- Created: Tuesday, 19 February 2019 13:44
- Written by Midlands Branches
On Sunday 3 February, Nottingham RCG and Nottingham Trent University Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! Society co-hosted an afternoon of films and discussion calling for ‘Imperialist Hands Off Venezuela!’ and in defence of Bolivarian democracy and the Bolivarian Revolution. The films screened were The Revolution Will Not Be Televised and the RCG-produced Viva Venezuela! Fighting for Socialism (https://tinyurl.com/y8pebxta)
No Sanctions! No Coup! Venezuela - We stand with you!
Solidarity with the Stansted 15! Fight Britain’s racist immigration controls!
On Saturday 24 Nov Nottingham Revolutionary Communist group and supporters picketed outside Marks and Spencer to show solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people, to highlight the Labour Party's betrayal of the Palestinian struggle and to say that Zionism is racism. M&S is a British company that has a long and continuing history of support for Zionism (see FRFI 160, 'Marks & Spencer: ally of Israel')
On Sunday November 18th November, Nottingham RCG put on successful a film showing of ¡Salud!, a documentary about Cuban medical internationalism. Around 20 people joined us to learn about how Cuba’s socialist economy is geared towards providing for the needs of its people, as well as benefitting people across world through its international missions and its world-class training of doctors from around the globe. After the inspirational film we discussed the necessity of socialism and how we fight for it in Britain, in the context of the ongoing grinding down of the NHS.
This film showing was part of our fund drive towards Rock Around The Blockade’s upcoming brigade to Cuba - read more here: www.revolutionarycommunist.org/cuba-brigade-2019/5376-60-years-of-revolution-the-rcg-cuba-brigade-2019
¡Viva Cuba Socialista!
The RCG is continuing to take action against the housing crisis with the Nottingham Housing Justice Forum (NHJF) – a local political campaign fighting for decent housing. On 12 November, the NHJF held a protest of the full bimonthly meeting of Nottingham City Council (NCC), calling for an end to all forms of temporary accommodation. The Labour-run council is continuing to place homeless families and individuals in inadequate, often dangerous, hotels and hostels in order to ‘temporarily’ house them. These families are forced to live in appalling conditions. One NHJF campaigner, placed in a service station, had to walk along a motorway to take her child to school. Another campaigner told us that, whilst living in a hostel, her child struggled to sleep due to the sound of domestic violence from next door.
In June 2017, Lorraine Foreman and her family were issued an eviction notice from her private landlord, who had decided to sell the house they were living in. She immediately sought help from Nottingham City Council (NCC), but was told that she and her three children, one of whom is disabled, would have to relocate to another city. She responded by organising with the RCG and other members of Nottingham Housing Justice Forum to fight for social housing within the city. After a year-long battle the family moved into a permanent council home, which they had previously been told simply did not exist. Ben White and Séamus Padraic recount how this victory was won, and the complicity of Nottingham’s Labour-run council in the housing crisis in the city.
On 16 April a public statement was posted from the Facebook page of Shut Down Morton Hall, titled ‘Shut Down Morton Hall Campaign Statement Issued From Nottm City Monitor.’ The statement has since been shared by the Shut Down Morton Hall page multiple times. We have contacted the administrators of the Shut Down Morton Hall Facebook page who responded that the statement was issued on behalf of only Nottingham City Monitor, without agreement from other members of Shut Down Morton Hall. The Nottingham branch of the Revolutionary Communist Group was a founding member of the Shut Down Morton Hall campaign and has helped to build and participate in every protest the campaign has organised. We therefore want to make clear that we were not involved in writing the statement and we completely reject it.
The most objectionable part of the statement is an attack on Movement for Justice (MFJ), who have taken part in previous Shut Down Morton Hall protests as well as organising many protests at Yarl’s Wood and other detention centres. The statement says: 'We are requesting that there are no MFJ banners, posters, hijacking/ forced taking of platforms or any other misbehaviour at all Shut Down Morton Hall events. Unfortunately we have had all of this previously and we see and acknowledge this as a pattern of their abuse.'
We have attended every demo at Morton Hall in recent years, and there has been no 'hijacking/forced taking of platforms' or other 'misbehaviour' by members of MfJ or anyone else, at any of these protests. The open mic at previous Morton Hall protests has been one of their most positive aspects, and has been used by a wide range of people inside and outside the detention centre. We will defend this open and democratic approach.
