Hands off Syria! HSBC forced to close doors in Newcastle

On Saturday 19 December, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! supporters in Newcastle attended a march organised by Stop the War Coalition against British airstrikes in Syria. Around 100 people assembled at the city’s Centre for Life and proceeded through the city, to Grey’s Monument. FRFI led chants of ‘Hands off Syria!’ and ‘1, 2, 3, 4, we don’t want your bloody war! 5, 6, 7, 8, Britain is a racist state!’ Once at Monument the demonstrators were addressed by speakers representing various organisations and trade unions.

 

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Newcastle protest against Britain bombing Syria

On Tuesday 1 December, supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! North East joined the rally called by Newcastle Stop the War Coalition against Britain bombing Syria. In a great show of strength hundreds of people joined the rally in the city centre of Newcastle. There was a lot of anger and a lot of energy for taking further action.

After only 45 minutes, Tony Dowling, leading member of Stop the War attempted to halt the protest. Given the energy of the protesters, FRFI supporters insisted it should continue. A clear division emerged as Dowling not only wanted to limit the duration of the protest, but also decided he should defend Jeremy Corbyn’s decision to allow Labour MPs a free vote on airstrikes. We argued that Corbyn had effectively placed Labour unity before the need to oppose imperialist war. We were met initially with hostility from staunch Labour supporters but quickly were able to keep the protest going with the help of all of the people who did not want to call it a day, and who could see through the deceit of Labour Party apologists. We set up an open mic for everyone, and many of the protesters used it.

 

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Freedom for migrants! Justice for refugees! Report of march in Newcastle 12 September 2015

On 12 September 2015 supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! joined hundreds of people on the ‘Newcastle Welcomes Refugees’ march. This was part of a national day of action in response to the on-going crisis faced by refugees and migrants across Europe.

FRFI supported the demands of migrants in Calais to open the borders and to grant safe and legal passage to Britain, and called for an end to deportations and the closure of all immigration prisons. A leaflet with the text below was distributed:

 

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Save Elswick Pool! Fight the Cuts!

Public meeting of the campaign

On Saturday 22 August, over 30 local residents came to a meeting in Elswick pool. The meeting was organized by local activists, Parents Against Cuts and FRFI supporters to discuss the planned closure of the pool in late October. At time of writing, an online petition to save the pool, launched earlier in the week, has over 2,100 signatures. Many residents have commented that this is one of the last remaining facilities in Elswick, one of the poorest areas of the city. Meanwhile the council has recently announced plans for a £45 million refurbishment of its own offices in the Civic Centre.

 

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Marching for Justice and Dignity for Refugees in North Shields

On Monday 15 June, over 100 people marched in North Shields, North East England, to demand justice and dignity for refugees and asylum seekers. The protest was organised by Beyond Borders and was supported by several other organisations.

Protesters held an open microphone and chanted 'Justice for immigrants! Freedom for refugees!' as they went from the metro station through North Shields. Although met by a counter-protest of half a dozen racist thugs from the English Defence Leafue, the mood was high. After an hour, the march arrived at the Home Office Immigration Reporting Centre and held a rally. A march organised by Sunderland City of Sanctuary met us at the centre, having walked the 13 miles from Sunderland. The reporting centre is place of fear for many asylum seekers, with reports of frequent racism, intimidation and harassment when they go to sign. Immigration enforcement teams operate from the centre to snatch migrants and take them into detention or to be deported. But on Monday the mood was one of anger and defiance.

 

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Land Day & solidarity with Palestine - picket of M&S in Newcastle

On Saturday 28 March Palestine Action Group (PAG) and local supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! (FRFI) picketed Marks & Spencer in Newcastle city centre in solidarity with Palestinian resistance and against British support for apartheid Israel. M&S is Britain’s biggest corporate sponsor of the Zionist settler-state and a company that supports the occupation and colonisation of Palestine ideologically as well as economically. Their economic support alone amounts to an estimated £250m worth of trade each year.

