- Created: Wednesday, 28 April 2010 11:36
- Written by Newcastle FRFI
On 24 April Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! activists organised a 'Street Parliament' in the centre of
On 24 April Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! activists organised a 'Street Parliament' in the centre of
On Saturday 3 April comrades and friends of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!
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 5th December supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! held a lively demonstration in support of Palestine to mark one year since Israel’s brutal attacks on Gaza. Using the slogan, ‘Israel: off your trolley’, protesters staged a rolling picket of high street companies involved in supporting Israel economically and politically.
On Wednesday 4thNovember 2009, supporters of the Revolutionary Communist Group/Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! protested outside Reed Employment Solutions and Manpower UK employment agencies in Newcastle. Royal Mail have been recruiting temporary and agency workers through these agencies to scab on the postal worker strikes.
We demonstrated in solidarity with the postmen and women calling on people looking for work not to take these scab jobs and for the agencies to stop farming out the jobs of the posties. We demonstrated in solidarity with the demands of the postal workers who are striking over job cuts, changes in work conditions, pay freezes, recruitment freezes, an estimated £10billion pension deficit and proposals to privatise Royal Mail by 30%.
We picketed the agencies, spoke on the megaphone, handed out leaflets, got passer-bys to sign the petition and donate towards the strike fund and had a banner reading: ‘Don’t Scab on the Posties! One Struggle! One Fight! Defend Public Services!’ This got a lot of support from the public and was featured on page 2 of Thursday 5th edition of the Chronicle.
By scabbing on the postal workers it undermines their strike and their demands and sells out the long term interests of the whole of the working class for nowt but a quick pay-cheque.
It is important that we stand in unity against all of the attacks we are coming under as the Labour Party throws billions at the banks and the private sector while massively attacking the public sector in order to pay itself out of the economic crisis at the expense of the working class. The interests of the working class nationally and internationally are always going to be at logger-heads with the ruling classes. It is for this reason that the only way we can win our struggle is by standing in solidarity with all of those who are fighting back against attacks from the state whether it be the striking postal workers, mams and dads occupying their kids school that is threatened with closure, unemployed people who are having their benefits cut, people fighting against repossessions, the Muslim youth who fought the English Defence League to protect their community, asylum seekers and immigrants in their daily battle against racist immigration laws and fighting deportations, black and young people in their fight against police harassment, the Palestinian, Iraqi and Afghan resistance against imperialist wars and occupations.
The strikes may have been called off for now but this doesn’t mean that attacks on the postal workers have ended. We will be there to support their struggle when they take it up again.
One Struggle! One Fight!
Special Action Report: Newcastle - September
Police Harassment and Rally for Democratic Rights in Newcastle
On Saturday 1st September Newcastle activists gathered at Grey's Monument for a Rally for Democratic Rights. In recent months there has been increasing police harassment of political activity on the streets of Newcastle, under cover of council regulations on collecting money. Despite clear exemptions under sections two and seventeen of the regulations, for collections taken at a street meeting, police have regularly demanded names, addresses and dates of birth of activists under threat of arrest, have issued formal warnings to two members of Tyneside Stop the War, and on two occasions have arrested supporters of the Revolutionary Communist Group and seized money and collecting tins, which have still not been returned. Whilst the police demand that political groups should obtain permits from the council, the council has stated in writing that permits will not be granted to collections for political purposes. There is a long tradition of political activity at Grey's Monument, but this is now under threat. One side of the monument has been privatised and fenced off in the last year as a seating area for a cafe, and now the police are trying to restrict political activity in the remaining area. Attempting to cut off funds necessary for effective campaign work is censorship by the back door, an attempt to drive political activity off the streets of Newcastle.