The statement also seeks to impose restrictions on what banners can be displayed (and absurdly, even the length of banner poles!). Those attending are instructed: 'Please think and take lead of the organisers before making big decisions for yourself, your group or a crowd.' This is patronising and arrogant nonsense. Behind all the statement’s talk of protecting people from abuse and asking people to “check their privilege” is an attempt by a small group to autocratically impose its control over everybody else attending the demonstration.
Nottingham City Monitor has no right to unilaterally issue these kinds of instructions or set conditions on people attending the demonstration. We are completely opposed to the kind of censorship and bans they are attempting to impose on MfJ. The only way to organise an effective movement against immigration detention is through democratic and open organisation. We will be attending the demonstration and bringing our banners, placards and literature as usual and encourage others to do so. We have no intention of being bound by the crass sectarianism of Nottingham City Monitor.
On 7th of April 2018 Nottingham RCG organised a rolling picket of banks and shops which support the states of Israel and Turkey, in solidarity with the Palestinian and Kurdish liberation forces under attack in Gaza and Afrin.
On 5 March, a demonstration was held by the Nottingham Housing Justice Forum (NHJF), a local housing campaign committed to fight with those affected by the housing crisis for ‘Decent Housing for All!’ Nottingham RCG has been part of founding the campaign and has been centrally involved ever since working to build it. The demonstration was called to protest the full meeting of the city council, where councilors voted on the budget for 2018-19. This budget was to include £20m of cuts to public services to be followed by £7m later in the year.
On 12 February the Communist Party of Great Britain - Marxist-Leninist (CPGB-ML) published a video on their Youtube channel, ‘Proletarian TV’. This video was of a Stop the War speaker on a demonstration in Birmingham against the Turkish attack on Afrin, who was calling for support for Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party. However, the CPGB-ML labelled this video as a speech from a member of the RCG. This video was tweeted by the national CPGB-ML twitter account on the same day with the text: ‘RCG calls for Labour government & British intervention in Syria’. After numerous people had pointed out that the video was clearly not of an RCG speaker, the title on Youtube was corrected, but without any public acknowledgment of the change. The tweet, however, was not removed.
On 10 January 2018 the Labour-run Birmingham City Council (BCC) held a public meeting, with limited spaces, to ‘discuss’ the new council budget. This meeting and its accompanying online survey are the efforts of a council committed to austerity to appear democratic while making people choose between mental health care, housing provisions and environmental protection. BCC does this instead of setting a no-cuts budget that would defend the services the working class requires. Our position is no cuts full stop. Joe Smith reports.
Nottingham RCG is working with the Nottingham Housing Justice Forum (NHJF) to campaign for decent housing for all. Recently the NHJF has been supporting one of its members, Lorraine who, along with her teenage children (one of whom has acute special needs), was facing eviction on New Years’ Day. The local Housing Office has known about her situation since June but it took until October for Nottingham City Council to acknowledge that it has a duty to rehouse Lorraine locally. Even then all that was offered was temporary hostel accommodation, entirely unsuitable for her disabled son. In response, the campaign has held regular protests outside the City Hall and delivered over 240 petition signatures to Jon Collins, Labour leader of the Council. Days before Christmas Lorraine was informed that she would be rehoused in a temporary house, a great victory for the campaign. The campaign is clear that the pressure we applied has had no small part to play in this. As Lorraine said: ‘You have to be the one to stand up. Otherwise they’ll walk all over you.’
On 27 May Nottingham Revolutionary Communist Group returned to Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre (IRC) in Lincolnshire as part of the Shut Down Morton Hall Campaign (SDMH). Marching with us were two former detainees. One man, Nariman Jalal Karim, was inside last time we visited (see FRFI 256). He spoke out and was victimised by being moved 200 miles away. Campaigners made sure to follow his case and have heard stories of the abuse he suffered in detention, including being restrained by having three guards sit on his chest, causing him to cough up blood, and guards deliberately turning fellow detainees against him by blaming him for an outbreak of bedbugs.
