- Created: Wednesday, 29 April 2009 13:52
- Written by FRFI
The Northern Conference Against Racism, hosted by Tyneside Community Action for Refugees (TCAR) in Newcastle on 21 June was a great success, with over 130 people participating in two panel discussions and ten workshops.
Speakers included Arun Kundnani from the Institute of Race Relations, Cristel Amis from Black Women’s Rape Action Project, Lena Dominelli from Durham University, Charles Chinweizu from FRFI and Kudzi Amandla from TCAR. Running through all these speeches was a clear focus on the role of the British state as the chief defender of racism in Britain. As Charles Chinweizu put it: ‘Immigration controls in the hands of the racist British state will always be racist, be used against the oppressed and be used to attack and divide workers. If the working class is to be united to defend its rights to decent education, to employment, healthcare and housing, then a movement must be built which is capable of defending immigrants from all racist attacks – not just from the BNP, but most importantly, from the strongest attacker – the British imperialist state. An anti-racist movement must by definition be anti-imperialist’.
TCAR members, some of whom have only recently become involved in political activity, stewarded, chaired, led sessions and distributed TCAR’s newsletter, Resistance. The conference was organised on an entirely democratic basis, involving individuals and groups from outside TCAR, who made a significant contribution. Even those left groups, like the SWP, who had opposed the conference on the basis that it ‘clashed’ with an anti-fascist march in London, felt compelled to relate to this vibrant event and send representatives along.
The conference demonstrated the potential for broader anti-racist organisation on Tyneside with a clear focus on the role of the British state. The challenge now will be to translate
On 14 June supporters of FRFI in London hosted a Break the Chains rally in solidarity with political prisoners of imperialism. The rally took place outside the South African embassy. Break the Chains was supported by individuals and groups, including Kurdish comrades from Halkevi demanding the release of Abdullah Ocalan from his incarceration and freedom for Kurdistan, Rock around the Blockade and the Marti-Maceo Organisation of Cubans in Britain, who are both campaigning for the Cuban Five, and the London Guantanamo Campaign. Towards the end of the rally we received news of an uprising at Campsfield Detention Centre, which highlighted the importance of such a demonstration. Protests also continue each month at Communications House, the central London reporting centre for asylum seekers. We urge you to join us.
Defend democratic rights!
On 19 May a lively demonstration took place in Newcastle outside the court hearing of four FRFI activists charged with participating in the unlicensed collection of donations at an anti-deportation street even in May 2007. The trial has now been rescheduled for 18-19 August, to allow time for the magistrate to view the five hours of CCTV footage submitted as evidence by the prosecution. Using the excuse of the few pounds collected by activists, the council is prepared to accept these mounting costs for the prosecution in order to shut down political activity on the streets. Meanwhile, FRFI comrades in Dundee continue to challenge the attack on democratic rights which took place last year when there was a violent and illegal arrest as leaflets were being distributed for RATB’s successful Cuban Speaking Tour. Tayside Police have finally been forced to release the official CCTV footage which shows that the cops lied when they claimed that the comrade had lashed out with arms and legs. Nothing of the sort happened and the Defence Campaign is continuing to demand freedom of information, access to communications between the police and the Procurator Fiscal, and that the cops be held legally accountable for their repressive behaviour.
FRFI members and supporters have been campaigning each weekend against the ongoing occupation of Iraq. These protests have taken place in London, Newcastle, Manchester, Glasgow and Dundee and have received wide support from local communities who have shown their anger against the illegal war. In London we have also continued our eight-year weekly picket of Marks & Spencer – Britain’s biggest corporate sponsor of Israel. The brutal occupation of the Palestinian people must be opposed, as must all the injustices of imperialism both abroad and here in Britain. Look at our Events listings for meetings and demonstrations in your area and come and join us!
Every Thursday 6-8pm
Demonstration for Palestine –
Outside Marks & Spencer, Oxford Street
(Nearest tube Marble Arch)
Special rally on Thursday 25 September to mark the 8th anniversary of the Intifada
Tuesdays 5 August and 2 September 1-2pm
Demonstrate against Labour’s racist
Old Street, EC1 (Nearest tube Old St)
Saturday 9 August 3pm
Marx walk of London with a
Meet at Piccadilly Circus underground exit number one (above ground) £5
Saturday 16 August 11am-2pm
Demonstration for Palestine –
Outside Marks & Spencer,
Monday 18 August 9am
Whose streets? Protest outside the hearing of four activists charged with unlicenced collecting at an anti-
deportation street event in May 2007
Gosforth Magistrates Court, West Avenue
Every Saturday 3pm
Weekly meeting of Tyneside Community Action for Refugees
Downstairs at Amnesty Bookshop,
bottom of Westgate Road. Monthly
general meetings in St Thomas Church,
07989 879 310
We also have street actions in Newcastle every Saturday 11am-2pm and other stalls around the region:
call or email for details
Phone: 07858 346 276
Sunday 17 August 2pm
FRFI forum: NHS in chaos:
healthcare in Labour’s Britain
Cross Street chapel, off Market Street,
07519 427 093
FRFI 204 August / September 2008