Justice and the law - which side are you on?

On Sunday 27th April, the Glasgow Defence Campaign were proud to host a meeting in Maryhill, Glasgow discussing the role of justice and the law. Here we reproduce the text of the talk which introduced the meeting.

 
Justice and the law – which side are you on?
 
Any serious consideration of current events cannot but notice the contradictions of our times. As these contradictions become more and more acute they will give rise to challenges to the present social order.
 
Working class living standards are facing their biggest decline in a generation, yet we are told ‘the economy’ is recovering. Hundreds of thousands of people in Britain are forced to attend food banks for basic sustenance, while our television screens are stuffed full of programmes dedicated to gourmet food and the promotion of self-indulgence as our neighbours go hungry. Whereas previous food crises have been characterised by scarcity, today supermarket shelves are overstocked with an abundance of food – much of it increasingly priced out of the reach of working class people blamed for their ‘unhealthy lifestyle choices.’
 
Increasing numbers of working class people are being pushed into the margins of existence as a new wave of benefit sanctions leads people into destitution and despair. Every two minutes a young person somewhere in the UK has their benefits stopped by a Jobcentre. Despite making up only 27% of jobseeker's allowance claimants, young people are the recipients of 43% of the sanctions issued. This violence is being played out against a background of a united political class and complicit media telling us that the economy is recovering – that economic prosperity is returning. This is one of the major contradictions of our times. Anyone who switches on the media will hear the manta repeated ad nauseam. Perverse and meaningless statistics are used to justify the new vogue. Those who disagree with this analysis are marginalised and dismissed. Despite this narrative ordinary people in their daily existence know the truth; many here will know someone who is either out of work – or facing punitive benefit sanctions, others will be aware of the vicious attacks on the disabled being waged by ATOS on behalf of the DWP and the widespread deployment of Workfare – modern slavery. You may even be going through this process yourselves. Others will be aware of the increasing phenomenon young people face – called internships – free labour given in hope of a job in the future. For the mass of those in work, job insecurity is now increasing and widespread; the use zero hour contracts are escalating.
 
But there is another contradiction we need to address: while many of us anticipated these attacks as part of the economic crisis, we did not expect the absence of resistance. The ruling class, sensing this, are widening and deepening the attacks to ever increasing sections of the working class and wider population. Those on the receiving end are told there is no alternative but to accept defeat and isolation; poor people are being blamed for being poor, or else told to blame other poor people for their poverty as racism and bigotry stalks. In response, feelings of hopelessness and depression become all the more common; alcohol misuse and drug abuse are increasing as alienation takes hold.
 
We need to confront this reality and begin to understand why this is happening, we need to understand clearly the role of the law in this country and begin to work out how we can fight for social justice.
 
One important point I want to make is that all of these attacks are part of conscious political decision making. It has recently dropped out of the vocabulary of the ruling class and its media, but what we are experiencing is the realisation of the Tory party vision of what they termed the ‘Big Society’. That is the role back of the state, the systematic destruction of state welfare provision for the poor and the vulnerable and the promotion of charity as the solution. What we are seeing is a return to the nineteenth century poor laws – people should read the lead article in the current edition of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! where we discuss the social crisis in more detail.
 
In these times, however, where there is so much injustice and so little resistance it falls on us to understand and explain to people what is happening and begin to work out a solution. We must understand that others before us have faced far worse social conditions and found solutions. We cannot afford to lose inspiration and hope – we need to maintain belief in ourselves and understand that it is working class people organising together who hold the key.
 
The discerning among the ruling class understands all too well the enormity of the crisis facing British imperialism. They know that the economic crisis is producing a social crisis; they also know that a political crisis is inevitable. They may be many things but they are not foolish. Just look at how skilled they are at dividing and ruling people; they have been doing it for generations. This is why they have erected an array of legislation to criminalise increasing swathes of the population; the last Labour government created criminal legislation at a rate of more than one a day – over 6,000 new pieces of legislation! It was the most heavily legislated parliament since parliament was created and more than twice the rate of the previous Tory regime under Thatcher and Major. A recent academic study of the legislative programme of the Scottish Parliament noted how it had created criminal offenses at a far greater rate than its English counterpart; in the course of a twelve month period between 2010 to 2011 twice as many criminal offences applying to Scotland were created compared to those applying to England. Why, we are entitled to ask, is all of this necessary?
 
As we wrote previously in Fight Racism! Fight Imerialism!, the economic counterpart to the social disciplining of the working class is a flexible labour market: freedom for the market is matched by social control for the working class. Or as Larry Elliot wrote of the Blair’s Labour government: having decided it will not regulate the markets, Labour will ‘regulate the people instead, imposing a panoply of social controls to ensure that problems caused by uncontrollable unregulated economy…don’t threaten the lifestyles of its new middle class constituency.’
 
This increasing criminalisation of our communities has gone hand in hand with attacks on our legal rights. I want to discuss two of the major ones, the attacks on legal aid and the moves by the Scottish Parliament to abolish evidential corroboration in criminal trials.
 
To fully understand these measures we need to view them as part of the overall war on the working class. Let us be clear; the rich will always be able to buy the best lawyers. For the working class however justice is increasingly being denied with all of the consequences which follow from inadequate legal representation when faced against a state intent on widespread criminalisation. That the increasing attacks on legal aid are occurring at a time of increasing criminal legislation is no accident. The challenge before those who oppose cuts in legal aid is to go beyond immediate self interest and show how these issues of justice affect us all. As political activists who are subject to police harassment and criminalisation we declare a special interest. To save legal aid it may be pertinent to examine how legal aid came about in the first instance; I know of no serious study which has examined this issue – either north or south of the border. It is perfectly conceivable that its author awaits.
 
We need to also understand the recent moves to abolish corroboration in Scots law. Corroboration – the requirement in criminal trails that for a conviction to be safe there must be two independent pieces of evidence of the crucial fact. The emotive issue of Scotland’s poor conviction rate for rape is often at the fore of the corroboration debate. It is misleading and it is intended to mislead and confuse. We are rarely told that in fact this is the political response to Scots law being brought into line with the rest of Europe following the important 2010 Supreme Court Cadder ruling which upheld the right of an accused person to have consultation with a solicitor – a right long held in other jurisdictions. The ruling means that Scottish police can no longer question suspects without offering the suspect a private consultation with a lawyer; not only before an interrogation but also at any time during the interrogation at the suspects request. On 21 April the Scottish Government announced that it was putting on hold this process; clearly with the pending referendum they have calculated that this could be detrimental to the SNPs independence ambitions. In the final analysis these matters will be dependent on the prevailing balance of political forces.
 
The increasing propensity towards criminalisation, the restriction of access to justice by undermining legal aid and the moves towards abolishing corroboration cannot be separated from the economic and social crisis facing British imperialism. The great contradiction of so much injustice with so little resistance is a temporary state of affairs. These developments show that the ruling class are preparing for a deeper class war than we are currently enduring.
 
Where will the resistance come from? History is loaded with examples of what propels individuals into political action; we say that the contradictions of our times will inevitably give rise to opportunities for revolutionary advances to be made. The Edinburgh born Irish revolutionary James Connolly understood and articulated very clearly the material basis of political action in an important article published in the Workers’ Republic on 12 August 1899. His prophetic words are worth recalling;
 
‘In every case the social condition of the mass of the people was the determining factor in political activity. Where the mass of the people find existing conditions intolerable, and imagine they see a way out, there will be a great political movement; where the social conditions are not so abnormally acute no amount of political oratory, nor yet co-operation of leaders, can produce a movement.’
 
