bnp humiliated in dalkeith

Our comrade in the Republican Communist Network saw the BNP fail to infiltrate an anti-rapist demonstration in Midlothian

Nick Griffin and 5 others i.e. his driver and minders turned up outside Dalkeith Country Park after cancelling their planned rally in Glasgow earlier that day. Their stated aim was to support an intended rally against the presence of, convicted rapist, Robert Greens in our community. It was good that there was little spontaneous support for the BNP despite a lot of media coverage e.g. in The Sun newspaper. There was little visible presence from BNP supporters, one demonstrator counted 17, I thought there were less, but it was hard to tell, all were driven in by car. The BNP website promised 50 Nationalists would turn up and they urged other British nationalists to join them.

The BNP presence was opposed by the majority of the anti-rapist protesters plus about 30-40 local anti-fascists who had been alerted via Midlothian Trades Council. There were groups from Palestinian Solidarity, Unite Against Fascism, current and ex SSP members, trade unionists representing, Unison, EIS, UCATT, and UCU, the local FE college, independent socialists, two members of Socialist Appeal and at least one other Labour Party member. There was no identifiable SNP presence but, we did receive a message from local SNP MSP Colin Beattie supporting Midlothian Trades Council stance, saying there was no place for BNP in Midlothian and that he would have liked to have been there to show his support but had a previous appointment. In the event no councillors, MSPs or our MP were present. Continue reading “bnp humiliated in dalkeith”

why the phony war?

London based college worker Siobhan Breathnach writes about the top down nature of the UK public sector pensions dispute

We got notice of the 10th of May strike on a Friday afternoon ten days before, in the middle of an emergency meeting about redundancies. The first response was “They have got to be fucking kidding.” There was a general expression of dismay and disbelief. So what is the problem? Why weren’t we pleased about being called out? Continue reading “why the phony war?”

travellers, the state and the meaning of solidarity

Richard B. argues that traveller support must now become a part of our movement

Only those leftists unable to think anything beyond ‘anti-cuts’ could have missed what has happened in Essex these past couple of months. The few select days of continuous media coverage were of the kind usually reserved for foreign wars and natural disasters.

Despite these momentary manifestations of traveller resistance which flashed across our screens, it is worth noting that the small-scale siege which set alight the largest traveller site in the country is not a new occurrence: a site at Hovefields, just up the road from Crays Hill, was evicted only in February; the residents of Dale Farm itself have been resisting the legislative lunges of Basildon council for six years; settled communities have been defending travellers from eviction since at least the 1970s, and indeed it is arguable that the majority of contemporary traveller culture is a response to the ideologies and developing technologies of governmental attack. Continue reading “travellers, the state and the meaning of solidarity”

a weekend camping at dale farm

Daniel Harvey writes on the travellers’ fight against eviction. A reply to the piece appears here.

Two of us made our way for a brief stay at the traveller encampment at Dale Farm.  This is the ‘illegal’ settlement of more than 80 families of travellers on a disused scrapyard supposed to belong to the greenbelt.

The travellers bought the land ten years ago, but could not get planning permission from Basildon council.  The council has refused to provide any alternative plot, making it clear that they want them out of their area permanently and are willing to spend the millions of pounds necessary on making this happen.  Continue reading “a weekend camping at dale farm”

why is there class in the classroom?

Dave Spencer explores the reasons for working-class under-achievement in the British education system.

There is an iron law in the sociology of education which states that the working class in Britain do badly in the education system. A recent study by the Sutton Trust should therefore come as no surprise. It found that over 2007-9 five elite private schools sent 946 students to Oxbridge whereas 2,000 comprehensives sent 927  between them. No surprise too at the recent UCU survey of educational attainment in various parliamentary constituencies. They found that  12.1% of people have no qualifications and 29% have degree level or above.  But this varied considerably from area to area with some working-class areas having over 30% with no qualifications.

prison warder: for many a classist education system is a trial

The basic question of course is – why do the working class do so badly?  At one time there was a straightforward argument between Nature and Nurture, genetics or environment.  It is difficult to argue these days, as some psychologists did in the 1960s, that the reason women and blacks did badly in the education system and society in general is because they are less intelligent. But many people still assume that the reason working class children do badly in the education system is because genetically they do not have the ability. Elitism or the idea that the people at the top of our class hierarchy are there because they are more intelligent is still alive and well. Just look at the smug buggers on the Coalition front bench! Continue reading “why is there class in the classroom?”

no state bans

From the editorial of this month’s The Commune

As The Commune went to press we heard news of the government banning protests in five east London boroughs for the entire of September. The ban came in response to calls for a ban on the 3rd September Tower Hamlets demo by the racist English Defence League (EDL).

Anti-fascists who called for this ban were playing with fire. Calls on the state to determine what is acceptable political expression are disastrous: socialists are meant to be the state’s worst enemy! Socialist Worker is officially against state bans, but republished a statement welcoming the ban on the EDL march while attacking the general ban. Yet the two measures clearly went hand-in-hand. Continue reading “no state bans”

management by abandonment

Nic Beuret writes on the economic and political pressures behind border controls and the EU’s ‘Fortress Europe’ anti-migrant measures.

Each year thousands of migrants die trying to make the perilous sea crossing from North Africa to the southern shores of the EU

Countries in the EU’s Schengen open border zone will be able to reimpose restrictions to prevent an influx of migrants, EU leaders have agreed. The measure is a response to pressure from France and Italy, who have been wrangling over thousands of illegal migrants from strife-torn North Africa. The EU will now create a new mechanism for the 25-nation Schengen zone, to allow for temporary border controls.

BBC, 24th June 2011

The last few years seem to have conjured forth a rush of changes to migration control in Europe. From the return of so-called ‘temporary’ border checks to harsher frontier policing, more money and greater powers for Frontex (the European border control agency), greater border surveillance as well as tougher ID checks, new entry requirements and greater limits on total non-EU numbers. It all speaks to the fact that borders are always in constant flux. They are less city walls and more Google-like algorithms, mutating to match changes in migratory movements and capital flows. Continue reading “management by abandonment”