- Created: Thursday, 11 January 2018 12:20
- Written by FRFI
Upcoming events in January:
Sunday 14th January, 6.30pm
- at Notting Hill Methodist Church W11 4AH
- at Notting Hill Methodist Church W11 4AH
Thursday 14 December marked six months since the tragic fire in Grenfell Tower. During the day there was a memorial service at St Paul's Cathedral, which was followed in the evening by the monthly Silent Walk.
Members of the RCG attended the Silent Walk. Up to 2,000 people attended – survivors, families of the bereaved, community members and supporters, some holding green candles, others photos of the victims, giant green hearts and placards with various slogans. Outside Ladbroke Grove station fire fighters from Red Watch, North Kensington fire station lined the streets and were thanked by the crowd.
Since the Grenfell Tower fire six months ago the Revolutionary Communist Group has maintained a regular presence on the streets of north Kensington in solidarity with the demands of survivors and local residents. Without real pressure built on the streets, Kensington and Chelsea Council will continue to get away with murder. We have held an open mic on our weekend stalls outside Ladbroke Grove and Shepherd’s Bush stations, and protests outside the monthly meetings of the criminal Kensington and Chelsea Council. We have held demonstrations outside not only KCTMO – the management company that oversaw the lethal and cut-price refurbishment of the block – but the homes of individual councillors who have consistently failed the survivors of the disaster. Through these actions we have stood in solidarity with those who have lost everything and who continue to demand decent, local rehousing, criminal charges against those responsible and accountability for the systematic destruction and neglect of council housing in the borough.
Local residents confront Cllr David Lindsay - Photo: Peter Marshall, MyLondonDiary
On Monday 27 November RCG comrades organised with local residents of North Kensington and allies from Focus E15 and the campaign against the Notting Hill Housing/Genesis merger to conduct a mobile protest of the homes of several councillors of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC). Around 50 people participated, bringing with them banners, placards, pots, pans, fairy lights and an open microphone to mount a loud street action demanding criminal charges for those responsible for the Grenfell Tower fire and the immediate rehousing of survivors, the majority of who remain in inadequate temporary and emergency accommodation almost six months on. The protest was organised at a meeting with local residents the week before.
On 22 November, the Revolutionary Communist group held its third public meeting since the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower in June this year. The meeting was held at the Maxilla Social Club in north Kensington. This venue has opened its doors to every kind of gathering for the last six months and we like to thank Joe Walsh for his kindness and support.
Of course, this is not the only meeting place. Notting Hill Methodist Church is a centre of support for the neighbourhood. So also, is a large area under the railway bridge and Westway overpass, opposite the burnt-out Grenfell Tower. This has been cleaned and furnished as a permanent social space. It was established by local people as an area of remembrance and for candle-lit vigils. It has a huge Wall of Truth with statements from the community, a Garden of Remembrance, refreshments, seating, warm clothes, pianos and a library as well as an altar and several large and beautifully painted murals.
On Wednesday 25 October, comrades from the Revolutionary Communist Group (RCG) joined members of Class War and opponents of the proposed merger of Notting Hill Housing and Genesis to protest outside the meeting of Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) council at the Town Hall in Kensington. Despite the gravity of the situation, the meeting had a low attendance, as did the demonstrations outside. The continued neglect and contempt for the needs of survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire by the council demands strong opposition, which makes the lack of political organisation by left-wing groups and activists particularly striking.
On Saturday 14 October an educational event organised by the Revolutionary Communist Group and Rock Around the Blockade (RAtB) took place at Student Central, near Russell Square.
The event was held to commemorate the immense revolutionary achievements of the past 100 years and to help support ongoing efforts around the world, with five speakers and rounds of discussion and debate.
The Revolutionary Communist Group has been active in the streets of North Kensington ever since the Grenfell Tower fire occurred in June. We have been talking to local residents, relatives and survivors of the disaster, protesting against the Borough Council's shameful inaction and urging people to join their voices with ours in demanding real solutions for the survivors and justice for the dead. On 17 October we protested at the Annual General Meeting of the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) to call out this organisation for its role in the great act of social murder that occurred in the property they managed.
