Academies: Teachers and parents march on the Department for Education

Rank and file organised demonstrations erupt in cities across the country against the Government’s plans to academise all schools, as furious teachers and parents demand an end to privatisation. In London, shadow education secretary Lucy Powell speaks to a packed rally, as does a striking junior doctor, who is greeted with chants of “Teachers and doctors, unite and strike”…

Refugee crisis. A dispatch from Deutschland.

On a recent trip to Hamburg in northern Germany REEL NEWS witnessed first hand the brilliant response from ordinary German people and activists to the unfolding European refugee crisis.

In the main rail station activists have set up a permanent reception area for refugees arriving by train. They are given food, tea and advice on how to claim asylum or travel onto further destinations if they wish. Meanwhile the city’s main conference centre is presently hosting 1,200 refugees with the adjoining exhibition space being used to sort tons and tons of clothes, tents and toys donated by local people and businesses.

It is a considerable task. At weekends a car or van arrives with donations every 30 seconds. Each day 6-700 volunteers come through the building to help process the numerous items. Sanitary packs are made up for women and children. Clothing and toys are safety checked then bagged up for either immediate distribution or to be sent elsewhere in Northern Germany. Such is the scale of generosity in this one city that they are now exporting aid to other areas.

As volunteers leave the building after their shifts, they stick their nametags to the corridor around the exit. In just a few days the area has become literally wallpapered with the names of those taking part in the relief effort. A visual testament to the scale of this one aid operation.

Meanwhile activists are also responding in solidarity with deteriorating situation for Kurdish people both in Turkey where a bombing campaign by the government has recently begun. Also in Europe, where small Kurdish communities are being threatened. By both repressive anti terror laws (the PKK is falsely branded a terror group), and also from local Turkish nationalists.

On Friday September 11th local antifascists staged an impressive show of force against in solidarity with both German Kurds, recently arrived Kurdish refugees and those fighting for autonomy. Particularly in the Rojava rejoin of Northern Syria where Kurdish forces are reclaiming territory taken by the murderous islamist ISIL group.

The protest marched through the city led by Kurdish groups and finished with speeches and music outside the local detention centre. Flares and fireworks were let off on the roof of an occupied social centre on the route of the march. Anti fascists are clearly making the link between the current situation in Turkey and the activities of far right Turkish nationalist groups like the Grey Wolves who had a protest planned for Hamburg the following Sunday.

Then on Saturday September 12th Hamburg became a police state as a modest 2,800 riot cops were drafted in from all over the country along with 10 water cannons and a helicopter. The reason? A threatened march by German neo Nazis. The police had argued that the march should be banned as they did not have the resources to control the backlash from local people. A feeble excuse, given the size of the police operation.

For those residents wishing to oppose the Nazis without actually having to look at them a non-confrontational protest was organised in a square addressed by the mayor and other politicians.

Meanwhile local antifascists, trade unions and leftist groups organised a march starting from the main station where Nazis defying the ban were expected to arrive. The police estimated the total attendance of both protests to be at over 20k.

As the march from the station began Antifa called their activists into the station as a train carrying a small group of boneheads was spotted arriving. Concerned that the Nazis trapped in the carriage might be overheating; the anti fascists took immediate steps to improve the ventilation of the carriage with those conveniently sized rocks that lie around railway lines in abundance. Riot cops were briefly prevented from getting to the platform in question as more anti fascists linked arms to obstruct their passage. The Nazis remained trapped on their train, any plans of marching in Hamburg destroyed by militant action.

Then around 45 minutes later a second group of fascists arrived. This time they managed to leave the station as the march had left. But within about 2 minutes they were running for their lives back inside as reports from spotters reached the demo.

Protected by a ring of many riot cops the Nazis (most of whom looked like a cross between hipsters & metal fans) started doing that usual thing that the far right specialise in. I.E. acting all tough and doing their utmost to provoke the increasing numbers of anti fascists, while enjoying the protection of the state. Before long, it was raining cobblestones on the police lines whom brought in water cannons for protection.

The fascist were then informed by their protectors that they would be searched ID’d and then removed from the city for their own protection. By now hundreds of Antifa and other activists were had them surrounded and more cops were brought in to keep them at bay.

Antifascists jeered at the Nazis as they were searched and corralled. Not exactly shining examples of Aryan perfection that they claim to be the ‘masterace’ whined that they were being victimised while dodging flying bottles and masonry. All in all it was a very bad day for National Socialism as those of them who accepted the ban on their event in Hamburg were also attacked and prevented from marching in Bremen.

Here at REEL NEWS we are very far from naïve about the real reasons for the supposed generosity of Angela Merkal towards refugees. Not least the economic incentives for recruiting grateful workers from desperate situations. However a weekend in Hamburg has done much to boost our faith in the ability of ordinary people and activists to organise in solidarity with refugees and against the moronic racists who are trying to exploit this crisis for their own purposes. Nice one Hamburg!

 

 

 

 

ISIS: Huge demonstration in London to support the Kurdish resistance in Kobane

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.

A week of resistance to the Gaza massacre

National demonstration in London called over the bombing of Gaza by Israeli forces. The protest called by the Stop the War Coalition, The Palestinian Soldidarity Campaign, CND, War on Want, BMI, IFE and Friends of Al Aqsa marcheds from Downing street to t

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.

