The Socialist Party welcomes the announcement from the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) that all charges related to last summer's Black Lives Matter protests in Belfast and Derry are to be dropped. The PPS recognised that the events were organised in a responsible manner, aimed at minimising the risk of Covid, and that they related to a matter of "important social concern". All fines against those who took part in these protests - and a similar protest against gender violence in Belfast, organised by ROSA in the wake of Sarah Everard's killing - must be immediately rescinded and reimbursed.
DUP MP Gregory Campbell is still refusing to apologise for racist remarks that he made over a recent episode of Songs of Praise. The episode in question, the final of the competition for Gospel Singer of the Year, was performed and judged by an entirely black cast of musicians – fitting for a genre which originated in black churches in the US from the descendants of slaves who adopted Christianity when their own religious beliefs were forcibly suppressed.
In Stormont, Sinn Féin, the DUP and other Executive parties united to vote through significant parts of the Tory immigration bill through the Assembly via a Legislative Consent Motion. Minister for Communities Carál Ní Chuilín was responsible for moving this attack on immigrant workers.
84 years ago today, on 4th October 1936, Communists and socialists came together with Jewish and Irish workers in an historic stand to stop Oswald Mosley and several thousand of his fascist Blackshirts from marching through the East End of London. In what became known as The Battle of Cable Street, Mosley and his thugs, with police protection, were blocked by an estimated 300,000 counter-protesters across east London.
In the course of this crisis, a new political party - the British Freedom Party - has distributed material in Belfast communities masquerading as a “Christian fellowship” and purporting to offer assistance to the vulnerable. In reality, this is a split from the far-right Britain First group and the new brand of their former leader, Jayda Fransen, and ex-councillor Jolene Bunting.
The nature of policing in the United States is inseparable from the violent, racist history of capitalism in this country.
Historically, the image is put forward that our hands are clean, that Belfast never benefited from slavery, unlike Liverpool and Bristol. As I say, hypocrisy. I’ll give a few examples where well-known people, from both sides of the sectarian divide here, who engaged in and supported slavery.
At 8:25 pm on May 25 George Floyd stopped breathing. Moments later his pulse stopped. It was two minutes before Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin removed his knee from Floyd’s neck. Less than an hour later, he was pronounced dead.
Those who took part did so despite provocative police harassment. In the days leading up to the protests, the PSNI issued threats of fines and court appearances for breaking Covid-19 regulations. This led to protests in Omagh, Newry and Portadown being formally cancelled, although small and socially-distanced gatherings did go ahead. Protest organisers were visited at home and cautioned. Checkpoints were set up and public transport hubs were policed to prevent people attending.