✪ Days that Shook the World: 100 years since the October revolution and the fight for socialism today ✪
Student Central (Formerly ULU)
WC1E 7HY, London
A day of discussion and debate on October 1917 in the former Russian empire and its impact on working class struggle around the world, as Cuba and Venezuela stand on the front line of revolutionary change in a world of capitalist crisis and war.
On 18 May, the East London branch of the RCG joined the Focus E15 campaign at the Annual Council Meeting in east London to expose the corruption of Mayor Robin Wales and the Labour Council in Newham.
As he congratulated two councillors for their 25 years of service, Robin Wales spoke of the beautiful entity that is Newham after 25 years of his reign as head of the council and then mayor, lifting it up from being an 'incompetent backwater' to a shining example for other councils. The reality is that there are more registered homeless people in Newham than anywhere else in the country, that 25% of people are living in overcrowded conditions and that Newham is one of the top boroughs in terms of forcing people to move out of the borough and out of London. The council is proud of increased satisfaction rates in council surveys, Robin Wales told the 300 people in attendence, claiming that it really is putting 'power into the hands of residents'.
No mention of course was made of the Lobo loan scandal, £563m of debt from risky long-term loans, with debt repayment taking precedence over frontline services. No mention of the 46 Labour councillors in Newham who own or control almost 100 properties in the borough – including one who has 19 properties that bring in monthly rent of over £20,000.
On Saturday 20 May, a protest called by the RCG and Rock Around the Blockade (RATB) was held outside The Guardian’s offices in London to oppose The Guardian's media war against Venezuela and the Bolivarian revolutions.
While positing itself as a 'voice for the left', The Guardian has actively fought against socialism for decades, perhaps nowhere more unashamedly than in Venezuela, consistently supporting US-backed attempts at destabilising the region, including the 2002 coup that attempted to depose President Chavez, forcing power out of the hands of the people and back to the ruling class. In the current wave of violent protests against the government by the reactionary, imperialist-backed opposition, the newspaper has consistently taken the side of the right-wing anti-government protests, and reported their lies and distortions. It recently called for the country’s democratically-elected socialist president Nicolas Maduro to be given ‘pariah status’. The Guardian has not interviewed any member of the Venezuelan government or its supporters, while deliberately failing to address or condemn any of the violent actions of its right-wing opponents, including attacks on hospitals, schools, and bakeries that serve the people, and which have led to a rising number of deaths - a majority of the victims being government supporters. The Guardian's role in the conflict is to provide an ideological framework for another right-wing takeover.
On the 1 April 2017, Victory to the Intifada and the Revolutionary Communist Group organised a rolling protest against businesses that trade with Israel.
The demonstration was held to mark Palestinian Land Day and the goal was to highlight the support of Israel given by British corporations and banks such as Marks & Spencer's and HSBC. Protesters pushed for a boycott of both these companies and Israeli goods in general, as part of the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign
Despite a fascist march taking place in London on the same day the atmosphere on the picket was very lively with many different people speaking on our open microphone to point out different companies that had collaborated with the Israeli state.
On 18 March, the London branches of the Revolutionary Communist Group marched with thousands on the Stand Up To Racism demo marking UN Anti-Racism Day. Our contingent carried a banner reading 'Fight Britain's Racist Immigration Laws' and calling for an end to deportations by the racist British state.
On Saturday 4 March 2017, London branches of the Revolutionary Communist Group (RCG) attended the People's Assembly March for the NHS, to protest against cuts and privatisation. The event was attended by thousands of people including many doctors, nurses and other NHS staff, who are directly affected by these brutal cuts everyday. We marched in the anti-racist block alongside the group Docs not Cops which fights against racist passport checks of migrants in the NHS.
The RCG contingent focused on showing the link between healthcare services in Britain and Cuba, talking about how socialism allows a relatively poor nation like Cuba to have a health service that out-performs Britain and the US. The British ruling class is partially right when it says that Britain can no longer afford the NHS, as only through socialism can a truly sustainable and open health service for the working class be created.
On 4 February, a strong RCG contingent joined the London protest to stop Donald Trump’s Muslim ban and oppose Trump’s upcoming state visit to Britain. The march was called by the Stop the War Coalition, Stand up to Racism and other organisations. The protest marched from the US embassy at Grosvenor square to Downing street, and attracted around 10,000 people.
