Wednesday 23rd August 18:00 to 22:00
Bernie Grant Arts Centre
Town Hall Approach Road Tottenham London N15 4RX
Directions: Underground – Seven Sisters (Victoria Line) – Tottenham High Road exit, five mins walk from the station
Buses – 149, 259, 243, 476, 230, 123, 41, 341
Trains – Seven Sisters, Tottenham Hale
IFAGUNWA TEMITOPE of Nigeria – Youth Reparations Activists
DAVID COMISSIONG of Barbados – Founder member of the GAC
Donald Trump is a racist, sexist, extreme right-wing bigot. How much that makes him different from most other Presidents of the United States is, of course, open to question. When does a quantitative change become qualitative?
What is clear is that there is a reactionary offensive taking place in the USA which is emboldening the extreme right worldwide. We see the rise of the Front National in France and Geert Wilders in Holland, while Turkish President Recep Erdoğan and Israeli Prime Minister “Bibi” Netanyahu are consolidating their power. All are using extreme nationalism and racism to blunt opposition and pursue policies aimed at enriching the oligarchy’s they represent.
In particular we need to remember that the main enemy is at home, so let us not forget our own Theresa May who completes the set of reactionary leaders. The present British government’s policies do not differ very much from Trump’s, it is just that May has better manners. He wants to build a wall, she already has the Channel, their anti-immigrant stance is the same, the deportations are the same. May is currently even refusing to recognise the right to stay of EU citizens who have made their lives here perfectly legally. Trump denies the existence of Climate Change and signs off the Dakota access pipeline, while the British government promotes fracking. Trump tries to repeal the Affordable Care Act and May starves the NHS of finance. Both are stoking islamophobia, both are war-mongers – the list of comparisons go on, but essentially it involves the use of nationalist rhetoric to cover economic policies that enrich the already wealthy at the expense of working class living standards.
But the working class movement can defeat this. Let us take the small example during the last election in Britiain. The Thanet Stand Up to UKIP collective, who campaigned solidly for a year and more before the election, stopped Nigel Farage winning what he thought would be a shoe-in. By campaigning on specific policies that unite the maximum number of people in opposition to the present government’s agenda, we can start to rebuild a movement for socialism. By organising international solidarity with the victims of Trump, Netanyahu and Erdoğan we can strive to make that movement Internationalist rather than National Socialist.
In the radical tradition of Bogle-L’Ouverture and New Beacon Books, avant-garde Black publishing takes centre stage at the 12th Huntley Annual conference. Hosted at London Metropolitan Archives on Saturday 4 March, the Friends of the Huntley Archives at LMA invites an intergenerational audience of participants and contributors to: take a bold look at the place of “Blackness” then and now; share new ideas on contemporary and progressive Black publishing interventions and accessible social media tools; and co-curate sessions to re-image critical themes around publishing methodologies, through an exploration of the prism of ‘the Archive Document’. A creative youth-focused programme runs in parallel to the conference to explore Blackness and Identity.
Many of us have been shocked and disgusted by the venom with which the late Fidel Castro has been attacked in the mainstream press after his recent death. Vitriolic but imprecise, vague talk of his having done “terrible things”, but short on specific accusations. Let us be clear, it is not only Fidel Castro the man they are attacking, it is the Cuban Revolution and its achievements that they object to.
Free, comprehensive, secular education for all. No academies, no free schools, no university fees leading to a life of indebtedness.
Free medical care. No huge profits for Virgin Health Care or “Big Pharma”, but instead sending doctors to disaster zones and training large numbers of health workers from Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Agrarian reform broke up the huge sugar plantations that had existed since the days of slavery. Urban reform redistributed housing, forbade evictions and eventually abolished rent. Nationalisation of the banks, public utilities and oil companies prevented the export of vast profits to the US and Europe. And here lies the nub of the objections, the Revolution challenged capitalist property relations and this is what the mainstream press find unforgivable.
But they cannot openly object to these policies in case ordinary working people outside Cuba start to demand the same. So they hypocritically attack Castro personally over “human rights”, while saying little or nothing about the tyrannical regimes in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Of course there are restrictions on freedom of speech in Cuba, there are everywhere. It is equally illegal to praise the IRA or Islamic State in Britain. But Cuba has suffered untold terrorist attacks organised by the CIA working alongside criminal and fascist elements among the Cuban exile community in Miami. In 1976, a bomb destroyed a Cubana flight 455 over Barbados killing all 73 people aboard. Luis Posada Carriles, who is widely held responsible for this outrage, went on during the 1990s to be implicated in the series of bomb attacks aimed at the Cuban tourist trade in which many people were injured and an Italian tourist killed. Posada still lives openly in the USA.
However, the real crime of the USA is the economic embargo, the “blockade”, which has restricted trade with Cuba even to the extent of breaching the Geneva Convention, Article 23 of which prohibits restrictions on the free passage of medical supplies and food for children. Not content with restricting the trade of their own citizens, US courts can prosecute foreign companies that operate in the nationalised property of US citizens, while foreign companies that invest in Cuba are forbidden to operate in the USA. This has caused real hardship in Cuba, particularly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but the fact that Cuba has succeeded in resisting this onslaught is yet another reason why the press attack Fidel Castro. An economic blockade is the highest state of international aggression short of actual war. The press has accused Fidel Castro of “bringing the world to the brink of nuclear war”, yet during the 1962 missile crisis, whose finger was on the nuclear button, Castro? No it was President Kennedy who was threatening to blow the world to smithereens.
Let us put matters in their regional context. Despite the effects of the blockade, you are still much better off being poor in Cuba than being poor in Jamaica or being poor and black in the USA. Housing in Cuba is overcrowded and often shabby, but there are no cardboard shanty towns. In the rest of the world, millions of children sleep on the streets at night, none in Cuba. Death squads operate in Colombia and Mexico, murdering trade unionists, socialists and other opponents of the rich and powerful, while African Americans are suffering a wave of shooting by the police all over the USA. These things do not happen in Cuba. Meanwhile the USA has a higher percentage of its population in prison than any other modern country except Stalin’s Russia and Hitler’s Germany. By age 23, 49% of African American men have been arrested. The USA should put their own house in order before criticising a smaller neighbour that has done infinitely better.
Fidel Castro is under attack as the figurehead of a country that has resisted the trend towards unrestrained neo-liberal capitalism and its accompanying drive to war. He was leader of a Revolution that removed a brutal, corrupt, murderous dictatorship and restored his country’s independence. In honouring Fidel we are rejecting these attacks and proudly saying that we stand with the Cuban Revolution against US aggression and for free education and health care against the profit motive everywhere.
As it wages a relentless war of gentrification against the Black Community, Lambeth Council, now wants to close down 365 Brixton Community Centre & sell the building to developers. 365 is one of the last remaining community centres that has not yet been sold off.
We are mounting a public campaign to keep the Centre and are currently in Court with Lambeth Council to retain 365 Brixton. We need your support to finance the 365 Campaign and Legal Defence Fund. How you can help…
After resisting for so long to keep our building open and accessible to the community, we are now direct victims of the war of gentrification being waged to transform the ethnic configuration by pricing and pushing the Black community out of Brixton!