The Riots

The following resolution submitted by Stratford No 1 was carried unanimously at the Regional Council meeting on September 29th

There has been rioting and looting in London and spreading across the country. People in working-class communities have looked on with fear as riots destroyed local shops and left some people homeless. We do not support actions which harm working-class communities or attacks on firefighters or ambulance personnel. But these events demand a response which goes beyond mere condemnation. We should ask why are our young people so angry and alienated, and how can we support and unite our communities?

The police killing of Mark Duggan, which has acted as the spark for disturbances across London and now in other cities, is not an isolated incident. Violence in custody, predominantly against black people, is routine. Deaths in custody, under restraint, or in raids, are obscenely widespread and regular. Stop and search is used as a daily form of humiliation. Police brutality against demonstrations and any form of political dissidence has increased.

The savage spending cuts imposed upon us by the Coalition Government weaken our communities and create anger and despair, and have fallen disproportionately on the young, the vulnerable and the unemployed. Meanwhile, in the last year alone, the combined fortunes of the 1,000 richest people in Britain rose by 30% to £333.5billion. The wealthy bankers who caused the economic crisis continue to loot the system while the jobs and pensions of public sector workers - the people dealing with the aftermath of the riots - are under threat.

Particularly since Margaret Thatcher preached that there is "no such thing as society", there has been a growth in an individualist, consumerist culture. Further, many millions of working-class people, especially youth, feel that no-one speaks for them or listens to them. John McDonnell MP was right when he said: "We are reaping what has been sown over the last three decades of creating a grotesquely unequal society with an ethos of grab as much as you can by any means. A society of looters created with MPs and their expenses, bankers and their bonuses, tax-evading corporations, hacking journalists, bribe-taking police officers, and now a group of alienated kids are seizing their chance. This is not to condone but to understand."

We resolve to support the Hackney-to-Tottenham unity march this Saturday, and similar events. We also resolve that RMT will work with other trade unions and community groups - including through trades councils and anti-cuts groups - to:
- campaign against cuts, for police accountability, for jobs, and for the rebuilding of working-class communities in the interests of their residents
- organise in local communities and provide constructive, effective forms of resistance
- oppose attacks on civil liberties that may come in the wake of the riots
- organise the unemployed, young workers, and those in insecure, low-paid employment