The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement in Britain took another significant step forwards last night, Wednesday, as over 100 people met at Shacklewell Lane mosque in east London.
The meeting was called to discuss ways forward for the BLM movement and to begin the process of forming a national organisation. Other BLM groups have begun to be organised in other areas of the country.
People travelled to the meeting from across London and the south of England. The debate and contributions carried on for three hours as people discussed everything from trade unions and financing the campaign to music and culture.
People shared their stories of police brutality and racism. One family told about how they are still fighting for justice after many years.
Dwain Mae told Socialist Worker, “You may not have the law’s backing but, at the end of the day, knowledge is power.”
Andrea Mae agreed, “We have to take them down.”
Other people talked about practical next steps forward. For example, taking a radical message of resistance to the Notting Hill Carnival in London on August bank holiday.
Weyman Bennett from the SWP argued, “We need to take over part of Carnival with Black Lives Matter.
“When I was young, the police didn’t tell us when carnival finished, we told them. We need to take it back.”
Harold from south London agreed, “We want to reclaim Notting Hill from Tories such as David Cameron who live there.”
Other people argued that the campaign’s focus should be on supporting black-owned businesses.
Another key argument was whether or not the campaign should meet with the police.
Not all of these arguments were resolved at the meeting. The continuing debate is a reflection of the breadth of the movement and ideas will be tested out and clarified in practice as the campaign continues.
Speaking to Socialist Worker after the meeting, one of the organisers Capres Turner said, “It was very constructive. Now we have solid ideas to take forward, more people are getting involved in organising things and the ball is rolling.”
A sign of how seriously the police are taking BLM was given when two Met Police commanders turned up at the end of the meeting to talk to the organisers.
They wanted to organise a meeting between BLM and the Met and to get BLM to condemn young people defending themselves from police the previous night in Hyde Park and Stamford Hill.
The organisers refused this kind offer.
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