Thursday, 4 December 2014
The video of Eric Garners brutal murder by New York Police Department captures the very essence of systemic culturally engrained racism of the US police and US Justice Department. Its viscerally affected me upon seeing it for the first time as I heard the his series of gasps " I cant breathe..I can't breathe..." I felt physically sick.
This is a international problem, that can be seen here in the UK, with the deaths of Kingsley Burrell from Birmingham and Mark Duggan in London.
There may be those that will be drawing false comfort that such deaths in the US have little or no bearing on police community relations here in the UK. As a former Policing advisor to the Mayor of London and activist of some 30 years, standing I can tell you that nothing could be further from the truth.
In my experience, the relationship between black youth and the police in London, is the worst its ever been and, as we saw in Tottenham with Mark Duggan, police brutality is often the catalyst for explosions of popular rage demanding justice.
All over the world the plaintiff cries are "Hands Up Don't Shoot: and now added to that tragic lexicon demanding justice is Eric's last words "I Can't Breath, I Cant Breathe"
We have come to the view there there is simply no justice to be had for victims of police homicide, not in the US or the UK.
Recently BARAC spoke at a rally outside the US Embassy organised by NUS Black Students and London Black Revolutionaries over two thousand young people attended and spontaneously marched through central London.
All over the UK black and white communities are coming to the conclusion, that even with the most compelling evidence, the system is stacked irrevocably against them and, there are no circumstance's other than a clear and public admission by the police, that they intended to kill, that would lead to a conviction of a police officer.
The question that haunts us is will I or my child be next?"
London,Mayor of London Boris Johnson has abolished Police Consultative Groups across the capital. In many areas, these forums, created by Lord Scarman acted as an important safety valve for rising police community tensions. They have prevented many serious disturbances over the years as many police officers will testify, They were invaluable in times of great tension.
Boris Johnson has now removed the last forum for police accountability in London and the consequences when someone else dies in suspicious circumstances, will reverberate across the country. These important groups have been replaced by majority white men in suits with a few token black thrown in for good measure.
Such reckless decisions are taken in the dead of night, There is no press coverage of Boris's decision to throw black communities to the wolves. The decision fails to recognise that communication breakdown was central in the lead up to 1981 and 1986 uprisings and more recently in the immediate aftermath of the Mark Duggan killing.
Christopher Adler, Kingsley Burrell, Smiley Culture, Mark Duggan, Sean Rigg the list of misery and injustice goes on and on creating a swelling tide of anger that can erupt at any second in response to another death.
Its time to act and in response to this BARAC will be talking to our sister organisations to as how best we can respond to the growing international cries for justice and we are suggesting a Global Day Of Action for Justice and Against Police Brutality. Watch this space.
Tuesday, 2 December 2014
This Friday sees an international conference on tackling Ebola in West Africa . With key note speakers from the Embassies and High Commissions of Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, Nigeria and Cuba. The conference will offer people an opportunity to hear from projects like Melqosh Missions and Liberians In Europe about their fundraising efforts to help people on the ground in West Africa.
There is much confusion around this issue, we are unclear on the actual numbers affected and the global response has been inconsistent and patchy, with many publicly declared, cash pledge commitments from nations states yet to be delivered, Some of these cash commitments are being swallowed up financing military support or the establishment of hospitals.
Of course these medical facilities are critical but the effect of the virus has also seen the collapse of local economies as a result.
The Elbow Out Ebola Peoples Campaign looks at how we can ensure the UK and EU nations can help deliver ethical aid and pressure UK and EU Governments to introduce fair economic trading reforms, that will allow West Africa to release its own potential utilising the vast natural resources of the region.
This conference has seen the voluntary efforts of ordinary people in London coming together to donate their time , energy and commitment to enabling this event. We would like to give special thanks to Mr Fred Gayle owner of the venue, Club Zanzibar who has donated his venue free of charge to the campaign.
In that spirit I ask that you support by attending if you can, promoting if you can't and finally follow us on Facebook and Twitter to receive further information on the next steps for this important campaign.
You can support by sharing our You Tube advert here
Follow us on Facebook here
Book for conference here
Friday, 14 November 2014
In 2007/8 I was subjected to a 6 month smear campaign by the London Evening Standard led by 'investigative journalist' Andrew Gilligan and the then Standard editor Veronica Wadley. They accused me of 'misappropriating' £3.3 million pounds, of forcing GLA officers to fund 'my mates' organisations and for enforcing a culture of ' cronyism and sleaze'. Both were offered paid positions by Boris Johnson and continue to work for the Mayor.
Cronyism and corruption were the charges they gave me.
