May day has been celebrated in London since the 1880s.It has been a unique bringing together of trade unionists, workers from the many international communities in London, pensioners, anti-globalisation organisations, students, political bodies and many others in a show of working class unity.
The theme of May day is unity and solidarity - across the city, across the country, across the world. Three constant calls have been made - trade union rights, human rights, international solidarity.
Here are some pictures out of this 2017 Mayday
WEST PAPUA - AN APARTHEID STATE
May the 1st marks the date Indonesia first occupied West Papua, in 1963.
And ever since the invasion, the Indonesian security forces have committed a never-ending catalogue of extreme human rights violations, and over 500,000 civilians have been killed in a genocide against the indigenous population. Thousands more have been raped, tortured, imprisoned or ‘disappeared’ after being detained.
Basic human rights such as freedom of speech are denied and Papuans live in a constant state of fear and intimidation; sexual assault and rape has been repeatedly used as a weapon by the Indonesian military and police. In a public report to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in 1999, the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women concluded that the Indonesian security forces used rape “as an instrument of torture and intimidation” in West Papua, and “torture of women detained by the Indonesian security forces was widespread”. There are currently hundreds of West Papuan political prisoners being held in West Papua and across Indonesia. Many are serving long prison terms for peacefully protesting against Indonesian rule or for being members of organisations calling for West Papuan independence. Filep Karma is a particular case in point, serving a 15 year jail sentence simply for raising the West
Papuan national flag. Conditions in the prisons are often very poor and maltreatment of prisoners is common with many being beaten and tortured while detained and prisoners have often developed severe health problems and been denied access to medical care. Imperialist interests in Papua are deeply entwined with resource extraction - see the Grasberg mine, the largest gold mine and third largest copper mine in the world. When West Papua was colonised by Indonesia in the early 1960s, Indonesia quickly awarded the rights to mine to the Arizona-based company Freeport-McMoRan (under the guidance of Henry Kissinger -who later joined Freeport's board), its workers paid at a rate of $1.50 p/h.
Free West Papua official website
JKNAP- Jammu Kashmir National Awami Party & the Kashmiri Intifada.
We all know, more or less, about the Palestinian Intifada, and in this Mayday the presence of Palestinian support groups/boycott Israel groups was quite strong. Less known though is the Kashmiri Intifada and struggle for independence.
For a bit of historical background, will start from the protests that erupted, in the summer of 2010 throughout Kashmir, the predominantly Muslim part of what India claims to be its northernmost state, Jammu and Kashmir (Kashmiris have always asserted their independence from India). Throngs of young men and women defiantly hurled rocks at Indian security forces and set tires on fire to prevent armoured vehicles from entering neighbourhoods. The few media outfits that did cover the protests began calling the movement the Kashmiri Intifada, drawing explicit comparison to the other longstanding occupation in Palestine.
For fear of having international opinion turn against it, the Indian government quickly clamped down on all media coverage of the resistance in Kashmir and opened its playbook to its favourite page: the rock throwers in Kashmir were quickly dubbed Islamic terrorists. Kashmir is one of the most heavily policed and militarized places in the world, with estimates of Indian security forces in the region at well over 700,000 (the government of India refuses to release official numbers). It bears underlining that the population of Kashmir is approximately 5.5 million, which means that there is one security officer for every eight Kashmiris. The carte blanche given to the police and military and the constant rhetoric of Islamic insurgency have proven to be a deadly and humiliating mix for ordinary Kashmiri civilians. Kashmir has a long tradition of religious syncretism, cultural innovation, and political resistance, but an equally long legacy of feudal, colonial, and now sub-imperial conquest. The crux of the contemporary problem stems from the opportunistic way that the independence and partition of the Indian subcontinent was carried out, and the vicious way that those terms are enforced on the population. When British rule was established in Kashmir in 1846, Kashmir (recently conquered by the Sikh invader Ranjit Singh in 1819) was sold off to Dogra royalty (the Hindu rulers of neighbouring Jammu) for 7.5 million rupees and 6 pairs of shawl goats under the absurd Treaty of Amritsar. Dogra rule was economically ruinous for the population, who were reduced to a condition of abject poverty; the few young people who could, escaped to other places in India, where they were radicalized and returned to raise slogans of freedom, justice, and land reform. Before the partition of India, the dominant politics of the movement for Kashmiri independence, led by Sheikh Abdullah, were a heady mix of socialism and nationalism, not political Islam as is often claimed by contemporary analysts. The unfortunate reality in Kashmir is that it is extremely similar to Palestine, where the indigenous population lacks the necessary social force to repel the violence of occupation forces and are thus forced into taking part in the opportunistic diplomacy of larger states around them.
