Fight the racist Immigration Bill! – RCG-led protest at Lunar House, Croydon

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On Tuesday 5 April, a protest called by the Croydon branch of the Revolutionary Communist Group took place outside Lunar House in Croydon, the (Home Office) UK Visas & Immigration HQ, to raise awareness in opposition Britain’s latest racist Immigration Bill.

The colourful and lively protest started at 10.30am, a busy time at the centre when migrants are effectively being told what to do with their lives, giving them a chance to get involved and have their voices heard. This is the building where deportations are processed, in many regards the epicentre of Britain’s racist immigration controls.

 

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Report: 'Refugees Welcome Here' march - London 19 March 2016

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On Saturday 19  March, the London branches of the Revolutionary Communist Group joined the ‘Refugees Welcome Here’ march, which marked UN anti-racism day.

The march was organised under the name Stand Up to Racism, a trade-union-funded umbrella campaign. Around four thousand people marched from Portland Place to Trafalgar square.

At Piccadilly circus supporters encountered around 100 members of the fascist group, Britain First, with banners reading ‘Veterans before refugees’. Protected by police, they made little impact on the demonstration of colourful and vocal anti-racists.

 

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Marching for decent housing for all

On Sunday 13 March, the RCG joined the national demonstration in central London against the Housing and Planning Bill.

The Bill, currently going through Parliament, is the latest assault by successive governments on the very concept of social housing (see this article in FRFI 248). Under its provisions, Right-to-Buy will be extended to the tenants of housing associations, with massive discounts. These discounts will, in a double whammy, be funded by forcing local councils to sell off their highest value properties. The Bill will also introduce a ‘pay to stay’ rule for council housing, where households earning above £30,000 ((£40,000 in London) will be forced to pay anything up to full market rent. It will strip away security of tenure in council housing, and even the limited definition of ‘affordable’ housing will be transformed to mean homes for sale – the government’s vaunted ‘starter’ homes that ‘start’ at £450,000. In addition, the ‘Planning’ aspect of the Bill will force councils to identify and make available public land for private development.

 

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Stop Turkey's war on the Kurds demo - 6 March

On Sunday 6 March branches of the Revolutionary Communist Group supported the 'Stop Turkey’s War on the Kurds' national demo, a march from the BBC headquarters to Trafalgar Square that aimed to 'break the silence' of the British state and media with regards to recent Turkish state atrocities committed against the Kurdish people.

The estimated 10,000 people marching, made up predominantly of the Kurdish community residing in Britain, were anything but silent. The Kurds demanded freedom for their people and nation, and carried placards carrying the powerful slogan 'ISIS: made in Turkey'. Indeed, the most recent atrocities committed by the Turkish state came as a punitive reaction to the PKK’s brave defeats of ISIS on Turkish territory. Demands to unban the PKK – shamefully listed as a terrorist group by Britain – were also heard.

 

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What is it? Corbynomics

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What is it? Corbynomics – taking its name from the leader of the Labour Party - is the term being used to describe a range of proposed measures for dealing with Britain’s economic crisis and ending austerity. These include expanding state investment, promoting higher wages, regulating banks and other financial institutions and undertaking a programme of nationalisation. Its origins lie in the ‘alternative economic strategy’ put forward by the Labour left in the 1970s and 1980s.  It also harks back to the New Deal and the Keynesianism of post-second world war reconstruction. This programme is a far cry from socialism but even within its own progressive reformist terms currently stands no chance of being implemented by any British government because the conditions for class consensus – social democracy – no longer exist.

 

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March against the Housing Bill, 30 Jan 2016

On 30 January 2016 London branches of the Revolutionary Communist Group joined the March Against the Housing Bill, which went from Kennington to Downing Street to protest the Housing and Planning Bill, the final straw that will break social housing’s back.

The controversial bill will lead to the loss of between 80,000 and 200,000 council houses, a disaster for the working class. With the extension of Right to Buy, the building of ‘starter’ and ‘affordable’ rather than social homes, and market rent being imposed for social tenants with household incomes of more than £30,000 (£40,000 in London), Britain is plunging further into an ever-deepening housing crisis.

 

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London 'Stop Bombing Syria' march - 12/12/15

On Saturday 12 December, a contingent of Revolutionary Communist Group supporters attended the Stop The War Coalition's 'Stop bombing Syria' national demonstration in London.
We came with the message 'Hands off Syria' and through the messages on our banners and our speeches and chants on the sound system, sought to emphasize the imperialist nature of this war and the central role played by British capitalism in promoting global conflicts.

 

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The Focus E15 table is innocent – release it now!