RCG supporters went to spread the message of anti-imperialism, anti-racism and how the issues that surround Trump and his rhetoric are very real and material issues that face many people in the UK as well as in the US. Slogans on RCG placards included: ‘Trump is the symptom, capitalism is the disease, socialism is the cure’, and ‘Fight Britain’s racist immigration controls’. RCG speakers and chants made clear that, whilst Trump is more explicit in his racism and sexism than other US governments, Obama led a violently anti-working class government, which deported huge numbers of migrants, tightened racist immigration controls, and dropped more than 26,000 bombs in 2016 alone. The British government, whether led by Conservative or Labour politicians, has also stepped up racist immigration laws. Imperialist countries rely on racist immigration controls, and these will increase as the crisis intensifies. Only a movement which fights for socialism can fight racist immigration controls.
Members and supporters of the Revolutionary Communist Group joined Reclaim Holloway, Sisters Uncut, the Irish Republican Prisoners’ Support Group and others outside Holloway prison in north London on New Year’s Eve. A well-crafted visual display representing women and children carried messages and documented realities about women in prison. As each item was pegged on to the line protesters spoke about the realities of gender, race and class oppression behind women’s incarceration.
One comrade spoke about her long-term relationship with the prison:
On Saturday 3 December, the Revolutionary Communist Group supported a demonstration outside Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre in Bedfordshire, the tenth in a series called by Movement for Justice by Any Means Necessary. The demo was called in the wake of the Brexit vote to stand in solidarity with the 400+ women detained indefinitely at Yarl's Wood and to demand the closure of Yarl's Wood and all other detention centres. There were approximately 2,000 people in attendance who had come from all over the country.
On Wednesday 30 November, the RCG were among the two dozen social housing activists who responded to the call by Class War to protest outside Zaha Hadid Architects practice in Clerkenwell against their anti-working class, neoliberal principal, Patrik Schumacher. In a recent presentation at the World Architecture Festival in Berlin Schumacher claimed that council house tenants in central London are ‘free-riding’ and should be shooed along to make way for his staff members or those that supposedly generate wealth. This is just one of the many poisonous ideas that seem to spew out of Schumacher’s mouth; he recently lavished praise on those who have second homes in London: ‘Even if they’re here only for a few weeks and throw some key parties, these are amazing multiplying events.’ It seems astonishing that one of the leading voices in contemporary architecture can be saying that someone staying for only a few weeks is more entitled to a second home than one of the thousands of Londoners that don’t even have a roof over their heads in the first place.
On Saturday 8 October supporters of London RCG were among the 400 people who turned out in Brixton, southwest London, to support the first ‘Stand Up to Lambeth’ march. Despite attempts by some to deflect the blame from the local Labour council, the real anger against them for their attacks on public services and the social cleansing of working class people out of London’s most unequal borough could not be silenced. The council is demolishing housing estates and playgrounds, making people homeless, and destroying the lives of thousands across the borough. The march demanded the resignation of Lambeth Council leader Lib Peck and her cabinet colleagues, who were represented on the day by a four-headed effigy created by an RCG artist, which was ceremoniously covered with pink glitter outside the old Town Hall.
On Sunday 10 July, comrades from the Revolutionary Communist Group from all over London joined Focus E15 campaign on an exciting action to expose Newham's Labour council's housing situation.
Congratulations to the Balcony 4 who successfully dropped banners from the disused, sold off and boarded-up police station in East Ham, London E6, opposite the town hall.
This action took place on the second day of the Mayor’s Newham Show 2016, to let people know what is really happening in the Labour borough of Newham with Mayor Robin Wales at the helm. As the Mayor's Newham Show took place, this action unfolded.
On Saturday 9 July, RCG comrades and supporters were amongst the thousands of protesters who joined a rally in Brixton’s Windrush Square in south London as part of a series of Black Lives Matter protests called over the weekend. There were other organisations there, such as London Black Revs, which originally called the protest, and Movement for Justice, but the majority of people were local individuals, spurred to come out onto the streets in opposition to the appalling police murders in the United States of Philando Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Louisiana.
Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! joined London Supporters of Tony Taylor in a picket of Theresa Villiers MP surgery on Saturday 2 July. As Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Villiers is responsible for the revoking of Tony Taylor’s license from an earlier conviction.
Taylor, a Republican activist from Derry was seized while out shopping with his family and sent to Maghaberry Prison without questioning, charge or trial, having been denied legal representation. Following his release from Maghaberry in 2014, Tony Taylor was active in community and prison welfare issues and involved in rebuilding the Republican Network for Unity party in the Derry area.