There is no such thing as a problem without a solution; the solution lies within the problem.

What is the role of progressive people at this time? Our primary duty must be to struggle; we must prove ourselves capable of articulating the frustrations and aspirations of our communities. To do so effectively we must constantly be on our guard against our biggest enemies at this time; pessimism, indifference and inaction. We must understand that from nothing comes nothing. We must be able to take each and every particular problem, each instance of injustice to its roots in the general crisis of capitalism and back to the particular solution. We must be vigilant and actively oppose those who would steer struggles into dead ends; those who promote narrow class interests over the interests of working class as a whole. We cannot offer readymade solutions but know that the struggle contains the solution.
 
Today by having meetings and discussions such as this we are rebuilding the revolutionary traditions firmly grounded upon our knowledge of the economic basis of all political action. As James Connolly stated;
 
‘Examine the great revolutionary movements of history and you find that in all cases they sprang from unsatisfactory social conditions, and had their origin in a desire for material well being. In other words, the seat of progress and source of revolution is not in the brain, but in the stomach.’
 
In these times it is absolutely vital that we take hope and inspiration from our revolutionary traditions, as Walter Benjamin once noted, it is only for the sake of those without hope that hope is given to us.

Paul McKenna, chairperson of the Glasgow Defence Campaign.

 

The rich protest while the poor celebrate!

FRFI's Speaking Tour: 'Reports from the frontline' kicked off in Glasgow on Sunday 6 April as comrade Rafael Ramos- Rafa- joined FRFI Supporters on a march in Govanhill Glasgow on International Roma Day. Chants of 'El Pueblo Unido- Ne vas sera vencido!'- 'The People United- Will never be Defeated!' in Spanish and English, alternated with our calls to 'Unite and Fight!'. We were proud to see our Venezuelan comrade hold the banner of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! on the march.

At the afternoon meeting Rafa detailed the incredibly positive achievements of the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela: the international record breaking levels of access to free education from nursery to university, the reductions in poverty and unemployment, the massive house building programs- all of which have pushed Venezuela up into the United Nations' attested higher levels of human development. Rafa was here also to describe how the Venezuelan people, the government and the working class, were dealing with the recent upsurge in 'protest' and 'opposition' organised by the wealthy in the country and abroad- principally the United States. Rafa quoted a poet who had wryly noted that in Venezuela '...the rich protest while the poor celebrate.' Rafa himself had lost a friend in the recent violent attacks of the fascist reactionaries. He assured the meeting that the people everywhere, in particular those in the barrios close to the well-off areas from which the attacks on schools, medical clinics, transport come, advocate a peaceful resolution of the situation. The politically experienced, educated and organised Venezuelan folk are aware of their country's history and of the history of Latin America. The speaker pointed out that Hugo Chavez had himself presented Barak Obama with a copy of Eduardo Galleano's book 'The Open Veins of Latin America'. Clearly Obama has chosen to ignore its truths. The Venezuelans know that the creation of a civil war scenario is the aim of the reactionary violence, to justify imperialist intervention. Having popularly defeated a United States' sponsored coup attempt in April 2002, the people were not about to walk into Uncle Sam's obvious and bloody trap. They are calmly and peacefully defending their Revolution!

To make the point that the Bolivarian Revolution is indeed also popularly recognised and supported throughout the world, comrade Rafa had no sooner entered a Glasgow pub and been introduced as a Venezuelan than we heard the cry of 'Viva Chavez!'. A tablet was produced showing the web page of Venezuela Analysis.com! Our Venezuelan friend and comrade gave FRFI comrades an account of how the party of Hugo Chavez- the United Socialist Party of Venezuela- organises its millions of members. Across the universities and colleges, in the barrios of the working people and in the workplaces, the advance of the Bolivarian Revolution is planned and put into action. It was for us a privilege and honour to hear from the frontline of the struggle in Venezuela and to be part of the battle to bring its victories to the people.

 

Guilty for using a megaphone against ATOS

 
Today in Glasgow Sheriff Court, a judge sitting alone without a jury found Dominic O’Hara guilty of the criminal offence of using a megaphone on a picket against ATOS and in defence of disability rights in Glasgow on 22 February 2013. Sentence has been deferred until 18 March 2015 pending a 'good behaviour' report. These are the means through which the British ruling class hopes to deal with any opposition voices they deem a threat.
 
Supporters packed the public gallery in court number 20 to hear the third and final day of a trial which has cost in the region of £10,000 to bring to conclusion. From the outset the Glasgow Defence Campaign has been very clear – the trial was a political trial – where the right to effective protest was at stake. The trial can only be understood in the wider context of the undeclared war on the working class which is underway. The attacks on democratic rights cannot be separated from the violence which is currently being reined upon the most vulnerable in society who are being made to pay for the economic crisis.  
 
When placed against a background of almost four years of constant harassment directed against supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! in Glasgow, today’s verdict comes as no surprise. Money and resources was no object. Four crown witnesses were used, three of them police officers. Two supporters were illegally arrested and detained on the protest. The charges relating to this were later to be dropped as the arrests themselves were unlawful. In the weeks following his arrest, one supporter was accosted and stalked at his family home by undercover police officers who attempted to recruit him as an informer. We reserve the right to comment further on the police manoeuvres during this period and will do so at a time of our convenience.
 
For the time being the Glasgow Defence Campaign would like to place on record our sincere thanks to all those who have helped publicise this case and who have stood with us throughout the past year. Tens of thousands of people have read our recent blog postings confirming what we believe to be a growing concern among more and more people about the nature of ‘justice’ in this country. We have held no less than nine pickets of Glasgow Sheriff Court in relation to this specific case to make it absolutely clear to those who oppress the vulnerable we will hold them to account. We would like to salute our comrades from Dundee Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! and Dundee Against ATOS who have travelled in support during the trial. We hope you learned something about the nature of the British justice system and how the police react to effective court mobilisations and we hope also to have learned from you about the need to continue to resist.  
 
When faced with injustice we have no option but to continue to resist.
 
Miriam Kelly GDC
Glasgow, Scotland

 

19 March 2014 
 
They've got all their law books and their regulations
They've got all their prisons and fortresses;
Their ‘deterrent measures’ we needn't mention!
They've got all their prison guards and judges
Who are well paid, ready to do anything:
Well, why is that then?
Do they really think they’ll wear us down with all that?
Before they perish (and that will be soon)
They will see how all they did was in vain.
 
They've got their newspapers and printing presses
With which to attack and silence our voices
Their statesmen we needn't mention!
They own Priests and Professors
Who are well paid and ready to do anything:
Well, why is that then?
Is it because the truth’s so frightening?
Before they perish (and that will be soon)
They will see how all they did was in vain.
 
They've got their tanks and their cannon
Machine guns and hand grenades
Their stilted truncheons don’t really count!
Their policemen and their soldiers
Who are underpaid, but ready to do anything:
Well, why is that then?
Is it because their enemy’s so powerful?
They think they must find some support soon
To halt what’s tottering up.
A day will come, it will be soon
They’ll come to see that that’s no good to them at all.
Then they can go on screaming ‘stop!’
Neither money nor cannon will save them!
 