 

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Parents Against Cuts hold Referendum on Austerity in Newcastle – 21 February 2015

On Saturday 21st February supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! (FRFI) in Newcastle joined Parents Against Cuts for a lively city-centre protest against cuts to SureStart and family services – taking their message of ‘No cuts to SureStart – No cuts at all!’ to the streets and holding a ‘People’s Referendum’ on austerity. Below we reproduce a report of the event from Parents Against Cuts:

 

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Nick Forbes accuses Parents Against Cuts of being a communist front: Our response

Labour Council Leader Nick Forbes claims that the Parents Against Cuts campaign, which is fighting the proposed cuts to Sure Start children's centres in Newcastle upon Tyne, is a front for the 'Revolutionary Communist Party' (RCP) ('Cuts, cuts and more cuts', Evening Chronicle 18 December 2014). Given that the RCP was disbanded in 1997, we assume Forbes is referring to the Revolutionary Communist Group. We are proud to be part of Parents Against Cuts, but Newcastle parents didn't need us to tell them to organise a campaign: they understand the devastating impact these cuts will have on their families, and they know that determined resistance is their only chance of stopping them. It seems that Nick Forbes is getting desperate and is trying to split the campaign. What he is really afraid of is any working class opposition to the cuts he is implementing – but as a Labour politician he cannot say people are wrong to oppose the cuts without looking ridiculous, so he concentrates his fire on communists. We will continue to support campaigns like Parents Against Cuts that are building genuine resistance to austerity and encourage others to do so.

Revolutionary Communist Group, Newcastle branch

 

Parents Against Cuts confronts Council Leader in Newcastle – 12 December 2014


The Parents Against Cuts campaign confronts Newcastle's Labour Council Leader Nick Forbes

On Friday 12 December Parents Against Cuts and supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! (FRFI) in Newcastle confronted Labour Council Leader Nick Forbes as he spoke at a ticket-only event organised by The Northern Correspondent magazine. Taking the meeting entirely by surprise, the campaign arrived, banners-in-hand, took to the stage and proceeded to question the Council Leader on the proposed cuts to Sure Start and family services.

 

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Anti-eviction action in Newcastle – smash the bedroom tax!

On 27 November 2014 Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! (FRFI) supporters in Newcastle joined with local residents alongside Anarchist Federation, SolFed, Socialist Party and other activists in opposing an attempt by Newcastle’s Labour council to evict a local man with disabilities from his home for bedroom tax arrears.

 

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End the siege on Gaza! – Protest in Newcastle


FRFI supporters outside Marks & Spencer in Newcastle

On Saturday 11 October supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! picketed outside Marks & Spencer on Northumberland Street, Newcastle. M&S is Britain’s biggest corporate sponsor of Israel and a company that supports the occupation and colonisation of Palestine ideologically as well as economically. Their economic support alone amounts to an estimated £250m worth of trade each year.

 

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Parents against cuts to Sure Start in Newcastle

In Newcastle FRFI supporters have played a central role in building the Parents Against Cuts campaign to challenge council plans to cut Sure Start children’s services by 65%. Sure Start was set up by a Labour government as part of an attempt to shift the responsibility for problems caused by poverty onto the behaviour of parents. But regardless of Labour’s intentions, Sure Start has become a valued resource in many working class communities, offering a range of free activities that parents and other carers can take children along to. The proposed cuts come on top of other cuts in recent years to play and youth services, libraries, swimming pools and leisure centres. Following cuts to the play service last year, some centres are only being kept open through Sure Start, and these could now face closure or privatisation.

 

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Protest at Newcastle City Council against Sure Start cuts - a parent's report

Parents Against Cuts Sure Start Newcastle 01.10.14

Below we repost a report from Richie, a member of Parents Against Cuts, about a protest against cuts to Sure Start in Newcastle on 1 October 2014:

A pleasant evening (well timed for those with small children - Wednesday 6pm) at the council offices tonight. After Annie Rutter was generously allowed 100 words to comment on the cuts by the council, all parents with children who turned up to give support were held at the doors for twenty minutes on the grounds that children were absolutely not allowed in! To a meeting directly concerning children and parents of children.

 

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Parents march against cuts to SureStart in Newcastle: Council's sham consultation exposed


Parents Against Cuts and FRFI supporters on the steps of Newcastle Civic Centre

On Saturday 13 September parents, toddlers and their supporters took to the streets against 65% cuts to SureStart and other Family Services by Labour-led Newcastle City Council. The 'Messy March' was organised by Parents Against Cuts; a campaign which FRFI supporters -together with other parents - have been central to organising.

