall demonstration 20 january 2018

On 16 April a public statement was posted from the Facebook page of Shut Down Morton Hall, titled ‘Shut Down Morton Hall Campaign Statement Issued From Nottm City Monitor.’ The statement has since been shared by the Shut Down Morton Hall page multiple times. We have contacted the administrators of the Shut Down Morton Hall Facebook page who responded that the statement was issued on behalf of only Nottingham City Monitor, without agreement from other members of Shut Down Morton Hall. The Nottingham branch of the Revolutionary Communist Group was a founding member of the Shut Down Morton Hall campaign and has helped to build and participate in every protest the campaign has organised. We therefore want to make clear that we were not involved in writing the statement and we completely reject it.

The most objectionable part of the statement is an attack on Movement for Justice (MFJ), who have taken part in previous Shut Down Morton Hall protests as well as organising many protests at Yarl’s Wood and other detention centres. The statement says: 'We are requesting that there are no MFJ banners, posters, hijacking/ forced taking of platforms or any other misbehaviour at all Shut Down Morton Hall events. Unfortunately we have had all of this previously and we see and acknowledge this as a pattern of their abuse.'

We have attended every demo at Morton Hall in recent years, and there has been no 'hijacking/forced taking of platforms' or other 'misbehaviour' by members of MfJ or anyone else, at any of these protests. The open mic at previous Morton Hall protests has been one of their most positive aspects, and has been used by a wide range of people inside and outside the detention centre. We will defend this open and democratic approach.

The statement also seeks to impose restrictions on what banners can be displayed (and absurdly, even the length of banner poles!). Those attending are instructed: 'Please think and take lead of the organisers before making big decisions for yourself, your group or a crowd.' This is patronising and arrogant nonsense. Behind all the statement’s talk of protecting people from abuse and asking people to “check their privilege” is an attempt by a small group to autocratically impose its control over everybody else attending the demonstration.

Nottingham City Monitor has no right to unilaterally issue these kinds of instructions or set conditions on people attending the demonstration. We are completely opposed to the kind of censorship and bans they are attempting to impose on MfJ. The only way to organise an effective movement against immigration detention is through democratic and open organisation. We will be attending the demonstration and bringing our banners, placards and literature as usual and encourage others to do so. We have no intention of being bound by the crass sectarianism of Nottingham City Monitor.

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We have regular street actions and political educational meetings in Nottingham, Birmingham and Worcester – for details call 07746 559 033 or email nottinghamrcg@gmail.com for Nottingham, rcgbrum@hotmail.com for Birmingham or rcg.worcester@yahoo.com for Worcester.

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