Bertolt Brecht
 
Translated by the Glasgow Defence Campaign

 

Glasgow Defence Campaign on trial

Militant protest held outside Glasgow Sheriff Court, Monday 6 January 2014

On 22 February 2013 two supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! were arrested during a monthly protest against the benefit cutting multinational Atos. This brought to a head a six-month campaign of criminalisation waged by Strathclyde police (now Police Scotland) to demonise, isolate and ultimately divide and rule the militant and growing opposition to cuts to disability benefit in Glasgow.

The Glasgow Against Atos 2, Daniel McGarrell and Dominic O’Hara, were detained and charged with using a megaphone when instructed not to, resisting arrest and attempting to liberate a prisoner. In October a Sheriff Court judge found that the police had been acting unlawfully having no powers of arrest under the legislation s.54 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982.Regardless of this abuse of police powers and the collapse of the case the Sheriff upheld the political charge against Mr O’Hara of ‘using a megaphone’. The trial continues on 28 January and has become a fight to defend protest rights in Glasgow city centre in the run up to the Commonwealth Games in July which are being sponsored by Atos. The Glasgow Defence Campaign (GDC) is mobilising supporters to picket the Sheriff Court on the morning of the trial and is also pursuing legal action against Police Scotland for illegally arresting and detaining these anti-cuts protestors.

The ongoing trial as well as wider changes to Scottish policing and the limiting of access to legal aid representation underline the importance of unifying opposition to ruling class cuts and subsequent criminalisation now. 1 April 2013 saw the introduction of the punitive Bedroom Tax. On the same day a major restructuring of Scotland’s police forces took place with eight regional units, previously autonomous from one another, unified into a single national force known as ‘Police Scotland’. Already major concerns over local accountability and ‘massaging’ of crime figures to meet targets have arisen. A new generation of foot soldiers for the British ruling class are being trained to control and put down effective opposition to welfare cuts in Britain and imperialist occupation and war abroad.

The GDC has been busy at work organising against this under the slogan ‘Don’t Panic – Organise!’. The GDC, established by supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! in 2010, has been consistent in undertaking work in defence of progressive activists and organisations. We have consistently; updated our blogspot with reports of political policing (including our ‘police harassment log’); educated ourselves and others in matters of law by producing ‘know your rights’ bust cards and put this knowledge into action (our youtube video ‘how to deal with police harassment’ has had over half a million views); mobilised supporters and concerned members of the public for free speech rallies and pickets of Glasgow courts to support those facing political charges; wrote to national newspapers to highlight these issues and built support for our campaign on the streets and among well known individuals and sympathetic politicians. We invite all those opposed to the cuts, racism and wars of the British ruling class to stand together in joining the campaign to defend the protest rights we currently have. No Justice! No Peace!

Court Picket: Unite Against The Cuts! Defend Free Speech!
Tuesday 4 March, 10.15am
Outside Glasgow Sheriff Court, 1 Carlton Place
Trial in court 19 (open to the public)

For more info visit glasgowdefencecampaign.blogspot.com; email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; call 07734348065. To join the campaign donate a £5 pledge or standing order to the credit of Glasgow Defence Campaign Sort Code: 08-92-99, Account No: 65685253. Send your contact details to us at; PO Box YI-45, 2nd Floor, 48 West George Street, Glasgow G2 1 BP

 

Megaphone trial begins in Glasgow

Militant protest held outside Glasgow Sheriff Court, Monday 6 January 2014

The trial against Dominic O’Hara a supporter of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! and the Glasgow Defence Campaign began yesterday at Glasgow Sheriff Court as protesters staged a militant protest outside the court. On 22 February 2013 Dominic was unlawfully arrested and detained for speaking on a megaphone alongside another Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! supporter Daniel McGarrell on a protest against cuts to disability benefits being carried out by the multinational ATOS, on behalf of the Department of Work and Pensions. As we noted at the time, the state were setting out to smash the growing resistance against the cuts and in particular divide and derail the campaign against ATOS.

At a previous court hearing on 1 October 2013 the case in respect of three charges against the ATOS 2 collapsed, in an important victory for the Glasgow Defence Campaign, as the crown was forced to concede that their original arrest and detention was unlawful as they had no powers of arrest under the legislation s.54 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 that they had originally claimed. The flagrant abuse of police powers is currently subject to legal action being pursued by the Glasgow Defence Campaign.

Yesterday’s trial heard from two prosecution witnesses surrounding the events of the day. Speaking outside of the court, convenor of the Glasgow Defence Campaign, Paul McKenna stated that ‘this trial is a political trial which is intended to restrict and criminalise any effective protest against the cuts. The only criminality which took place that day on a wholly orderly and peaceful protest was the police snatch on our two comrades. We are confident that they will be vindicated’.

The trial was adjourned and will resume on Tuesday 28 January at 10am in court number 19 at Glasgow Sheriff Court, before a single judge sitting alone without a jury.

The Glasgow Defence Campaign will again be mobilising for a court protest and reminds supporters of this Sunday’s important meeting on the fight for democratic rights.

Policing the crisis

When the law makers are the law breakers there is no law

Sunday 12 January 2-4pm

Woodside Halls, Glenfarg Street, near St Georges x underground, Glasgow.

Report reproduced from the Glasgow Defence Campaign BlogSpot

For more information visit – glasgowdefencecampaign.blogspot.com

 

 

UKBA protest: standing up to racism in Glasgow, 9 Sep 2013

On 9 September people gathered in front of the UK Border Agency offices to protest against their recent degrading poster campaign which depicts destitute refugees alongside slogans such as ‘Is life here hard? Ask about going home’. This blatant attack on some of the most vulnerable people in society is just one in a long line of continual repression and discrimination against asylum seekers and refugees throughout the country. Asylum seekers are forced into derelict housing where eviction is common and must live with the constant threat of dawn raids and deportation. And now to add to a life of poverty and human suffering, asylum seekers must endure further humiliation sat in the waiting room of this government agency building as their claim gets processed.

 

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Glasgow Defence Campaign – For immediate release

Two arrests on peaceful Glasgow Against Atos protest

22 Feb, Glasgow – Two supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! (Glasgow) were today violently arrested, Friday 22 February, shortly after 2pm outside the Royal Bank of Scotland on Gordon Street, Glasgow city centre. They were taking part in a peaceful rolling picket organised by Glasgow Against ATOS, a campaign committed to opposing the French multinational ATOS and the government’s attack on welfare.

Both those arrested were taken to Stewart Street police station and were released at approximately 18:30. They are facing charges of liberating a prisoner from custody, resisting arrest and using a megaphone. Court date is set for Friday 22 March, for which solidarity protests are being organised. In an outrageous attack on democratic rights, their bail conditions include a ban on attending demonstrations in Glasgow city centre. This is the real reason behind these arrests: to disrupt and destroy political activity.

 

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Glasgow: Labour council passes £40m cuts budget – where is the resistance?

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! supporters joined parents and former users of St. Brides Primary swimming pool protesting outside Glasgow City Chambers today, Thursday 7 February. The pool is one of four currently facing closure, including special needs schools Abercorn and Ashcraig. Swimming pools were not the only concern.

Today’s budget, with £42mn worth of cutbacks, was passed by the majority Labour Council and supported by the SNP (bar a token budget amendment they proposed). To the people of Glasgow, walking and driving past the Chambers, unaware of the future misery being signed and sealed in their names, our message is clear and urgent; unite your communities and struggles and fight back against all cutbacks!

