Reply to Weyman Bennett/ Sabby Dhalu / Stand Up To Racism & Socialist Workers Party from London Black Revolutionaries
We would like to clarify a recently alarming statement on behalf of Stand Up To Racism posted to us by Dennis Fernado and Sabby Dhalu.
From the hours of 25/11/14 3:00pm - 26/11/13 1:00am. LBR Organisers received a bombardment of calls from SUTR organisers.
We would like to refute some accusations being made.
At 1am of the 26th of November. SUTR approached us with the possibility of some of their Non-Socialist Workers Party members to speak as speakers of both events. We made the democratic decision to of course allow the families of those killed in police custody to speak at the event, as some have been arranged too already. We would like to convey respect and solidarity to all speakers of both events.
Our organisation received a plethora of threats from Weyman Bennett over the phone, ranging from the threat to dismantle and “go to war” our organisation if we continued to “ignore the leaders of the movement” and secondly, if we ever organise events within Anti-Racism, that we must be obliged to speak to SUTR/SWP.
Secondly, veiled threats were received to make individuals known to the police if we continued to host [the event] ... additionally, that the police had stated to SUTR that LBR's demonstration would need heavy policing as it appears to be friction between the two demonstrations. We would like to state that there is to be no friction between the two organisation on the day of the demonstration which is for the sole purpose of Unity. We are disappointed that individuals are using the police as a way to threaten and bend the democratic decisions made on behalf of our organisation as a method to get what they want.
Today, public letters stating individuals names were published and we take this as an extremely threatening move against our Organisation.
At London Black Revolutionaries we take these threats extremely seriously, a number of threats was made against the safety of our organisation and individual members which were redacted later in the conversation. These threats have set the tone and approach of our organisation from the outset towards SUTR and as such, we have chosen to remain separate from SUTR & the Socialist Workers Party.
Furthermore, there are a number of issues as highlighted above, as well as wider political issues which remain unresolved over allegations made against members of the Socialist Workers Party regarding Rape, and as such, organisations and speakers within our demonstration take issue with, including ourselves.
In the same conversation, Weyman Bennett asked for the terms of which both demonstrations would happen tomorrow [Now Today]. The only agreement made was that SUTR’s demonstration would end at roughly 6:30pm and had only been setup in the first place because of his political responsibilities to the families and to contacts in Ferguson. As such they needed a demonstration to take place so that they would appear on the 6pm News. We were assured that after this they would no longer be holding a demonstration, that there would be no presence from themselves and that there would be absolutely no interference of our planned grassroots vigil/protest.
Further accusations have been lodged that a joint event was agreed. We are safe to say that the solidarity vigil organised by London Black Revolutionaries & The National Union of Black Students never agreed to this proposition nor do we know anything of it. The extent of cooperation proposals came at 1am of 26/11/14 whereby it was asked whether we could accommodate some of their speakers. To which we replied on an individual basis it was a possibility, but that we would not be liaising with them [SUTR Organisers] but with the speakers directly i.e Diane Abbott.
Response to new terms:
As stated, we will continue ahead with the arrangements made for our demonstration to start at 7pm. Our organisation will not be forced by threats overt or subtle or lies to bow into another organisations demands, nor will we b co opted or forced into making decisions by way of applying pressure to individual organisers. We are a politically principled, militant and grassroots organisation that puts the working people first. We are disappointed to have to spend time which could have gone into organising a bigger and more vibrant demonstration on political in-fighting from left organisations. We ask that all harassment cease on behalf of SUTR organisers and that on the day both demonstrations will take place as planned. The decision to make a second demonstration at 5:30pm is a highly sectarian move and political motivated but we have no political say and frankly there are more important issues at the moment.
This event is black-led and organised by young grassroots black activists in the local community and is set to be large for this reason. For the sake of showing unity – if we want to move beyond political point scoring and egoistical posturing in who is "leading" any [or no] movement – then please attend the 7pm demonstration and show unity.
We wish to spend no more time on this matter.
We are BLACK - we are YOUNG - We are READY TO FIGHTThere are two sides of every story, but I've had brief associations with "comrade" Bennett in previous years. These included attempts to undermine the position of Stoke Socialist Party in the North Staffs Campaign Against Racism and Fascism by claiming it was manoeuvring to take it over (it wasn't) , and also gossiped and lied about a prominent local Labour Party member who was less than bowled over by the SWP's approach to organising a broad anti-fascist campaign. These experiences in mind, I know who to believe.
What strikes me about the statement is the entitlement of Bennett and his acolytes. Remember, the SWP is an organisation that has suffered the worst crisis in its 60 year history and recently appealed for unity among leftists. What this episode demonstrates is this toxic tub of toy town Trots have learned nothing from their rape allegation cover up, nothing from the revulsion they inspire in the wider left, and nothing about how to repair their organisation. Their attempt to bully London Black Revolutionaries demonstrates why they should be avoided at all costs and never be allowed to pimp off campaigns and movements not of their making.
Hat tip Howie's Corner