The rally was a positive show of unity against these attacks on our basic democratic rights, and was supported by large numbers of the public, including many working class people who know from their own experience the role of the police in keeping people down. Stalls were held by members and supporters of the Revolutionary Communist Group and its newspaper Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!, Tyneside Stop the War, Tyneside East Timor Solidarity Campaign, Tyneside Community Action for Refugees and other activists, all collecting money openly. Support was also expressed by local members of the CPGB-ML and Socialist Party. The police stayed well away from the event, not even sending a van to monitor the square as they do on many Saturdays.
On Monday 3rd September an FRFI comrade attended bail following his arrest on 28th July for 'obstructing a police officer', as he attempted to explain the legal advice he had received, that it was unlawful for the police to seize donations. He was released from bail without charge, and told that he would receive a summons in the post. Since the first arrest for collecting money in January no summons has ever been issued. Clearly the police know as well as we do that they would get nowhere in court, but are using the regulations on collecting as an excuse to harass and intimidate activists on a regular basis.
Our defence of democratic rights in Newcastle will not stop.
Defend the Democratic Right to Collect!
Stop Police Harassment!
Saturday 19 January - TCAR Northern March Against Racism
Approximately 150 people took part in a militant anti-racist demonstration organised by Tyneside Community Action for Refugees (TCAR) from the West End of Newcastle to the City Centre on 19 January, demanding Freedom to Work, Freedom to Stay, and an end to the criminalisation of immigrants, the end of the NASS system and decent housing for all.
TCAR campaigns in support of asylum seekers' rights and against policies which divide the working class by inciting British people to blame immigrants for cuts in services and lack of access to housing instead of blaming the Labour government which is making the cuts and which attacks all the poor in this country, immigrant and native.
Marchers included asylum seekers from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Cote d'Ivoire, Malawi, Kurdistan and elsewhere. Several people who, with the help of TCAR, have successfully fought the government's attempts to deport them came to show their support for those still confronting the racist British government's asylum and immigration policies, including Joy Bowman, whose campaign against her deportation to Jamaica received national publicity, and Kurdish asylum seeker Guler Akdogan, who learned in December that her long fight against the deportation of her family to Turkey had been successful.
The demo stopped outside the Government Offices North East where speakers from TCAR and the UDPS opposition party from DRC spoke about the mistreatment of asylum seekers and immigrants in Britain. People whose only 'crime' is to flee oppression or poverty are criminalised, detained and deported. Those who are waiting the outcome of decisions on their cases are banned from working, which means they are further criminalised if they then do work illegally, while ironically becoming the butt of media abuse for not working and 'scrounging off the state'.
Speakers at the end rally at Grey's Monument included TCAR, Newcastle Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!/Revolutionary Communist Group, North West Asylum Seekers' Defence Group, South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group, Support the Harmondsworth 4 Campaign, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Tyneside Stop the War, the University and College Lecturers' Union, Tyneside Socialist Forum and International Federation of Iraqi Refugees. MC Drop Dead Fred performed some political raps for fellow protesters. Many more people spoke and there was always a long queue of people waiting to use the open mic.
The demo was also attended by contingents from Durham, Carlisle, Doncaster, Sheffield, Manchester, Middlesborough, Glasgow and Leeds and by members and supporters of No Borders, Antifa, Amnesty International and the Socialist Workers Party. At a time when political campaigners across the country are facing police harassment and restrictions on their right to protest, it was great to see the Monument covered in banners and surrounded by protesters.
The police originally tried to impose restrictions on the date and route of the march but they backed down. In the end the police imposed conditions that were identical to the agreed route. This meant the march had to stick to agreed times for setting off and dispersing, so although it was a victory for TCAR, the right to protest was still restricted. In addition, two arrests were made on the demonstration. The two activists arrested had previously been dragged out of the march on the route. The police liasion intervened and other demonstrators refused to 'just move on' as ordered by the police. Later the two activists were approached again and asked for their details. The officer referred to chants they had been singing. They refused their details. Witnesses heard the arresting officer say that she didn't intend to report the activists, she just wanted their names 'for intelligence purposes'. When they continued to refuse to give their details the activists were arrested. The police liaison organised a phone-in of the police station. The activists were released later in the day.
to find this report on indymedia, click here
Sunday 27 April - RCG FUND RAISER!