The standard over that time had made 143 separate speculative allegations and my name and that of my family were harangued and dragged through the mud. In addition 30 black organisations and 17 individuals were also accused
The then editor of the Sunday Times Patience Wheatcroft was drafted into to chair a Forensic Audit Panel to look into all the allegations. DeLoittes Forensic Legal Accountancy team was brought into poor over every penny of spending and all associated processes. The matter was referred to the Metropolitan Police and The Audit Commission, Companies House and the Greater London Assembly all conducted spirit investigation over the course of two and half years.
£1 millon investigation took nearly three years.
The Mayors investigation cost a £1m and took two years 6 months to complete. It took until July 2010 before all these investigations were completed. In that time all of us lived with the cloud of suspicion hanging over our heads. It was the most appealing time and lost of those accused became seriously ill as a consequence.
Result: No case to answer.
These investigations all concluded without exception that there was no case to answer. Of 30 block organisations smeared not one was found to be guilty of single misdemeanour, not so much of a postage stamp out of place.
Of the 17 individuals accused alongside me, not a single person was charged or cautioned for any offence. I must be the most investigated black man in the UK almost every aspect of my private and professional and political life has been crawled over or looked into by press, police or politicians. The investigation was all encompassing, forensic in nature and emotionally exacting.
Lives and reputations destroyed.
The reputations of friend and colleagues, in addition to my own, were brutally traduced. Many were left unemployable and struggling financially, some developed depression. . Many have never, ever recovered from this poisonous election campaign of 2008.
The legacy lives with all of this affected today and of course some people continue to believe what they read way back then. For me I have come to rationalise is it an horrendous experience, but as nothing to the suffering endured by Black activists through the ages.
Sure it was a 'modern high tech media lynching' and deeply traumatic for all concerned, but I was exonerated and we are still alive, that counts as plus. Once Boris had beaten Ken Livingstone by 60k votes the subsequent decimation of cuts to black organisation across the capital was what followed, in a brutal culling of London's black voluntary sector.
This was followed by Local Authorities and the the Tory Government who continued to slash funding to black groups.
I said at the time, this was not an attack on me, but an attack on the whole black community' I was laughed at by some. Suffice to say they're not laughing now.
All this for an supposed £3.2 million pound 'misappropriation' that never was nor was there any substantive evidence for from the outset.
Boris and £1 billion land deal.
Now consider the news item below from Channel 4 reporter @MichealLCrick who raises significant questions about ABP Chinese developers £1 billion pound purchase of the Royal Albert Dock, London.
Apparently ABP were this least experienced bidding company, in terms of completing major capital projects and the largest firm, in terms of Tory party donations.
The issues raised in this piece are hugely important and pose serious and critical questions about the nature of Boris's seemingly suspect relationship with ABP. Huge donations to the Tory Party and major land acquisition in London.
There appears to be an unhealthy synergistic and symbiotic, potentially corrupt relationship between the Mayors onward investment agency London Partners and ABP
There seems to the stench of corruption floating around this whole deal, yet I can guarantee you, that although the sums of money dwarf the amounts involved with me, I doubt whether Boris will be subjected to anything like the same level of scrutiny, neither will he be subjected to an ongoing relentless campaign by broad section of the British press.
Well done Channel 4 News and the Guardian for picking this story up.
Its a rough, cruel and unjust world we live in. More so if you're black, more so if you're poor. The rich and the powerful play games and destroy lives, whilst ensuring the really big money stays with them.
I hope the Greater London Assembly initiates an immediate independent investigation as should the Parliamentary Home Affairs Committee and the Public Accounts Committee. The Metropolitan Police Should investigate any possible corruption and the BBC and right wing press should press for answers each and every day until the General election.
Will that happen? I somehow doubt it. Now if Boris was a black man....
Thursday, 6 November 2014
London is one of the most diverse cities in the world. With a long history of settled black communities you would expect that our city would be at ease with itself with such a long standing history of multicultralism.
But scratch the surface of these glib statements and another reality becomes all too apparent. Young black people face a routine and unacceptable level of discrimination within the City of London retail shopping and business areas, in employment within London's financial services sector.
Here is a tale on twitter of one such young man's experience as he tried to simply upgrade his phone in the London 02 store, Cheapside.
I have summarised a lengthy number of tweets from @ as he described his experience of 02 retail racism;
At 3.23 Eddie exited Canon Street Station and walked into 02 store. A young black business owner, he wanted to upgrade his phone to the iphone 6.
He was advised by the 02 sales assistant on what was required and told he would need a bank statement. So Eddie enquired as to where the nearest Barclays Bank was and set off to get a statement.
He then printed off all the necessary information and headed back to 02.
When arrived he presented the documentation, but was surprised to be told he then needed to provide more credentials,such as company letterhead, in order to prove he owned their business.
Eddie promptly called his office and had a business letter head sent to over to him.
The store then started to process the application and he sat paitently waiting.
Ubeknowns to them them store manager had secretly called the police, suspecting that Eddie was a fraudster.
