December 17th; Mohamed Bouazizi sets himself alight in Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia. January 25th; tens of thousands of demonstrators descend on Tahrir Square, Egypt. February 14th; the people rise up in Manama, Bahrain. Tomorrow, on March 26th, hundreds of thousands are expected to march in London, to demonstrate against the government. Activists have called for the people to occupy Trafalgar Square for twenty-four hours. Some think it should be longer. On March 27th, the government, aided by US arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin, plan to conduct a nation-wide Census of people’s personal details, including the names, ages and genders of any overnight guests. Unfortunately for them, it seems that no-one will be at home.
The ConDemn government have no mandate to take the actions they are; yes, we had an election, but no political party won. The logic of “let’s put our votes together so we have enough for a majority” is fundamentally flawed. Sometimes, you wonder how long it will be until all three of the major political parties are conjoined in a “coalition”.
The sheer arrogance of the current government would be something to laugh at, if it wasn’t causing suffering to so many people. As thousands of people lose their jobs, our education is split into two tiers for poor and rich, and local services are cut across the board, our government spend their money on bombing people in Libya. That is not to say that we, or at least Shell and BP, will not make huge financial profits from the war; it is to say that we oppose killing people.
On the home front, the police continue in their role of carrying out the government’s dirty work. At a packed out meeting of the Justice for Smiley Culture Campaign in Brixton Town Hall, with over 1000 people in attendance, it was stated that in the last ten years, one person per week has died whilst in police custody. How many police officers have been convicted for those deaths? Zero. If an uprising is to occur in England, it will be communities like that of Brixton which will provide the spark.
Our young people must be prepared to protect and defend themselves on Saturday. We do not want to see a repeat of the aftermath of the Gaza demonstrations in London during Operation Cast Lead, when scores of youth, overwhelmingly Muslim, were arrested from their homes in dawn raids and handed down lengthy sentences, as a deterrent from attending future demonstrations.
The struggle we are facing is a long and arduous journey, but it has to begin somewhere. What better place than here, what better time than now.