Hands off John Bowden!

Greenock Sheriff Court for John Bowden 22 September

We reproduce below a letter sent to Glasgow Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! from long term prisoner John Bowden. John has been regular writer for FRFI and organiser for prisoners’ rights over the last 30 years. The backlash against him by the prison authorities continues. We ask you to join us in mobilising for the following dates at Greenock Sheriff Court where he is being put on a show trial for defending himself and others against Scottish prison service brutality.

Thank you so much for your very welcome letter that raised my spirits considerably, especially at a time when the constant transfers around the prison system and overtly more repressive treatment have increased the feeling of extreme isolation; your support and solidarity at such a time is deeply appreciated.

I was very sorry to have missed you and your comrades at Greenock court last month but am sure when the actual trial goes ahead on the 17th November (the hearing on the 27th October will be just a brief one to enter a plea of not guilty) it will hopefully extend throughout the day. That is certainly my intention anyway and I will seek constantly to use the trial as a platform to highlight and speak out against prison system brutality, especially as it’s manifested at Greenock prison. Your presence therefore outside the court will assist me greatly.

My message  to you and your comrades is that your solidarity with prisoners who resist and fight back is absolutely vital as a means both of highlighting the struggle  of those prisoners and showing those who repress and brutalise them that they are not alone.

My own treatment at the moment is fairly typical of the abuse inflicted on difficult and subversive prisoners, and the total isolation of such prisoners is an absolutely central part of that abuse – which is why solidarity organised by comrades on the outside is the most effective means of challenging that abuse and isolation.

In my own case so determined now are the prison authorities to psychologically destroy me that they’ve resorted to blatantly unlawful methods, such as categorising me as an extreme Escape Risk 20 years after an escape from custody in 1992; in July of this year, following a recommendation from a senior probation officer in London that regardless of my difficult relationship with the prison system I represented no danger whatsoever to the community and should therefore be transferred to a low-security jail in preparation for release, managers at Whitemoor maximum-security prison suddenly decided that an escape from custody in 1992 retrospectively justified recategorising me as a high risk prisoner. So now apart from being constantly transferred around eight different prisons in the last three months alone, I’m also forced to wear distinct yellowing clothing with ‘Escapee’ emblazoned on it and am woken every hour throughout the night apparently to ensure that I haven’t escaped from my cell. This is of course straightforward mental torture.

I’m informed that following the trial at Greenock in November the intention is to return me to Whitemoor prison in England; if so then I shall embark on a total non-cooperation protest forcing them to place me in the prison’s segregation-unit (the site of considerable brutality) where I will try to organise collective resistance – your continuing solidarity will therefore be greatly appreciated.

Again I am deeply grateful for your support and solidarity. Yes of course I will stay strong – we have a revolution to fight and a world to win!!!

In solidarity,

John

Show your support

Join the court protest from 9.30am on 17 November,

at:

Greenock Sheriff Court House, 
1 Nelson Street, 
Greenock, 
PA15 1TR

 

Write to the governor of Whitemoor prison, protesting against his politically motivated decision to categorise John as an escape risk:

Governor Paul Cawkwell

HMP Whitemoor
Longhill Road

March
Cambridgeshire
PE15 0PR

 

Write to John at:

John Bowden – 6729

HMP Barlinnie

81 Lee Avenue

Glasgow

G33 2QX

Justice for Sheku Bayoh! Police Scotland, PIRC, SNP – blood on your hands!

FRFI supporters from across Scotland joined hundreds marching through Kirkcaldy on Sunday 6 September to demand justice for Sheku Bayoh, a 31 year old father of two who was killed in police custody on Sunday 3 May. Sheku moved to Britain from Sierra Leone when he was 11 and had lived in Fife since he was 17.

Right from the start there was a cover-up. Sheku’s family were given five different accounts from Police Scotland about the circumstances surrounding his death, including allegations that Sheku was carrying a knife, and that he was found dead by a member of the public. Sheku was unarmed and died in police custody. Whilst Police Scotland has refused to release CCTV footage, what is known is that police forced Sheku to the ground less than two minutes after confronting him, using CS spray, pepper spray and batons. Handcuffs, leg and ankle restraints were applied while he was face down. Still in handcuffs, Sheku was pronounced dead at Victoria Hospital within two hours of the start of the incident,.

