Civil liberties, justice, crime

Labour's martyrs: the story of Sacco and Vanzetti

Workers' Liberty 3/53, published as a pull-out in Solidarity 397. The story of the Sacco and Vanzetti case, told by James P Cannon and Max Shachtman, who were leading activists in the defence campaign. Click to download as pdf

Nigeria: police killings spark protests

Ejike Ikezuagu and Princess Dandison were among the organisers of the End SARS UK march in London on 24 October (protesters pictured above). They spoke to Sacha Ismail from Solidarity. Since it was created in 1992 SARS [the Special Anti-Robbery Squad police unit] has targeted young people. In Nigeria the youth face a very bad situation; people leave education but there are no jobs. Instead of helping them, the government treats them as yahoos or scammers or criminals. When they see young people with a car or nice clothes or even a nice hairstyle, they will question them, demand to know their...

Start of a new fightback in Labour?

After a parliamentary rebellion over the Tories’ Overseas Operations bill, the Labour leadership has faced a larger one, in parliament and outside, over its failure to oppose the “Spycops Bill”. Where the Overseas Operations Bill seeks to ease human rights abuses by British forces abroad, the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill would allow undercover police and other agents inside Britain to commit crimes in the course of their work. Murder, torture and sexual violence are not ruled out, and the frameworks to authorise criminal activity are very widely drawn. Given the...

Free Assange!

The judge in the court case over the US government’s attempt to extradite Julian Assange to the USA for trial on his WikiLeaks work has said she will deliver a verdict on 4 January after hearing evidence for the last month. That is unlikely to be the end of it, because either Assange or the US government will probably appeal. The labour movement should demand that Assange is released and not extradited. His health is suffering in jail, where he has been held since April 2019. Assange has done much to discredit himself with the left: his evasion of rape charges brought by two Swedish women, his...

A win for Osime Brown

On 7 October, Osime Brown, a young man jailed under “joint enterprise” law, will return to his family home on his release from prison, rather than being taken to an immigration detention centre. This win follows many street and online protests demanding his freedom. But Osime’s fight is still on: the order to deport him to Jamaica (which he left at the age of 4, and where has no support network) still stands. No date has been announced, but Osime still has this threat looming. Campaigners are running a “Twitter storm” on 6 October, and ask supporters to keep signing and sharing the petition...

Rail workers say: Black Lives Matter!

Off The Rails supports the global protests against police brutality and racism.

The issues raised by the protests are not just problems in the USA. They affect us too. Britain has its own history of police violence against people of colour, with campaigns like the United Families and Friends...

New protests for Breonna Taylor

On 23 September it was announced that a grand jury in the US state of Kentucky had indicted only one of the three police officers — Brett Hankinson, Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove — involved in the murder of healthworker Breonna Taylor in March. And, surreally, Hankinson was indicted not for shooting Taylor but for firing at a neighbouring home. Protests demanding justice have flared across the country. Mattingly wrote that “I know we did the legal, moral and ethical thing that night”… The “legal, moral and ethical thing” was spraying 32 bullets into Taylor’s home, in response to a...

Free Osime Brown!

Joe Booth was speaking at the “Free Osime Brown” protest on 25 September. More about the Osime Brown campaign here. Hey everyone. My name’s Joe. Joe Booth. I’m 18. And I’m autistic. And I’m socialist, or activist, or whatever you wanna call me. And first of all, I just wanna say: whatever I say now is not said as a soundbite, or for my own popularity, but because I literally mean it… and I want Osime Brown released! So, why am I here? Because I’m absolutely furious and appalled, so much that it’s actually a miracle I ain’t swearing. Because Osime Brown is being convicted for a crime that not...

Joint enterprise: unjust and racist

British courts' application of "joint enterprise" is unjust, and criminalises black and working-class youth. "Joint enterprise" is a common-law doctrine that allows courts to convict not only the person who carried out a crime, but others who helped them to do it. In principle, that sounds reasonable. But since 1984, British courts have used it to convict people who they think knew the crime was going to happen, even if they did not help carry it out. That has led to a string of unjust convictions, with some people given life sentences in prison simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong...

Free Osime Brown: stop his deportation, cancel his conviction!

Without urgent action, Osime Brown, an innocent 21 year old black learning-disabled man will be moved to a detention centre on the 7th October, awaiting deportation to Jamaica. This is a country he left aged 4 where he has no friends, family or support in. Osime's situation is a grim example of the racist and ableist nature of the British immigration and policing systems. We must urgently stop Osime's deportation, cancel his conviction, and fight to overthrow the brutality that puts anyone in this situation. You can read more about the case here. The campaign are asking all of its supporters...

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