Comrades and supporters of the Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! newspaper took part in a sponsored walk on 27 April to raise money for the RCG’s continuing work in building an anti-imperialist and working class movement in Britain. 13 people from Manchester walked the famous Kinder Scout route in the Peak District, the scene of a historic mass trespass in 1932, involving many communists, which led to the land becoming a public right of way. During the 12 mile walk, which lasted nearly seven hours, the comrades carried flags from the USSR, Palestine, Cuba and Bolivia in a gesture of solidarity with the socialist and progressive struggles taking place across the world. The walk marked the beginning of FRFI’s national £10,000 fund-drive. Get in touch if you want to make a donation or take part in a fundraising event.
Saturday 25 October - TCAR's Northern March Against Racism! Newcastle!
On 25th October the 2nd Northern March Against Racism, called by TCAR (Tyneside Community Action for Refugees), took the message of anti-racism, working class solidarity and internationalism to the streets of Newcastle. Anti-racists from Jarrow to Carlisle, Sunderland to Durham, Zimbabwe to the Czech Republic, DRCongo to Iraq, young and old, employed and unemployed, chanted together: “Unemployment and inflation are not caused by immigration – Rubbish, come off it, the enemy is profit!”
The march had been planned since July, but had become all the more important following the intensification of the economic crisis and the further deepening of racism indicated by the appointment of Phil Woolas as Immigration Minister, who has stated that the government has been ‘too soft’ on immigration in the past, and that he has been brought in to take a harder line.
Marching from the West End to Grey’s Monument the protestors demanded decent living conditions for all. As the march passed the offices of Angel Group, who make millions of pounds every year by providing substandard and unsafe accommodation to asylum seekers on government contracts, chants of “Angel Group – Devil Group!” rang out. On Stanhope Street passers-by showed their support for the march by buying TCAR’s newsletter, ‘Resistance’.
As the protestors arrived at Grey’s Monument they were confronted by a counter-protest of around 20 fascists from the National Front and Combat 18, holding a banner reading: ‘Stop Immigration – Start Repatriation’. The police stood by and allowed them to continue with their open racism for some time before politely asking them to move on, with a police sergeant standing chatting and laughing with the fascists. Their chants and insults were drowned out by the united chanting of the anti-racists, joined by many passers-by.
The street meeting following the march went ahead despite intimidation, visibly from the fascists and from behind the scenes by the police and council. First the police had claimed that they couldn’t ‘accommodate’ the march due to the Sunderland-Newcastle Derby on the same day. When TCAR informed them that we had no need to be ‘accommodated’ and that the march would go ahead regardless, they backed down. They then threatened that as they did not consider the rally to constitute a ‘meeting in the open air’ they would not allow donations to be taken without a permit. Both council and police have refused to define what they do consider to constitute a meeting. In the face of concerted opposition on this point the police also backed down, and took no action on the day.
Speakers included representatives from TCAR, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! and a number of other groups.
Speaking at the rally Sam Magill from Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! pointed to the roots of the current crisis in capitalism’s inherent contradictions, and the urgent necessity for socialism. She made the point that in order to rebuild a socialist movement in Britain it would be necessary to confront and destroy the Labour Party:
“The Labour party has waged bloody wars and attacked resistance movements internationally for nearly a century. If we are to change this then we must demand a total split from the Labour party. The millions and millions of people who are dying in countries like Congo; Iraq; Afghanistan from wars of economic plunder and the millions more dying from malnutrition and preventable diseases can’t afford to wait for us any longer. We need to build an internationalist movement today; a movement for socialism which can stand up against racism not only in this country but all over the world and demand a decent life for all! NOW!”
Other supporters of FRFI used the open forum to raise the question of Britain’s parasitic position in the world economy, and the fact that oppressed countries on which Britain’s wealth depends have been feeling the full effects of the crisis for a long time. They called out organisations on the left who are presently calling for government spending on ‘us’ instead of the banks, without questioning the source of Britain’s wealth. In Britain the logical direction of a ‘socialist’ movement which ignores Britain’s imperialist character is national socialism, or fascism.
