Posts Tagged ‘Birmingham’

Respect join protest against greedy bankers

Citizens of Birmingham join the protests against corporate greed

Citizens of Birmingham join the protests against corporate greed

Last week, Respect party members, councillors and candidates joined a community protest against corporate greed.

Protest against greedy bankers

Protest against bankers

With banners highlighting the issues around banks holding the general population and government to ransom, local residents and community members joined the cavalcade of protest vehicles on the streets of Birmingham to make their voices heard.

Amongst them Respect party leader Salma Yaqoob, Birmingham councillors Mohammed Ishtiaq, Shokat Ali and Respect council candidate for the Hall Green ward, Rana Nazir.

Writing on her website, Salma Yaqoob said: “Today’s protest against bankers greed and their restrictions on credit, which is endangering many small businessess in these tough economic times, was great fun and highly effective!

Birmingham protest against bank credit

Anti-Bank Credit protest in Birmingham


“The media saw us off and we made a big impact in the Sparkbrook and Springfield wards, getting lots of hoots of support from car drivers and waves from well-wishers. Well done to all involved!”

More pictures here and here.
For more information and to join the campaign, visit www.fatcatuk.co.uk

Join Salma Yaqoob in Hall Green

Salma Yaqoob Election

Join the campaign

Salma Yaqoob is regularly taking to the streets on weekends and wants you to support her General Election campaign. Join her and the team as they leaflet wards in the Hall Green constituency and talk to local residents.

You can meet Salma and the team at 11.30am every Saturday and Sunday at Birmingham Respect’s new office on 95 Walford Road, Sparkbrook, Birmingham B11 1NP.  There is a map here.

From now to the end of the campaign all of Salma’s campaigning activity will commence from 95 Walford Road in Sparkbrook.

Please come along and bring others. For more info or updates, please call: 07812172887.

Viva Palestina Report Back


Salma Yaqoob was joined at the University of Birmingham yesterday by Viva Palestina Student Officer Fiona Edwards at a Gaza report back and meeting to discuss the plight of the Palestinian people and the struggle for peace in the Middle East.

Chaired by Adam O’Connell (Acting President of the University of Birmingham Friends of Palestine Society); Fiona shared her insight from a recent convoy trip to Gaza and explained how the tunnels were being used to transport food and essential appliances despite the threat of Israeli bombs looming, while Salma discussed the nature of apartheid rule in Israel and how action in cities in the UK was having a direct impact on international opinion.

WATCH:

Salma Yaqoob: Part 1 | Part 2

Fiona Edwards: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Salma Yaqoob: In Town Without My Car

Salma Yaqoob - Birmingham Friends of the Earth

Councillor Salma Yaqoob, one of the Birmingham's Post's Power 50, takes the bus to town on 'In Town Without My Car Day'.

On Tuesday 22nd September, some of the Birmingham Post’s Power 50 took up the Birmingham Friends of the Earth challenge to show some leadership and give up their cars for the day on In Town Without My Car Day.

Even senior figures at the council pledged their support for the idea and so we are hoping that next year there will be some officially sanctioned events, but, even more importantly, some drastic improvements in public transport provision in Birmingham and in safety measures for cyclists and pedestrians.

A Friends of the Earth volunteer travelled with councillor Salma Yaqoob as she did without her car for the day.

Salma Yaqoob and her kids - Birmingham Friends of the Earth

Salma Yaqoob walking children Mikael and Aslan to school

Pictured here walking children Mikael and Aslan to school, councillor Yaqoob said “Normally taking the children to school and travelling to work in the morning is a last minute rush. We lead such a packed life so we save time in the car. Today it felt good – not driving. I had to do this. We had extra time to chat. Walking is good exercise and it felt like the right thing to do.”

 Continues… Read more at Birmingham Friends of the Earth.

Photographs: Jane Baker / www.greensnapperphotography.com
Copyright © 2009 Jane Baker. All Rights Reserved

Respect Annual Conference 2009

Salma Yaqoob at the Respect Annual Conference 2009

The Respect Annual Conference was held in Birmingham this year.

The Respect annual conference took place in Birmingham on Saturday with 210 delegates attending. The event revolved around the three key themes of our general election campaign: anti-racism and defense of multiculturalism, opposition to the cuts agenda of the mainstream parties, and international solidarity.

