Veterans for Peace march to the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day, wearing hoodies bearing the Harry Patch quote, “War is organised murder”, and carrying a banner saying “Never Again”.
They lay a wreath of mainly white poppies with a few red ones – to remind us that the vast majority of people killed in wars are civilians, and that they – as well as soldiers from all sides of all wars – should be remembered too.
Number 1 Commercial Street in Whitechapel is typical of modern housing developments in London. Buying or renting a flat is only possible for bankers and lottery winners who enjoy a reception area equipped with a 24-hour concierge. Meanwhile social housing tenants are made to use a more humble side entrance in a dimly lit adjoining alley. This practice has been banned in New York though Tory mayor Boris Johnson has no problem with it continuing.
The ‘poor doors’ have become a symbol of the social cleansing of our cities where affordable housing is disappearing and working class people are being priced out. A campaign against the Whitechapel ‘poor door’ has seen weekly protests gather momentum over the past 3 months.
Initiated by Class War and taking place every Wednesday the demos have attracted the attention of both the police and also certain residents who have tipped water and other liquids out of the windows on the protestors. Also hitting the police who seem unwilling to take any action against them.
Saturday October 18th saw one of the biggest protests to date with nearly 100 people showing up many of them coming straight from the annual Anarchist Bookfair. The main road was blocked for a while after an attempt at getting into the building was thwarted.
Then came Wednesday November 5th with another large turnout of people bringing a smoking effigy of Boris Johnson. The smoke canisters appeared to set light to the effigy which burned in front of the entrance to the amusement of all present. Shortly after a particularly obnoxious male who claimed to be a resident of the block had to be escorted away by the police who took no action when he physically assaulted a woman holding a banner.
Then as the protest appeared to be winding down; the same woman was detained by the police, whom claimed she had been causing an obstruction. This allegation seemed completely spurious and designed to provoke the protestors who had been peaceful. Another man was then arrested for reasons that were unclear. Both arrests were viewed by all present as being an attempt at intimidating the demonstrators now in their 16th week outside 1 Commercial Street and showing no signs of letting up.
The organisers are calling for the next demonstration to be the biggest to date in solidarity with those who were arrested and assaulted last week.
An historic moment: construction companies find themselves in the dock at the Royal Courts of Justice, charged with unlawful conspiracy to blacklist workers. 4,213 workers are known to be on an illegal blacklist which has cost them their careers, often their families and tragically in some cases, their lives. The next trial date is December 17.
On October 9, members of Haringey Solidarity Group and Boycott Workfare paid workfare provider Urban Futures in Wood Green a visit. Fifteen people occupied the office with banners and a soundsystem – challenging Urban Futures on their treatment of claimants and speaking to people on enforced jobsearch about their experiences and sharing info on their rights.
A number of claimants have complained about bullying and misreatment from Urban Futures management.If you want to speak to someone about how you’ve been treated, or join the campaign in Haringey, email firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 07804 599 327.
Blacklisted workers have made a complaint to Kent police after being assaulted during a peaceful protest at the Dartford headquarters of Laing O’Rourke. The incident happened at 1pm today (Wed 15th October) when 20 activists from the Blacklist Support Group attempted to distribute leaflets about the role of the construction giant in the Consulting Association blacklisting conspiracy.
Thousands of people march in London to support the Kurdish resistance in Kobane against ISIS. A lot of anger was directed towards Turkey, who are supporting ISIS militarily and logistically, but no-one wants an occupation by Western powers either. The Kurds can take care of ISIS on their own, if they are given the arms and humanitarian aid to do it – and the PKK need to be delisted as a terrorist organisation too.
Please publicise the following demands:
1) Turkey must open a “corridor” for Kurdish forces to equip themselves against ISIS.
2) Provide military and humanitarian aid to the Kurdish forces and civilians fighting ISIS.
3) Do not permit a “buffer zone” and “no fly zone” in Rojava.
4) Delist PKK, the organisation of the Kurdish foghters resisting against ISIS.
5) Coalition forces mst stop supporting ISIS and allowing it to grow.
6) Impose economic sanctions on states directly supporting ISIS, especially Turkey.
Across the world anger is growing over the constant bombardment of the Gaza strip by the Israeli Defense Forces. The Palestinian death toll has now reached over 400 as the densely populated Hamas controlled area is pounded by shells, missiles and guided bombs. Meanwhile the Israeli death toll after over 1,000 launches of Hamas’ near useless rockets remains at two. One of those being and Israeli soldier killed by his own side which exposes the lie about how “careful” they are being to avoid the deaths of innocent people.
Another source of great anger has been the outrageously biased coverage by most of the mainstream media. Media outlets like the BBC and CCN to name just a few insist on describing these events as a ‘war’ or a ‘conflict’ giving the impression of two equal sides. Gaza has no air force, no air defense and very little capacity to strike Israel as the body counts shows all too well. On Wednesday July 15th protesters took their disgust at the nature of the coverage directly to the BBC in central London.
