- Created: Thursday, 16 December 2010 11:11
- Written by FRFI
Join the fightback!
Throughout October and November FRFI supporters joined the emerging movements against the coalition government attacks on services and jobs. On 24 November FRFI activists were among the thousands of students from schools, colleges and universities who organised walk-outs and demonstrations (see pages 8 and 9 for full report).
There have already been attempts by some ‘left’ organisations to divert this emerging movement off the streets and into more ‘respectable’ channels. For these opportunists, who cannot conceive of a movement that is not designed to be acceptable to the Labour Party and trade union movement, the anger and determination of the school and college students are something to fear, something to contain. For anti-imperialists and revolutionaries, the example of the school and college students is something to support and learn from. FRFI will continue to fight for the widest possible democracy in the movements against the cuts, and to oppose the attempts of opportunists to stifle, divert or isolate its most revolutionary elements.
Combating opportunism in the movement calls for us to constantly sharpen our analysis. On 6 November David Yaffe and Robert Clough from the editorial board of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! spoke to an RCG dayschool in Manchester on the crisis of capitalism. The ConDem coalition is following the same?political agenda as the previous Labour government, that of the banks and the City of London, ie that of British imperialism. The ruling class strategy is to target the most vulnerable sections of the working class first and then pick off other sections in a piecemeal way. We need a united response that defends the interests of the whole of the working class.
Attacks on working class living standards will necessarily go hand in hand with attempts to restrict democratic rights. In Glasgow FRFI continues to be active in the Govanhill Defence Campaign, fighting political policing and defending workers’ rights. Several pickets of KFC were held in October and November in solidarity with an FRFI supporter who had been suspended and victimised for protesting against being forced to work unpaid hours after midnight. This is a pattern we will increasingly see across Britain, as workers are forced to work longer hours for less money. Contact us if you’re in a similar position and want support in organising solidarity.
Fight the cuts, fight imperialism!
The cuts are part of a much wider and longer-running attack on the wages, rights and living conditions of the working class, in an attempt to resolve capitalism’s crisis. For decades, the most savage of these attacks have taken place outside Britain, in oppressed countries in Asia, Africa and South America. Having squeezed the oppressed countries and having encountered massive resistance, British finance capital is now turning the knife towards large sections of the working class within Britain.
Ireland is Britain’s oldest colony and thousands of British soldiers continue to occupy the North. On 6 November, Glasgow FRFI took part alongside other organisations in a white line picket near Celtic Park called by Scottish Support for Political Prisoners in solidarity with Irish Republican POWs in Maghaberry gaol. The Palestinian struggle is another key part of the international resistance to imperialism. In London our weekly demonstration at Marks & Spencer, Britain’s biggest retail sponsor of Israel, is now in its 11th year, and regular demonstrations are also taking place in Newcastle and Glasgow.
Cuba’s socialist revolution and the revolutionary movements sweeping other parts of Latin America show that an alternative to imperialist exploitation and war is possible, and that the alternative is socialism. In London Rock around the Blockade (RATB) screened Listen to Venezuela, a documentary made by Mike Wayne and Deirdre O’Neill (www.listentovenezuela.info), who led a lively discussion after the film, which looks at the gains of the revolutionary process in Venezuela and the extent of popular participation in implementing and defending them.
Fight the cuts, fight racism!
As FRFI has consistently argued, the struggle against imperialism is inseparable from the struggle against racism. In the context of massive attacks on the working class within Britain, it is more important than ever that the working class makes common cause with movements in oppressed countries, and among migrants and refugees within Britain. On Saturday 20 November, several hundred people united in the Northern March Against Racism 2010 in Newcastle, called by Tyneside Community Action Against Racism (TCAR), which FRFI was instrumental in founding in 2005. The march aimed to build links and solidarity between the struggles against Britain’s racist immigration laws, its detention centres and deportations, those fighting the racism of the British police and prisons and the criminalisation of Muslims through terror laws and anti-Muslim racism, and those struggling against violent street racism. The march was a resounding success, supported by over a dozen organisations and trade union branches from across the North of England and Scotland and attracting supportive regional TV coverage. The march sent a clear, determined and principled anti-racist message (full report and video online: Northern march against racism 2010, Newcastle 20 November ).
The march had to overcome many obstacles, including obstruction by the police, sectarianism from sections of the left and opposition by organised racists. Northumbria Police initially demanded thousands of pounds in traffic management costs, but backed down in the face of TCAR’s determination and the numbers supporting the march. On 26 October Yunus Bakhsh, a leading member of Unite Against Fascism (UAF) and the Socialist Workers Party (SWP)’s full time regional organiser, was caught on a shop’s CCTV removing posters for the Northern March Against Racism and replacing them with posters for a UAF march in London on a different Saturday. He was seen doing the same in other shops. The organisers of the Northern March responded with an open letter to UAF, but there was no response from UAF, either locally or nationally. UAF ignored invitations to contribute to the march, and neither UAF nor SWP had any visible presence on the day. TCAR will continue to build alliances against all forms of racism.
In London, demonstrations continue outside Communications House Immigration Reporting Centre, a place of fear for those who are forced to sign on there and who risk being taken into immigration detention. In Glasgow, FRFI took part in protests of hundreds of people against the UKBA’s ending of a housing contract with Glasgow City Council which will see up to 600 families evicted from their homes. FRFI supports all resistance to this latest attack on refugees and will be contributing to any further actions against the evictions.
FRFI is committed to the struggle to destroy imperialism and build socialism. The fightback against British imperialism has been going on for years. Now it has arrived within Britain. Now is the time to join the fight. Come along to one of the events listed, or contact us to find out more.
FRFI 218 December 2010/January 2011