Newham council and police shut down Focus E15 street stall

On Saturday 5 December, the Focus E15 campaign was holding its weekly street stall in Stratford when police and a council official confiscated the stall table, bundling it into a police van like a person being arrested. This is the reality of the ‘right to protest’ in 2015.

As usual the campaign had been drawing attention to the housing crisis in Newham, a Labour borough in east London, home of the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics and the second poorest borough in England. Newham has the severest housing need in London and 25% of homes are overcrowded. Thousands of people and families are in temporary accommodation and those that are offered housing are being sent out of borough and out of London. Labour Mayor Robin Wales, who in 1995 talked about ‘making Newham the new Islington’, is pushing ahead with gentrification. Newham is keeping over 400 council homes empty on the Carpenters Estate while luxury apartments are going up everywhere.

 

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Report: Hands off Syria demonstration, 5 December 2015

On Saturday 5 December, members and supporters of the Revolutionary Communist Group assembled in Trafalgar Square for an open mic protest against British airstrikes on Syria.

As the sound system powered out roots reggae rhythms, comrades gave some excellent speeches, denouncing British imperialism, the destruction of Iraq, Libya and now Syria. All these countries have been attacked on false pretences, with infrastructure as the primary target of bombing and capitalist profits as the motive.

 

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Victory to the Intifada picket of M&S takes BDS message to Oxford Street (15/10/15)

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On 15 October, comrades from the RCG joined a variety of pro-Palestine activists on a picket of Marks and Spencer's flagship shop on Oxford Street. The picket, called and organised by the RCG campaign 'Victory to the Intifada', was held weekly for thirteen years in previous Palestinian intifadas (uprisings), and for three months in 2014 following the brutal Israeli assault on Gaza. M&S is one of many British businesses which sell huge amounts of Israeli produce, but it also offers political support to Zionism. The Palestinian people called for a 'Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions' (BDS) campaign against Israel in 2003. With the Palestinian people rising up against the Zionist occupation once again, in what many are calling the 'Third Intifada', the picket took the message of support for the Palestinian resistance to the streets, and called for a boycott of M&S and all companies supporting Israel. The response was overwhelming, with chants of 'Free Palestine!' drowning out the tiny but aggressive Zionist counter-picket. End British support for Israel!

 

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Focus E15 March Against Evictions - We will not be cleansed! We will not be silenced!

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The Revolutionary Communist Group joined the Focus E15 campaign on the streets of Stratford, east London, on Saturday 19 September, for the March against Evictions, marking the second anniversary of the campaign. The RCG banner read ‘Housing is a right, not a privilege!’ - and that is the message that the march put across as around 700 people joined the march from Stratford Park to the Carpenters Estate.

 

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London march in solidarity with refugees - 12 September 2015

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London RCG branches joined the 'Solidarity with Refugees' march in central London on Saturday 12 September. We marched with the Asylum Clinic from West London, and the Focus E15 housing campaign from East London. Assembled behind a banner which read: 'Fight Britain's racist immigration laws!' we made clear that any movement which fights in solidarity with refugees must also fight British imperialism and its racist state. Our militant and lively contingent operated an open mic for all to speak out about the crisis and how we can build a movement in this country against racism and imperialism.

 

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Focus E15 campaigners violently assaulted at ‘family fun day’ as Mayor of Newham looks on

On Sunday 12 July supporters of the Focus E15 campaign for decent housing, including RCG comrades, were subject to intimidation and harrassment by members of the Labour council, by private security firm APS and the police, when they attended the ‘Mayor’s Newham Show’ at East Ham’s Central Park (supposedly a family fun day) to distribute materials exposing the social cleansing being conducted by Newham’s Labour council.

 

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Lewisham protest demands housing for Sandra, housing for all!

Protesting against Lewisham Council's housing policy

Supporters of south London Revolutionary Communist Group (RCG), People Before Profit (PBP), Focus E15, and supporters from various organisations including south-east London People's Assembly and Left Unity gathered outside Lewisham Council offices today together with Sandra, a Catford resident who has been homeless since last year.

Sandra, who has health issues (including diabetes, back problems, high blood pressure), has been living on the floor at the flat of her daughter (who has five children, two with severe disabilities). 

 

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Victory! No charges to be brought against Jasmin Stone of Focus E15 campaign

On 13 April, Jasmin Stone of Focus E15 campaign and supporter of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! was arrested on suspicion of squatting in a raid organised by Newham council and police. There followed a loud and militant demonstration at the police station where she was held and she was bailed to attend a police station in mid May. We have just heard that no charges will be brought against her.