Despite it being Ramadam thousands of mainly Muslim demonstrators blocked the main road outside of the BBC for several hours. The event remained peaceful with just one minor scuffle when police over stepped the mark trying to prevent people from boarding a stranded bus. They backed off and the vehicle reversed out away from the crowd. Two Zionists also showed up and demonstrated their jaw dropping arrogance by trying to argue down and increasingly hostile crowd. Well done to the demonstrators for refusing to be provoked.
On Friday July 18th activists tried a more direct approach to getting the attention of the UK government by occupying the Cabinet Office in Whitehall with the demand that the UK and others stop supplying arms and money to a rogue state that flouts international law on a daily basis.
It is no secret that Israel would neither be financially nor militarily viable were it not being armed and funded by the west to the tune of several million dollars a day. It is clear that only thing that will make Israel behave itself is intervention from its foreign sponsors. Not that activists have high expectations from a government that favors Israel at every level. The blatant hypocrisy of the UK government who are turning a blind eye towards British Jews who are fighting with the IDF while arresting British Muslims who take action against the Assad regime in Syria is a recent case in point.
Finally on Saturday July 19th London saw its biggest anti war protest for many year with tens of thousands of people marching from Whitehall to the Israeli embassy.
The organisers claimed that over 100,000 people were in attendance while the BBC and Daily Mail both claimed that around 15,000 had participated. Whatever the actual figure it was clear that yet again a mostly Muslim m0bilisation had brought central London to standstill in blistering heat. During a time of year when most were fasting from sunrise for Ramadam.
It is clear that with a useless neocon like Tony Blair as Middle East peace envoy (what a sick joke!) and no sign of Israel growing a conscience any time soon, that the slaughter will continue. So are the protests expected to increase in their size and anger.
On Friday West London saw the biggest protest outside the Embassy of Israel for many years. It was clear that the police had not wanted a repeat of the demonstration a week before when a group had left the designated area and blocked the road for nearly an hour. A larger pen was in evidence, along with a much larger police presence. When people arrived and it was clear that the plan was to contain the protest and keep the road open. However when upwards of ten thousand people arrived within the space of 45 minutes there was little the authorities could other than admit defeat and allow the rally to take place in the middle of the A315.
While the majority of those in attendance were Muslim an increasing number of London based Jews are turning up to show their disgust at what is being done in their name to the people of Gaza. Many activists with duel Israeli/British nationality were there along with the Hasidic Jews already well known for their militant and consistent opposition to crimes against the Palestinian people.
One bus that was stranded in the crowd became a mobile platform for protesters. A broad range of people climbed onto its roof to chant and wave banners. Despite causing immense disruption to what is a major road the police did not intervene and the protest remained peaceful and good natured until its end at around 7.30pm when several hundred people marched from Kensington to Hammersmith.
Meanwhile in Gaza things have become increasingly desperate with the death toll now approaching 200. Not a single Israeli has been killed or wounded by the less than effective rocket attacks launched in retaliation by Hamas. The estimated 800 rockets fired my militants cause little more than severe disruption to the people over the border.
The anti war movement over here have responded by calling a national protest in London next Saturday (July 19th). Before then this Tuesday a protest has been called at the BBC (July 15th) against the blatant support seen in the mainstream media in favour of Israel. The BBC in particular has long been accused of pro Israel bias. One such example is a recent online report that claims to focus on the weapons being used in the conflict. The rockets of Hamas were scrutinised in detail while the missiles, F16s, War Ships and white phosphorous of IDF barely get a mention. A few years ago the BBC caused outrage when they were the only national broadcaster which refused to broadcast the Disaster Emergency Committee appeal for Gaza after Operation Cast Lead which left over 1,400 Gazans dead. The late Tony Benn gave a very memorable interview on the BBC about the issue.
PROTEST Saturday July 19th. Assemble 12 noon at Downing street. March to the Israeli Embassy.
The Grosvenor as we know and love it will finally close its doors on Aug 2, ruined by property developers – so this is the last ever Reel News film night here….
We’re coming across a lot of people locally who feel that there’s nothing that you can do about gentrification, so we thought the best thing we could do would be to show campaigns from around the world where people are doing something about it – and winning.
Come to the screening and see what they’ve been doing in the USA (including the defeat of property developers in East Harlem), Vancouver in Canada, how they’ve fought evictions in Madrid and Barcelona – and what happened in the astonishing uprising in Burgos in Spain this year, where the building of a new luxury shopping mall was stopped completely.
We will also have activists talking about how they are organising locally, including BILL PERRY from Lambeth Housing Activists.
DISABLED PEOPLE AGAINST CUTS
We’re very pleased to have PAULA PETERS from DPAC speaking, as we show films of recent actions they’ve been involved in – the occupation of Westminster Abbey, and the vigil over the work capability assessment judicial review.
And then we’ll have music and drinks until very late…as always, FREE!
The next South London film night will be October while we spend the next couple of months trying to find another venue with the same sort of ambience…not easy. Any ideas, let us know…