Fascists ended up with egg on their face in the left luggage section of Lime Street Station.
The build-up to the White Man March had been intense. As soon as the event was announced by the fascist National Action a few months back, various groups on the Liverpool and national left began planning their response. In Liverpool, this process was complicated by the continuing and horrific presence of activists who had ties to both camps, but that’s a matter for another day.
In the last week or so, Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson threw petrol on the flames when he published a letter purportedly from National Action, which promised “only bullets will stop us”. Though NA claimed the letter was the work of a provocateur, Anderson used it to push for an increase in his own powers. On the Liverpool Labour blog – widely quoted in the Liverpool Echo – Anderson called for national politicians to “reverse the current situation where I, as the highest ranking democratically-elected official in my city, have no power to represent my community and take steps to safeguard my communities – only the Home Secretary does.”
In other words, Anderson – who by his own confession has killed many with his cuts to local services – wants the power to decided what is and what is not “on the wing of any normal political ideology”, and therefore what is to be granted the liberal democratic right to protest. It would be a disaster if Anderson were to be granted this power, as it would no doubt be used against those who oppose austerity before too long.
Yesterday’s result – thousands of working class activists overwhelming both police and fascists to force the cancellation of the march – is infinitely preferable to an anti-working class mayor using the police to ban the march. The ‘Battle of Lime Street’, as it is already being called, it possibly the Liverpool left’s greatest achievement in a generation. Though he was forced to concede that people power won the day, Anderson and all capitalist politicians will be wary of a force that made them irrelevant for one day, and which showed the potential to make them irrelevant for all time.
|The huge march marking its way down Lord Street
Around three hundred Kurdish people plus a handful of supporters took over entire streets in Liverpool city centre this afternoon, as they demonstrated their opposition to ISIS and their enablers in the Turkish government.
Despite avowedly being part of a US-led anti-ISIS military coalition in the region, the Turkish military has aided the reactionary group, and are grateful for their assistance in suppressing Kurdish people in Kobanê, part of the autonomous Rojava region of what is officially Syria.
The protest began with a relative handful of people at the Victoria monument on Derby Square. After maybe an hour of rousing speeches and chanting, the by now enormous crowd decided to begin a long, slow march through key parts of Liverpool city centre. Along the way, many passers-by applauded, and some joined in when they heard what the cause was.
Despite a large and intimidating police presence at Derby Square for a non-violent demonstration, authorities eventually seemed to agree a hands-off approach, even apparently arresting someone who threw a missile at the demonstration on Bold Street. By that stage, however, the gathering was so large that it completely covered the road down that long road, and it was clear that any attempt at repression would need a massive – and considering current UK foreign policy, politically embarrassing – operation. Two sit-downs in the middle of Lord and Lime Streets met with no visible police action.
Support for the autonomous Rojava cantons’ revolution continues to grow worldwide, with many particularly inspired by images and reports of women leading the fight against ISIS. This was one of the biggest demonstrations in Liverpool for a few years, and certainly the most spontaneous, energetic, and friendly. It was also brilliantly organised for such short notice, with stewards the length of the march distributing English language leaflets to bemused onlookers.
The following is a repost from the Liverpool IWW blog:
Liverpool IWW wholeheartedly welcomes the statement made this week by Clydeside wobblies, and supports their call for a boycott of the Morning Star. We stand in full solidarity with FW Rory MacKinnon, who was suspended (and effectively forced to resign) by the paper, for investigating the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union bureaucracy’s suppression of domestic violence allegations against their assistant general secretary, Steve Hedley.
Click here for the rest of the statement.
Mayor Anderson is indignant at the protest outside his house on Friday 12 September, and accuses us of ‘intimidation and thuggery’ (your report 13 September). Liverpool City Council has prevaricated over the use of G4S as a security contractor, and Liverpool Rise for Palestine organised the protest to demand real action. We see it as a simple matter: just sever those G4S contracts as a gesture of support for the people of Palestine. G4S provides services and equipment to Israeli prisons, checkpoints, the Apartheid Wall and the Israeli police. Liverpool Rise for Palestine pays no heed to G4S declarations that a review has cleared it of breaching human rights in Palestine: the whole of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, its detention of over 7,000 Palestinian prisoners at any one time, is a breach of the human rights of the Palestinian people. G4S is part of an apparatus of ruthless repression of the Palestinian people – but as a bloated parasite it does not care where or how it makes its money.
Liverpool Rise for Palestine was presented with a hard choice: should we escalate the protest over the City Council’s use of G4S, or let matters lie? Mayor Anderson will shortly be full of ‘hard choices’: it will be his cop-out when he demands massive cuts in services and jobs across the city for the fifth year running. These are the real acts of ‘intimidation and thuggery’: they destroy people’s lives and break up families. He will cry and wring his hands and say how terrible his position is, but he will do whatever the government requires. ‘Hard choices’ has become his, and the political class’s, euphemism for savaging the conditions of the working class on the one hand, while keeping hold of its own privileged position on the other.
Liverpool Rise for Palestine will continue to make ‘hard choices’, but they will be ‘hard choices’ on behalf of the people of Palestine rather than on behalf of a discredited privileged elite. We demand: end the contracts with G4S!