The opening session was introduced by Respect party leader Salma Yaqoob. Salma laid into New Labour for creating the conditions under which the BNP has grown; with its attacks on the Muslim community and increasingly anti-immigrant rhetoric.

Salma Yaqoob speaks at the Respect Annual Conference 2009

Salma Yaqoob

She described how, since 9/11, Labour has resisted any examination of the disastrous role of its own foreign policy in creating a homegrown terrorist threat, leaving the impression that there is something intrinsic to the religon and culture of British Muslims that presents a threat to British society. She cited Jack Straw’s attacks on Muslim women who wear niqab; the attacks on mainstream Muslim organisations like the MCB and MAB for “sitting on the sidelines” in the fight against terrorism from the former Secretary for State for Communities, Ruth Kelly; and the Preventing Violent Extremism agenda, now described by Liberty as the ‘biggest spying operation’ since the Cold War.

Delegates at the Respect Annual Conference 2009

Conference delegates

Similarly when Gordon Brown says that he wants ‘British jobs for British workers’, or ‘local homes for local people’, or curbs on immigration, he is stoking the fires of fear and intolerance that the BNP are the primary beneficiaries of. Salma challenged myths about immigrants being responsible for the recession or shortages in housing and concluded by emphasising Respect’s twin track approach in tackling racism: On the one hand, upholding and defending multiculturalism and challenging all forms of racism; and on the other hand, challenging the social inequality that allows the politics of resentment and division to breed.

The following discussion was by far the best of the conference. Not only was the quality of contributions largely very impressive, but they also conveyed a deep sense of commitment to tackling racism and an engagement in that struggle.

George Galloway at the Respect Annual Conference 2009

George Galloway

The second session was introduced by George Galloway, focusing on the recession and the politics of an alternative to economic crisis. Unfortunately, the discussion became distorted by those advocating the yet to be born ‘son-of-No2EU’.

An account of what followed, by an observer from the Green Left, accurately conveyed George’s response: ‘Galloway absolutely hammered No2EU in particular for standing against Peter Cranie in the North West… and refused to entertain any talk of coalition with the son of NO2EU.’ In addition to hammering NO2EU for effectively letting the BNP in (‘if the left had united it would have been Peter Cranie on Question Time not Nick Griffin’) he was scathing about the exaggeration being peddled about son-of-NO2EU. Contrary to claims by Ian Donovan, there were not ‘three national unions’ supporting this initiative; the reality was that three national union secretaries addressed a meeting in a personal capacity on working class political representation. George predicted the FBU would not support any so-called ‘new coalition’ and ridiculed the idea that the Prison Officers Association were now in the vanguard of building a far-left of Labour alternative, saying this would come as a bit of a surprise to any prisoner, especially those black, Irish or Muslim prisoners who had been on the receiving end of dealings with ‘screws’.

A sharp tone was adopted by both George and Salma towards an increasingly marginal current of opinion in Respect that sees our future as part of a coalition of the far left. The tone reflects the degree of frustration with an argument, just 6 months before a General Election, over backing a coalition with no name, no policies and no electoral credibility.

Nick Wrack at the Respect Annual Conference 2009

Nick Wrack

It also reflects a clear difference of strategy. As both George and Salmaexplained, we are focused on building unity and working with others, but we reject the narrow conception of left unity that gives pride of place to organizations with absolutely no popular support. Respect’s former National Secretary, Nick Wrack, came in for particular criticism, with Salma pointing out the irony of his calls for ‘left unity’ when he was one of those insisting that Respect should stand against the Greens in the North-West European region.

The message was delivered loud and clear: we wish all those who want to join the ‘coalition with no name’ well on their journey, and where we can establish friendly relations with any other progressive party or coalition we will do so, but we have an opportunity to advance the left by getting Respect MPs elected. If we fail, it will not be for the want of trying.