The cuts budget in Glasgow is clear in who is to suffer. It is targeting the most vulnerable, with plans to shutdown three disability day care centres in Maryhill, Summerston and Cardonald and reduce the number of teaching staff specially trained to provide support for pupils with additional learning needs (£2.4mn reduction). It is targeting the lives of the elderly by maintaining the increased costs of emergency alarms for older people. And it is targeting the lives of the young, with a 10% increase in council nursery charges and raised cost of primary schools meals (doubling the price of breakfasts to £1 and lunches to £1.50 from their current £1.15 by 2014).

Among the list of other measures to increase costs and lower living standards we see a 5% upping of the cost of Glasgow Life gyms, swimming pools and fitness classes for young and middle aged adults who are not club members (membership will be charged from March 2013).

As always, it will be the working class and poor who will bear the brunt of the cuts, those who cannot afford the luxuries of private healthcare and childcare; it is not the children of the middle class and elites who will have to worry about the rising cost of school meals.

Sadly most people in Glasgow will not become aware of these cuts until there affected by them. On that note we condemn the silencing of protest which took place today outside the Chambers. The Trade Unions which last week helped organise a mass protest on the very same spot, on the day of the budget sat on their hands and buttoned their lips, in order to allow their Labour party chums to pass their budget without disturbance. The innumerable campaigns established by the opportunist left in the past two years – Coalition of Resistance, Unite the Resistance, Right to Work, Defend Glasgow Services etc etc – were exposed once more as so many empty words. It will be the people themselves who lead the fight, not those who hand themselves titles and represent nothing but their own narrow interests.

The hypocrisy of the unions and others in their empty promises of ‘action against the cuts’ is matched only by the hypocrisy of Glasgow’s Labour Council which has been boasting about the sports legacy that the 2014 Commonwealth Games will bring to Glasgow for the last 6 years.  With the passing of this budget the council have confirmed that this legacy will be reserved for those with money to burn. Glasgow’s poor will be side-lined from sport and instead ‘reserved’ a place in the ranks of the 15,000 strong unpaid volunteer army set up to help run the Games (what a legacy!).

The protests of the people being affected by the closures of day care centres and swimming pools are a small glimpse of the righteous anger building across this city. To use this anger we must unite it, to unite it we must oppose the age old tools of division, used by the upper classes, most prominently racism. As some of the parents of pupils who use the St. Brides pool stated ‘this is a community fight’ in a deprived and highly diverse area of the city, Govanhill, which is challenging racial as well as class discrimination. The long-time swimming instructor at the school noted that St. Brides ‘is an ideal pool in which children can learn to swim because of its depth and also because it is enclosed which makes it suitable for the members of our Asian community...it is the only school in Glasgow to have Asian girls competing in the swimming pool.’

 

Save St. Brides swimming pool!

No day centre closures!

Oppose All Cuts!

Unite and Fightback!

 

FRFI reader on the bedroom tax – 1 February 2013

The bedroom tax that is due to come into effect from April is going to affect all working class people whether it be directly or indirectly. The direct effect will be a tax of 14% for one extra bedroom and 25% for two extra bedrooms or more for anyone receiving housing benefit, this will be at a cost of £16 per week to the average housing association tenant. Or as in my case the indirect effect  which comes not from a financial burden but in the shape of an attack on my family, friends and community. 

Two examples of how the bedroom tax is going to affect me and my community are my cousin who has recently lost his father who he shared his house with, the same two bedroom house that he has lived in all of his life and a neighbour and friend of mine who has also recently lost his mother who he shared his three bedroom house with again a house where he has spent all of his life. In both case the result of the bedroom tax is going to be a direct choice between putting food in their bellies or paying an extra 14% and 25% in bedroom tax, and when the inevitable happens and they can't pay what is going to happen? At best they are going to be kicked out of their homes that they have been born into and ripped away from their communities that have raised them and be relocated to another part of the town or country, or they will be made homeless. What is their crime? Their crime is  being born poor and having the limited opportunities of employment that result from the social circumstances surrounding working class people and our communities. 

At this time more than ever we must stand together to tackle this absurd capitalist notion that the poorest sections of society have to pay for crises and crimes of the rich ruling class. And if you like me care for your family, friends, neighbours and communities then you must fight for them by organizing among yourselves in preparation for the defence of who and what we care for against the attempts to divide our communities by the rich and ruthless ruling class.

Fight the cuts !!

Danny M, from Hamilton

 

ATOS kills – kill ATOS! Monthly protest of Glasgow Against ATOS - 25 January 2013

On Friday the 25th January, Glasgow Against ATOS campaigners took to the street for our monthly picket of the Atos premises on Cadogan Street where people are put through the degrading work capability assessments. The protest also included a rolling picket of companies in the Glasgow city centre area who are cohorts of Atos, DWP and the government in their attempts to criminalize the sick and disabled of our country.

 

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Reclaiming Christmas from Atos in Glasgow! - Dec 2012

On Friday 28 December Glasgow Against Atos campaigners held their end of month action with a Christmas based theme. Declaring the government’s treatment of disability benefit claimants to be humbug and contrary to the festive mood of the season a rolling picket was organised in Glasgow city centre; starting from the Atos assessment centre and finishing at the 2014 Commonwealth Games offices, as Atos are sponsoring the games. One campaigner, dressed up as the Grinch, stated, ‘Christmas, what Christmas? Seventy three people are dying a week across Britain after having their disability benefit cut! Just like the Grinch stole Christmas, Atos are stealing it from people and their families’.

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! supporters have been playing a leading role in the campaign alongside other activists from the Black Triangle Disability rights campaign, the Save The Accord campaign, The Irish republican group 32 County Sovereignty Movement, the Socialist party and some individual anarchists. Unfortunately the majority of left groups in Scotland, such as the International Socialist Group, have refused to support the campaign so far.

The campaigns aim is to bring together the claimants, individuals, campaigns and groups in Glasgow who wish to oppose the notorious private multinational Atos. Now that some level of unity has been achieved the next task is to expand the campaign involving more disability claimants and the general public. FRFI supporters will be working to maintain the open and democratic nature of the Glasgow Against Atos campaign which will be vital if the goals outlined above are to be achieved.

Solidarity with the sick and poor!

Victory to Glasgow Against Atos!

More information about Atos and the campaign can be found at: index.php/fight-the-cuts/2719-end-war-on-welfare

Facebook – ‘Glasgow Against-Atos’

Blogspot - http://glasgowagainstatos.wordpress.com/

Phone – 07734348065

 

 

Glasgow Against ATOS Picket - 28 Sep 2012

Glasgow against ATOS picketA break in the clouds allowed the end of monthly picket of the Atos centre on Glasgow’s Cadogan Street to go ahead today. Supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!, The Socialist Party and the Accord, Black Triangle and 32 County Sovereignty Movement campaigns united to distribute advice sheets for claimants facing assessment and leaflets for the launch meeting of the ‘Glasgow Against ATOS’ campaign on Wednesday 10 October.

 

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Actions Against Atos in Glasgow

Actions Against Atos in Glasgow

People! The war being waged on the poor, sick and disabled in this country has well and truly begun. The former Labour Government set the ball rolling with its introduction of the notorious Work Capability Assessment (WCA) in 2008 and its hiring of the private, profit driven, multinational Atos to carry out these assessments. The Coalition Government have continued this policy with devastating consequences. Reports have shown that between January and August 2011, up to 1,100 claimants died following Atos assessments and being found fit for work. We have both a moral and political incentive to stand with those being cut; the ruling class will widen out there attacks on living standards (around 80% of cuts are still to come); if we are unable to defend the most vulnerable in our society how will we defend others?

