Monthly Archives: March 2010

20 years ago today – the protest that brought down Thatcher and her Poll Tax!

20 years ago today, on March 31st 1990, I was part of this huge crowd of hundreds of thousands people protesting against Maggie Thatchers Poll Tax. This became known as the ‘Battle of Trafalgar Square’, after police attacks on the protest provoked the largest act of civil unrest in London for a century. This great protest was the culmination of a country wide uprising, where in every town and city in the land, angry crowds of thousands of people marched on their Town Halls. Everywhere, people ripped up and burned their poll tax forms, and millions refused to pay this unjust and anti-working class tax, defying the law in one of the largest acts of mass civil disobedience in that century. All this lead to a crisis in the government, and Thatchers hated regime fell within months, taking her hated poll tax with it. This was a great example of people power. Its what we need again today to stop our rulers making the working class pay for the crisis of capitalism and its bankrupt financial system. Soon we will be faced with massive cuts in jobs, pay, conditions and public services. We need to remember how to fight back!

Here is a film in four parts which outlines the events of that historic day.

Part one

Part two

Part three

Part four

To mark this anniversary, Adrian Johnson, Birmingham’s Poet Laureate, will be in Trafalfar Square, London, where he will perform live performance of his new poem ‘Still no Poll Tax here’ – at 11.30am at the foot of Nelson’s column.
Adrian says that the poem was written as a tribute to the protesters who brought about ithe abolition of the Poll Tax. He added: “Twenty years ago, the wall fell in Berlin, Chinese students stood up in front of tanks in Tiananmen Square, Mandela walked free and the Stone Roses rocked the dance floors in the UK. But it’s easy to forget that history was also being made closer to home … I was hugely inspired by the action taken by normal, everyday people across the UK to resist the Poll Tax which encouraged others to do the same”.

Still, no poll tax, eh?

by Adrian Johnson – Birmingham poet laureate, 2010

Watt Tyler lost his head for it

a prime minister lost her job for it

thousands went to court against it

Trafalgar Square heaved with life and love and protest to stop it

civil courts got right shirty, filled with anger, ideas and spirit

for what’s right and fair and will power – to just not pay it

bailiff’s got over time, short shrift and rarely could collect it

MP’s sniffed the air and mumbled – far too late – ‘Now we’ve done it.”

Leaflets, banners and street protest said what they could do with it

friendships made and courage raised, together we could fix it,

stuff it, beat it, sod it

that flagship idea that spawned a mutinous flotilla

got scuttled by anger and laughter – stood together

mother, son and daughter

they knew what was right, wanted something better

Twenty years later, you’d hardly believe it

those passionate millions that stood against it

wouldn’t, couldn’t, shouldn’t’ave’ad paid it

the tax that came in just one size for the duke in his mansion

and dustman in his terrace

that shook us into action and life – and though overlooked by history

we can remember…

now and then, our story

remember ,the laughter, friendship and life

standing up for something better

and still, no poll tax, here.

c. Adrian Johnson

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Victory to the Cabin Crews! Their fight is our fight!

It would be great to see a group of workers getting justice at last!

Here are some videos to put forward the strikers side of the story.

This video clip from Sky News casts into doubt the BA bosses claim that the strike is having no effect.

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EDL show their true colours and embark on anti-union, anti-left witchunt

Remember how the EDL pretend they are not a far right quasi-fascist organisation? How they say they are focused only on ‘militant Islam’ and are not against all Muslims, or racist against all Asian people? Well, we have already proved that the EDL are racist (see post below), and their are plenty of photo’s of neo-nazis attending their rallies.

Now, however they have blown their cover, and have revealed their hatred of Britain’s trades unions and working class movements. This has been made apparent in a shocking anti-trades union ‘red-baiting’ frenzy that has appeared on the front page of their website. This shows the real agenda of the EDL and their millionaire puppeteers – to drive working class organisations out of British political life.

