Saturday, October 27, 2012

news round-up

 Anti-fascists call for ban on EDL march
MEMBERS of the anti-racist group, We Are Waltham Forest, London, are calling for a ban on a planned march by the Islamophobic English Defence League due to take place this Saturday, 27th October.
 The EDL called the march as a “rematch” after a previous march on 1st September, attended by a meagre 200 supporters, was blocked by thousands local residents who occupied a road junction on the planned route.
 But the EDL will have serious problems in staging the march in any case since last weekend 53 of their leading members and supporters were arrested last Saturday and bailed on charges of conspiracy to attack an east London mosque.
 The bail conditions forbid them to attend any marches in east London in the near future. If they do, they will immediately be arrested.
 Furthermore their leader, Stephen Yaxley Lennon, also known as Tommy Robinson, is being held in custody in Wandsworth prison on separate charges of assault and could be extradited to the United States, where he is wanted to answer charges of financial fraud. He has no prospect of release before January whatever happens.
 The 53 were arrested last Saturday when police, acting on intelligence, stopped several vehicles, including at least one large removal van, on the M25 and M3 motorways. The men were found to be carrying a selection of weapons and heading to a “spontaneous” protest in Whitechapel, according to reports. Lennon was one of them.
 It seems they has chosen to “protest” that day on the assumption that police and anti-fascist activists would be preoccupied with the big TUC march against austerity.
 Earlier this month a packed public meeting called by the We Are Waltham Forest campaign showed the determination of local people drive the English Defence League out of the borough for a second time.
 Local MP Stella Creasy called for renewed unity against the EDL, while London Assembly Member Jennette Arnold declared there was “No place for the EDL in Walthamstow!”
 Jennette spoke movingly about her trip to Oslo, where people urged her to stop the EDL – the organisation that gave inspiration to Norway’s fascist mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik.
 The meeting also heard from local rabbi, Richard Jacobi and Irfan Akhtar of the Waltham Forest Council of Mosques, who said the success of the mobilisation against the EDL last month had given local Muslims the confidence to confront the EDL.
 And Glenroy Watson said his RMT rail union would do everything possible to stop the EDL using the tube on 27th October – RMT members have previously taken action to ensure that staff and members of the public are not endangered by the fascist thugs on the tube and railways.
 There would be “no platform for EDL – literally as far as my industry is concerned”, he said.
But the chances of the EDL now being able to find enough supporters on Saturday to make the march worthwhile are now greatly diminished since the arrest of the 53 leading supporters and hopes are high that it will not take place.
 Meanwhile Lennon, languishing in Wandsworth prison, is reported to be complaining that he is “sharing a cell with Muslims on a wing full of Muslims screaming death threats at him”, according to an online report by the British Freedom Party, from which he recently resigned as a deputy chair.

Racism in football

THE CAMPAIGN, Show Racism the Red Card, (SRtRC) last week issued a statement on actions by a number of black footballers who last week refused to wear anti-racist T-shirts from the Kick It Out campaign.
 One of them, Rio Ferdinand, faces discipline from his team manager, Alex Fergusson, for this refusal.
 The players say they were protesting at the inadequacy of the Kick It Out campaign and that wearing the T-shirts was meaningless tokenism.
 Certainly they succeeded in drawing attention to a real problem, and the wearing of such T-shirts to show support is indeed meaningless if it is not voluntary. And football managers are deluded if they think that simply wearing a particular T-shirt is all that needs to be done to address them problems of racism in football.
 SRtRC works with 50,000 young people each year in schools and at events at football clubs. It says that without the support of players, its positive anti-racism message is diminished.
 The campaign says it fully understands the anger of the Ferdinand family and Jason Roberts in relation to the FA handling of the John Terry case. “Both Rio and Jason are longstanding patrons of our campaign and are recognised in our Hall of Fame for their work,” the statement says.
 But the statement points out that Kick It Out (KIO) is not a regulatory body and the problem lies with the Football Association and other football authorities, who are responsible for dealing with racist incidents or deciding on sanctions.
 And it calls on the protesting players to work with KIO and SRtRC (the two campaigns work closely together) and the Professional Footballers’ Association to draw up a plan of action to present to the footballing authorities and Government.