Over the weekend of 18/19 June, the RCG and its supporters in London were active on numerous events in defence of social housing. In many ways what we experienced reflected the rift that is opening up in the housing movement between those stuck in a path of parliamentary pressure and safeguarding a relationship with the Labour Party, on the one hand, and new forces involved in struggle, many on working class housing estates across London whose immediate enemy is… that same Labour Party.
The march called by the Axe the Housing Act movement was a straightforward and sterile affair, consisting of a few hundred activists who gathered at Hyde Park corner in Central London. Some people within the movement had called for the march to go to Savills estate agents, whose headquarters is is located near the start of the march. Savills is currently involved in the sell-off and valuation of thousands of council homes, and the estate agent of choice for Labour councils such as Lambeth and Southwark. Savills works with Labour mayor Sadiq Khan, Housing Minister Brandon Lewis and others involved in drawing up housing policy for London. But in the event the route of the march took it through empty streets to an equally empty Parliament Square. The RCG marched with a noisy, militant contingent from the Focus E15 campaign, which heckled the speaker from Southwark Labour council over its sell-off of nearly 8,000 council homes. Comrades from Focus E15 and the RCG spoke on the platform, exposing the role of Newham Labour council – and called on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to take a principled stance opposing austerity rather than writing to Labour councils instructing them not to set no-cuts budgets.
On 16 June, representatives from London’s Labour boroughs of Southwark and Newham were met by angry protesters as they rolled up at the Municipal Journal Awards Ceremony, a self-congratulatory spectacle hosted at the Hilton.
In the context of mass austerity, budget cuts and social cleansing the money was found to wine and dine hundreds of council lackeys as they patted each other on the back for their so- called ‘public service’. Of particular note in this celebration of self-delusion were Southwark and Newham Labour councils, who were up for ‘best local council’ and ‘best trading standards and environmental health’. What an insult to the thousands of families living in squalid conditions in Newham and those who have been evicted and their homes destroyed in Southwark.
On Saturday 21 May the Revolutionary Communist Group joined a protest, entitled ‘Dosta, Grinta, Enough!’ It was called to challenge the new housing and planning laws that both redefine Gypsy, Roma and Traveller identity and seek to deny the community a culturally appropriate home.
A demonstration took place in Parliament Square, where protesters took over the roads, marching loudly with horses and wagons, banners and placards claiming the streets of Whitehall! ‘Travellers have human rights!’ was the message shouted at Westminster! Representatives from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities across Britain and Ireland then held a rally opposite the Houses of Parliament.
On Saturday 7 May London and Birmingham RCG branches travelled to protests at Yarl’s Wood detention centre near Bedford, and Harmondsworth detention centre near Heathrow, London, as part of a national day of action against detention and deportation of asylum seekers.
The day of action saw protests taking place at detention centres across the country, including the Verne detention centre in Dorset, which Bristol RCG comrades attended, and Dungavel in Scotland, supported by Scotland RCG. This follows a large mobilisation on 12 March of 2,000 people at Yarl’s Wood.
On Saturday 16 April 2016, the Revolutionary Communist Group joined the the Peoples Assembly demonstration demanding both Prime Minister David Cameron’s resignation and an end to austerity in this country.
Thousands gathered in Gower Street, to protest against the government’s increasing attacks on the working class, before marching to Trafalgar Square. The RCG contingent was strong, and very motivated despite the grey weather.
Side by side with anarchist and antifascist comrades, the RCG led chants, blasted music and provided an open mic for discussion, debate, and speech. Inspiring and thought-provoking contributions were made by RCG members, supporters, and the general public alike.
Interwoven with political rallying was rap and spoken word, raising the spirits of those marching. Housing petitions were passed around, and badges and copies of FRFI were sold throughout the day.
Comrades were openly criticising the Labour party, whose local councillors have been implementing savage cuts across the country. For example, we asked will the Labour Party refuse to evict those affected by the housing bill if it goes through parliament? So far they’ve refused to comment on the issue, so why were so many on this march calling for a Labour vote? Our invitations to the Labour supporters to engage in debate on the open mic over the nature of their party were met with uncomfortable looks, and silence.
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.
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.