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

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.

Release Assange!

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is due to appear in court again on 29 June. At the previous hearing, on 1 June, his doctors said he was too ill even to go to a video-link room in Belmarsh prison, where he is being held. The actual hearing on the USA's attempt to extradite him will be on 7 September. Once in the USA, he risks jail sentences of up to 175 years for publishing official US documents. Whatever we think of Assange on other counts, the extradition must be opposed. Demand he's released, allowed proper medical treatment and a return to Australia!

Abolish the police? Overthrow capitalism!

The slogan-title of Alex Vitale's book is The End of Policing. His detailed conclusion in the text, though, is that "policing needs to be reformed", with "a larger vision that questions the basic role of police in society". DeRay Mckesson and others, prominent in the Black Lives Matter movement, have circulated both a range of police reforms, and a narrower focus on curbing police powers. In the second exposition, some of the demands advocated in the first exposition are criticised as worthless, notably police body cameras and better training. In June 1917, when Lenin advocated revising the...

Black Lives Matter and the labour movement

In this issue of Solidarity, we have excerpts from an interview with West Coast US docks activist Clarence Thomas. Thomas calls for the US labour movement to get serious about challenging police racism and violence. The British labour movement needs to get serious too. Small groups of left activists like Workers’ Liberty aside, trade unions and the Labour Party have largely had no organised presence on the great wave of demonstrations following the killing of George Floyd. This is partly, no doubt, caution in the context of Covid-19; but also a more general passivity that predated the pandemic...

US dockers strike for Black Lives Matter

On 9 June, on the West Coast of the USA, members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) stopped work for an eight minute, forty-six second moment of silence (the length of time the cop had his knee on Floyd’s neck). On 19 June the ILWU will organise another Black Lives Matter strike, for a full eight hours. They picked that day because “Juneteenth” is the date slavery was abolished in Texas at the end of the US Civil War, and now a major commemoration and celebration. To get round anti-union legislation, they are also striking as part of their ongoing fight against...

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