EDL hate trades unions

The EDL show their hatred of trades unions and the working class having a voice in politics

This is their latest public statement from their front page:

“unions have become more powerful, more influential and more militant in the political sphere, this is where vested interests infringe upon a democratic political platform, so much so that democracy seems to be ebbing away right before our eyes and its replacement………COMMUNISM!!!!
Great Britain doesn’t do Communism, it never has, yet Communists are afforded more influence and more power as the Labour party look to fund its upcoming election campaign. This is a sad reflection of the corrupt political climate we live in here in the UK.
It is no secret that the Labour party is affiliated to Unite, recently the Labour party have been exposed for taking monies from this militant Union. Since Gordon Brown became the Labour party’s leader and current prime minister he has taken a staggering 11 million pounds from Unites militant coffers, people such as Charlie Whelan and Tony Woodley are now allowed to roam the corridors of power in the houses of parliament because they have been given parliamentary passes! No guessing as to the reasons why they have such privileged access to the corridors of power! Is it any wonder that half of the Labour cabinet are bankrolled by Unite? You can see a more in-depth article from The Sun here….”

EDL website, frontpage, 29 / 3/ 10.

So its clear – the EDL are lying when they say they are for the English people! They are not for us, the English working classes – only right wing anti-trades union racists! They hate the millions of us ordinary working people who join unions. The EDL publish this disgusting right wing attack at a time when the multinational corporate BA is trying to smash the Unite union amongst its low paid workers. The agenda of this article is clear – to deprive the working class of any organised political voice inside parliament. Instead, they champion the corporate voice of the right wing tabloid ‘the sun’ owned by a billionaire, Rupert Murdoch (who of course, is not English, but who chose US citizenship). The EDL are bosses tools.

    Divide and Rule

Soon we will all have to fight the massive wave of job cuts, as Labour / Tories /Lib Dems all prepare to implement the big business and billionaires agenda. They want to make the working people pay for the crisis of capitalism. This is the final battle for Britain’s welfare state, a battle between rich and poor, between the working people and the global banking and financial elites. The EDL are a weapon that is being made to be used against the workers movement. This attack on our schools, hospitals and other public services will be to pay for the crisis caused by the greedy ultra-rich banking elite. Such moves will represent an enormous transfer of wealth away from the working people in the interests of this global elite, with our rights to decent pensions, jobs and services all axed. Future generations will suffer. And in order to do this, the capitalists will need to divide the working class.

Thats why the EDL, the bosses new tool, in collaboration with the media that the bosses also own, are whipping up their stupid phony ‘islamophobic panic’. They make the bizarre and exaggerated claim that the tiny British Muslim ethnic minority, who make up just 2.7% of our population, are about to take over Britain and impose Sharia law! The EDL’s master plan is to set worker against worker, first dividing us on religious lines. Anti-Muslim hatred is the thin end of the wedge, the easiest prejudice to whip up because of the climate of fear already generated by Blair and Browns bloody and criminal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. From this start, the EDL’s secret bosses hope the poison of division will spread, tearing the working class apart and leaving it defenceless in the face of the growing offensive by big businesses and global finance …

The EDL are bankrolled by millionaire buisinessman Alan Lake to do this dirty job. Lake talks of dominating the streets, and has said: “Football fans are a potential source of support. They are a hoi polloi that gets off their backsides and travels to a city and they are available before and after matches.” These are the puppets he intends to use to promote the right wing agenda of big business against the trades unions and the English working people. Any working class person who supports the EDL is a fool and a class traitor.

First they came for the Muslims, but I did not speak out because I was not a Muslim.
Then they came for the Trades Unionists …

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Video from Anti-EDL protest in Bolton.

This is a great video, capturing the spirit of the UAF anti-fascist demo in Bolton. It deserves a wider audience.

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    A picture tells a thousand words….

