Occupy LSX: resistance sets up camp in the heart of British imperialism – Oct 2011

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The occupation at St Paul’s, in the heart of the City of London, and the wave of similar protests across the UK and Europe, are a sign of the inevitable resistance that is to come, as more and more sections of the working class see their living standards being sacrificed to pay for the capitalist crisis.

Inspired by the ongoing occupation of Wall Street in the US, thousands of protestors, including many of those involved in last year’s student protests and university occupations, descended on the City on Saturday 15 October with the aim of occupying the London Stock Exchange headquarters, symbol of Britain’s parasitic capitalism.

 

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The turn of the screw

No matter how much Britain’s ruling elite wants to convince itself and us that the rioting in English cities and towns in August 2011 was an outbreak of ‘criminality pure and simple’, as Prime Minister David Cameron put it, the fact is that riots have always been a feature of capitalist society in crisis. The August riots expressed the depth of the crisis that now faces British imperialism. The ruling class has systematically shifted the burden of solving this crisis onto the backs of the working class and the poor while claiming that ‘we are all in this together’. In reality there is no such thing as ‘we’: the ruling class is willing to abandon every figment of democracy, every notion of ‘human progress’ or ‘equality’, every remnant of civilisation, in order to restore profits. The August riots are the writing on the wall. As the ruling class turns the screw, it is time to fight back.

 

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Editorial Comment / FRFI 157 Oct / Nov 2000

A growing rebellion against capitalism
 
After the victory in Seattle, the anti-capitalist movement began to take off, attracting a new generation of political activists opposed to the brutality of global capitalism and the sham of parliamentary politics. At the Prague IMF/ World Bank Conference in September, a lot was at stake. The movement was determined to consolidate. The imperialists were determined to halt its progress. 

$30m was spent preparing for the conference on top of the $90m spent on refurbishing the conference centre. Massive security was put in place. The FBI and 600 other foreign specialists, including many from the British police, spent six months training their Czech counterparts in surveillance and riot control. 11,000 police were drafted in from all over the Czech Republic, backed by 5,000 soldiers, armoured vehicles, water cannon and a motley collection of Group 4 security guards. Police helicopters buzzed ceaselessly back and forth across the city. There were three or four police armed with pistols, batons and stun guns on every corner, riot police down alleyways alongside every McDonalds and clumsily disguised undercover cops everywhere. For weeks, the mainly foreign-owned media ran scare stories in an attempt to whip up hysteria and turn the Czech people against the demonstrators. Schools were closed for the week and pensioners urged to leave the city. 

 

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The riots: waging class war - 26 Aug 2011

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It has been a measure of the crisis faced by the British state that the events in Tottenham on 6 August, following the police killing of Mark Duggan, were swiftly followed by inner city riots across many other London boroughs and in the West Midlands, Manchester, Merseyside, Nottingham, Avon and Somerset, West Yorkshire, Leicester, Cambridge and Gloucester on 7, 8 and 9 August. The ruling class quickly made it clear that they would exact revenge on any working class youth involved.

 

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Tottenham - community unites against repression and inequality - 13 Aug 2011

On 13 August FRFI comrades in London were among 3,000 people who marched from Dalston to Tottenham, calling for community unity and ‘a future for our children’. The event was organised following the police killing of Mark Duggan in Tottenham and the subsequent revolt across the city, by the North London Assembly, an ad hoc umbrella organisation of local groups. The leaflet for the event stated:

 

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Eyewitness report of the Manchester uprising, 9 August 2011

‘They’re making money off us – now we’re takin’ it back!’ – a young man in Manchester

Manchester Riots

My comrades and I arrived in town at half past eight. Confrontation with the police had been going on for quite some time already. We heard that Marks & Spencer on Market Street had been trashed, Miss Selfridge (owned by billionaire tax dodger Philip Green) had been burned, and that there were massive scenes of unrest at Salford Precinct. There was no traffic in or out of Manchester city centre and everything was closed.

 

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Uprising in Tottenham – 8 August 2011

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On Thursday 4 August, Mark Duggan was shot dead by Metropolitan Police specialist firearms squad in Tottenham Hale, north London. The killing occurred during a planned operation by Operation Trident, a unit set up to deal specifically with ‘gun crime in the black community’. Press statements were released stating that Mark Duggan had been killed in an exchange of fire, and that a police officer had also been injured. They said that an illegal firearm had been recovered from the scene. The clear implication was that Mark Duggan had fired a gun at the police and as a result had been killed in an exchange of gunfire.

