British peace demonstrators speak


Some of the protesters at the anti-war on Syria eally in Parliament Square in London

From the World Socialist Web Site in Britain:

Protesters in Britain speak out against air strikes in Syria

By our reporters

18 April 2018

On Monday evening, Socialist Equality Party members distributed hundreds of copies of the statement “US-British-French missile strikes on Syria heighten danger of a catastrophic war” to workers and young people at anti-war protests around the UK. At London’s Parliament Square, demonstrators rallied against the bombing of Syria by the United States, Britain and France. …

Labour MPs spoke including Emma Dent Coad, Richard Burgon, Chris Williamson, and Lloyd Russell-Moyle …

Russell-Moyle said, “The struggle continues, and now with an anti-war Labour leader, we, united together, can lead this charge.”

Williamson said, “Let’s get behind Jeremy Corbyn’s call for a War Powers Act, to prevent a prime minister from ever again taking us to war without a vote in Parliament.”

Corbyn put forward the proposed Act in parliament Tuesday, but Labour’s pro-war MPs backed Prime Minister Theresa May’s ordering Britain to participate in last Saturday’s military strikes without parliamentary approval.

Joel with a copy of the World Socialist Web Site statement US-British-French missile strikes on Syria heighten danger of a catastrophic war

Joel, a university student from West London, said, “It is an abomination that Theresa May thinks she can speak for the people without consulting them. We are supposed to live in a democracy and it’s not democratic at all to take this position and initiate more bloodshed. If she did take it to a vote among the public, she would have lost the vote. So, the only way to bomb Syria is to do it behind closed doors at night behind people’s backs.

“The threats against Russia have been going on for a long time. Instead of agitating against Russia and promoting war, we need peace.

“You cannot believe 90 percent of what you see in the media now because it is controlled by a few people. There will come a time when there are too many of us for them to control. The YouGov survey that said 78 percent did not support the bombing of Syria and it made me think, ‘Do I live in a democracy or a dictatorship?’

“The BBC’s coverage is incredibly biased. We are being told there is propaganda being put out across the world and we are told not believe it, but it is happening right here.

“Capitalism does not work. Right now, 1 percent of the population, a tiny section of the population, are living without struggle and a lot of the country are left in poverty. I definitely believe workers and young people need to be mobilised all over the world.”

Sohaib

Sohaib, a student, said, “I am opposed to wars and attacking other countries. Let the Syrian people decide their own future. May has no right to say if a Syrian house is bombed tomorrow or not. If there were chemical factories, when they were bombed, why was there no smoke or chemical fumes? It’s just an excuse to bomb.

London anti-Syria war demonstrators

“It is totally unjust what is going on in Syria, and we should not be a puppet to the United States. We have got no money for the National Health Service or for homeless people. You walk down to London Victoria Station, and there are 50 people out on the streets, but they have money to bomb. They threw £100 million in bombs the other night. May did not take it to Parliament because she knows the British public are awake. The youth are a lot more active when it comes to standing up and speaking for their rights against war.”

The demonstration in Bristol against the bombing of Syria

Around 400 people, half of whom were youth, took to the streets of Bristol. A spokesperson of the Bristol Stop the War declared that the demonstration was called to “halt the military intervention and demand that our MPs and parliament represent this opposition and stand against this potentially catastrophic move from our government and its allies. Let’s show them what democracy looks like.”

Others addressing the rally were Green Party councillors and Labourites … Bristol’s four MPs—Kerry McCarthy, Darren Jones, Karin Smyth and Thangam Debbonaire—are all pro-war and opposed to Corbyn’s leadership.

None of the four attended the rally. Neither did Bristol Labour Mayor Marvin Rees, who steered through an austerity budget earlier this year that cut £34.5million from public services as well as increasing local council tax by 5 percent.

Maximillian, a student, said, “I think it’s clear to anyone who has been following the situation that it’s an unnecessary and illegal action which has been taken by the UK and the US in Syria. I’m more broadly against war in general. American and British involvement has nothing to do with liberating Syria.

“Capitalism is the driving force in as much as the oil interests and so forth are the only reason we are interested in these far-flung countries. Capitalism is necessitating constant regime-change operations for the benefit of a few corporate sponsors of American and British politicians. There are multinational corporations, therefore we must organise ourselves on an international basis.”