Pensioners to protest at fuel poverty

THE GREATER London Pensioners’ Association has organised a protest, “No More Deaths Frome Fuel Poverty”, to take place, beginning at noon, in Westfield Stratford Shopping Centre in east London outside the upper level entrance to Primark on Saturday 27th October.
 According to the Fuel Poverty Action campaign, 65 people died in Britain every day from illnesses caused by cold homes.  Campaigners say the latest gas and electricity price rises will be a nail in many coffins.
 Many of those who died were pensioners and disabled people. As energy company prices – and profits – soar, there will be many more deaths this year.
 They say that if we can’t afford to heat our homes we have a right to go into any warm building and make ourselves at home!
 We have the right to warm up inside the offices of those driving fuel poverty: the Big Six energy companies, the Government, landlords and letting agents.
   We have the right to warm up inside public spaces threatened by cuts including libraries and day centres, which keep many people warm throughout   the winter.
 Pensioners from the Greater London Pensioners’ Association will be asserting this right by coming out of their cold homes and warming up inside the toasty Westfield Stratford shopping centre.
 They demand:
* That the Government reinstate the Winter Fuel Allowance in full (this has   been cut by £50 for those over 60 and £100 for those over 80.)
* That the energy companies reinvest in affordable, cleaner and safer energy supplies and use their enormous profits to do so, instead of putting the cost on to the consumer.
* That the Government acknowledge an entitlement of all including the sick, disabled people, the elderly and families with young children, to a well insulated, warm place to live in good repair.

Don’t sell Barnet

RESIDENTS of Barnet, north London, are alarmed at the council’s plan known as the One Barnet Programme, to hand over nearly all its public services to private for-profit companies.
 They are calling for an immediate stop to these measures until the issue is put to the electorate in the form of a simple Yes or No referendum on the programme.
 Their aim is to collect 7000 signatures by the end of October 2012, with a view to submit it to the full council meeting on 6th November, prior to the planned decision on awarding the One Barnet contracts at the end of November.
 This petition is also promoted by the Barnet Labour Group in a joint forces effort to stop the One Barnet and save our future in this borough.
 They are calling for as many signatures as possible to the petition, which can be reached on-line at:
  The campaign is supported by a new film by acclaimed US director Charles Honderick that its debut at London's Phoenix Cinema last Monday.
 The film exposes the risks involved in local government outsourcing. It shows how Barnet Council is taking a billion pound gamble with taxpayer's money.
 The film also interviews residents of Barnet to reveal how the disabled, the elderly, local business owners and ordinary members of the community are being ignored.
 Parents with severely disabled children talk about their experiences and how the council refuses to provide suitable housing and care packages. They explain how outsourced care provides charge as much as £1.20 for a cup of Nescafe in a church hall.

FBU warns that cuts endanger lives

THE FIRE Brigades Union has expressed grave concerns over proposals by the London Fire Brigade to close 17 fire stations and slash around 600 jobs
 The plans, which were revealed in a leaked document, look set to be put before a meeting of the London fire authority on 22nd November.
 The brigade was told by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to save £65 million over two years, and senior managers have been working on proposals to meet that demand.
 The FBU’s regional secretary for London, Paul Embery, said: “These proposals present the biggest threat to the London Fire Brigade since the days of the Luftwaffe and would lead to the decimation of fire cover in London.
 “The stations under threat of closure have stood proudly for generations, protecting local residents from bombs, fire and terrorism, yet Boris Johnson is about to hammer a ‘For Sale’ sign on to their front doors.
 “Such a huge cut cannot be made without there being an impact on public safety, and we call on Londoners to join with us in defending our fire service.”

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