With these questions in mind Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! held two events in Glasgow this week; supported by the Black Triangle Disability Rights Campaign, the Accord Campaign, the Merrylee Matters Campaign and the Glasgow Defence Campaign. On Wednesday 27 June we hosted a meeting ‘War on welfare: Time for action!’ and this was followed by a two hour picket of the Atos testing centre on Cadogan Street on Friday 29 June.

Actions Against Atos in Glasgow

The meeting was addressed by supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! and the founding member of the Black Triangle Campaign, John McArdle. The FRFI comrade highlighted the parasitic nature of the Atos multinational and its links with the British military and oil and gas exploration abroad. Opposition to Atos he argued had to go hand in hand with a fight against those responsible for its hiring, the British ruling class. John McArdle followed this with a passionate and concrete speech about the reasons why we must support those fight backing, the progress that has been made in this so far and where we must go from here. After the speakers a creative discussion took place with solutions and ideas put forward about how we can most effectively target Atos. Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! will be working with others to now put these words into action.

The follow up picket two days later was well attended and everyone; both the people going through the assessments and their cold hearted assessors; inside the centre were made aware of our presence with noisy chants of ‘Atos Doctors, Nazi Doctors!’, ‘Say it loud, say it clear, Atos are not welcome here!’, ‘Hands off the sick and poor: Atos do not have a cure!’. Despite the torrential rain spirits were kept high and anger at seeing those sick and disabled people going to and from the centre, many with tears in their eyes, made sure that everyone was committed to the protest.

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!  will be holding a picket of this Atos testing centre on the last Friday of every month from now on. The next picket date is below. Between now and then we will be organising different activities to combat the scourge that is the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) and its hired lackeys Atos.

We call for the greatest unity on this issue amongst the people of Glasgow and left groups (The International Socialist Group/Coalition of Resistance, Scottish Socialist Party, Socialist Workers Party etc), who have failed so far to unite and did not attend the events against Atos this week. The Socialist Party sent one member to the picket. Political sectarianism must be left behind and real unity must be formed in the interests of the people on the receiving end of the cuts!

Victory to the poor, sick and disabled!

Oppose Atos and the Work Capability Assessment!

Picket Atos!

Friday 27 July, 2-4pm

Atos testing centre,

Cadogan Street,

Glasgow City Centre.

Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 07734348065 for more information or to get involved.

Dominic Mulgrew

 

Actions Against Atos in Glasgow

Actions Against Atos in Glasgow

People! The war being waged on the poor, sick and disabled in this country has well and truly begun. The former Labour Government set the ball rolling with its introduction of the notorious Work Capability Assessment (WCA) in 2008 and its hiring of the private, profit driven, multinational Atos to carry out these assessments. The Coalition Government have continued this policy with devastating consequences. Reports have shown that between January and August 2011, up to 1,100 claimants died following Atos assessments and being found fit for work. We have both a moral and political incentive to stand with those being cut; the ruling class will widen out there attacks on living standards (around 80% of cuts are still to come); if we are unable to defend the most vulnerable in our society how will we defend others?

With these questions in mind Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! held two events in Glasgow this week; supported by the Black Triangle Disability Rights Campaign, the Accord Campaign, the Merrylee Matters Campaign and the Glasgow Defence Campaign. On Wednesday 27 June we hosted a meeting ‘War on welfare: Time for action!’ and this was followed by a two hour picket of the Atos testing centre on Cadogan Street on Friday 29 June.

Actions Against Atos in Glasgow

The meeting was addressed by supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! and the founding member of the Black Triangle Campaign, John McArdle. The FRFI comrade highlighted the parasitic nature of the Atos multinational and its links with the British military and oil and gas exploration abroad. Opposition to Atos he argued had to go hand in hand with a fight against those responsible for its hiring, the British ruling class. John McArdle followed this with a passionate and concrete speech about the reasons why we must support those fight backing, the progress that has been made in this so far and where we must go from here. After the speakers a creative discussion took place with solutions and ideas put forward about how we can most effectively target Atos. Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! will be working with others to now put these words into action.

The follow up picket two days later was well attended and everyone; both the people going through the assessments and their cold hearted assessors; inside the centre were made aware of our presence with noisy chants of ‘Atos Doctors, Nazi Doctors!’, ‘Say it loud, say it clear, Atos are not welcome here!’, ‘Hands off the sick and poor: Atos do not have a cure!’. Despite the torrential rain spirits were kept high and anger at seeing those sick and disabled people going to and from the centre, many with tears in their eyes, made sure that everyone was committed to the protest.

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!  will be holding a picket of this Atos testing centre on the last Friday of every month from now on. The next picket date is below. Between now and then we will be organising different activities to combat the scourge that is the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) and its hired lackeys Atos.

We call for the greatest unity on this issue amongst the people of Glasgow and left groups (The International Socialist Group/Coalition of Resistance, Scottish Socialist Party, Socialist Workers Party etc), who have failed so far to unite and did not attend the events against Atos this week. The Socialist Party sent one member to the picket. Political sectarianism must be left behind and real unity must be formed in the interests of the people on the receiving end of the cuts!

Victory to the poor, sick and disabled!

Oppose Atos and the Work Capability Assessment!

Picket Atos!

Friday 27 July, 2-4pm

Atos testing centre,

Cadogan Street,

Glasgow City Centre.

Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 07734348065 for more information or to get involved.

Dominic Mulgrew

 

Victory! Statement on acquittal of FRFI activist in Glasgow - 12 Dec 2011

Victory! Statement on acquittal of FRFI activist in Glasgow

‘The law is simply and solely made for the exploitation of those who do not understand it or of those who, for naked need, cannot obey it.’ Bertolt Brecht

Over one year of relentless campaigning by the Glasgow Defence Campaign was vindicated today as Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! supporter Joey Simons was found not guilty on all five charges relating to his arrest on an anti-cuts demonstration on 9 December 2010. Through twelve months of court appearances, and a trial lasting four days, the Crown office was unable to spin the shameless lies of Strathclyde police officers into a web of deceit sufficient to secure a prosecution by Sherriff Kerr. Cops lined up one after another to perjure themselves in front of the court, their ‘evidence’ concocted in concert and dutifully despatched; their well-rehearsed stories of rescue attempts, ‘threats to officer safety’, conspiratorial leaders, and ‘frantic’ crowds repeated again and again.

 

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Anti- Fascist Unity Against Scottish Defence League Attack

unity_and_defiance_in_the_face_of_the_fascist

On Saturday 19 November, the city centre street stall of the Glasgow Palestinian Human Rights Campaign (GPHRC) was subjected to a planned physical assault by a fascist gang organised by the Scottish Defence League (SDL). A small group of SDL members abusively distracted GPHRC supporters on the stall which was followed up by a rush attack involving 40 masked men and women. They overturned tables and punched and kicked campaign members. The courage of the GPHRC members has to be recognised in their refusal to be intimidated. Having campaigned for years in solidarity with the Palestinian people, the campaign knows what the Palestinians face every hour and day and returned to their traditional pitch on Buchanan Street the following week. FRFI supporters joined the GPHRC in central Glasgow for joint anti- fascist defence of all political stalls. Comrades from the Alliance for Workers Liberty, Coalition of Resistance, Socialist Workers Party, International Socialist Group, Glasgow Anarchists and others, also stood in unity against the fascist threat.