Dublin   Gaza live blog   Glasgow

 

 

 

 

Lambeth College and Brixton Ritzy strikers fight for our future

96% yes vote for an all out indefinite strike against cuts to sick pay and holidays, and increased hours – so Lambeth college’s management run to the courts to get an injunction to stop them. This was already a local issue of national importance, with other colleges threatening similar attacks. Now Lambeth college principal Mark Silverman has turned it into an issue for the entire trade union movement by denying his employees their democratic right to protest.

lambeth college strikeThe changes to contracts will mean an extra 5 weeks work a year with no extra pay, and a cut in sick pay from 6 months on full pay and 6 months on half pay, to 4 months on full pay and 2 months on half pay. The only figure management can come up with for how much this will save the college is £20,000 for the cut in sick pay – a facility only used by workers in extremely difficult circumstances, for example cancer. So management are saying they are no longer prepared to support staff in such difficulties – but they are happy to spend £35,000 refurbishing an office for Silverman that he only uses for a maximum of one day a week. Meanwhile many lecturers report having to go to the stationers themselves to buy pens and paper for the students out of their own money.

This is all happening against a backdrop of management plans to shut down the 100 year old Brixton centre of the college, which is being sold off to make way for the Trinity Academy free school – a school run by people who are openly looking to attract children from the influx of rich white newcomers to Brixton.
Lecturers in the University and College Union (UCU) are now reballoting for all out indefinite strike action, and support workers in UNISON are doing the same.

lambeth college strike2Footage from the strike on Mayday, culminating in Lambeth college strikers marching with Brixton Ritzy strikers fighting for the London living wage. As resentment grows against the rapid gentrification of Lambeth and the fastest rising house prices in Britain, more and more locals are drawing a line in the sand and saying: Enough is enough.

Issue 40, Apr 2014

Reel News 40

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1: Massacre in Vitoria (Reel News) 36:43 ***PLAY***

1976, the Basque Country: a dying fascist state orders police to attack one of the greatest rank and file movements ever seen. 5 workers are murdered and over 100 seriously injured; 38 years on, the people of Vitoria are still fighting for justice.

 

2: SOAS cleaners strike (Reel News) 14:07

Cleaners at SOAS show how a picket line should be done in the fight to be brought back in-house.

 

3: Blacklisting Companies Meeting (Stewart Hume, electrician and UNITE activist) 3:50

EXCLUSIVE secret footage exposes the building firm bosses who blacklist.

 

4: Blacklisting: Citizens Arrest (Reel News) 5:31

The Blacklist Support Group serve an arrest warrant on Cullum McAlpine.

 

5: Leon Rosselson: Sixty Quid a Week (Reel News) 4:30

New song from Leon about an encounter with a homeless person.

 

6: NUT strike (Reel News) 10:28

First national strike by teachers since 2011 as the campaign to stop Gove destroying education hots up.

 

7: David Rovics – Landlord (Reel News) 6:10

Great song and a slice of US working class history.

 

8: Chicago University Strike (Labor Beat) 8:36

2 days strike by lecturers at the University of Illinois-Chicago – for virtually the same reasons that lecturers are striking in Britain.

 

9: London Met – FE Strike (Reel News) 5:47

Rally at London Met to push for further action in the dispute over pay.

 

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If you like what we’re doing, become a Reel News Supporter to help us keep making films! Starting at £3 monthly.

Let us know if you want the DVDs

Massacre in Vitoria – Trailer

On March 3 1976, police attacked a peaceful assembly of strikers during a general strike, murdering 5 workers and seriously injuring over 100 in a desperate attempt to stop one of the greatest rank and file movements ever seen.

Every year on March 3 in Vitoria there is a march to remember the dead and continue the fight for justice. If you’re reading this today, the march is not until 7pm – messages of international solidarity would really help.

Please send solidarity messages to: info@3demarzo.org, and watch out for the full Reel News film later this week – the whole incredible story, told by striking workers themselves.

justicia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This will be the latest in a series of films being produced by Reel News to help build international solidarity with the “Querella Argentina”: where Franco’s fascist regime is being put on trial in Argentina for the crimes it committed, and to get justice and reparations for the victims.

Although there has been a lot of information published about the atrocities committed by Franco’s fascist regime during and immediately after the Spanish civil war, little has been said about the intensification of repression by Franco’s regime in the 60s and 70s against the social movements that grew, demanding liberty and basic human rights and ultimately defeating fascism.

The atrocities, continued during the period of transition to “democracy” from 1975-1981. Many of the culprits are still alive and holding positions in the police, the army, the civil service and the judiciary – and for this reason we’re concentrating on this period. Not only do these people need bringing to justice, but they need to be purged from the Spanish state if another world is to be truly possible.

We will need to make trips to other parts of Spain in order to help in this crucial struggle for justice – but we need money to do it. Obviously there is no funding for a project of this sort in Spain, and with the brutal austerity measures, our fellow film makers in Madrid have no money either. If you can help, please click the donate button below.

 

Education workers strike over pay – 03.12.13

On their second national day of strike action for a decent pay rise, workers in higher education are joined by workers in further education taking their first day of strike action. Both sets of workers have effectively had a pay cut of up to 15% over the past 4 years, while bosses have had huge pay rises and the colleges are sitting on a massive surpluses. Over 4,000 workers in higher education alone are still not even earning a living wage. The action should escalate in the new year…

HE strike