To Eddie’s shock and horror, two City of London Police Officers entered the and began to question these young businessmen. Satisfied they were legitimate, they left.
The store manager then had the termerity to tell Eddie, that he had called the police as a precautionary measure, before he had even checked the authenticity of their credentials!
After waiting between 2/3 hours they were refused a contract despite providing all the necessary paperwork.
Eddie, now outraged asked for an apology and was refused.
Having suffered this disgraceful racism he left the store.
As he left they suffered on more humiliation, they were offered a ‘chocolate bar’ by 02 by way of reparation.
This is what racial profiling looks like. The police were called for Eddie because he was a young black man.
The police were called with no objective evidence of criminality, they were called prior to the 02 store manager having checked their credentials.
Such is the racism young black people face everyday in the City Of London and as an eager, young business man, Eddie suffered this total humiliation all because of the attitude and prejudice of the store manager.
Here's is a young black businessmen, striving for success, being treated as if he were nothing more than a common criminal.
Do 02 have a policy for calling the police when black people walk in their stores?
Do they monitior the ethnicity of their customers and the service they receive?
How many complaint of racist treatment have 02 had from black customers?
Whilst London remains the pre-eminent diversity capital of the 21st Century, the City of London retail and financial services sector, remains a strong bastion of white privilege and naked race discrimination.
We remain economically excluded from the City. Its time we took matters into our own hands and ended retail racism and broke down the doors of employment discrimination in the City.
I suggest we complain to both 02 and Ofcom, the phone regulator and ensure they get the message that such behavior is entirely unacceptable.
02 Customer Service
0800 977 7337
2a Southwark Bridge Road
London SE1 9HA
Switchboard: 020 7981 3000
Complaints: 020 7981 3040
(9am-5pm Monday to Friday),
Textphone: 020 7981 3043 or
0300 123 2024
If Tory Louise Mensch and I agree on something this going to be news.
We both agree that former UKIP member Jasna Badzak has been badly treated.
We both agree that there appears to be a grave injustice.
We both agree that something must be done. Surprised? You can read more here
We both agree that former UKIP member Jasna Badzak has been badly treated.
We both agree that there appears to be a grave injustice.
We both agree that something must be done. Surprised? You can read more here
Wednesday, 5 November 2014
|Gerrard Batten MEP|
So infuriated was Gerard Batten MEP with the contents of the article and the tweets form Jasna and I that followed, he complained to the Metropolitan Police of feeling 'threatened, harassed and intimidated'.
The compliant from Batten, was that Jasna comments in the article above, an article that I wrote bear in mind, was causing him alarm and distress.
Yet there has been no police compliant or legal challenge to the accuracy of the piece from either UKIP or the Metropolitan Police.
In another terrible twist in this deeply worrying tale Jasna has been charged with 'harassment'.
Any complaints about Jasna political comments, should a civil not a criminal matter. Why are the Met so insistent in involving themselves as agents of Battens political campaign? How is it, that the Crown Prosecution Service has agreed that Jasna is guilty of harassment for calling UKIP fascists, accusing them of potentially committing serious EU expenses fraud, an accusation subsequently repeated by mainstream press.
I find her latest arrest, both alarming and deeply ironic. Notwithstanding the very serious complaints and accusations Jasna makes in my original article that suggest a corrupt network of UKIP supporters in the Met Police, possibly the Crown Prosecution Service, the fact that Batten is trying to silence her voice through criminal as opposed to civil law, is revealing.
For UKIP, the libertarian leaning party of 'free speech' to seek to actively criminalise its critics, reveals the real political character of this 'party of the people'
I conclude that whilst Batten can't challenge the facts of the article, he is confident that he can get the Met to prosecute a case, he can't prosecute in the civil courts.
The serious complaints and questions articulated in my original piece remain unanswered.
It seems to me that Jasna is being subjected to a relentless and on going camping of police harassment.
What is clear, is that Batten and UKIP, don't want the information in this article to reach a wider audience. I
In supporting Jasna, I ask that you ensure the original article and this update ,get circulated far and wide.
Jasna will fight this case despite her failing ill health. The question I ask is why, Greater London Authority Assembly Members or the Mayor himself have not asked serious questions in relation to these matters?
You can support Jasna by sharing this article. offering to join our small campaign team. In addition you could help by volunteering to help arrange a public meeting on these issues.
Both Jasna and I are willing to speak at any public meetings on these issues, please help us get this message out.
NB Support @JasnaBadzak facing political persecution as she attends court on 26th Nov 9.30am West London Magistrates Tollgarth Road, Hammersmith. London.
Thursday, 25 September 2014
Having successfully campaigned against the showing by the Barbican Arts Centre, of Brett Baileys Exhibit B, otherwise known as the Human Zoo, with the full support of over a million people, the inevitable whitelash has begun.