 

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No to trade union sectarianism! - 22 June 2011

Updated following 30 June

fight_for_our_future

On 22 June Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! supporters in Glasgow joined an occupation of Inland revenue offices on Cochrane Street in the city centre. The peaceful direct action had been organised by the Black Triangle disability rights group and the citizens united campaign, with east end carers from the Save the Accord Centre campaign and others also in attendance.  The action had been called to highlight and oppose corporate tax evasion which is estimated to be worth £120 billion a year (The Herald, 19 June 2011).

Entering the offices the campaigners united in calling for the real scroungers in society (the rich) to pay their taxes and for a mass campaign of civil disobedience to oppose the cuts. As the press statement released says;

 

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FRFI join annual John MacLean rally in Glasgow, 28 Nov 2010

john_macleanOn 28 November, FRFI Glasgow and others braved the snow to join the annual John MacLean rally in Glasgow organised by the Scottish Republic Socialist Movement and supported by the Pollok and Thornliebank and Volunteer Charles Carrigan Republican Flute Bands. Gerry Cairns, secretary of the John MacLean society, led the graveside oration at Eastwood ceremony. The usual march unfortunately had to be cancelled due to the treacherous conditions but a social was nonetheless held in Pollokshaws, MacLean´s birthplace. An FRFI supporter was invited to speak and his well received speech is reproduced below.

John MacLean (1873-1923), alongside his Edinburgh-born comrade James Connolly, was one of the greatest Marxists and revolutionaries every produced on our shores. We are dedicated to upholding his spirit and memory. Long live John MacLean!

"What would MacLean have made of today?" Speech by FRFI supporter to annual John MacLean commemoration event, 2010.

What would MacLean have made of today? Another generation suffering the cruelties and inhumanities of Capitalism and Imperialism, forced to fight back and then forward to a new world of justice and peace. Just as MacLean and his generation fought for the people of the future we fight for the future generation today. His tireless activism and commitment to Marxist theory, both in words and in actions, has left a revolutionary legacy that everyone should learn about and an example for everyone to try and follow.

Revolutionary activism is the only positive way to escape the depressing state that the world is in, it is a way of fighting back against those who deny the poor the means to a good life and for the oppressed peoples of Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East often the means to life itself.

Now the British, European and Yankee imperialists are attacking the living standards of their own populations the connection between the struggles of poor people living in imperialist countries with those living in oppressed countries is becoming clearer.

Just as MacLean called for the victory of the oppressed in his day, we call for the victory of all oppressed people now. Whether they are African, Afghani, Palestinian, Irish, Venezuelan, Scottish or Cuban makes no difference.

If they are resisting imperialism our fight is there’s and there’s is ours.

The Iron Hand of British Imperialism and the Steel Boot of the Yanks spark terror in the back streets of Helmand today and break into homes, arrest and torture people tonight.

That is the reality, it is not our reality but it is the doing of a system that will cut the benefits of the elderly, disabled and long term unemployed, soon in this country.

The imperialist who occupies a far away land that no one has ever heard of, is not far away at all, he occupies and attacks the poor in his own country as well by defending the rotten system that’s put them in poverty. A working class person in an imperialist army is a pawn but he is also well paid killer.

He is a hit man hired out for a small sum to protect and defend the interests of Imperialism wherever and whenever required.

Malcolm X said ‘the only thing that power understands is power’. People all over the world today are resisting imperialism, aware that the power of the oppressed, if realized, beats that of the oppressor 1,000 times over.

But what can we do in this country right now?

Whether its unemployment or low paid work they have you under their thumb and as we have seen and will see they do not hesitate to squash those who they perceive to be a threat.

This is why we need a revolutionary education because they cannot kill ideas. They could jail, torture and poison Maclean but they could not and cannot kill the ideas that he promoted. A revolutionary education will be half learned on the street and half in a book, theory must be backed up with practice and practice with theory so we are learning everyday how to wage the class war that’s been declared on us.

With the establishment of the Scottish Labour College, MacLean stated:

‘The millennium, if it is to come, must come from an educated working class. Today you can be swayed by speeches and pamphlets. But the person who has studied Marx and has applied him to literature, to life in all its phases, can see things as they are.'

When we look around us today can we say that we see things as they are and are we that educated working class that MacLean was talking about? I can speak for myself in saying that I have not studied Marx at the level I should have.

Maybe my hesitation to do so, without making excuses, reflects the fact that I live in an Imperialist country where my basic needs are met and therefore i do not need revolution as much as those people who are suffering the realities of Imperialism do.

But when we educate ourselves about what is happening in the world on a daily basis and why we enjoy the privileges that others do not have, as our awareness grows of the injustice and barbarity that takes place, revolution soon becomes a necessity and MacLean’s urge for working class people to study Marxist economics becomes a challenge that we take up ourselves.

We do not remember MacLean to idolize or glamorize his courage and commitment, while admiring it just the same; we remember him so that we can learn about his struggle and from it draw the lessons to help us in today’s fight.

Long live MacLean and the ideas he died for!

 

Stand up for your rights! Street rally in Glasgow as third FRFI supporter charged

stand_up_for_your_ rights

Glasgow Defence Campaign and Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! supporters today (8 January) held a “Stand up for your rights” street rally in Glasgow city centre in defence of democratic rights and in opposition to political policing. On 30 December a supporter learned that he is facing criminal prosecution for selling the newspaper Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! in Glasgow and is due to appear in court on 17 January 2011. We are clear that this citation is politically motivated and an open attempt to undermine our ability to organise against attacks on living standards in our communities. FRFI supporters have previously been charged by Strathclyde police for selling the newspaper and two are currently awaiting trial following their arrest on student demonstrations in the city last month.

 

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Day X3: Militant protests storm Glasgow – FRFI supporters arrested - 9 Dec 2010

Day X3: Militant protests storm Glasgow – FRFI supporters arrested - 9 Dec 2010
Day X3 protests in Glasgow saw hundreds of students join their comrades across Scotland and England in taking to the streets to protest against the proposed rise in tuition fees down south and the government´s destruction of education. The turn-out did not match the size of other demonstrations (tuition fees are still free in Scotland) but more than matched their militancy in one of the angriest and effective days of action in the city since the early days of the anti-war movement. FRFI supporters played a leading role in direct action throughout the day and two were arrested and detained by police, and on 10 December plead not guilty to serious charges of breach of the peace, obstruction, assault on a police officer and attempting to free a person in custody.

 

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Report of FRFI day school, Glasgow - 4 Dec 2010

On the 4 December, Glasgow FRFI held a Day School entitled 'Capitalism in meltdown: Crisis and class struggle, Who will lead the resistance?

An audience from across Scotland gathered, despite ongoing weather and transport problems, to address the current situation facing the working class. The event was well attended and broad ranging, producing an insightful and thought provoking series of speeches and discussion.

Speakers included Trevor Rayne (Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! Editorial Board), Neil Gray (writer and researcher from Variant magazine) and Jamie Beaumont (Maryhill Burgh Angel).

All speakers and contributors emphasised the centrality of the working class in organising and opposing the vicious agenda of the ruling class being put in place. FRFI stressed the critical political point that the crisis arose specifically from the system of capitalism and imperialism and not from the class arrogance of the wealthy and aristocratic cabinet. It was stated that a whole historical period was ending and now huge sections of the working class- from the youth to the pensioners- were to be made simply impoverished.

