Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

Posted on 28 July 2016 at 14:06 GMT

Hackney & Islington Socialist Party  meeting: black lives matter, 27.7.16 , photo Sarah Sachs-Eldridge

Hackney & Islington Socialist Party meeting: black lives matter, 27.7.16 , photo Sarah Sachs-Eldridge   (Click to enlarge)

Great reception in Hackney for Chicago 'Black Lives Matter' socialist

by Hackney & Islington Socialist Party members

Over 60 people, mostly from the local black community, squeezed into a public meeting on 27 July to support and discuss the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States. The leading guest speaker was Ryan Watson, an activist in Black Lives Matter in Chicago, who is also a member of Socialist Alternative - co-thinkers of the England and Wales Socialist Party.

Ryan Watson speaking, photo J. Beishon

Ryan Watson speaking, photo J. Beishon   (Click to enlarge)

Ryan drew attention to the shocking fact that three people are shot dead every day on average by the US police, including many racist killings of black people in Chicago, Cleveland, Ferguson and beyond.

Large protest demonstrations have been organised by the Black Lives Matter movement, calling for an end to this appalling death toll and for those responsible to be brought to justice.

"We need millions in the street internationally saying that we won't take another police officer taking paid leave and then going back to work at the expense of a black or brown youth", said Ryan.

He graphically portrayed the discrimination and poverty faced by black and Hispanic working class people across the US, who make up over half the massive 2.3 million prison population - "even more than in the days of slavery", he commented.

He added that money is being poured into private sector prisons while young black people are denied education because they can't afford it.

Ryan also outlined the struggles involving all sections of the working class that have taken place across the US, from the Occupy movement in 2011 and the tremendous Wisconsin struggle for workers' rights that same year, to the more recent struggles against student debt, environmental destruction, and for a $15 an hour minimum wage.

Hackney & Islington SP meeting: black lives matter, 27.7.16 , photo J. Beishon

Hackney & Islington SP meeting 27.7.16 , photo J. Beishon   (Click to enlarge)

He denounced the fact that "the system - capitalism - is not benefitting the 99% of us" and that inequality is worse than ever: "62 people in the world have the same wealth as the poorest half of the world's population".

The solution, he urged, has to be through building support for socialist ideas, as his party Socialist Alternative is successfully doing, including in Seattle where it achieved the election of the first socialist councillor there - Kshama Sawant - for 100 years.

Hugo Pierre speaking, Hackney BLM meeting 27.7.16, photo by Paul Callanan

Hugo Pierre speaking, Hackney BLM meeting 27.7.16, photo by Paul Callanan   (Click to enlarge)

Also making a welcome speech from the platform was Socialist Party member Hugo Pierre, a trade unionist and member of Unison's national executive committee.

Hugo spoke of the racism and police brutality regularly suffered by Black and Asian people in Britain, and highlighted the case of 21-year-old Colin Roach who died in 1983 from a gunshot wound inside Stoke Newington police station, close to where our meeting was taking place.

He called on the meeting participants to get involved in a 'black lives matter' group in Hackney that can initiate and support campaigns and protests in the coming period.

April Ashley (standing) Socailist Party  and member of Unison NEC, contributing from the floor, photo by J. Beishon

April Ashley (standing), Socialist Party and member of Unison NEC, contributing from the floor, photo by J. Beishon   (Click to enlarge)

In the lively discussion that followed the platform speakers, Hugo's call met with plenty of interest. A number of contributors commented that an organised approach is needed so that guidance can be given on how people can be involved in building a force against racism, police harassment and brutality, and austerity.

This is "your meeting" had said chairperson Claire Laker-Mansfield to the audience at the start of the discussion. One of the contributors showed appreciation of that when she said: "I've never been to an event like this before, where you're able to express yourself".

Three young women from Holland commented afterwards that it was the highlight of their holiday.

The meeting was organised by Hackney and Islington Socialist Party with just four days of campaigning. The night's success could be measured by the number of discussions continuing in the room and on the street outside for over 40 minutes after the meeting ended.

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 28 July 2016 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

Related links:


triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: AGM and review of our local work

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: Pakistan - Lessons of 1968/1969

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: The Tech revolution - its consequences

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: Brazil & Bolsanaro

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: Corbynism and fighting the cuts in Haringey


triangleSorry to Bother You: "Socialist film Botox that made me feel young again"

triangleMay facing Brexit vote catastrophe

triangleEast London Socialist Party: The case for socialist nationalisation


triangleBlack Friday day of action against Amazon

triangleSalford Socialist Party: Who were the Black Panthers?

triangleCardiff West Socialist Party: The Black Panthers


triangleMexico: police silence on horrific attack on CWI member

triangleThe Socialist Inbox


triangleWirral Socialist Party: The Teamster Rebellion in the US

Socialist Party:

triangleWirral Socialist Party: International Women's Day


triangleJobs and homes not racism - kick the Tories out!

United States:

triangleCardiff West Socialist Party: "Socialism on Trial" - United States 1941


triangleIn defence of socialist feminism

Hugo Pierre:

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: Building the fight against racism and the far right

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


Tamil Solidarity

A key task - strengthen Tamil Solidarity campaign



'Tories out' demo



UCU: Vote Yes and Yes in the higher education pay and equality ballot



Hundreds join Manc RMT picket line in solidarity after far-right attack


Car industry

Unions must fight and demand nationalisation to save thousands of car industry jobs


North Shields

North Tyneside: march to save our footbridge


Local government

Nothing to declare? Dodgy councillors hide vested interests



Caerphilly: right-wing Islwyn Labour councillors fight to impose cuts



Surrey: save our children's centres



Glasgow: huge turnout to fight closure of Whitehill pool


Chris Baugh

Re-elect Chris Baugh for AGS



Solid strike by Arriva bus drivers



Disruption of Socialist Party meeting shows need for unions to lead real struggle


Socialist Books

'Socialism: Utopian and Scientific'



North Tyneside Campaigning to save our footbridge

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

January 2019