- Created: Thursday, 16 June 2011 13:57
- Written by FRFI
Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 221 June/July 2011
Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! campaigns around the country, against the poverty and unemployment that are set to increase dramatically in the wake of the vicious cuts; against racism, imperialist war, occupation and destruction and in support of immigrants’ rights, the Palestinian struggle and socialist Cuba.
No cuts – full stop!
The starting point of any serious movement against the cuts must be opposition to all cuts, whether it is Labour or Tory councils implementing them, and defence of working class interests as a whole. In Glasgow and Newcastle FRFI has been involved in high-profile agitation against the cuts; this has made us a target for police harassment – see p2 for details.
In Manchester FRFI has been holding regular street rallies against the cuts and attended the Trades Council and TSSA-organised May Day march. On 2, 7 and 14 May, together with UK Uncut, we organised rolling pickets of companies that are known for tax avoidance. In particular we targeted those that signed the October 2010 letter to the Daily Telegraph urging George Osborne to push ahead with deep cuts immediately. On 14 May, the demonstration shut down Barclays Bank, which – as well as tax dodging – backed apartheid in South Africa to the hilt, profited from war in DRC and, like all British banks, benefited from the £1.3 trillion bail-out of the financial industry. Three activists were arrested outside Vodafone on the same day and were charged with public order offences – a defence campaign has been organised.
In Holloway, North London, weekly anti-cuts stalls have been held with support from local people, ahead of a public meeting there on 1 June. We also held ‘Speak Out Against the Cuts’ demonstrations in Angel on 21 and 28 May, outside the Royal Bank of Scotland, one of the banks that was bailed out using public money. The Speak Out on 28 May took up the proposal of UK Uncut to hold medically-themed demonstrations on this day in order to draw attention to the butchering and privatisation of our health service. FRFI also supported the London march to Save the NHS in May, the Disability Week of Action, and the annual May Day march with a ‘No Cuts – Full Stop’ contingent.
Freedom for Palestine! Hands off the Middle East and North Africa!
In the North East FRFI has been active within the Palestine Action Group, which on 3 May held a film showing of Occupation 101, a documentary about the Israeli occupation, and on 14 May organised a demonstration outside Marks and Spencer (M&S), the biggest British retail sponsor of Israel. The demonstration engaged with hundreds of passers-by for more than two hours, despite the presence of English Defence League supporters who tried to harass our activists.
In central London, the weekly demonstrations outside M&S have continued every Thursday (see Events). This picket has now been going since the start of the second Intifada, for over a decade. It is the most long-standing activity in London in support of the Palestinian struggle.
On 20 May, at Royal Holloway University in Surrey, FRFI held a meeting entitled ‘Hands off Libya!’. Trevor Rayne spoke about the history of imperialism in Libya and the hypocrisy of the current attack, which is being conducted under the guise of humanitarianism.
Re-unite Saleh and Ruby!
Manchester FRFI has been supporting a campaign to reunite a British woman, Elaine Crompton, and her daughter Ruby with husband and father Saleh Jarad, a Palestinian refugee working in Dubai. Whilst rich bankers come and go as they please, Saleh, who is poor and Palestinian, has been denied a visa.
Rock around the Blockade: solidarity with socialist Cuba
During April and May, Rock around the Blockade (RATB) held successful events in Newcastle, Glasgow, Manchester and London to celebrate the 50th anniversaries of both the victory at Cuba’s Playa Giron (the Bay of Pigs) on 19 April 1961 and the declaration of the socialist character of the Cuban revolution. The CIA-sponsored invasion of Playa Giron was defeated by Cuba’s armed forces, led by Fidel Castro, within 72 hours of the attack.
The London event was held at the Venezuelan embassy’s Bolivar Hall, and was filled with supporters. This was an extra special day for the campaign because the new Cuban ambassador, Esther Armanteros, spoke from the platform, describing her role in the defence of Cuba during the invasion – as a teenager she joined the people’s militia – and her participation in the literacy campaign. She spoke passionately of how the revolution and the declaration of socialism in Cuba has meant that people are educated, giving them a dignity that was denied to the majority of the population before the revolution. Esther’s speech closed the meeting and received a standing ovation from the appreciative audience.
Alongside Esther on the panel were Henry Suarez, First Secretary of the Venezuelan Embassy, Tony Kapcia, Director of the Centre for Research on Cuba at Nottingham University, Alex von Tunzelmann, author of Red Heat: Conspiracy, Murder and the Cold War in the Caribbean, and RATB’s Helen Yaffe, author of Che Guevara: the Economics of Revolution.
At the Manchester meeting RATB heard from Rafael Sardiña Gonzalez, counsellor at the Cuban Embassy, and Fernando León Jacomino from Cuba’s Ministry of Culture.
Fernando spoke again at a RATB public meeting in Newcastle on 17 May, about the CCP Congress and the economic developments underway in Cuba (see article on p7).
On 22 May London RATB held the first of its 2011 educational series to discuss these important changes. Both meetings hosted an in-depth dis-cussion of socialist economics. In London on 14 June, Fernando will present a documentary about prostitution in Cuba for the FRFI Student Society at the London School of Economics. RATB will support the event.
Happy birthday Mumia Abu Jamal!
On 23 April, London FRFI joined a demonstration and march through Brixton to celebrate the revolutionary Mumia Abu Jamal’s birthday. Mumia is a political prisoner who, despite having been incarcerated for nearly three decades on death row in the US, continues to speak out from his confinement in defence of people’s struggles. He is also a supporter of socialist Cuba. Days after his birthday, he won a significant legal victory challenging his death penalty – see
article on www.revolutionarycommunist.org.