Student Macie said, “I thought most of the speeches [on the platform in Bristol] were terrible…so meek and mild. The British government is lying, they go ahead and bomb and don’t care about any opposition, and all the speakers say is talk to your MP. My MP is Kerry McCarthy, a Labour MP, who voted for bombing Syria and did all she could to stop Jeremy Corbyn becoming Labour leader. So, I am supposed to talk to her?

“The only person who said something sensible was Daisy, who I think was from the [Corbyn-supporting] Momentum Youth. I agreed with her that most young people are anti-war and a lot have seen through the lies about Syria after Iraq and Libya. She also said what no one else did, that we have to stand up to Western imperialist aggression ….

Amirah, who bought a copy of the SEP’s 2014 Congress pamphlet “Socialism and the Fight Against War”, came back to say, “I’ve just read a bit of your little book. I can’t believe you were already predicting that the world was heading for such dangerous times back in 2014. And that a nuclear war was possible. I don’t remember anyone else saying that back then.

“I think it’s really good the way you explained how all these governments such as ours are trying to re-divide the world again and prevent Russia and China having any influence. That makes it much clearer why there’s so much hatred against Russia at the moment.

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Puerto Rico, no electricity seven months after Hurricane Maria


This 18 April 2018 video is called Puerto Rico is on a blackout as we speak. We are in an island wide mayor blackout.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Puerto Rico, with 3 million inhabitants, without electricity

Today, 18:20

Due to a major power outage in Puerto Rico, more than three million people are without electricity. Due to a still unknown cause, the power on the entire island has fallen out. It is expected that it will take 24 to 36 hours until the problem is resolved.

Last week, 800,000 people did not have electricity either after a branch fell on a wire.

Since the island was hit by hurricane Maria seven months ago, the electricity grid is unstable. Also then the power failed on the entire island. Since then, around 40,000 people are still not connected to the electricity grid.

Little compassion

The nearly 3.5 million Puerto Ricans are citizens of the United States, but the island is not an American state and its inhabitants are not allowed to participate in the presidential and congressional elections.

President Trump showed little compassion after the devastating hurricane. He pointed particularly to the large debt that the island has within the USA.

THE LIGHTS WENT OUT IN PUERTO RICO The island was plunged into darkness after losing power entirely yesterday, in what’s being called the second-largest blackout in history. [HuffPost]

THIS ISN’T THE LAST OF THE PUERTO RICO BLACKOUTS And the start of the next hurricane season in June looms. [HuffPost]

‘London Grenfell fire disaster was murder’


Deen Riders bikers’ ‘Honour Ride for Grenfell’ applauded after the Silent March on Saturday 14th April, ten months after the inferno

From daily News Line in Britain:

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

GRENFELL FIRE WAS MURDER

A LEAKED ‘interim document’ into the Grenfell Tower disaster on June 14, 2017 shows beyond shadow of a doubt that every death was preventable, and survivors are demanding that all those responsible be put on trial for murder.

The 210-page interim document, by fire investigation experts BRE Global, was produced to assist the Metropolitan police in their investigation. If the refurbishment had not taken place, which installed cheap flammable cladding on the Grenfell Tower, the report states, the fire would not have spread beyond the flat (Flat 16) in which it started.

The shoddy refurbishment, done on the cheap meant that there were gaps between the cladding and the concrete, which created a tunnel of air that fed the flames. The result was a catastrophic chimney-like effect, which ‘provided a route for fire spread’.

The report exposes that the flammable cladding, flammable insulation, gaps between the cladding and the concrete, misfitting window frames, missing door closers, no space for fire engines to approach the building, no sprinkler system, and a single narrow stairwell, all contributed to turning the Grenfell Tower into a fire trap and the deaths of so many men, women and children.

The report, dated January 31st 2018, says: ‘Grenfell Tower, as originally built, appears to have been designed on the premise of providing very high levels of passive fire protection. The original facade of Grenfell Tower, comprising exposed concrete and, given its age, likely timber or metal frame windows, would not have provided a medium for fire spread up the external surface. In BRE’s opinion … there would have been little opportunity for a fire in a flat of Grenfell Tower to spread to any neighbouring flats.’