One of the key figures in the Kashmiri Intifada is Maqbool Bhat, a revolutionary who lived
and died for the struggle of national liberation of Jammu Kashmir which is still occupied by India, Pakistan and China. He was declared an enemy by both India and Pakistan and was eventually killed by hanging on 11 February 1984 at the age of 46, by a verdict passed by Indian supreme court under section three (3) of “Enemy Agents Ordinance 1943.Inspired by Ernesto Che Guevara, he believed “A revolutionary may die but never the revolution “. His message to resist the occupation of India and Pakistan widely spread and Kashmiri youth take on the streets on 11 day of February every year, not only inside Kashmir but all around the world.
“Kashmir: The Case for Freedom”, Tariq Ali, Hilal Bhatt, Angana P. Chatterji, Habbah Khatun, Pankaj Mishra and Arundhati R.
Workers at Picturehouse and Cineworld cinemas have been striking since last September for the Living Wage (currently £9.75 in London, £8.45 elsewhere, as set by the Living Wage Foundation) and for management to recognise their union, BECTU.
Picturehouse continue to refuse negotiations despite owner Cineworld announcing £93.8 million post-tax profit for 2016. Today’s action will take the total number of strike days at Picturehouse cinemas in the last eight months to over forty.Paying the London Living Wage is not a problem for other cinema companies like the arthouse chain Curzon cinemas, the BFI Imax and BFI Southbank – all of which also recognise the cinema workers’ union BECTU (a sector of the 140,000-strong Prospect trade union). The staff are defying attempted intimidation by Picturehouse, which has threatened its workers and their union with legal action over unfounded claims of unlawful picketing, intimidating behaviour, and playing “racial” music on picketlines.
Other supporters of the campaign include actor Ricky Tomlinson – himself imprisoned for trade union activity when he was a building worker. The letter backing a campaign by workers demanding better rights and pay, part of a series of strike action started by staff at the Ritzy in south London, was sent to Cineworld’s millionaire chief executive Moshe (Mooky) Greidinger on Monday. The letter, signed by members of the film and TV industry as well as politicians and writers including Richard Curtis, Ken Loach, Sir Patrick Stewart, Indira Varma, Caitlin Moran and the shadow chancellor John McDonnell, reads: “We find it disappointing that you fail to pay your lowest paid staff the living wage. We therefore support your workers in their call for a public boycott of Picturehouse and Cineworld”
Link to petition
Football against Apartheid
• We want institutional racism out of the FA, UEFA, and FIFA as well as the Met Police
• We fight against all forms of discrimination on grounds of race, gender, creed, sexual orientation, disability, and we celebrate our differences.
• We want procedures in place at the FA to redress the imbalance of white male dominated hierarchy, and football management to be a fair reflection of our multi-cultural society.
• We agree Arsenal / Spurs or fans at fans call themselves anything they like. Yid, Yid army, is anti-anti-Semitic and rhymes and imitates Red, Red Army. Football wit and fun. But it’s certainly NOT alright for Arsenal fans or any other fans to racially abuse Spurs fans, or indeed any anyone, any where.
• We respect Jewish people and we champion Jewish anti-Zionist campaigners Miko Peled and Ilan Pappe and others who want sport and football in particular to be seen up front opposing racist Apartheid and racist Zionism. (Both Peled & Pappe have written excellent books on the subject).
Activism in football
• We plan joint demonstrations of unity of Football Against Apartheid with home and away Anti-Apartheid banners at as many League Matches as possible every week to inform fans, about apartheid. Local rivalries occur naturally in football, but anti-apartheid fans at all clubs unite to campaign against the evil of Apartheid racism and ethnic cleansing at all our clubs.
• As the World Cup approaches Football Against Apartheid will highlight the dangers of racism, fascism and apartheid and campaign world-wide to kick them out of football, and call on people around the world to sign the petition to EXPEL Israeli Apartheid from world football: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/643/930/477/expel-israeli-apartheid-from-fifa-world-and-uefa-european-football/
• We call on all football fans to ensure that fascists never again get a foothold in our sport