Tuesday, 30 August 2011

All together, we can do it!

by RocĂ­o

At the present time people from all around the world are suffering due to increases in cuts to public services and attacks on their rights as workers. This is a direct consequence of the inequalities promoted by the capitalists and the neoliberal economic system. As well as this we have seen violation of civil rights becoming increasingly common.

Around the whole world, it is possible to see how the economic system and its defendants struggle to maintain their positions, forcing workers and all those that are not part of the ruling class to pay for their greed and mistakes.
But we have also seen, during this last period, people becoming increasingly angry. In many different countries people are standing against this unjust punishment. Protests in Greece, Spain, Arab revolutions or Chile are some examples of people becoming fed up with their governments and with those institutions that control them, such as International Monetary Fund or European Central Bank.

As the economic system collapses -it is obvious that it cannot be sustained much longer- the states and their politicians pretend that things are normal in order to convince rating agencies, powerful countries and investors that everything is under control. While they are busy reassuring financial bodies that loans received to ‘save the economy’ can be afforded and that policies will be modified to balance deficits, people have been taking to the streets to demand the end of social impoverishment, where we are being made to pay for the crisis, while the rich benefit.

The different kinds of protests going on in different countries are representative of the idiosyncrasies in their societies and the particularities of the struggles they are facing, but there is a common factor in all of them: the repression carried out by the state security services.

Some suppose that the duty of police and security services in each state is to ensure the social welfare; but this is only true so long as those in power do not feel threatened. As soon as the protests -or riots- are focused in denouncing the governments incapability or even more, demanding that the rich stop looting public services, the state forces – police, armies and other security services- become the enemy of their own societies.

This is something that people may expect in countries where dictators or authoritarian regimes persist, but in Chile today, and 10 years ago in Genoa, the assassination of demonstrators show the real role of the state security services: the defence of capitalism. In Spain or even here, we have witnessed excesses of the agents of the state: provocative attitudes, unjustified detentions, violence against demonstrators or press members. These are some examples of the importance that our politicians give to keeping their status and benefits, even when they threaten democratic principles.

Fortunately we have noticed that the intention of the ruling class is to keep us frightened and to divide us in order to control us. We've gathered photos and video footage of the actions of the police, meaning we can show to the world the repressive actions that the state is willing to undertake. This makes it easier to involve more and more disenchanted people.

It is the time to unite all our strengths as workers, students, unemployed, retired, all of us. We need to organise ourselves in order to create a movement against those that want to control us and make us suffer for their benefit. It is time to say enough is enough, and keep ourselves firm, even if we are scared of the violence of their bulldogs. We are the majority and we have the capacity to defeat them. Don’t let them divide us with mistaken racist ideas or false promises. All together, we can do it.

Friday, 26 August 2011

All out to oppose the EDL

by Amy

Following a petition calling for the ban of the EDL march in East London on 3rd September Theresa May has approved a ban on all marches for 30 days starting on 2nd Sept in five London boroughs.  

Since they were formed in Luton in 2009 the EDL have held marches and protests across the country. These have been met by strong opposition from anti-racist and anti-fascist groups, however in places, such as Stoke and Luton, where there has been no public opposition on the day of EDL actions they have been able to rampage through towns, smashing Asian shops. In recent months they have been responsible for beating up two Muslim men in Dagenham, vandalising a mosque in Luton, and attacking socialist meetings, trade union events, and left wing bookshops. EDL members were among those who Ander Breivik, the Norweigian mass murderer, emailed his manifesto to, and a founding member of the EDL is due in court in Oslo this week due to his links with Breivik.

The EDL is clearly a vile racist and islamophobic group, and their actions are taking on an increasingly fascist character, threatening those who protest against the government such as students demonstrating against cuts in education and increases in tuition fees, and trade unionists striking against slashing pensions, cuts to public services and job losses. It is vital that they are opposed, however state bans are not the way to beat the far-right.

The ban placed upon the EDL march in East London is not the first of its kind. EDL marches have been ‘banned’ in Bradford, Leicester and only a couple of weeks ago in Telford. Banning the EDL only stops them from marching, not from assembling and so they will still be allowed to have a ‘static’ protest in the heart of multicultural Tower Hamlets. In previous instances where they have been banned from marching the police have escorted the EDL to their rallying point, giving them the opportunity to march through towns chanting racist slogans. Bans do not stop EDL violence. When the EDL went to Bradford in August 2010 despite a ban they threw bottles and bricks and broke out of police lines to try and attack the local Asian community.

The ban that will come into force at midnight in 2nd September affects all marches in Tower Hamlets, Newham, Hackney, Islington, Waltham Forest. This includes the Unite Against Fascism/United East End counter-march on the 3rd September, and potentially affects East London LGBT Pride, marches to defend libraries and other public services and protests against the DSEi Arms Fair. There is no legal reason why banning the EDL march has to affect any other marches, and so the terms of this ban should be taken as a further attempt to undermine the right to protest, which follows bans on protests in Westminster, extremely harsh and politically motivated charges and sentences handed out to student and anti-cuts protests and pre-emptive arrests that took place before the royal wedding in April.

In 1937 the Public Order Act was passed banning both fascist and anti-fascist protests, but this did not stop racist and fascist groups from growing. Banning fascists from marching will not stop them in 2011 either. Ignoring them and hoping they go away will not stop them. Holding candlelit vigils on another day will not stop them. To stop racist and fascist groups, like the EDL, it takes a united mass movement of thousands capable of opposing them when they take to the streets, and challenging the social conditions that breed racist and fascist ideas.