Andrew Murray at the Respect Annual Conference 2009

Andrew Murray

The final session was introduced by Andrew Murray who received a standing ovation for his passionate call for opposition to the war in Afghanistan and for Respect to use its strengths to help Stop the War reconnect with its core support. He was followed by Francisco Dominguez from the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign, who painted a vivid picture of the Bolivarian revolution 10 years on, the threats it faces, and the importance of international solidarity. Finally, Kevin Ovenden outlined exciting new developments in Palestinian solidarity, describing the way that Viva Palestina was fast becoming a global campaign, finding new and significant support in Malaysia among other places, and deepening its productive relationship with the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign.

Delegates vote at the Respect Annual Conference 2009

Delegates vote

There was genuine and sharp debate at this conference. And the outcome was clear. Respect’s leadership is absolutely determined that the influence of the ultra-left will remain marginal. There is no place for the kind of political sectarianism that is indifferent to a Tory victory or bitterly hostile to cooperation with the Green Party. Such views, often articulated by politically irrelevant grouplets of the far left, are an obstacle to the growth of a radical party of the left. The potential for a serious radical and left-wing party will be determined by its ability to speak to the millions who are essentially disillusioned Labour

Respect Annual Conference 2009

Respect Conference

supporters, and its ability to provide convincing alternatives to the politics of war, racism and cuts.
I fully expect the new National Council, on which the more sectarian voices are a shrinking minority, to drive through this perspective more forcefully in the coming year.

A report by Ger Francis


[Videos for this event will be available soon. Picture gallery on the Birmingham Respect facebook group: here]

Additional reports:

Respect Conference – Andy Newman, Socialist Unity (15.11.09)

Respect Conference in Birmingham today – Derek Wall (Green Party), Another World is Possible (14.11.09)

Salma Yaqoob: Why the EDL march must be banned from Birmingham

“The English Defence League claimed they only came to protest against Islamic extremism but they actually came to spread hatred and division.

One of their ringleaders, Paul Ray, made his intentions very clear when he stated, on TalkSport Radio, ‘his opposition to all Muslims practising their faith in Britain’.

Everyone has a right to their opinions but no one has the right to incite hatred on the basis of faith or race.

I am concerned there is an equivalence being made between these people, who came to provoke trouble, and people who stand against fasicsm and racism. There is no equivalence and it is wrong that people have been allowed to come into the city centre with this intent for trouble.

The fascists wants to see social disorder, especially scenes of violence between Muslim youth and white people, because then they can hold it up as ‘evidence’ of the ‘failure’ of multiculturalism.

Of course, our message is ‘do not be provoked’. We don’t want to see any scenes of violence in our Birmingham city centre; but the reality is they know some of these tactics have worked as in the past in Burnley, Oldham and Stoke where they instigated race riots and since that polarisation, they have benefited in their votes.

I believe the English Defence League’s so-called ‘protests’ are simply a repeat of this formula which they want to bring to Birmingham and other cities across the country.

I call on politicians from all parties, civic leaders and faith representatives to condemn the racist intent behind these so-called demonstrations and also call for the banning of any future such protests in our city.

Luton has also seen protests by the EDL and Casuals United, which have resulted in violence, and the police there have actually responded to a public outcry about this by calling for a ban.

Chief Superintendent Andy Frost, Divisional Commander for Luton police, said:
“The risk the proposed marches pose to public safety has left us with no alternative but to apply for a banning order.”

Alan Johnson, the Home Office Minister, granted this banning order in Luton, because he received over 14,000 letters directly to himself and the Chief Constable there, saying that they wanted a ban.

I urge people in Birmingham to write to Alan Johnson, as well as to the Chief Constable here to urge for a similar ban.

I love being a Brummie, I’m proud that Birmingham is a multicultural and diverse city. Let’s not be divided by the racists.”

To request a ban, please write to:

Alan Johnson MP (Home Secretary): public.enquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

Chief Constable Chris Simms (West Midlands Police): contactus@west-midlands.pnn.police.uk

VIDEO: Salma Yaqoob | Public Meeting: Birmingham united against fascism



Birmingham city councillor Salma Yaqoob, joined by Adrian Goldberg, Khalid Mahmood MP, John Hemming MP, Cllr Judy Foster, Chief Insp Adrian Atherley and Apache Indian, calls on the West Midlands Police to ban a march by far-right groups planned for September; following the violence erupted amidst an EDL – Casuals United demonstration on 8th August in the city.

Date: Sunday 23rd August 2009
Venue: Birmingham Council House, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B1.