- Created: Thursday, 11 June 2015 10:59
A lesson in British ‘justice’
Kevan Thakrar’s parents had asked Manchester RCG to help organise a solidarity protest at the Crown Court in Manchester on 22 May when he was scheduled to appear for a pre-trial legal hearing. We produced a leaflet before the event and publicised it on social media, as did local activists from the Joint Enterprise Not Guilty By Association (JENGbA) group.
On the day, around 15 supporters attended the short court hearing, which was like an educational in the corrupt nature of the British ‘justice system’. Kevan has been accused of ‘common assault’ against a prison officer in Strangeways (see letter in FRFI 244). This is the latest chapter in the prison service’s vindictive harassment of him. The CPS firstly said they didn’t want to proceed with the case but the Prison Officers Association demanded it be heard.
As the hearing began Kevan was on a live video link from Wakefield prison, sat in front of the camera with two screws at his side. His barrister began by explaining to the judge that he was unable to adequately represent Kevan due to the fact that the Prison Service was obstructing his contact with him. He was unable to pass legal documents directly to Kevan as they were immediately confiscated by prison officers; when he posted them to Kevan they had not been getting through to him. He asked the judge to make some sort of statement about this abuse of his legal right to correspond with his client. The judge said there wasn’t much he could do but he reiterated the fact that the barrister should be able to correspond with Kevan without any interference.
As the hearing concluded, those of us in the public gallery all applauded so that Kev could hear that he had support in the court. This was much to the horror of the judge, who was far more upset over our so-called disrespect to the court than by the Prison Service’s interference with Kevan’s legal documents.
The next court hearing will be in August which again will be for legal discussion but which Kevan is supposed to appear at. The actual trial will be on 30 November if it gets that far.
For more information go to www.justiceforkevan.com
Write to Kevan Thakrar A4907AE, HMP Wakefield, 5 Love Lane, Wakefield WF2 9AG
MANCHESTER REVOLUTIONARY COMMUNIST GROUP
Nationalism is not enough
I recently read John McGrath’s excellent socialist play set in the Scottish Highlands, The Cheviot, the stag and the black, black oil. It details events from 1746 up to the 1970s, including the banning of the Gaelic language, the brutality of the Highland Clearances, the use of Highlanders to colonise other oppressed lands, the exploitation of the environment, resources and local community by English and Scottish capitalists, rich tourists and US oil multinationals. The play makes clear that the injustices are the result of the capitalist and imperialist systems and those who enforce them. As one of the characters states, responding to an SNP employer: ‘Nationalism is not enough. The enemy of the Scottish people is Scottish capital, as much as the foreign exploiter’. With the election of 56 Scottish National Party MPs to Westminster and the SNP now boasting a membership of 110,000, the play is a powerful challenge to the myth currently circulating that the capitalist system and its political representatives can offer working class people a just future. Independent working class organisation against austerity and for socialism is our only hope. I recommend the play to everyone.
FRFI readers will be shocked, astonished and appalled to learn that law-breaking is rife on Wall Street and in the City of London. A recent survey by the University of Notre Dame and lawyers Labaton Sucharow in London and New York reveals that more than one in five financial services employees in the US and UK have seen their co-workers breaking the law or engaging in misconduct. Over a third of those earning, or, rather receiving more than $500,000 a year said they had ‘witnessed or have first hand knowledge of wrongdoing in the workplace’. Almost a third believed pay and bonus structures could incentivise crime, 33% said the financial industry has not changed since the financial crisis. Almost one in five believed employees were under pressure to break the law or act wrongly to get ahead. It’s obvious that no attempt to ‘stiffen regulation’, ‘raise standards’ and ‘improve ethics’ can alter the nature of the capitalist machine which both feeds on and fuels greed and avarice.
Join the RCG!
I’ve been aware of the RCG for sometime now through the various socialist sections on Reddit where your online articles are sometimes posted and I have recently subscribed to FRFI.
I’m a 22-year-old politics student and have been interested in the far left since secondary school. This interest was mostly academic until 9 May, when I attended my first protest in London, which much of the establishment dubbed a ‘riot’. It has cemented the feeling that I’ve had for a long time that the establishment will resist and denounce any opposition it deems harmful to itself but also that civil disobedience and protest is the most effective form of resistance and terrifies those in a position of power.
Parties such as Labour and the Greens who say that they represent the left have, and will, ultimately fail the needs of the weakest and most vulnerable in society. They try to treat the symptoms but do not tackle the real sickness – capitalism. I have been inspired by the articles on your website that highlight the hypocrisy of the pro-capitalist ‘leftist’ parties but also of the serious domestic issues, particularly housing, and the condemnation of Western imperialist policies.
I would really like to work with and learn from you guys in the campaign to make the world a better place for all to live.
Boleyn Dev 100 – demanding 100% social housing
In March, Boleyn Development 100 held its launch meeting in a packed community centre in Newham, east London with over 50 people present. When West Ham moves out of the Boleyn Ground in 2016, private developers Galliard Homes, who won the contract to develop the site, are planning to build 838 luxury apartments and no social housing at all. What about the 24,000 people on Newham’s housing list? What about the empty boarded up properties in Canning Town and Stratford, including the hundreds of homes on the Carpenters Estate? What about the social cleansing with families being placed in Birmingham, Manchester, Hastings? What about Queens Market where people have been fighting in the area for years to stop demolition and destruction of working class history and facilities for local people?
Karen, one of the campaigners, said ‘We need a proper legacy for the people of Newham, 100% social housing and if Galliard can’t do it then Newham Council should.’ 100% social housing is a demand that is realistic and the meeting was unanimous on this.
Robin Wales, Labour Mayor of Newham, and supporter of social cleansing and homes for the rich, gave £40m to West Ham football club to facilitate its move and in a public relations twist his only statement about Galliard Homes has been to criticise the plans and say that there should be social housing. Despite this hypocrisy, we will hold him to his statement.
Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 245 June/July 2015