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"Unwelcome anarchy at the ESF"

ftp | 19.10.2004 07:39 | European Social Forum | London

A letter appears in the Guardian today, written by Ken's race man Lee Jasper, Ashok Viswanathan of Operation Black Vote and Pav Akhtar "NUS black students officer ".
It accuses an "exclusively white group of anarchists" of storming a "platform of black and Jewish speakers" and punching a black man and stealing his mobile phone.......

We agree with your appreciation of the success of the European Social Forum (Leaders, October 18). However, the storming of the stage of the anti-racist and anti- fascist session on Saturday had nothing to do with how the event was organised. It was the attempt of a tiny minority who oppose the ESF and have had no involvement in it to undemocratically impose their views on the majority and suppress other views by using physical violence.
It was carried out by an exclusively white group of anarchists who had no involvement in the ESF. They entered the building, stormed the platform of black and Jewish speakers, punched the black chair of the session and stole his mobile phone. The next day the same group tried to storm the stage of the demonstration, tearing down the crash barriers and assaulting ESF stewards.

We have never seen such behaviour in the progressive movement in Britain before and it should be totally condemned. The ESF was created to allow democratic discussion of the whole range of views within the social justice movement. No viewpoint was excluded and it is totally unacceptable for a tiny minority to attack that democratic process by using physical violence. That is all the more the case when they violently attack black people to stop us from discussing how to fight racism and fascism.
Lee Jasper
Secretary, National Assembly Against Racism
Ashok Viswanathan
Deputy coordinator, Operation Black Vote
Pav Akhtar
NUS black students officer

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