 

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Sweets Way campaign takes to the streets (Photo and video report)

Yes – the day before the 2015 General Election Sweets Way Resists put out a reminder of what the real political struggle in this country is about – social housing – public services – people before profits. Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! joined former residents and other supporters of Sweets Way in a show of solidarity with a mother who had been evicted by Barnet Council and placed in temporary accommodation in west London. As Juliet explained to a Sweets Way Resists campaign meeting the night before, her life, and that of her four children, had been destroyed. She was unable to travel to her job; her eldest child was expected to make a one and a half hour journey to her school morning and afternoon, despite being in her GCSE year. The letters she had received from the council after a three months silence following her appeal were threatening bureaucratic bullying.

 

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Voting against cuts and privatisation in North London

North London RCG gave the people of Holloway the chance to vote early this Saturday during our regular weekend stall against the sell off of the Whittington Hospital and the privatisation of the NHS. As well as collecting petition signatures and handing out leaflets, we invited people to submit their vote to the ballot box. Unlike the charade that will pass for democracy on Thursday, our election wasn’t about voting for career politicians and corrupt political parties. Instead they ticked for free education, healthcare, social housing, no to austerity, imperialist war and racism and, particularly popular, send corrupt politicians jail and end corporate tax evasion.

 

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Court picket for Sweets Way wins first victory


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On Monday 23 March the Revolutionary Communist Group joined with residents, housing campaigners and activists in a picket of Barnet County Court. An injunction in the name of Annington Homes had been served on a string of organisations who have been occupying Sweets Way housing estate in Totteridge & Whetstone. Annington Homes is wholly owned by the private equity firm Terra Firma Capital Partners which is headed by the financier and speculator Guy Hands.

 

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Sweets Way Resists

Sweets Way resists

Activists from the Revolutionary Communist Group/Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! joined occupiers, residents and other supporters at Sweets Way housing estate on Tuesday night for ‘a fun night of people coming together to protect the Sweets Way estate’ after comedian turned social-housing activist Russell Brand used his clout on social media to announce the Sweets Way sleepover.

Sweets Way is a housing estate in Barnet, North London, which is owned by Annington Homes property developer. Barnet Council have given Annington planning permission to knock down 160 homes in order to build luxury apartments. Just 11% of the new premises will be deemed ‘affordable’ – slightly below ‘market values’ but well out of reach of working class families. First, however, Annington and the Council have had to remove the existing residents, a diverse community including many families with children who have lived there for years. The homes are in excellent condition, with multiple bedrooms and spacious kitchens. French doors lead onto private gardens, with a shed and the houses are surrounded by green space. It is criminal to knock down these homes.

 

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Protest in support of Kevan Thakrar – 16 February 2015

 © Peter Marshall 2015

On Monday 16 February supporters of north and south London RCG were among those protesting outside the Ministry of Justice in support of long term prisoner Kevan Thakrar, alongside campaigners from Brighton Anarchist Black Cross, Payday Men’s Network and JENGbA (Joint Enterprise Not Guilty by Association).

 

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Police attack Aylesbury estate occupation - call for solidarity

Around 100 riot police attacked the Aylesbury estate occupation on Tuesday night at 7pm. Crowds of protesters gathered, including comrades from the Revolutionary Communist Group and other local organisations, to oppose the violent police eviction which was responding to an IPO issued by the court earlier in the day.

Police are confronted by Aylesbury Occupation protesters

Police used angle grinders and battering rams to enter the occupation, surrounded by masked up police with riot helmets and video cameras. 6 people were snatched, trampled and arrested for supporting the protest. However the occupation continued to resist, moving to a nearby building next door, outwitting the police and local authorities. On the night protesters also confronted bailiffs and council workers who had been employed to weld shut the previous occupation, guarded by police.

 

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Labour MP Diane Abbott faces hostility and anger at housing meeting in Southwark


Photo: Peoples's Republic of Southwark

How can we solve the housing crisis? This was the question set by a public meeting called by Southwark Defend Council Housing (SDCH) on 10 February. Following the recent protest occupation of the Aylesbury Estate in Southwark - a huge council estate earmarked for demolition and 'regeneration' - there was a new mood in the meeting, with several speakers suggesting that a housing movement is starting to develop. The majority in the meeting were clear about how we can solve the housing crisis - we need to escalate the fight and we cannot trust our politicians. Headline speaker Diane Abbott MP refused to publicly support the occupation or condemn the actions of Southwark Labour council. Her useless speech only served to confirm the mood and comments from other speakers and the floor - that the Labour Party does not and will not represent working class people.