 

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Boycott Israel! All-day picket in Newcastle – 16 August 2014


Activists in Newcastle force HSBC to close their doors for the day

‘We reiterate our call and urge action around the world. Palestine is under attack – and Palestine is resisting, on the path of Intifada. It is the time to act! Take to the streets…intensify the boycott.’ Call to action from Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, 8 July 2014

On Saturday 16 August, Palestine Action Group (PAG) and Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! (FRFI) supporters took up the call from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine to intensify the boycott of Israel and held an all-day picket of HSBC in Newcastle city centre, from its opening time at 9am until 4pm. 

 

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Protest against cuts to Sure Start in Newcastle – 7 August 2014


‘Play-in-their-way’ protest against cuts to Sure Start services in Newcastle-upon-Tyne

On Thursday 7 August Parents Against Cuts and supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! (FRFI) took to Northumberland Street, Newcastle’s main high-street, to protest against cuts to Sure Start services across the city. As we have previously reported, £1m has already been cut from the service and Newcastle Labour council is making a reduction totalling at least 65% of all Sure Start funding. Parents Against Cuts has organised fun, militant protests to put pressure on the council to reverse its decision.

 

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Newcastle: no cuts to Sure Start!

Parents in Newcastle have launched an independent campaign against council cuts to Sure Start services. At its first Parents Against Cuts activity on 23 July, scores of families attended a Teddy Bears' Protest outside the Labour-led Civic Centre. While children played and protested with their teddies to passing council workers, parents held an open-air meeting to discuss the next steps for the campaign. The mood was militant, with the majority of parents seeing the need to force the council to reverse its decision, and taking a position against all cuts.

 

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Reply to Alex Snowdon of Counterfire

Protesting outside the BBC in Newcastle 22 July 2014

Alex Snowdon, from the organisation Counterfire, has got in a fluster. Hiding behind the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), he has lashed out at the RCG and FRFI in Newcastle for not doing as the PSC or Counterfire wants. The root of his outburst is his concern to protect the Labour Party from criticism over its support for Zionism. Snowdon's statement is very long, but it only merits a brief response. Just a few points on which he needs correction:

 

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Picket of M&S and march to BBC in solidarity with Palestine – Newcastle 22 July 2014


Protest against British media bias outside the BBC Broadcasting Centre in Newcastle-upon-Tyne

On Tuesday 22 July activists picketed Marks & Spencer on Northumberland Street in Newcastle. The protest was called by Palestine Action Group and was against the continued support M&S gives to Zionism and Israel.

That morning the BBC website carried a headline stating ‘Israeli soldier 'missing' in Gaza’. Only when you scrolled further down the article would you then discover that 600 Palestinians were dead. For them, a missing Israeli is more important than Palestinian deaths.

On the same day as the M&S picket, Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) called a protest outside the BBC. Palestine Action Group marched from M&S to the BBC to support the protest against the racist reporting of the BBC.

 

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Solidarity with Palestine in Newcastle - 18 and 19 July 2014

On Friday 18 July Palestine Action Group (PAG) and Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! (FRFI) activists held an emergency protest in solidarity with Palestine outside Boots on the West Road, in Fenham, Newcastle. The protest was in response to the announcement of Israel’s ground invasion of Gaza the night before. Boots stocks Estee Lauder cosmetics, whose chairman Ronald Lauder, chairman of the Jewish National Fund, works to legitimise Israeli occupation. The protest was lively, loud and got a lot of support.

The following day...
PAG and FRFI protestors picketed Marks & Spencer (Britain’s biggest corporate sponsor of Israel and a company that supports the occupation and colonisation of Palestine ideologically as well as economically), Boots and HSBC (a bank involved in underwriting the Israeli state budget) in Newcastle city centre. The activists were successful in forcing HSBC to close their doors for over an hour.

For a video report of the action made by a supporter of PAG click here.

 

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Freedom for Palestine - militant protest in Newcastle 15 July 2014

‘We reiterate our call and urge action around the world. Palestine is under attack – and Palestine is resisting, on the path of Intifada. It is the time to act! Take to the streets…intensify the boycott.’ Call to action from Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, 8 July 2014.

On Tuesday 15 July, hundreds of people held a defiant, inspiring protest, marching through Newcastle’s city centre targeting businesses that support the Zionist state of Israel.

 

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Protest against benefit sanctions in Newcastle


Newcastle City Jobcentre Plus has sanctioned claimants 1,885 times in 14 months

Tyne and Wear Unite Community branch protest against benefit sanctions at Newcastle's city centre Jobcentre.

