Rulers’ Olympic nightmare: the voice of the poor speaks
The media has highlighted the military manoeuvres around the Olympics—the missiles on blocks of flats and warships on the Thames.
But people may not have heard of a “disaster exercise” that was carried out over three days in late April. It was a “large scale multi-agency exercise testing the joint approach to mitigating any risks to the Games” called Green Altius.
The exercise focused on some of our rulers’ worst nightmares.
The participants in Green Altius had to imagine the Olympic Games were in fuill swing when a series of events happened. Their task was to test the resilience of emergency services.
They were told to imagine that the Games was a great success with sunny weather and huge crowds on the streets in party atmosphere.
They were asked to factor in some traffic problems in London and near Weymouth in Dorset.
But they had to be aware of the Voice of the Poor (VOP), a new protest movement. VOP marches were springing up all over the country—mainly good natured but including a hard core of troublemakers called Redcon.
Green Altius participants were told to imagine the Olympics had become a focus for discontent including other protest groups like Fathers for Justice and the United Cabbies Group.
What’s more a “public order incident” broke out in Coventry during an anti-war demo.
Then a gang fight near the Olympic stadium in Stratford, east London, injured tourists and became headline news across the world.
As if that wasn’t enough, French intelligence warned of the New Anticapitalist Party organising a blockade of Calais against the corporate takeover of the Olympics.
I can’t tell you how the exercise ended, but surely we can make our own ending in the real world.
Name withheld, London
Protest in Denmark
In Denmark a group of Kurdish asylum seekers from Syria and Iran are taking part in a hunger strike.
Hunger strikes are taking place in three asylum camps. They have been refused asylum in Denmark, but cannot return home because of the political circumstances there.
Below is a letter from one of the hunger strikers. To contact them or offer support please email me.
Sarah Banks Johns, [email protected]
We are all fiercely opposed to the Islamic clerical regime in Iran, and we fear for our lives if we are forced to return.
We have been through the Danish asylum system, but no one listened to us.
The hunger strike is our last resort. We dream of a simple “regular life”.
Our destinies are in the hands of others. How is it possible to have no influence over one’s own life?
We thought we were going to live in a free country, not a country that takes away our lives, our freedom and our souls!
Surely, it is not much to hope for—a new and plain life in a country which prides itself on supporting human rights across the world.
There are no human rights nor any kindness in the reception centres.
We ran from imprisonment and torture, but we were caught in a different brutal prison system called the Danish reception centres.
But why? We are innocent.
Hunger striker, Sandholm asylum centre, Denmark
A forum for Yorkshire's working class history
In recent months we have set up the West Yorkshire Socialist Historians Group on the model of the London Socialist Historians Group.
We intend to provide a forum for socialist historians in the former West Riding and beyond.
Our aim is to intervene on many levels, from popular history to more ostensibly rigorous academic work.
We are recently retired college lecturers who want to promote discussion of new socialist approaches to history. We will discuss history from the point of view of the working class.
Our initial focus is on the revolutionary north in two periods.
First that immediately following the so-called Great Reform Act and the Chartist period. Second the period of the Great Unrest 1910-21/6.
Contact us if you are interested.
Back Brotherhood while workers build
Phil Marfleet (Socialist Worker, 2 June) is right about voting in the second round of the Egyptian presidential elections.
Revolutionary activists should support the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Mursi over Ahmed Shafiq—who was part of Hosni Mubarak’s regime.
Phil noted the importance of more strikes and protests. However, he appeared to suggest that the main reason to back Mursi is because he is the best of a bad bunch.
But revolutionaries should back Mursi over Shafiq because the workers’ movement is in a mixed situation.
It has taken great leaps forward, but is far from being in any position to challenge for power.
Look at the 11 February call for a general strike by the Federation of Independent Trade Unions. Not one strike took place except those already scheduled by other unions.
The left needs to continue to build its side if the revolution is to be settled in the workplaces and not the ballot box.
Matt Hale, Manchester
Expose racists on terraces
This week’s BBC Panorama documentary was about racism around football in Poland and Ukraine.
It accurately showed how racism, xenophobia and antisemitism are accepted in stadiums.
Politicians in Poland called the programme “outrageous”. The government sent a diplomatic note criticising the BBC’s lack of impartiality.
But denial won’t solve the problem.
Maciej Bancarzewski, Stevenage
Nick Clegg does nothing
UK Uncut street party targets Nick Clegg?
Shouldn’t that be David Cameron? Nick Clegg seems to have done nothing and that’s the problem.
Emma, by email
How Cameron can aid chums
David Cameron has chosen the wrong job.
With so many of his chums facing prosecution he should have been a lawyer. He could then openly help them in their time of need.
Derek Hanlin, Porth
Party on, but dump royals
I don’t want to criticise workers who take any reason to throw a party. We need to cheer ourselves during times of austerity.
But the royals are the only foreigners I’d like to see deported. If Germany won’t have them back, let’s just drop them in the sea!
Name withheld, Wembley
Independence and solidarity
Scots should opt for independence (Socialist Worker, 21 January) is the best article I’ve read in Socialist Worker.
Scotland becoming independent does not mean breaking solidarity with the workers in any other country.
I’m a Scottish National Party member, by the way.
Margaret Ferguson, Inverness