During the 2014-16 refurbishment ‘cavity barriers’ were installed specially designed to stop the chimney effect. These expand in the event of fire and seal the gaps between the concrete surface of the building. However, they were the wrong size and some were installed upside down or back to front.

The window frames were ‘significantly narrower than the gap between the concrete surfaces of the columns, 150mm narrower’, leaving large gaps at either end. The result was ‘a direct route for fire spread around the window frame into the cavity of the facade … and from the facade back into flats.’

The draft report was submitted to the Metropolitan Police Service, and BRE was asked to achieve three aims: ‘To establish the circumstances surrounding as many deaths resulting from the fire as possible; ‘To establish any failings of duty of care owed to victims of the fire, both fatalities and surviving residents; ‘To provide expert witness support in relation to any criminal prosecution, public inquiry or inquest.’

Conservatives deporting Caribbean British people


This video from Britain says about itself:

Windrush Son Due To Be Deported Tomorrow In Heartbreaking Call To James O’Brien

17 April 2018

The son of a Windrush immigrant is facing deportation tomorrow and this is his heartbreaking phone call to James O’Brien. Mozi Haynes is helping care for his mother, Ruth Williams, 75, who has cancer. But, after two failed applications to stay, he is due to be removed from the country on Wednesday.

“Every knock on the door you think they’re coming to get you,” he told James in a heartbreaking call. “I love Britain, it’s been my home for so long, but it is hostile, I don’t know if they mean for it to be this way, but that’s the way it is.” The 35-year-old has paid for his own ticket back to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines because he because he felt “too ashamed” to be officially deported.

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain:

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

May grovels over Windrush as pressure mounts over wrongful deportations

PRIME MINISTER Theresa May was forced to bow to pressure today and apologise over the government’s shameful and hostile treatment of the Windrush generation.

Ms May’s apology came as a man who looks after his cancer-stricken mother had his deportation to St Vincent and the Grenadines tomorrow halted following an intervention by Labour Tottenham MP David Lammy.

Mozi Haynes, 35, had even told LBC radio today that he was going to buy his own ticket to avoid the shame of being deported.

But after his mother, Ruth Williams, got in touch with Mr Lammy — who has fiercely criticised the government over its treatment of the Windrush generation — to say that her son’s two applications had failed, he contacted the Home Office.

Ms Williams had said: “I feel betrayed and a second-class citizen in my own country. This makes me so sad, and the Home Office must show some compassion.

“I am unwell and almost 75, I live on my own and I need my son to stay here. I need my family around me and I can’t face being alone. He has applied to the Home Office and been refused twice.”

On Ms May’s watch as home secretary, the Home Office committed to a more aggressive pursuit of migrants deemed to be “illegal.”

“The aim is to create, here in Britain, a really hostile environment for illegal immigrants”, she said in 2012.

Many children of Caribbean workers — the Windrush generation — joined their parents in Britain as British citizens but were never offered documentary evidence of their right to live here and, in recent months, Home Office officials have wrongly targeted this group.

Mr Lammy tweeted today: “This is a national disgrace. What is going on in the Home Office makes me ashamed of our great country.

The Prime Minister must act urgently to halt this deportation and all other Windrush deportations.”

However, he later tweeted that he had been contacted by Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes, who had said that Mr Haynes’s deportation would be halted and his case was “being reviewed.”

Ms Nokes admitted yesterday that some individuals may already have been deported in error. Home Secretary Amber Rudd promised to set up a taskforce to quickly resolve cases.

Today Cabinet Office minister David Lidington said that the Home Office had “no information” of any cases where British-Caribbean people had been deported. He said that Home Office staff were searching records to see if anything had gone “appallingly wrong in that way.”

And PM Ms May told Caribbean leaders at a meeting in Downing Street that the government was “genuinely sorry for any anxiety that has been caused” to those threatened with deportation and denied access to NHS services as a result of not having documentation of their right to remain.

She said: “Those who arrived from the Caribbean before 1973 and lived here permanently without significant periods of time away in the last 30 years have the right to remain in the UK, as do the vast majority of long-term residents who arrived later, and I don’t want anybody to be in any doubt about their right to remain here.”