TCAR will continue the struggle in Newcastle for all refugees’ and migrants’ rights. Contact us to get involved.
hear audio from the march here!
for the full audio, on indymedia, click here!
Together we are stronger!
Together we will win!
Saturday 3 January - Victory to the Intifada! Newcastle!
Supporters of the Revolutionary Communist Group and its newspaper Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! joined over 400 other people in Newcastle to demonstrate against the Israeli attacks on Gaza and to demand freedom for Palestine at Grey's Monument.
The demonstration was initiated by Palestinians living in Newcastle and supported by a range of organisations including Tyneside Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Tyneside Stop the War Campaign, University Friends of Palestine, Newcastle University Islamic Society, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!/ Revolutionary Communist Group, Socialist Workers Party, Socialist Party and a number of community groups.
The opening speaker, from the Palestinian community, emphasised the need for absolute solidarity with the Palestinian right to resistance in their struggle for self determination against colonial occupation. This was followed by a speaker from University Friends of Palestine, who pointed out that Israel had absolutely no interest in recognizing an independent Palestinian state
The FRFI speaker explained why it was fitting that a celebration of Cuban resistance, originally planned from 12-4, made way for such an urgent demonstration of solidarity with Palestine, highlighting Cuba's active solidarity with the Palestinian cause and their shared struggle against imperialism. She compared the solidarity shown by socialist Cuba to the role played by Britain as an imperialist country: 'While socialist Cuba exports doctors and teachers, capitalist Britain exports instruments of repression'. She went on to emphasize that 'British imperialism has consistently colluded with Zionist terror throughout the years of Intifada and that Israel could not survive without the support of US and British imperialism'. The speaker received a spontaneous round of applause when she said: "Israel could not survive without the support of US and British imperialism. In order to fight the occupation of Palestine we need to fight British imperialism." The speech ended with a call to support the third Palestinian intifada called by Hamas from within the heartland of imperialist Britain, by getting out on the streets and targeting key links in the chain of support from Britain to Israel, like Marks and Spencer, Britain's biggest corporate sponsor of Israel and the Labour Party, which has always been a racist, imperialist party and which has supported Zionism since its 1944 conference called for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine.
There followed an open mic session where speeches were interspersed with chants of 'Victory to the Intifada!' 'Free, Free Palestine!' '1,2,3,4 Occupation No More! 5,6,7,8 Israel is an Apartheid State!' etc.
It was also highlighted that, although there was a massive turnout and it was an inspirational event, one demonstration alone would not change the situation in Palestine and had to be the start of a movement on the streets of Newcastle to demand an end to all British support for Israel.
There will be a public forum on Gaza and action we can take in Newcastle on Tuesday 6th January, 7-9pm at the Culture Café (above Get Stuffed takeaway), Mary's Place (near Haymarket metro), Newcastle hosted by FRFI. All groups and individuals welcome.
Victory to the third intifada! Free Palestine!
Saturday 17 January - Victory to the Intifada! Newcastle!
On Saturday 17th January there was a rally at Grey's Monument in solidarity with the people of Palestine against the Israeli occupation and siege on Gaza. The rally began at around 12pm and was supported by individual Palestinian people living in the northeast, other individuals and groups including Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition, the Women in Black, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! The socialist Workers Party and the Socialist Party.
About 300 people attended where there were speeches interspersed with chants of 'Free, Free Palestine!' and 'Resistance is justified, when people are occupied!' One speech in particular highlighted the British governments past and continuing support for Israel, in helping with the creation of Israel, and the need to highlight Britain's and the Labour Party's role in this so that we can apply pressure here in Britain.
