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

Issues with "vaccine passports"

On Monday 5 April, after several weeks of speculation, the government announced that it would begin trialling vaccine (or “Covid status”) passports for certain events in mid-April.

US police killings still at 100 per month

Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin’s trial for the killing of George Floyd last May opened on 8 March. Even after last year’s Black Lives Matter protests, and with all the attention focused on the police, the number of killings they commit has remained very high. According to mappingpoliceviolence.org, 1,127 people were killed by US police in 2020. In the first two and half months of 2021, the figure was 207. Chauvin faces charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter — but has pleaded not guilty to all. Three other police officers will face...

Scrap the Police Bill, don't just amend it!

Protests against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, mostly more or less ad hoc, continued on the weekend 3-4 April, almost a month after the Tories pushed the Bill through its first parliamentary vote on 9 March. There's talk of a national day of action on 17 April, but varied local protests are likely to continue too (best followed on Instagram). The Bill limits the right to protest already hemmed in by the Public Order Act 1986 and the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. It increases criminal penalties for people who fall foul of police-imposed conditions, establishes new...

Hong Kong activists face sentences on 16 April

HKCTU general secretary Lee Cheuk-yan (centre) On Thursday 1 April nine leaders of Hong Kong’s Civil Human Rights Front, were convicted of organising and participating in an unauthorised assembly. Those convicted include most of the long term leading activists of the movement for democracy in Hong Kong, including 82 year old Martin Lee, Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) leader Lee Cheuk-yan and socialist activist Leung Kwok Hung (“Long Hair”). Sentencing was delayed for two weeks to 16 April. Prison sentences of up to five years for each offence may be handed down. Whilst waiting...

Shrewsbury 24: learning the lessons

On Tuesday 23 March 2021, the Court of Appeal overturned the convictions of 14 North Wales trade unionists who had been sentenced for picketing in the 1972 building workers national strike. They were part of the "Shrewsbury 24": 24 workers were originally put on trial 48 years ago. The appeal was granted because original police trial statements had been destroyed and the defendants had not been informed of that, or of the reason why. The secret destruction was uncovered a decade ago by the Shrewsbury 24 Campaign’s researcher, Eileen Turnbull. The discovery included the following note between...

Red, blue and talking

The maintenance engineers are all back in the building, on normal hours. It’s fantastic being able to have breakfast at home, and commuting in at seven instead of five. The days seem indulgently short, and my free evenings are long and sunny. I’m with the electricians, so the week is filled with small jobs — changing light fittings, replacing a flow sensor, installing security cameras in the workshop, and deep-cleaning it the next day. We’re not used to working in teams; we communicate badly and make stupid errors. J sends the wrong calibration certificate to a manager; A routes the camera...

"Last Friday's behaviour from the police was the most violent I've ever seen"

We have been sent this statement from Bristol Trades Union Council plus a report of the 26 March anti-Police Bill protest in Bristol. See here for an earlier report from Bristol published in Solidarity. Bristol TUC motion on the Bristol protests March 30 2021 This Council strongly oppose the ill-conceived and dangerous Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill being proposed by the Home Secretary. To push through repressive legislation under the cover of the pandemic is awful politics and will make dreadful law. As it stands, the Bill seeks to: • Erode fundamental rights of protest including...

The Police Bill's threat to migrants

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021 puts the residency status of non-UK nationals in greater jeopardy and perpetuates existing racial inequalities in the criminal justice system.

Shrewsbury 24: some belated justice

On Tuesday 23 March, the Court of Appeal overturned the convictions of 14 North Wales trade unionists who had been sentenced for picketing in the 1972 building workers' national strike. They were part of the "Shrewsbury 24": 24 workers were originally put on trial 48 years ago. The appeal was granted because some of the original police statements in the trial had been destroyed by the force, and the defendants had not been notified of this basic fact. The secret destruction was uncovered about a decade ago in the archives by the Shrewsbury 24 Campaign’s researcher, Eileen Turnbull. The...

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