 

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Edinburgh: Scottish Defence League routed

SDL protestOn 20 February, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! supporters joined hundreds of people in Edinburgh to protest against the racist thugs of the Scottish Defence League (SDL). The SDL is an offshoot of the English Defence League, whose latest mobilisation saw around 1,500 fascists rampage through Stoke on 23 January. There was no repeat of such scenes in Edinburgh. The day marked a victory for the hundreds of antifascists determined to confront the small numbers the SDL managed to mobilise; a victory made possible by an increasing turn away from the opportunist politics of Unite Against Fascism and its middle class allies. A massive police operation involving officers from Lothian, Strathclyde and Northumbria ensured the fascists remained protected at all points.

 

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John MacLean Commemoration March. Glasgow, Sunday 29 November 2009

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On Sunday 29 November the Revolutionary Communist Group marched in Glasgow to commemorate the Scottish revolutionary John MacLean. MacLean died on the 30 November 1923 at the age of 44 having been fatally weakened by jail and force feeding for his opposition to imperialist war. As he pointed out at his trial of 1918: “I stand here not as the accused but as the accuser of capitalism dripping with blood from head to foot”.

 

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Saturday 3 May - Mayday Report EDINBURGH!

Saturday 3 May - Mayday Report EDINBURGH!

On Saturday 3 May, RCG and RATB supporters joined a May Day demonstration through Edinburgh city centre. Comrades marched with banners of Che Guevara and the Cuban 5, distributing leaflets calling for a demonstration outside the US consulate in Edinburgh on the 26 July to demand the release of the five heroes.



 

 

Saturday 7 June - Rock around the Blockade!- FREE THE CUBAN! LONDON!

Saturday 7 June - Rock around the Blockade!- FREE THE CUBAN! LONDON!

Emergency protest
US Court of Appeals upholds convictions of the Cuban 5
Viva Cuba



Members and supporters of Rock around the Blockade demonstrated on the north pavement of Trafalgar Square on Saturday 7 June as part of the international Day After campaign, a pledge to demonstrate the day after and the Saturday after the US Court of Appeals verdict. The verdict, upholding the convictions of the Cuban 5, was announced last Wednesday.

Behind the demonstrators were photos of the five, flags, banners, posters and placards, They raised the issue of socialist Cuba and its achievements that the Cuban 5 continue to steadfastly defend; and they demanded that the Cuban 5 go free immediately, that the US get out of Guantanamo and that self-avowed terrorist Posada Carrilles face extradition and trial.

As a huge Cuban flag was waved over the demonstration and chants of ‘justice for the Cuban 5, Free them now!’ rang out over the square, people signed petitions, took leaflets, held placards, chanted and learned more about Cuba, the revolution and socialism. Speakers included activists from Rock around the Blockade and Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! They spoke of the importance of raising the profile of the campaign and in the words of Cuban 5 civil rights Lawyer, Leonard Weinglass, building a political mass movement to demand justice for the Cuban 5. A statement in solidarity with Rock around the Blockade sent to us by Gloria La Riva, Free the Five USA, was read out, as were the inspiring words of Gerardo Hernandes following the verdict: ‘We’ll do all the time we have to do, 30 years, 40, whatever, and as long as a single one of you is outside resisting, we are also going to resist, until justice is done.’

The appeal has been rejected but the campaign must go on for justice and freedom for the Cuban 5 – fighters against terrorism who have refused for ten years to compromise their principles.

Long live the Cuban Revolution!
Long live Socialism!
Freedom for the Cuban 5!

 

 

 

Saturday 8 November - Protest against British Imperialism ! Glasgow!

Saturday 8 November - Protest against British Imperialism ! Glasgow!

Celtic Park, Glasgow, 8 November 2008



The Revolutionary Communist Group salutes the principled Celtic football supporters who led the protest against British imperialism outside Celtic Park today. In the face of an intense propaganda campaign waged by the government and risking demonisation by the media hundreds of fans walked out of the game in opposition to the clubs support for the British Legion and its annual poppy appeal. Around 400 fans gathered outside the stadium for over an hour chanting slogans and singing songs against British imperialism in Ireland and around the world. As one protester put it to FRFI, ‘we are here protesting for peace, not war. But peace can only come when there is justice.’

This latest development is a part of a conscious ideological offensive by the British state and its lackeys in order to encourage support for British imperialism and to eradicate any opposition to it. The appointment of the war criminal John Reid to the chairmanship of Celtic FC is part of this ideological offensive. During his time in office, the current Labour member of parliament and former British cabinet member, ruthlessly defended the interests of British imperialism acting as Defence Secretary, Home Secretary and British Direct Ruler to Ireland.

Today’s demonstration was called by the newly formed group Celts Against Imperialism and was an explicit protest in opposition to not only British imperialism in Ireland but also included chants in opposition to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and also support for the Palestinian Resistance. The RCG recognises the political significance of today’s protest led by a section of the Celtic support on a clear anti imperialist basis. This protest comes despite the failure of the anti war movement in Glasgow and elsewhere to build any real and meaningful opposition against British imperialism. Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! and the RCG were the only political group on the left to support the protest alongside Celts Against Imperialism.



The protest continues the traditions of Celtic fans opposition to imperialism and injustice. One Celtic fan was ejected from the stadium today and had his season ticket confiscated by stewards for refusing to remove his Palestinian flag. The fan spoke to FRFI afterwards and intends to fight this action by the club. Only by actively campaigning in support of democratic rights can we assert our right organise. Over recent years FRFI has campaigned against the attempted bans on the sale of political literature outside football grounds and the attempts to ban and censor the image of Latin American revolutionary Che Guevara. In the context of the international capitalist crisis which will see increasing attacks on working class people in this country and around the world, the RCG and FRFI stands with any movement which represents the interests of the oppressed.

FRFI would welcome any letters or contributions from readers and supporters. Please send your contributions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To contact FRFI in Glasgow email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Sunday 29 December - Victory to the Intifada! Glasgow!

Sunday 29 December - Victory to the Intifada! Glasgow!

Over 350 people assembled at the far end of Glasgow's George Square to demonstrate against the ongoing massacre of Palestinians in Gaza.

After 45 minutes of very passionate speeches. The crowd (which was made up of families as well as a lot of children) started to march onto the road and take the protest to the streets.

The Police panicked as there were only half a dozen of them and quickly called in reinforcements and tried to push the demonstrators back to let the traffic through to no avail. The demo moved round George Square cutting off one of the biggest traffic intersections in Glasgow at a time when most of the Square is full of Ice Skaters, Fun fairs and rides and a Music stage.

Militant and lively chanting from the demo throughout calling for Victory to the Intifada and Freedom for Palestine from all in the crowd.

The territory of Gaza is one of the most densely populated on Earth. This type of militant action has not been seen since the start of the latest Iraq war in 2003, when young militant school pupils and young Muslims led demonstrations, blocked roads and led walk outs.

Demo organised by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Supported by The Scottish Stop the War Coalition, SWP, Glasgow Anarchists, Glasgow Palestine Human Rights Campaign, and members and supporters of the Revolutionary Communist Group / Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!

Pictures taken with permission from the Glasgow Palestine Human Rights Campaign - http://www.gphrc.org/



 

Saturday 3 January - Victory to the Intifada! Glasgow!

Saturday 3 January - Victory to the Intifada! Glasgow!



Following the spontaneous demonstrations of last Sunday, over 2,000 people marched in Glasgow to proclaim solidarity with the people of Gaza and express their anger over Zionist war crimes in Palestine. The march was led by the flags of Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq and those of the resistance forces Hamas and Hizbullah. Called by Stop the War Coalition and supported by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Glasgow Palestine Human Rights Campaign and many other groups including the local Lebanese community, the march made its way through Glasgow city centre. Loud and spirited, many Muslim men, women and children, working class football fans, families, politicians and angry individuals chanted and shouted for a free Palestine, and RCG comrades were amongst those leading the calls of “No justice, no peace” and “Victory to the Intifada!”.