"The British government created the first ever Zionist military organisation, the Jewish Legion, formed as part of the British army to help it to conquer Palestine in the first world war. And from 1918 to 1948 Britain occupied Palestine. The British occupation put down all struggles for Arab independence with brutal repression, and at the same time handed out Arab land to Zionist settlers etc…Since the start of the second intifada, the uprising of the Palestinian people, in 2000, the Labour government has consistently backed Israel and blocked resolutions in the EU and UN. They have repeated over and over that Israel's violence is to be blamed on the resistance of the Palestinians. But we say that resistance is no crime – we say that resistance is justified, when the people are occupied."
When the rally finished, 150 of those gathered joined in with a militant, loud and vibrant rolling picket of companies that support Israel. It began at Lloyds TSB on Grey Street where 100 demonstrators occupied the building some carrying on the chants and handing out leaflets to Lloyds customers while others 'died' in the building, wearing bloodstained t-shirts and carrying boards with pictures of the scenes from Gaza and slogans reading 'End British support for Israel'. While the other 50 remained outside handing leaflets to passer-bys. They remained there for 20 minutes until the police came and pushed people out.
The procession then moved to Starbucks who support Israel by sponsoring fund raisers for Israel. This time the police were quicker to respond.
The procession then moved to Schuh which stocks Caterpillar footwear. Caterpillar armoured bulldozers are exported to Israel where they are used as a military tool, destroying Palestinian homes, infrastructure and agriculture and even killing civilians. Caterpillar is also involved in the construction of a separation wall which Israel has built on Palestinian land, ruled as illegal by the International Court of Justice. Contact stockists of Cat footwear and fashion brands SRX Sport and Legendary Raw to demand they stop stocking Cat products. Stockists in Newcastle include: Schuh, John Lewis, Barrats and JJB Sports.
The staff and the security guards tried to stop people entering but the demonstration got in and continued with the 'die-in' until again the police came, dragged people up off the floor and pushed them outside.
It then marched up Northumberland Street to Marks and Spencer making a lot of noise and chanting 'Boycott M&S! They support terrorists!' This time the police were ready and waiting in the entrance way so protestors sat and stood in a circle around the entrance, while others 'died', continuing the chants and speaking about how Marks & Spencer is the biggest British corporate sponsor of Israel. Marks & Spencer is not just interested in trading with Israel for profit like other companies, it is and always has been an unequivocal supporter of Zionism. As early as the 1940s M&S Chairman Israel Sieff openly advocated ethnic cleansing in Palestine. Fifty years later their language has changed but their support for Israel remained steadfast, earning M&S a Jubilee Award from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu for its services to Israel.
And then to Mcdonalds which was occupied until the police man-handled people and forcibly dragged them out.
McDonalds chairman and CEO Jack M. Greenberg is an honorary director of the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce and Industry. According to the Chicago Jewish Community Online (website of the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago), McDonalds Corporation is a major corporate partner of the Jewish United Fund and Jewish Federation. Through its Israel Commission, the Jewish United Fund "works to maintain American military, economic and diplomatic support for Israel; monitors and, when necessary, responds to media coverage of Israel
The spontaneous march then went back down Northumberland Street and occupied Blacket Street bringing traffic to a stand still. The police turned up again forcing people onto the pathway whilst quoting section 14 of the Public Order Act and imposing a time condition of 2 minutes on the demonstration in that area before they would start arresting people. Demonstrators then decided to move back onto the Monument.
Whilst there it was brought to light that the police had assaulted two young people on the demonstration, a boy aged 13 had his foot deliberately stamped on by police and along with his sister aged 14 were grabbed tightly around the arms and dragged down part of the demonstration. And their mother who was trying to get to her kids to make sure they were ok was also man-handled by the police.
