Civil liberties, justice, crime

Labour's martyrs: the story of Sacco and Vanzetti

Workers' Liberty 3/53, published as a pull-out in Solidarity 397. The story of the Sacco and Vanzetti case, told by James P Cannon and Max Shachtman, who were leading activists in the defence campaign. Click to download as pdf

Stop the Met's criminalisation of strikes

Striking security guards, members of the UVW union, were legally striking and picketing at St George’s, University of London, on 13 January 2020. Police threatened the striking workers and union officials with mass arrest under Section 119 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008. Franck Magennis, UVW barrister and trade union official, was arrested and handcuffed in mid-conversation with a police officer as he enquired into the legality of the threatened arrests. As a result, the picket-line fell apart. This is part of a series of attacks by the Met Police on trade unionists. UVW’s...

Stand with Hong Kong!

Over mid-July, Hong Kong has been in a stand-off. The Chinese regime’s National Security Law (NSL) is now in force in Hong Kong. Its powers far exceed the Extradition Bill that was thrown out last autumn after street protests. Yet radicals in the democratic camp won the unofficial primaries in which over 600,000 Hong Kong people took part. Those who won say they will resist the NSL. So far, despite threats, the democratic candidates have not been arrested, nor have they been barred from standing in September’s elections. That was the background to the online rally of Labour Movement Solidarity...

The New Jim Crow

Police violence in the USA is only a shore of a whole continent of racial oppression and marginalisation, so Michelle Alexander argues in her 2010 book, now a “classic”, The New Jim Crow. Alexander is a civil rights lawyer by trade. Chunks of the book are lawyerly, dissecting a string of Supreme Court rulings. She says herself that she wouldn’t have got to a “fancy law school” without affirmative action rules. Her punchline, though, is that racial oppression is knitted into a larger system of social inequality, and measures which create a bigger black middle class aren’t enough. “Piecemeal...

The attack on Robert Cuffy

Robert Cuffy, a prominent Guyanese-American revolutionary socialist, was abused and mistreated by New York cops on a 1 July demonstration.

Fighting police abuse and racism

The murder of George Floyd, which was the equivalent of a public lynching, is tragically nothing new. Police brutality against black people has always been there. This time, however, it’s been caught on video. It was a slow, terrifying and painful death for Floyd. The amount of times he clearly said “I can’t breathe.…” and was ignored. Unconscionable that anyone could ignore that, let alone carry on causing it. The subsequent killing of Tony McDade further compounded the lack of care from the police to the BAME community. Trust has been broken repeatedly and people have had enough. The...

USA: the unions and the cops

Certain small US unions which are traditionally on the left, like the ILWU and the United Electrical Workers, have taken very strong positions — and in the case of the ILWU actually shut down the West coast ports. On the East coast the ILA docks union did nine minutes of silence, in agreement with employers. The Amalgamated Transit Union, which has a large black membership, has also taken a strong stance, and many of its locals have organised action, including refusing to cooperate with police. The national AFL-CIO has had a number of requests from affiliates to kick out the police unions that...

Anti-racist resources

This page brings together various anti-racist resources to learn about anti-racist movements, and arm yourself with ideas to beat back racism: readings and pamphlets, video and audio.

Hong Kong: The Empire Strikes Back

A music teacher in Hong Kong has been sacked by her school, because she allowed one of her students to perform the song Glory to Hong Kong as part of an assessment task at school. Lau Ka-tung, a social worker, was accused of hindering officers from proceeding by standing in front of a cordon and using his body to strike a policeman's shield. He was sentenced to a year in jail, the first social worker to receive a jail sentence resulting from last year's protests. The defence applied for bail as they planned to file an appeal against the sentence, but the application was denied and he was sent...

Organise to make the future safe and equal for all

The great wave of street protests after the killing of George Floyd on 25 May still continues, but the pace looks like slowing. Activists will be thinking about how they can continue their efforts over the months and years needed to win and consolidate change. That this killing has generated so broad a protest must be partly because a pandemic which has hit the worst-off hardest everywhere, and a wave of job cuts which has done similar, especially in the USA, are in everyone's minds.

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