The end rally saw the crowd treated to the usual array of bourgeois politicians – Labour, Lib Dem and SNP – issue their hollow calls of condemnation along with trade union bureaucrats and their prevaricating explanations of a “possible” boycott of Israel. A young local Lebanese girl offered a moving plea for everyone to remember the brutality greeting the children of Gaza as they awoke to the New Year; nonetheless, just like the brave population of southern Lebanon did in 2006, the Palestinians would survive and resist. A Palestinian woman from Gaza, and a survivor of the Sabra massacre, also issued an emotional call for solidarity.

The spirit and militancy of the majority on the march, especially amongst young people, could be sensed by the loud cheers which greeted any calls for solidarity with the resistance forces in Gaza, support rather than condemnation of Hamas and total isolation of the Zionist entity. RCG comrades spoke to many new faces in the crowd, selling copies of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! and handing out leaflets for an event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution, with many interested to learn about the consistent support shown by the Cuban government for the Palestinian struggle.

Between two and three thousand demonstrators were said to be on the streets of Edinburgh at the same as the demo in Glasgow, and further protests are planned for Tuesday 6 December.

In the words of one protestor, “We are all Hamas!”



Victory to the Intifada!
Photos courtesy of GPHRC; full photo stream available at www.gphrc.org
STV coverage of Scottish protests here: http://video.stv.tv/bc/news-headlines-wn2-protest-20090103/

 

 

Saturday 17 January - Victory to the Intifada! Dundee!

Saturday 17 January - Victory to the Intifada! Dundee!

 PUBLIC REPORT OF POLICE HARRASSMENT AND CHARGING OF FIGHT RACISM! FIGHT IMPERIALISM! STREET PROTEST.


The day had started very well with a militant, angry and noisy protest march against Israel’s attack on Gaza going into Dundee’s city centre. After the rally, activists from Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism, one of whom had spoken at the event, set up a protest stall in the Murraygate to continue building support for the people of Gaza and Palestine.

Once again the city centre ambassadors demanded we remove our stall as we did not have permission or insurance. Once again we told them no! The police were called this time and proceeded to threaten the comrades with Breach of the Peace or causing alarm. It was suggested they go and consult their law books and superior officers as we were not backing down to such contrived charges. They appeared to accept this but returned an hour later with a van and told those present that this time they had come up with obstruction as a charge. Third time lucky for them maybe but the comrades then began speaking to the gathering crowds explaining what the police were doing and asking them to stay around as witnesses, sign the petitions and support political rights. People were told to check out the You Tube videos about the cops in Liverpool trying to close down protest there and to check out Dundee Arrest on You Tube where a comrade was violently assaulted and arrested by Tayside police for handing out leaflets about Cuba. Speakers explained that when people start to protest here about unemployment, low wages and rent rises that the same cops would be out attacking their rights too. We were speaking out for the people of Gaza who were dying at that moment and we would not allow the police to silence us.

Talk about obstruction! - by now there was 1 police van and 100 people prepared to listen to speeches and chants about free speech. Comrades from the Socialist Workers Party joined the protest having been harassed for doing political work for Gaza that week.



By now the police action was a very public affair and they were not looking so comfortable. They charged Michael with obstruction under Section 53 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982. As Michael explained to the youth present this was one of the hated Margaret Thatcher’s laws and it was no surprise that her favourite bobbies were digging it up now!

Michael was threatened with arrest if the stall was not immediately removed and after consulting with the comrades and the crowds it was decided to call a rally in the Murraygate at 12 the following Saturday to protest the harassment and charges.

We call on everyone to openly and publicly challenge this attack on democratic and political rights. Get up! Stand Up! Stand Up For Your Rights!
DEFEND DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS!
NO TO POLICE INTERFERENCE!
RALLY AT MURRAYGATE 12 NOON DUNDEE SATURDAY 24.01.09
Contact the campaign on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
VENCEREMOS!
WE SHALL WIN!

 

Saturday 21 February - Stop deportations to DRC Glasgow

Saturday 21 February - Stop deportations to DRC Glasgow



On Saturday 21 February, RCG/FRFI supporters in Glasgow attended a demonstration outside Brand Street Immigration Reporting Centre in the south side of the city. The action was called by the local Congolese community in opposition to the detention and deportation of a Congolese woman, Aude Okamba-Osako, back to the DRC set for Monday 24 February.

The first public demonstration by asylum seekers in Glasgow for several months saw around forty asylum seekers and refugees gather at short notice outside the IRC, chanting, singing and dancing in protest at the Home Office’s targeting of Congolese asylum seekers and collusion with the Kabila dictatorship in the DRC. Placards and banner denounced Britain’s racist immigration laws and demanded an end to deportations. RCG supporters were the only activists from any organisation to support the demonstration, and copies of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! were eagerly bought, distributed and translated on the protest.



As the mass deportations of the poorest and most marginalised people in Britain back to war zones, dictatorships and starvation intensifies with the crisis of capitalism, RCG members and supporters will stand by all those organising to resist in Scotland.

 

Sunday 29 March - Victory to the Intifada Glasgow

Sunday 29 March - Victory to the Intifada Glasgow



On Sunday 29 March, the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Glasgow Palestine Human Rights Campaign and members and supporters of the Revolutionary Communist Group came together to picket the Trongate branch of Tesco’s in Glasgow in solidarity with the people of Palestine. The joint action was a response to the call for a Global Day of Action in Solidarity with the Palestinian people and for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel on March 30, emanating from the World Social Forum in Belém.

Over 30 activists came together from the different organisations with placards, banners and stickers demanding a boycott of Zionist goods and an end to apartheid, distributing hundreds of leaflets calling on shoppers to boycott the Israeli products stocked by Tesco’s. On the narrow pavement, with Palestine flags flying and matching t-shirts calling for a boycott, the protestors were a highly visible presence.

Inspired by the actions of Palestine solidarity campaigners in France recently (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqkz9DVz5yw), some activists went into the Tesco’s to sticker Israeli products with ‘boycott apartheid’ stickers and to leaflet people inside. They were promptly escorted out by security and one GPHRC member banned from the store. The police, who maintained a constant presence at the protest, forced one activist to delete any photographs from his camera which had captured security guards and prevented groups from setting up stalls on the street.

The militant and lively protest kept up for two hours on the cold afternoon, drawing much support from passers-by. The protest ended with the head of the Scottish PSC addressing the demonstrators, congratulating everyone on a successful event. Everyone agreed that the time to intensify Palestine solidarity work on the streets was now, and agreed to jointly organise bigger and more militant pickets in support of the BDS campaign in the coming weeks.

The spirit of solidarity and non-sectarianism was well in evidence and positive to see. A line in the sand is being drawn between those who are truly committed to building an anti-imperialist, anti-Zionist movement through the BDS campaign, and those forces, such as Stop the War and others in the leadership of the recent Gaza solidarity movement, who seem merely to pay lip-service to the heroic, and continual, resistance in Palestine.

Victory to the Intifada!

Boycott Israeli goods!

 

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

Glasgow: glasgowfrfi@gmail.com

Tel: 078 2620 3476

How to deal with police harassment - Glasgow Defence Campaign

Victory to the Intifada! Rally in support of Palestinian hunger-strikers

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