Durham teaching assistants continue fight against wage cuts

On Saturday 25th March 2017, supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! North East joined the Durham teaching assistants’ march to defend their wages and contracts. The teaching assistants have been engaged in a heroic 18 month struggle against Durham Labour council who, in 2016, voted unanimously in favour of cutting wages by 23%. The campaign has forced the council (who were due to be sacking the workers and rehiring them on the new contracts on 1st January) to temporarily back down and go back to the negotiating table.

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No to charter flights – End all deportations!

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On the 21st of January, a speak-out was organised by the Migration and Asylum Justice Forum (MAJF) as part of the two weeks of action organised by Movement for Justice By Any Means Necessary. Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! (FRFI) supporters are affiliated with MAJF and this speak out was seen as a good opportunity to campaign together against the secret mass deportations on chartered flights to countries such as Nigeria and Jamaica.

The speak-out took place in Newcastle city centre, and was attended by around 50 people, with members of the public stopping by on the busy thoroughfare. FRFI supporters spoke about Britain’s racist immigration history and called for the end to all deportations, as well as highlighting the role imperialism plays in creating the racist divide that allows these deportations to take place. Other members of MAJF also spoke against the mass deportations undertaken by the airline Titan, an airline usually associated with flying celebrities and musicians around the globe.

As part of the event, there was a street theatre performance highlighting the story of Raul Ally, a Somali man who lived in Newcastle with his family after his father was assassinated for his political organising. In April 2013, at the age of 18, Raul’s refugee application was denied and he was abducted by immigration police before being deported to Tanzania and left in a refugee camp which he was not allowed to leave.

The event was well received and the stall we had attracted a lot of attention. The Speak out was a success thanks to organisation and cooperation between MAJF and FRFI.

Sectarianism of Newcastle Unites

Newcastle Unites

On 14 September Newcastle Unites - a coalition between the Labour Party and the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) - published a statement on their Facebook page banning the Socialist Party (SP) from attending a forthcoming demonstration against the racist English Defence League (EDL) on the grounds that an SP member is secretly affiliated to the British National Party. Newcastle Unites has published no evidence to support its claim, and until the SP says otherwise, we assume that it has either taken action against the member, or cleared him of the allegation. In these circumstances, we condemn the ban of the SP as both sectarian and anti-democratic.

In the final paragraph of the statement, Newcastle Unites says that they ‘have only had reason to exclude one other organisation, the Revolutionary Communist Group (FRFI) because they wilfully published details of an anti-fascist meeting which led to the Trades Council building staff being threatened by the EDL.’ FRFI was banned from attending a Newcastle Unites march against the EDL on 25 May 2013 because Newcastle Unites knew we would challenge the Labour Party’s history of vicious racism. To enforce its ban on the day, Newcastle Unites, led by the pro-cuts Labour councillor Dipu Ahad and with the support of SWP members, colluded openly with the police to ensure the arrest of 14 anti-fascists, including 7 FRFI supporters, who were accused of conspiracy to commit violent disorder. After a determined defence campaign no charges were brought.

Newcastle Unites is a sectarian organisation whose purpose is to defend the Labour Party against charges of racism. For this reason, it attempted to undermine the march organised by the Migration and Asylum Justice Forum against the 2016 Immigration Act on 25 June this year. Instead of attending the march to show solidarity with migrants and refugees, Newcastle Unites organised its own demonstration against an EDL counter-mobilisation. It refused to publicise the March Against the Immigration Act, attempted to stop the march from reaching its scheduled end-point where SWP members tried to drown-out Migration and Asylum Justice Forum speakers with childish anti-EDL chants of ‘Nazi scum’.

FRFI will be attending the Newcastle Unites’ march against the EDL on Saturday 24 September where we will speak out against the government’s attack on migrants’ and asylum seekers’ access to welfare, housing, healthcare and other services and its powers to detain and deport them, and its drive to criminalise and terrorise Muslims. There can be no successful fight against fascist organisations on the street except as part of a fight against state racism: the EDL would not exist if it were not for the racism of the British state. There is an urgent need to build an anti-racist movement in Britain today. We urge anyone committed to building it to join us on the Newcastle Unites’ demonstration.

 

North East Events coming up..

We have street actions and political educational meetings in Newcastle every week – for details call 07858346276 or email frfinortheast@gmail.com

For more information on events in the North East you can also join the FRFI North East e-mail list and the mailing lists of campaigns we are involved in on the following pages:

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! North East:
https://lists.riseup.net/www/subscribe/frfinortheast

Tyneside Community Action Against Racism:
https://lists.riseup.net/www/subscribe/tcar

Palestine Action Group:
https://lists.riseup.net/www/subscribe/palestineactiongroup

Viva Cuba! Rock Around The Blockade:
https://lists.riseup.net/www/subscribe/ratbnortheast

or add us on Facebook.com/FRFInortheast

Contact North East FRFI

078 5834 6276
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