Deputy Prime Minster Nick Clegg weighed into the debate today. Speaking on Nick Ferrari’s breakfast show on LBC. He spoke out against ‘censorship’ and suggested that the exhibition was too similar to that of ‘educational anti racist, Jewish holocaust exhibitions.’
There is a world of difference between the two. The fact is such exhibitions as referred to by Clegg, are supported by the Jewish communities who are rightly consulted, whose support is critical to such efforts. Part of the black condition here in the UK is that we as a people, were offered no such opportunity to engage nor are we afforded anywhere near the same level of respect.
It is deeply ironic that, we the supposed beneficiaries of this show have become further marginalised by the imposition of a Barbican and Bailey constructed, white definition of what constitutes ‘ anti racist art’. A definition that is being imposed upon us.
T his exhibition could be compared to the Aparthied era, whit Krok brothers, Gold Reef City Casino where they opened "The Apartheid Museum."
We are told we don’t understand the art, we are told we should be pleased, we are told that this will help the fight against racism.
Let me make this absolutely clear, it is for the victims of racism to decide what constitutes anti racism, not white arts institutions or a Deputy Prime Minister who leads an all white Parliamentary Liberal Democratic Party.
Can you imagine the outcry if, let’s say a German artist, was to put on art exhibition that placed Jewish people in a tableaux of gas ovens, as a means of raising issues about the objectification, dehumanisation and oppression of Jewish people?
Truth is this idea wouldn’t get past the drawing board. The very idea would be deemed entirely unacceptable and rightly so.
Exhibit B closure: The whitelash begins.
The on going campaign by the Barbican and section of the press to smear our campaign as ‘extremist’ is laughable in one sense, however becomes more insidious upon closer examination.
When one begins to closely examine the nature of the Barbican response to our compliant, one begins to understand how the Barbican got itself into this unholy mess in the first place.
First, the mere suggestion that a virtually all white liberal arts institution could have made a mistake, on an issue of race has been treated as a complete heresy.
That they should then embark on a determined campaign to suggest that our opposition of this show was ‘ extreme’, exemplifies the latent racism that lurks beneath their seemingly liberal veneer.
Our demonstration attended by 600 people was noisy, dynamic and peaceful. This is irrefutable and is proven by the simple facts that there was not single complaint, not a single arrest, without anyone being injured and without any damage to property. Yet Barbican continues to insist that the protest was’ extreme’ in nature.
These are the facts that our white dominated media seemed determined to ignore. Over the last few days we have seen the press bend over backwards to ignore the facts and fall in line with the Barbicans well-worn racist trope.
Yet talk to the police and you get a different story. No arrests, no criminal complaints, no damage to property, no incidents to report.
The Barbican, in using the word ‘extreme’ choosing these precise words, very carefully and deliberately, has sought to brand the campaigners as ‘extremists’
I think is worth of noting this attempt to move legitimate black protest into the realm of dangerous extremism.
We are, of course aware, as black people, that white psychology and perception of black people, determines that for some, any group of black people, whatever they may or may not be doing, will always likely to be seen as potentially dangerous and violent.
However, there were signs, from the beginning, that we were becoming victims of the Barbican’s own worst fears and imaginings. When we first met the Barbican board, in an effort to reach some consensus and understanding, outside the boardroom sat their Head of Security. Ask yourself why would they do that?
The answer is easily understood if you’re a conscious black person. Our daily reality for us we are routinely and constantly viewed by some whites including liberals as pathological, mad, bad or dangerous.
Call Security, Black People Are Coming!
It was clear from that point on, we were being regarded as a potentially ‘violent mob’. Brett Bailey himself describes us as such, in an interview published prior to the shows launch. He stated that the protest constituted nothing more than a ‘baying mob’. This racist trope, from an artist who we are told, is on our side and working in our best interest.
The sight of additional security whenever we met and at the public consultation organized by Nitro Theatre on behalf and in support of the Barbican was surrounded by security and this theme would become increasingly evident with our every interaction with the Barbican.
Both the Barbican and Bailey are popularly considered, progressive liberal, good decent white folks. Yet they are intent on deploying in their defence, that most of popular and well worn of racist stereotypes, the ‘violent, unruly, baying black mob’.
This approach will further damage Barbican reputation and anyone associated with it, among London’s Black and genuine anti racist, communities.
We are set to begin a fresh campaign targeting the Barbican for its failure to tackle institutionalized racism and address its racism in the most diverse city, on the planet.
In the meantime in the words of US hi hop revolutionaries, Public Enemy, ‘Don’t believe the hype’.
Chinua Achebe talking about a white author writing about Africa said,
"...you cannot compromise my humanity in order that you explore your own ambiguity. I cannot accept that. My humanity is not to be debated, nor is it to be used simply to illustrate European problems.”