 

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Lend Lease Corporation Limited – another octopus

The South London Revolutionary Communist Group leaflet supporting the occupation of the Aylesbury Estate in Southwark (fight4theaylesbury.wordpress.com) says of Southwark’s Labour-led council that its attacks on the Aylesbury Estate are just like their attacks on the Heygate Estate; ‘The Heygate was sold for £50m to Lend Lease even though it cost Southwark £65m to evict the tenants! Several council members then went to work for Lend Lease! Lend Lease paid for a trip to Cannes for the head of Southwark council!’ On 5 December 2014 Southwark Council announced that Lend Lease had received planning permission for the next phase of its £1.5bn regeneration of the Elephant and Castle. Southwark Council approved plans for 593 new homes and 43,000 square feet of retail space at Elephant Park, to be named West Grove. This follows the launch of 360 homes, known as South Gardens, earlier in 2014; ‘Lend Lease will build nearly 2,500 new homes on the site between now and 2025’, said the Council. So why is Lend Lease so favoured by Southwark Council?

 

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Whittington Hospital - stop cuts and outsourcing! Local activists speak at Whittington Hospital board meeting 4/2/2015

We have been campaigning against cuts and outsourcing at the Whittington for more than two years now. During this time, hundreds of thousands has been spent by Whittington Health to pay consultants, for example Uniparts Consultants. Plans for a sell off of land, presumably drawn up with the help of these private consultants, ended up being scrapped last year after local protest. According to the Camden New Journal 10 board members have resigned since then.

So it should be no surprise that local people are angry and want answers about the future of the hospital. A number of points were raised in our letter to you ahead of this meeting, which you gave partial answers to, but important questions remain.

 

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Focus E15 campaign censored by Channel 4

 

On 19 December 2014 Jasmin Stone from the Focus E15 campaign appeared on Channel 4 News as part of a live housing debate with Ryan Bourne from the free-market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs.

Jasmin responded well to Ryan Bourne’s free market mantra, putting her points clearly and simply. What viewers would not have known is that beforehand Jasmin received strict orders from the Channel 4 news team about what she was allowed to talk about.

 

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March for Homes - Social Housing! Not Social Cleansing!

On Saturday 31 January, London supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! were on the March for Homes, setting off from South London and East London to meet at City Hall, seat of London mayor Boris Johnson. In the South we marched with Lewisham Homeless Persons Union and Lewisham People Before Profit, setting off from Elephant and Castle. As we stood by the Strata tower and the new ‘regeneration’ projects, and passed the space where the Heygate used to stand, we spoke on our open mic about the local Labour council responsible for the evictions and sell-off of social housing that is ongoing in the area.

 

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Press release: Residents fighting against the privatisation of the Whittington hospital

Whittington Hospital management board. 4 June 2014

Residents fighting against the privatisation of one of London’s largest hospitals of one of London’s largest hospitals are set for a showdown with its management.

Locals angered by the contracting out of services at the Whittington Hospital in Archway will rally outside the hospital ahead of the board’s monthly meeting on the 4th February.

The rally, which is being organised by the Revolutionary Communist Group (RCG), aims to raise awareness of the hospital’s plight.

The organisation, which has already asked to be included in the meeting agenda, will question senior figures of the board, including its Chair Steve Hitchins, about creeping privatisation at the hospital.

 

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No deportations! Defend Ife's right to stay!

‘The most important thing is my child. They know – they know it won't be the same care and yet they want to dump the child’ Chino, Ife's mother

Two-year old Ife and her family have been threatened with deportation from their home in Peckham, south London to Nigeria, and they are determined to fight back. Chino, Ife's mother, fears for her future; Ife, born with Down's syndrome and health complications, relies on essential healthcare and support here. FRFI supporters met Chino during a local street stall against benefit sanctions. Together we started a campaign to defend Ife's right to stay.In addition to facing the vicious immigration system, the family are enduring NHS charges and financial insecurity, effects of increasingly racist and hostile government policy.

 

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Justice for Eric Garner - protest in London

Eric Garner protest blocks the road in west London

Members of the RCG and the Focus E15 Campaign attended the Eric Garner demo called by London Black Revs on Wednesday evening.  

600 Londoners, mostly young and black, came out in solidarity with victims of the US and British police force.  Chanting 'we can't breathe', the last words of murdered black man Eric Garner, this protest took the form of a die-in, as protesters lay in the middle of the Westfield Shopping Centre. 

 

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Focus E15 campaign helps to win important victory for local mother

On Tuesday 25 November the Focus E15 campaign helped win an important victory for young mother Candice and her 18-month-old baby.

After hours of negotiations in Bridge House, part of Newham Council's housing service, Candice and her baby were offered a two-bedroom home (in the private rented sector) in Newham.

Candice and her baby had been relying on friends and family, sleeping on sofas and in living rooms. Last year they were offered a place in Liverpool as part of the Newham’s social cleansing policy to send council tenants out of London. But why should she be sent hundreds of miles away family, friends and support networks.

 

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London branches

North London
020 7837 1688
northlondonfrfi@gmail.com

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