Read more ...

RCG mobilises support for strikes in Dundee and Glasgow

Throughout May to July, Revolutionary Communist Group supporters mobilised in support of striking Dundee hospital porters and Glasgow homelessness service caseworkers. Both were taking all-out strike action against low pay and to defend services.

After a 13-week strike, the 117 Dundee porters from Ninewells and Royal Victoria hospitals, members of Unite the Union, won an inspiring victory over their NHS Tayside bosses and the SNP Scottish Government. They won a re-grading, immediate pay rises, an increase in the number of full time, permanent portering jobs and a cash payment for every striker of £1,800.

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Justice for Sheku Bayoh!

Sheku Bayoh died in police custody on Sunday 3 May. This young man was not laid to rest until Sunday 7 June. Hundreds turned out from Sheku's local community in Kirkcaldy, Fife and hundreds' from all over: South London, Reading, Northampton. Diplomatic figures from Sheku's home country of Sierra Leone, marched alongside working class folks from Sheku's gym in the Templehall Community Centre.  

The march formed up opposite Gallaghers pub' where Sheku was restrained by up to 9 police officers a month ago. Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! joined the procession and stood with it as it stopped outside the local police station to repeat the family's and campaign's demands for answers as to the circumstances of Sheku's death.

From the mosque people gathered at Dysart Cemetery to say hushed farewells and prayers for this popular local laddie who at 31 years of age leaves behind a partner Colette and two young children. At the press conference which followed his burial we heard shocking details of how doctors and nurses at Victoria Hospital had insisted police remove handcuffs and leg restraints from the dying Sheku as staff vainly tried to revive him.

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All-Scotland Day of Protest Against Benefit Cuts

 

DAWS was amongst the many speakers at the Black Triangle Disabilty Rights demo in George Square, Glasgow the day. We stress 'many speakers' because we and others such as the Scottish Unemployed Workers Network are not going to get that chance next week at the now Scottish Trade Union Congress controlled anti- austerity demo in Glasgow. The 'official' trade union platform will have the SNP and the Labour party speaking, all sewn up to exclude the real grassroots campaigners. The SNP's feeble 56 strategy was articulated by ex- Labour party, now SNP, MP Tommy Shephard who spoke incredibly of 'guilt tripping' 50 or 60 Tory MP's into supporting anti- austerity! Incredible! What a hopeless, predominantly parliamentary dead end that will lead the real anti- austerity struggle nowhere. As we predicted, the SNP presence today was negligible- some young SNP supporters were justifying the £74,000 MP's salary while within talking distance of the disabled and poor justifiably fearing the outcome of Osborne's Emergency Budget on 8 July. The SNP will lead this movement nowhere! DAWS was not the only speaker to have a go at the SNP, disabled activist Susan properly complained about platforms, trade union platforms that excluded the disabled. DAWS stands by and upholds the vital principle of real democracy in the movement. Join the Action Against Austerity contingent next Saturday- our voices will be heard!

Posted by Dundee Against Welfare Sanctions on Sunday, 14 June 2015

The All-Scotland Day of Protest Against Benefit Cuts, organised by the Black Triangle Campaign for Disability Rights, took place on Sunday 14 June and was a useful indication of the struggles ahead for those committed to smashing austerity. Organised independently of any ‘official’ movement, a small number of grassroots campaigners and supporters took to George Square to raise the voices of those currently at the brutal, bloody edge of the class struggle – the poor, the sick and disabled and the unemployed. The hundred-or so gathered, including the Revolutionary Communist Group and Dundee Against Welfare Sanctions, were left to do so without any mobilisation of the trade unions, the SNP or the various independence campaigns: the ‘political awakening’ of Scotland and the wave of anti-austerity which brought ‘the 56’ to the gilded seats of Westminster desperately needs to assume a more concrete and visible presence than articles in The National!

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Scotland Events coming up..

Get in touch with your local Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! group:

Glasgow; glasgow_rcg@gmail.com

Edinburgh: edinburghfrfi@gmail.com

 

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