On Saturday 11 March, Nottingham RCG attended a demonstration organised by South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group (SYMAAG) outside Morton Hall detention centre, where the British state locks people up for 'administrative purposes'. Protesters were able to talk directly to detainees by shouting over the fence and using mobile phones. The main messages conveyed by the detainees was that they are not prisoners but are being treated as such; medical and social care is appalling, and they are particularly concerned about the older detainees. The detainees are not allowed access to camera phones, which makes it difficult to keep in touch with family. They were clear that the reason for this is that the prison officers don't want them to document the conditions inside the centre. One man climbed the interior fence to speak to us, and the man in the soundcloud link (below) spoke to us at length on the phone. We are receiving reports that these two men and one other have been removed from the block and their whereabouts are currently unclear. Get in touch if you want to help us build resistance to Britain's racist immigration laws!
Nottingham Revolutionary Communist Group and supporters held an Open Mic Against Racism! In Hyson Green as part of the National Day of Action against the Immigration Act (see fighttheracistact.wordpress.com). The 2016 act builds on the 2014 Immigration Act and the two together tighten Britain's already racist immigration controls in order to make a "hostile environment" for migrants by making it easier to deport people and severely restricting access to services. Additionally, they extend immigration controls into more sections of the community, requiring schools, hospitals and other institutions to carry out immigration checks before providing basic and necessary services.
On 28 June RCG supporters joined more than a thousand people at a demonstration called by Nottingham People's Assembly under the banner 'Nottingham Together'. Nottingham RCG took the opportunity to raise the issue of the 2016 Immigration Act, taking a petition round the crowd that was very well received. We also organised parachute games for children to make it easier for their parents and carers to participate.
The stated aim of the event was 'to show that the vote to leave [the EU] is not an excuse for bigotry, and that any negotiations should include the right of EU citizens to stay in the UK if they wish'. It was fantastic to see so many people taking to the streets against racism. In practice, however, the event was utterly dominated by the Labour Party and dissenters were censored.
The RCG is active every week in towns and cities across the Midlands, fighting for a movement against racism and imperialism and for socialism. Contact us to get involved.
On 6 May RCG comrades from Nottingham, Coventry and Birmingham travelled to join the hundreds protesting outside Morton Hall detention centre in Lincolnshire and Yarls Wood in Bedfordshire, and in solidarity with the detainees.
On Saturday 14 May the Nottingham branch of the RCG organised a public meeting commemorating 100 years since the Easter Rising against British rule n Ireland and the Sykes-Picot agreement that carved up the Middle East between the European imperialist powers. The meeting heard from Palestinian, Kurdish and Irish speakers on the history of the respective struggles against imperialism, through history and up to the present.
On 21 May members of Birmingham RCG and West Midlands Palestine Solidarity Campaign held a lively protest outside Sainsburys Union Street.
Boycott Israeli Goods! Free Palestine!
On Saturday 4 June RCG comrades were on the streets supporting events called by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in Nottingham and Birmingham - part of a day of action against Hewlett Packard supplying Israel with technology for its stratified biometric ID systems and naval blockade of Gaza.
Free Palestine! Victory to the Intifada!
Supporters of the RCG in Nottingham joined a demonstration against small racist groups attempting to march in the city centre.
Hundreds of passers-by stopped to show support to the anti-racist mobilisation, and our comrades were able to use a megaphone to explain what was going on to members of the public.
The racists were vastly outnumbered. However, they were protected by the police. The police twice kettle sections of the anti-racist demonstration, at points quite brutally, using dogs, kicking anti-racist protesters, dragging them to the ground and ripping off clothing. Three anti-fascists were arrested and one person now faces charges – a defence campaign is planned.
Meanwhile the racists were granted an escort to the train station in time for their train to another racist mobilisation in Sheffield.
May Day celebrations in Nottingham were marred by the decision of Notts Trades Council to invite Sir Alan Meale, Labour MP for Mansfield since 1987, as the headline speaker at a rally on 5 May. Local activists describe the Socialist Workers Party and the Socialist Party as the main political forces with the Trades Council, and the President as a member of the Alliance for Workers Liberty.
Photo: courtesy Alan Lodge
In September 2011, two Nottingham residents, a retired paediatric nurse and a wheelchair user, were arrested following a peaceful protest at the local offices of Atos Healthcare. The Atos Two were subsequently charged with aggravated trespass for having ‘obstructed’ a ‘lawful business’ and ‘intimidated’ staff – although Atos employees struggled to explain how they had been intimidated by the protesters without having to admit that they found disabled people intimidating per se.