 

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Support the struggle for the London Living Wage!

london_living_wageOn 20 July cleaning staff met with the director of human resources for London University, who refused to accept the demand to pay outsourced employees of Balfour Beatty Workplace at the London Senate House and halls of residence the London Living Wage (LLW).  There will therefore be protests from September.  Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! encourages all our readers in London to support this campaign.

 

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Brixton uprising 30th anniversary

Some lessons from the history of the British working class

‘What’s an extremist? A communist? We are all bloody communists around here. What else can you be when you live in a depressed, run down area where most of the people are out of work and with no hope of getting a job. The communists talk about redistributing wealth don’t they? Well last night saw a greater distribution of wealth than any government will every allow.’

Daily Star interview with a Brixton resident, April 1981

Thirty years ago, on 10, 11 and 12 April 1981, the black youth of Brixton, south London, supported by some of their white working class neighbours, rose up against police racism and repression. In so doing, they sent shock waves through the British establishment which, up until then, had complacently believed it could leave its minority black population to rot in poverty without too many consequences for itself. Carol Brickley reviews the events.

 

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In Memoriam Ellen Luby 1923 -2010

Ellen Luby

In Memoriam

Ellen Luby 1923 -2010

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! salutes the life of Ellen Luby who died in July this year. Many of us have warm memories of Ellen whose life as a working class warrior and scourge of the boss class and their ‘mercenaries’ is an inspiration.

 

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Remembering the Poll Tax

In 2010, as the British state mercilessly imprisons people who demonstrated last year against the Zionist onslaught on Gaza or the G8 rich countries’ domination of the world, we remember the massive demonstration 20 years ago this week against the Poll Tax. On Saturday 31 March 1990, London erupted as 200,000 demonstrators defended themselves against a brutal attack by mounted police.

The Poll Tax was the brainchild of Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government. A punitive local tax, it was introduced in 1989 in Scotland and 1990 in England and Wales, replacing the previous ‘rates’ system. It was designed as a political attack on left Labour local councils which charged high rates in order to provide better local services.  Unlike the rates or current council tax, the Poll Tax was not linked to income or the value of property.  Instead, each local area would set a single rate for all adults, regardless of ability to pay.

 

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How the campaign to stop the war was sabotaged

Supporting Labour’s imperialist war - How the campaign to stop the war was sabotaged

Whilst opposition to the war on Iraq saw unprecedented numbers of ‘ordinary’ people take to the streets all over the country, one thing was strikingly clear: the lack of any real opposition from within the Labour Party. Although a number of individual members and a handful of councillors left the Party in disgust, not one so-called ‘anti-war’ Labour MP resigned the ‘whip’. This was no real surprise for those with any knowledge of Labour’s bloody history and the left’s contortions in justifying their continuing support for it.

 

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Campaign to stop the war

The massive demonstration on 15 February, organised by the Stop The War Coalition (STWC), Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), was a historic occasion. Up to two million people took to the streets of London in opposition to the coming war on Iraq. Later, on 22 March, following the start of the US/British onslaught, nearly half a million marched. With the prospect of a protracted conflict, how is this movement to develop? How is its ideological level to be raised? Bob Shepherd examines the issues.

 

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Support youth uprisings against racism and poverty

The explosions on the streets of Oldham, Burnley, Leeds, Stoke, Accrington and Bradford were not just Asian youth defending themselves and their communities against fascists and police violence. They were revolts against racism, unemployment and poverty. The catalyst for the uprisings was the action of organised fascists in the National Front (NF) and British National Party (BNP) aided and abetted by the police. In all these towns, attacks on Asian communities by fascists and sections of white working class youth were met with resistance and ended in mass confrontations and street battles with the police.

 

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May Day protest against capitalism

Capitalism lost £20m on May Day before the first protesters had even set foot in the city. One in five shops in Oxford Street had shut for the day, and the rest closed early to avoid being targeted by ‘violent anarchists’ during the predicted May Day ‘riots’. May Day 2001 saw the continuation of the strategy developed by the corporate capitalist class through its political representatives in the Labour government, its media, police and judiciary to destroy the coalition of forces in this country that see themselves as part of the growing international anti-capitalist movement. Helen Burnes reports.

 

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