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From The Socialist newspaper, 16 July 2008

'Dear Boris' - we will NOT be silenced!

Campaigning at London's Rise festival

The Rise festival has been an anti-racist festival for years, sponsored by London's trade unions. But this year, new Tory mayor Boris Johnson declared that the festival shall no longer have its anti-racist theme. Campaigning and left-wing organisations were banned from the festival programme. The racist British National Party gloated at what they see as a victory.

Unions withdrew their funding in protest. The Socialist Party and International Socialist Resistance mounted protest stalls outside. We made big banners declaring 'Boris - we will NOT be silenced!' which we stuck up on the walls of the park. We produced blank 'Dear Boris' letters for people to send a message to Boris, and made two red 'Dear Boris' post boxes.

Festival-goers of all ages, outraged at Boris's high-handed actions, crowded round our stalls to sign the petitions and post their letters. Over 60 letters were posted in our post boxes (only 11 of them are not printable!). Many others signed our petition and donated. We'll be sending the lot off to Boris and demanding a response.

Some London trade union bodies are now discussing holding an alternative anti-racist, anti-BNP event next year, which would be a big step forward in the fight against racism and the far-right.

We also sold 70 copies of The Socialist, raised 65 towards our campaigning work, and ten people wanted more information about joining the Socialist Party.

Paula Mitchell

DEAR BORIS...

Some of the 'Dear Boris' letters:

"You won't stop people from having a voice. We are all awake and aware of our existence and we are going to fight for our freedom of speech and expression."

"Racism still needs fighting, it hasn't gone away... If you don't make the fight explicit, you are implicitly endorsing racism."

"Bring back the anti-racism theme to Rise - it's badly needed seeing as the BNP are on the rise."

"Your decision... is not welcomed by us and all those Londoners who are proud to make a stand against racism. Why are you so afraid to make a stand?"

"Give yourself a pay cut, think of your everyday people. If you live on an average income you may be a better representative."

"Please go back to Eton and stay there!"

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In The Socialist 16 July 2008:

Global finance crisis deepens

Feature: Price inflation - the sickness of capitalism


Global Warming

Change the system! not the climate


International socialist news and analysis

Sri Lanka general strike

Military threat to Iran stepped up


Socialist Party NHS campaign

NHS - birthday greetings and warnings

Ambulances - calls doubled, no extra staff

Polyclinic courts Branson

Ex-Foley-ated! Union bashing NHS boss resigns as staff defeat pay cuts


Socialist Party campaigns

Glasgow East by-election Socialist change needed

Durham Miners' Gala rejects New Labour

One Wales rule for the rich...

Post Office Leeds: Haranguing in the rain

Greenwich: Employers' hypocrisy

Bangor: Bus protest


Workplace news and analysis

Visteon takeover: Workers' determination defends conditions

Shop stewards conference: Workers and war

Workplace news: In brief


Anti-racism

Notts campaign against the racist BNP grows

Anti-racism stall in Wrexham

No to the BNP's attempt to divide Stoke's communities!

'Dear Boris' - we will NOT be silenced!


The Socialist Comment

Government attacks single parents


Socialist Party review

Live Working or Die Fighting: How the working class went global


 

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