For some people there is now a sense that anti-fascists have 'won' – the independent mayor of Tower Hamlets has asked those who had planned "to march in support of our cause to stand down...You have helped us achieve our aim and we no longer need a mass show of support." The message Nick Knowles from Hope not Hate is that this “decision is a victory for common sense.” This triumphalism is misguided; it is extremely unlikely that the EDL will pull out of their protest, and so they will be in Tower Hamlets on the 3rd September.

This means that we have to be there too, and urge all the thousands of people who have signed the petition calling for the EDL to be banned to be there in the broadest possible movement on the streets. The lessons from previous occasions where EDL marches have been banned is that is it important to have a visible opposition and anti-racist unity. Where there is no public opposition on the day that the EDL are in town means they are able to go on the rampage, as happened in Stoke and Luton. We cannot allow the EDL to rally unopposed. Where the EDL are opposed, and there are big protests against them, such as happened in Cambridge in July, they are humiliated and weakened.

We need the biggest possible turn out in Tower Hamlets on 3rd September to oppose the EDL and to defend our right to protest.

Coaches Leave Cambridge Queens Road (The Backs) at 9am, cost £5 / £3
To book your place look here or email or ring 07870368708

Sunday, 14 August 2011

The riots and the family

by Amy

Last week the biggest riots in Britain for decades saw thousands of people take to the streets after the police killed Mark Duggan. Much of the commentary has focused on weakened parental authority, lack of family values, and a “broken Britain”. The vile Melanie Phillips, in an article in the Daily Mail, blames “not poverty….but moral collapse”, and a Senior Tory asked for Cameron to consider introducing tax breaks for married couples. Insufficient respect for ‘authority’ has been a constant refrain, and many have lamented that children no longer seem to fear their parents. They have tried to place the blame on individual families, rather than looking at what their attacks have done to communities across the country.

In Tottenham, where the riots started, 8 out of 12 youth centres have been closed in the last year under the Tories. The council has cut its youth budget by 75%. This meaning that caring for young people increasingly falls back onto families. Tottenham has the highest level of unemployment in London, and the Tory cuts mean many more people in Tottenham, London and across the country face job losses in the near future. Within families there is a constant pressure to buy the latest trainers, television or games console. Unemployment and job cuts make this difficult for most parents, and those who can find work often find themselves working exceedingly long hours for low pay.

Why is the family so important to the ruling class? To answer this it is necessary to look at the role that the family plays under capitalism. The family has enormous financial benefit for the system as individual families bear the burden for bringing up the next generation. Families, and mainly women within them, care for the young, old and the sick, meaning that the cost is borne by the individual, rather than the state. These costs are huge, meaning that many people could not afford to work, as childcare is too expensive; it can cost in the region of £800/month for a nursery place.

The family also plays an important ideological role for the ruling class. It is the place where most of us are socialised, learning the rules of society, including, they hope, a respect for authority. It also encourages people to think of themselves as an atomised, self-contained unit, where if you are poor, unemployed, or can’t afford to buy something, then it’s your own fault, not the fault of cuts, racism or the economic crisis. This view of the family has come out very clearly in the last week. 

These twin economic and ideological roles are important under capitalism to produce the next generation of healthy and educated workers. For the ruling class it is important that workers respect the authority of the boss or the police, and the financial burden of the caring for a family can act as a factor that limits workers from taking action, such as strikes, as may mean that their family doesn’t have enough to eat.

However, people do not enter into family relationships because they consciously think that they are producing the next generation of workers. For many people the family is the centre of care and emotion in society, somewhere we can experience unconditional love and is a place to turn to in times of trouble – a haven in a heartless world.

We can also imagine a different type of family. If the roles that the family currently undertakes, such as childcare and cooking are socialised, and the economic considerations within a family are removed, then we could have families that are based on “a union of affection and comradeship”, where relationships are not based on children being afraid of their parents.

We must resist attempts by the right, and some who would describe themselves as being on the left, to try and say that the riots last week were caused by a break down in so called ‘family-values’. The ‘family-values’ that they promote are in the interests of the ruling class, who have demonstrated by their assault on welfare and public services that they do not care about the conditions that most working class people live in. We have to argue strongly that the riots were caused because the deep and growing inequality, poverty, police harassment and racism, and many young people feeling that they have no future.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Stop the racist EDL in Tower Hamlets

Join the National Demonstration
 Saturday September 3rd 
 Called by Unite Against Fascism and United East End

The EDL – an organisation of racist and fascist thugs – is threatening to march through the east London borough of Tower Hamlets on September 3rd. This is the planned culmination of the EDL’s summer of hate, which included their march in Cambridge in July which met such fantastic opposition from wide sections of the community.
As in Cambridge, its attempts to stir up racist hatred against Muslims in the multicultural, multiracial East End of London have been met with a wave of condemnation from across Tower Hamlets’ diverse community and beyond.
Last year, 5000 people marched through the East End to oppose the EDL – even though the racist thugs had already been forced to cancel their own event, admitting that it would be "a suicide mission” in multicultural Tower Hamlets.

Now we want a huge turnout in Tower Hamlets to deal a more decisive blow to the EDL and its poisonous racist ideas

Coaches Leave Cambridge Queens Road (The Backs) at 9am, cost £5 / £3
To book your place look here www.repeatfanzine.co.uk/antinazi/coming%20up.htm or e-mailcontact@cambsagainstthenazis.co.uk or ring 07870368708