About 1960, the United States nazi party used to have their own record label. On it, they recorded a racist song, advocating forcible deportation of African Americans: ‘Ship those niggers back’. Now, it looks that the May government was so anxious to be on good terms with Donald Trump and United States white supremacists that they wanted to give open xenophobes at least partly what they wanted.

This BBC video from Britain says about itself:

Lenny Henry Meets up with Sam King to chat about the West Indians arriving back in the UK after the second world war.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Windrush deportations: A racist Tory mess that needs to be sorted

BRITAIN’S shameful determination to ditch all responsibilities to people born in its Caribbean colonies, in common with those in Africa and Asia, is not a recent phenomenon.

Racist immigration laws introduced in the 1960s and Britain’s entry into the European Economic Community, forerunner of the European Union, in 1973 indicated a new global choice adopted by the economic and political elite.

Barely two decades after Westminster beseeched West Indians to first assist the war effort against nazi Germany and then to help rebuild bomb-ravaged postwar Britain, people whose countries had been invaded and milked into poverty by empire were told all bets were off.

Commonwealth preference rules that provided markets in Britain for Caribbean produce, especially sugar and bananas, were phased out and subject to new regulations made in Brussels.

Pre-independence residents of imperial/Commonwealth countries who travelled on British documents and could settle in Britain discovered that their passports no longer did the trick.

They were cast as aliens needing permission to travel to what they had been educated to recognise as the “mother country.”

Children born in a Caribbean colony in the 1940s, ’50s or ’60s and brought to Britain by their parents have discovered that, after being regarded universally as British, they now have to prove their right to this status by providing documents and paying a fee of over £200.

Dumbfounded people, often of pensionable age, are finding themselves homeless, jobless and denied benefits because racist sledgehammer legislation portrays them as in Britain illegally.

Tottenham Labour MP David Lammy has ripped aside the flimsy veil of excuses confected by Theresa May, pinning principal blame on the prime minister herself in her previous incarnation as home secretary for intransigent failure to tackle this humanitarian disaster.

His devastatingly direct accusation that May’s adoption of far-right rhetoric laid the basis for this “national day of shame” hit the nail on the head.

For all that May is remembered for having told Tory conference that their party had developed an unenvied reputation as the “nasty party”, her time in the Home Office exemplified it.

She was behind the election stunt of deploying advertising wagons to drive through streets threatening people with jail for overstaying visas.

May was not surprised by the request by 12 Caribbean ambassadors to meet her to discuss this problem. She knew about it two years ago when they first raised it but chose to ignore them.

She thought a hard line on migration would play well with racist voters and be welcomed by right-wing tabloid editors, which explains why she first rejected the ambassadors’ most recent request for a meeting.

It was only when the Daily Mail slammed the government for the blatant villainy of criminalising long-term residents and citizens in every respect bar that established by backdated unjust legislation.

It speaks volumes about what moves May that she was ready to stonewall the ambassadors and ignore hardships inflicted on innocent people until the Mail spoke out.

Her ministers are now trying to make policy on the hoof, uttering reassuring noises, hinting that all will be well but without real commitments and asking people affected to contact the authorities.

The victims are not responsible. It’s not their job to get ministers out of a hole of their own making.

The onus is surely on the government to search its own records, come clean on the full extent of its crimes and sort the matter out once and for all, issuing a sincere and comprehensive apology to all those treated so shabbily.

Corbyn skewers blundering May over Windrush scandal: here.

Colin Powell’s ex-assistant on Trump’s Syria war


This video from the USA says about itself:

Col. Larry Wilkerson on Syria: War Powers is the “Surest Way to Tyranny”

16 April 2018

As James Madison once saidwar powers is the surest way to tyranny” and tyranny will prevail if people remain apathetic. says Col. Larry Wilkerson.

Colonel Larry Wilkerson is the former chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell. Like Powell himself, he now regrets Powell’s lying speech at the United Nations about supposed ‘weapons of mass destruction’ in Iraq; a pretext for the George W Bush administration to start the Iraq war.

Britain: Syria: Robert Fisk‘s Douma visit shows evidence of chemical attack ‘flimsy at best’, Labour’s Chris Williamson charges: here.

UK government rejects Corbyn’s demand for parliament to vote on war: here.

This 17 April 2018 video from the British Parliament is called Corbyn: Does this mean countries could now bomb Saudi airfields over crisis in Yemen?