Michael Che continues his quest to find a safe space for unarmed Black men. Pt 2.
(Pt 1 set)
I had been hoping that UK Uncut would use today’s apology by the Met police commissioner to talk about the wider implications of police violence and access to justice. Obviously I’m glad that people have managed to take the Met to court and wrung both money and an apology out of them, but I dread…
For the first time South London Anti-Fascists decided to take a stall at Lewisham People’s Day, the community festival of the London borough of Lewisham. An estimated 20,000 visited over the course of the day, helped in no small part by the weather.
We were delighted with the response to the stall and spoke to a number of people from varied backgrounds, including young people directly affected by stop and search as well as teachers and youth workers concerned about those they work with and care for. One particularly encouraging exchange was with a teacher from a local secondary school who was keen to take a large quantity of stop and search know your rights cards produced by Newham Monitoring Project back to her school for the new term. We hope to have contact with the school in the future and to do all we can to help with these sorts of enquiries. In another case, a coach from a youth Basketball team approached the stall - again with great interest in the stop and search materials. He told us how his players regularly encounter police stop and account and stop and search at 5 am as they make their way to training. It is unfortunately something that has become a daily nuisance in their lives.
It wasn’t just the information on stop and search that peaked people’s interest however; a large number of people read the posters from the Anti-Raids Network that were at the front of our stall. Many expressed their surprise at the rights people actually have when approached by UKBA/Immigration Enforcement Officers.The stall seemed to attract more people towards the end of the afternoon as the demographic of the crowd became younger and was a good lesson for us for future years, of which we hope there will be many. The increased interest in our stall towards the end of the day also seemed to be influenced by word of mouth as enthusiastic members of the public approached us to find out more or tell us of other community events that we should attend.
Saturday was a decent success and something that all those present agreed to do far more of in the future. Spreading information into the local community is certainly a priority and this felt like a really good way of doing this. It is also important to acknowledge organisations that provided materials used on the day including the Anti-Raids Network, Newham Monitoring Project, London Campaign Against Police and State Violence and Freedom Bookshop. The high quality of the resources we were able to distribute was a massive reason for the success we enjoyed.
From our friends in the North: London Antifascists
London Anti Fascists are organising to oppose the fascist South East Alliance march in Cricklewood on the 14th June. The south east alliance are a rag tag bunch of racists and fascists who contain ex-BNP and EDL members, and have a history of violent and racist behaviour.
They are coming to protest against the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt who have their offices in Cricklewood.
While we have no time for the reactionary and right wing ideas of the Muslim Brotherhood, they are not the ones intending to march down our streets shouting racist abuse at any one they see as different, be they Black, Asian, Muslim or Irish.
We oppose both the racism of these neo-fascist groups trying to divide our community and the institutional racism of the state and police in NW London.
Join us on the streets to show Cricklewood unites against racist bigots.
See the Rogue’s gallery of SEA dickheads here: http://londonantifascists.wordpress.com/2014/06/07/revealed-the-gang-of-racists-and-fascist-thugs-that-are-attending-the-south-east-alliance-march-in-cricklewood/
Lambeth College UCU are on an indefinite strike over the management trying to impose new contracts which would drastically increase working hours and duties, cut holiday and sick pay, and worsen other working
conditions. Hackney Community College are balloting for strike over yet
another round of redundancies. Several other further education colleges
in London are preparing for industrial disputes.
Cuts to funding for those colleges are seriously affecting their ability to serve communities in which they are based. Especially in the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) provision one can see who is the most affected by those changes. The recipients of basic English classes are mostly migrants, often refuges from countries ravaged by war or poverty; Eritrea, Congo, Somalia or Kosovo to name a few. Those classes are increasingly replaced with short courses which students are forced by Job Centre Plus (JCP) to attend. Their benefits can be cut if they turn up late even once.
Opposition to those changes has been strong from the beginning; from the teachers through the Action for ESOL campaign and from the campaigners against cuts to welfare. The attack on working conditions of teachers and the imposition of benefit sanctions through JCP courses are strongly connected.
On one hand, teachers refuse to participate in the sanctions regime both collectively and individually. On the other hand, this refusal can be detrimental to their ability to take action; striking workers are allowing and not trying to stop JCP classes from continuing to take place in Lambeth College, as they understand the severe consequences they would face. The attack on working conditions is as much about the cuts as it is about disciplining the workforce, creating conditions where they can’t refuse to teach courses they morally object to.
The most dangerous form of racism is the structural racism of the state.
It takes many forms: growth the detention regime, increase of racial
harassment from the border agency and the police but also attack on the living conditions of multi-ethnic working class communities. Cuts to
further education and especially ESOL teaching are a part of that. The
struggle of workers in those colleges should be actively supported by
anti-fascists. Hackney College teachers are holding a demo against cuts
this Saturday 7th June at 12PM. Lambeth College are on strike every
weekday and need support on pickets on all their sites in Brixton,
Clapham and Vauxhall.
Support Lambeth College Strike also by:
- Going to the Fundraiser at the Bread & Roses in Clapham tonight at 7:30pm. FB event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1420328904920210/
- Sign their petition: https://www.ucu.org.uk/defendlambethucu
- Donate to the campaign: http://lambethcollegestrike.wordpress.com/support-us/donations/