This further angered the crowd who began chants of 'No, No, No to police harassment!' and 'Whose Streets?! Our Streets! Whose police?! Their Police!' The demonstrators then decided to march onto and picket Market Street Police station. About 30 people came to this where they were met by the heavy handedness of the police, who claimed that protestors were causing an obstruction of the pathway and so tried to move them away from the entrance. When challenged on this, as it is a public right of way and there was plenty of room for people to get passed, the police started pushing and dragging people, who refused to move, down the street, and on to the road, where they were told that they were again blocking the way! Protestors were not breaking any laws so this just highlights that the police will blag the law and try and intimidate people in an attempt to stamp out any kind of social disobedience. But chants kept on coming and there were speeches on the importance of being on the streets demonstrating our democratic rights before they are taken from us. There was another time restriction imposed but by then the demonstration had started to die down so it was decided to finish it, especially as one police officer approached two activists and pointed them out as being 'in his opinion the organisers of the demonstration' who would be arrested if anyone was still there at the end of the imposed time limit. This kind of intimidation along with the overall behaviour of the police just shows that they aren't interested in protecting the freedoms we have, but in upholding the governance of the ruling class by trying to squash resistance.
We need to keep up pressure on the British government by being out on the streets.
Victory to the Intifada! End the Israeli Occupation of Palestine! End the Siege on Gaza!
Saturday 25 April - March against the racist Sri Lankan Government Newcastle
The monotony of weekend shopping was broken, when onlookers stopped to watch as over 150 people marched through Newcastle City centre, as part of a series demonstration called by Tamils in Britain.
The Tamil protests followed the killing of over 2,800 Tamil men,women and children in the first two months of 2009 alone, this as part of the Sri Lankan governments 'final' offensive to crush the resistance of the Tamil people. After peaceful and democratic means to redress oppression in civil liberties, language, culture, education, jobs and occupation of Tamil territory where met with brutal military suppression spanning a 30year period, in 1976 Tamils finally took up arms in the fight for survival and self-determination. Since the beginning of 2008, following the Sri Lankan governments unilateral withdrawal from the ceasefire agreement, signed in 2002 between the government and the Tamil Tigers, military aggression against the resistance and the Tamil people was ramped up.
The March finished at the moment with a rally , with speeches and chants. Chants were tirelessly throughout the rally by Tamil women with a wide range of slogans including “Tamil Tigers – Freedom fighter.” Over the four hours chant's were interspersed with speeches including FRFI, who after offering messages of solidarity to Tamils involved in protest that took place the week prior went to make the links between British Imperialism and the oppression of the Tamil people when she said “But Britain and the British Labour party still has blood on its hands even now; it is responsible for licensing £7 million worth of weapons and military equipment for export to Sri Lanka this year alone. Britain is profiting from selling arms to Sri Lanka which are directly being used to kill Tamils right now!” show the Britains role in Sri Lanka is not confined to its colonial past, but is an ever present reality British Imperialism.
Few, if any, passers by were left in doubt why the Tamils and supporters where there. With two enormous helium balloons carrying slogans and Tamil flags or the banners, placards and chants on three or so megaphones made sure the demonstration was lively, militant and energetic.
On 20 January Tyneside Community Action for Refugees (TCAR) held a militant march through Newcastle to protest against deportations of asylum seekers and to launch its Pledge of Resistance to snatch squads. A rally in the city centre was addressed by asylum seekers from Turkey, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire and Ethiopia, together with speakers from TCAR, FRFI, Newcastle Stop the War and the Jesus Army. The Pledge of Resistance was read out and received enthusiastically. We reproduce an edited text of the Pledge below.
The Pledge of Resistance
Seeking asylum is not a crime! Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. Legal aid for asylum claims has been cut back to a five-hour standard, which makes it impossible for solicitors to adequately prepare a case. The time allowed for submitting an appeal has been reduced to 10 days, with 10 hours legal aid, and the right to a second appeal to an immigration tribunal has been withdrawn. Under this system 81% of asylum seekers are being refused. Now the government proposes to withdraw the right even to a first appeal as long as asylum seekers remain in Britain. Under the ‘New Asylum Model’ applications are ‘fast-tracked’ to the point where as little as 1% of applications are successful, and the time limit for submitting an appeal is four days.