Take a look at this photo below. This shows where we are headed, the kind of society England is becoming unless we turn the situation around. The picture shows a group of young male EDL ‘warriors’ wearing masks who appear to be intimidating a lone young Muslim woman on a train. This picture has horrible resonances across history. Anyone who has studied the history of Jewish peoples experiences in pre-WW2 Europe will shudder.

English Defence League intimidate a young Muslim woman on train en route from Bolton to their protest march in Manchester, Jan 2010. Photo source: Daily Mail


Photo source here

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EDL exposed! You know how EDL bosses swear blind that the EDL is a liberal multiracial organisation focused solely against islamicist extremism? Well a random trawl through EDL facebook pages will of course provides loads of evidence to the contrary. You can find hundreds of comments like the one below, pasted every day. Its sick.

EDL racists

so the EDL are not racist?

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Britain a Sharia state? Get a grip! Don’t fall for this stupid media / right wing panic!

We are seeing a mass media led panic about Islam. This is generating a new mass right wing movement seeking to mobilise the public against one of Britain’s small ethno-religious minorities. This right wing mass movement will find that success comes easier than any of our left wing mass movements. Thats because the far right are targeting a vulnerable ethnic minority whom the police, the media and the state want to target already. We on the the left, on the other hand, are proud to take on the most powerful groups in society – the capitalist class – who own and control much of our society, and whom the media, the police and the state are designed to protect. It takes massive and persistent struggle to win even the tiniest of reforms to benefit the working class. But it only takes a few small demo’s for the right to succeed in dragging us into a pogrom atmosphere. Muslims are a soft target for right wing bullies, a movement of bullies who are too weak and intellectually feeble to address the real problems that the English working class actually faces.

1) Muslims make up just 2.7% of the population of Britain. 2.7% of the population are not about to impose Sharia. Get a grip! Don’t panic!

2) Only a minority of Britain’s 2.7% Muslim population are Islamicists. The majority are ordinary working class people like you and me trying to make a living and raise their families.

3) There is no ‘global Islam’. This is a fantasy of Islamicists, Islamophobes and an imperialism desperate to manufacture an enemy to keep us docile (read Orwell’s 1984 on the states need for an enemy for domestic cointrol). In reality Islam is fractured and fragmented, with most of its armed movements being animated by local disputes. They are not about to unite. Hezbollah and Al Qaeda are deadly enemies. Iran and the Taliban are enemies, the list goes on. There is no ‘global Islam’ about to invade us, turn our tiny 2.7% minority of British Muslims into a homogenous fifth column and impose a Sharia inspired dictatorship on Britain.
Islam is not a credible threat. Its even less credible than the mythical bogeymen the western right manufactured in the cold war. It turned out that Russia was never about to invade us, and never had the capacity. Neither did Saddam Hussein’s evil dictatorship have weapons of mass destruction or pose a threat to us. Can you see a pattern here? The right wing are always exaggerating and manufacturing threats to keep us docile and divided. Those who buy into the ‘threat of Islam’ have weak minds, no understanding of politics, geography or history and are those easily stampeded into a mass panic.

4) We DO face an immediate threat from our own governments and ruling classes, however. We are about to see the final destruction of our welfare state by either Labour, the Tories or a mixture of either of these with the Lib Dems through massive cuts. We will see our wages and pensions cut to the bone. This is combined with the increasingly authoritarian nature of the British state. In order to make these cuts and anti-working class attacks, our rulers will need to divide the working class. The Islamophobic panic is a perfect tool for this. Islamophobia will turn out to be the biggest enemy of the British working class, the non-Muslim majority as well as the Muslim minority.

I just wait to hear the pretend ‘leftist’ Islamophobes respond to my argument with discourses of Muslim birth rates ‘outbreeding us so they can take over’. These are old discourses, used against Jews, Irish Catholics, or any other minority who are made the scapegoat. They never come true. Islamophobia is merely a veil to disguise the underlying racism of these right wing movements. This is one veil we should not hesitate to rip from the face of the EDL, the BNP and the rest of the far-right rabble!

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