Victory to the Intifada - and events

FRFI 173 June / July 2003

The last two months have seen the consequences of the complete failure of the anti-war movement to break with Labour. Socialist Worker has made George Galloway’s right to remain in the racist imperialist Labour Party its principal campaigning theme. There has been complete dishonesty in accounting for the collapse in support for the anti-war movement; defeats have been shamelessly branded as victories – for instance the Socialist Alliance election fiasco on 1 May. The 1 May demonstration and surrounding direct action events in London were a damp squib. 50,000 demonstrated in London last September in support of Palestine – the pro-Palestine rally in Trafalgar Square on 17 May this year mobilised less than a tenth of that number. The strategy of the social democratic left, its pandering to pro-imperialist politicians, its capitulation to the Labour Party, have proved a disaster. There is no alternative but to build an anti-imperialist movement which is anti-Labour. This is what FRFI is committed to doing through its work against the illegal occupation of Iraq and in support of the Palestinian Intifada.

Over the last two months, FRFI has continued to picket Marks and Spencer stores up and down the country. Within London the target has been the Marble Arch flagship store, with pickets taking place every other Saturday. The London FRFI/Victory to the Intifada (VTI) group has also held fortnightly forums to educate people about the illegal occupation of West Bank and Gaza, and the murderous Zionist regime. Marks and Spencer is an openly pro-Zionist company, and we say it must be the focus of any campaign to boycott Israeli goods. At the 17 May pro-Palestine rally, FRFI/ VTI supporters handed out thousands of M&S leaflets and urged people to disregard the Palestine Solidarity Campaign leaders who openly oppose a boycott of Marks and Spencer. These leaders wish to talk about boycotts, but don’t want to do anything effective. Presumably they find it too much of a hardship to stop shopping in Marks and Spencer themselves!

In Manchester, the City Council has renewed its attack on the picket of M&S in Market Street. We have reported several times on the obsessive behaviour of Licencing Officers, particularly that of one Andrew Butcher. For some months it has been quiet, but in mid-May he issued a total of eight summonses against regular picketers; these relate to a picket last December. Seven of the summonses have been served on one person. Of these, no less than six relate to placards which picketers hang on railings in front of the store – one for each placard! The council claims that this amounts to fly-posting even though the placards are taken down at the end of each picket. The other summonses relate to the campaign stall. Even though there has been agreement for some time on where picketers can place the stall so that it does not cause an obstruction, Butcher still wants his pound of flesh. Picketers are launching a campaign to defend the right to protest in the city centre; the first court hearing is on 11 June. Please support us.

Events
London

FRFI/Victory to the Intifada Group
Discussion meetings on Palestine,
imperialism and the Middle East:
Next meetings: Wednesday 28 May, 7pm, Room S75, St Clements Building, London School of Economics (LSE), Houghton Street WC2.
Wednesday 25 June, 7pm, Room G1, LSE, 20 Kingsway, WC2. Nearest tube: Holborn.

Next pickets of Marks and Spencer at Marble Arch, end of Oxford Street: Saturday 7 June, 21 June, 5 July and 19 July. 12-2pm

FRFI meeting with investigative journalist Greg Palast at LSE on Wednesday 18 June: ring 020 7837 1688 to confirm time and venue.

Join the FRFI stall at the Respect Festival on Saturday 19 July, The Dome, North Greenwich, London SE10.
For information phone 07815 617746 or 020 7837 1688.

Durham
FRFI Readers Group: How do racism and imperialism affect me?
7.30pm, Monday 16 June, Durham University, Elvet Riverside Building, Room 155, New Elvet, Durham. Contact 07813 073846.

Come along to the first Northeast Social Forum in Durham City, 20-23 June 2003. The event will revolve around six conferences based on the tenets of the DUSF: universal free education, sustainability and the environment, anti-oppression, anti-discrimination, people over profit, and international co-operation.

For further details, look at www.dur.ac.uk/durham.socialforum/NESF/

Midlands
For further details, contact
07949 256 477

Manchester
Victory to the Intifada! Picket of Marks and Spencer, Market Street, Manchester City Centre, 12-3pm every Saturday.
For more info contact, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!
anti-imperialist forum,
Sunday 22 June
2-5pm, Percival Suite,
Cross Street Chapel, Cross Street,
Manchester City Centre:
Cuba in the vanguard of the struggle against imperialism: reportback from the recent brigade to Cuba.

For more info contact
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
or phone 07816 547 066.

Glasgow
FRFI readers group meetings: every other Thursday, 7.30pm. Next dates: 26 June, 10 July, 24 July, 7 August
All at Woodside Halls,
Woodlands Road near St George Cross
underground

For more details on Scotland FRFI activities and weekly stalls and events call 07779 785 529

 

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