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! (FRFI) supporters, who are members of the Tyne and Wear Unite Community branch, helped organise a picket of Newcastle City Jobcentre on 2 July 2014. They explained that the city centre Jobcentre doled out 1,885 sanctions between 22 October 2012 and 31 December 2013. The protest got significant support from people going in to sign on at the Jobcentre and passers-by.

 

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Workers strike to defend pay and conditions on Tyneside

Striking TSG workers picket in Team Valley

Supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! (FRFI) in Newcastle attended two picket lines in the last week, in solidarity with striking workers in the public and private sectors.

The first, in the public sector, was a PCS-organised strike by HMRC staff, part of a series of one day strikes at HMRC offices across the country from 23-27 June. The workers are fighting against job cuts, office closures, privatisation, ‘flexible resourcing’, a new performance management system and attacks on pre-agreed leave. HMRC has made the decision to close all of its 281 walk-in tax Enquiry Centres which provide face-to-face help. They will be replaced by a telephone service. There will be a joint public sector strike over pay on 10 July.

The second strike, in the private sector, was a strike by Tyneside Safety Glass workers organised in Unite; 80% of them voted in favour of going on strike. The workers are fighting for better pay after the company announced a 0% pay increase this year – a real terms pay cut. A one week strike began on 16 June and when the management refused to budge, a two week strike was called beginning on 30 June.

 

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Fighting benefit sanctions in Newcastle


Byker Jobcentre Plus in Newcastle has sanctioned claimants 1,735 times in 14 months

There has been a massive increase in sanctions since the introduction of the new sanctions regime in October 2012. Nationally, 580,000 people have lost their benefit, 48,000 of these for three years. Sanctions are a way to punish the unemployed and force them off benefits into whatever badly paid, insecure job the ‘market’ spews up from the mire.

 

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On the streets of Newcastle in solidarity with socialist Cuba and revolutionary Venezuela

Supporters of the Revolutionary Communist Group and Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! in Newcastle have been out on the streets in recent weeks in defence of the struggle for socialism in Venezuela, and taking inspiration from Venezuela's achievements for the struggle against the bedroom tax here in Britain. We demand decent housing for all!

 

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Newcastle Council's attempted bribery

We reproduce below a letter from Newcastle council, received by a tenant who wished to remain anonymous. The direction of the letter is quite clear. The council has been granted extra funding for Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs). It is directing these DHPs to tenants who have appealed against bedroom tax decisions and are suggesting that they reconsider their benefit tribunal appeals, even enclosing a form to withdraw from the appeals process. This is a bribe.

 

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Viva Venezuela! Defend the fight for socialism!

As opposition violence claims ten lives in Venezuela, the social media machine has gone into over-drive, borrowing images from all over the globe to paint the Bolivarian revolution as repressive and dictatorial. On 22 February Supporters of the Revolutionary Communist Group rallied at Grey's Monument in Newcastle upon Tyne, challenging the international media propaganda that is being used to attack the fight for socialism unfolding in Venezuela.

 

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Racist immigration raids in the North East - with the support of the local press

On 14 February immigration police carried out raids in Newcastle, Whickham and Bedlington and arrested nine people from Bangladesh and China on suspicion of 'illegal working'. This is the hypocrisy of the British government – working class migrants are accused of being a drain on public services and not contributing, yet when they do work they are arrested and deported for doing so. Nobody would choose to work illegally, working class migrants are being criminalised by the British state for doing something that would be perfectly normal and lawful for a British citizen – this is racism. Immigration raids on workplaces will not stop immigration, but they drive a section of workers further underground, into extremely exploitative and insecure working conditions. Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! North East extend our solidarity to all those arrested – if you want to work together to oppose immigration raids and deportations, get in touch, by phone on 078 5834 6276 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

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Contact North East FRFI

078 5834 6276
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North East Events coming up

We have street actions and political educational meetings in Newcastle every week.

For more information on events in the North East you can also join the FRFI North East e-mail list and the mailing lists of campaigns we are involved in on the following pages:

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Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! North East
Tyneside Community Action Against Racism
Palestine Action Group
Viva Cuba! Rock Around The Blockade
Facebook: www.facebook.com/FRFINE

Smash the Bedroom Tax - Mark Moncada Live @ RED, 25/09/13

Save Newcastle Libraries 5 Dec 2012

Solidarity protest for Palestine, Newcastle 8 Jan 2011

Victory to the Intifada - Mark Moncada

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