Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Fight for your rights – it works!

Glasgow Fight Racism Fight Imperialism! (FRFI) supporter Dominic O’Hara has won a victory over Laurieston job centre staff who are denying claimants the right to be accompanied and to take notes during job centre interviews. Aware of the benefit sanctions being used against hundreds of thousands of claimants Dominic decided from the start that he would record each interview he attended by taking his own personal notes that could be used as part of his appeal evidence should staff ever try to sanction him.

On 27 June he was asked and then told to stop taking notes by a DWP staff member who claimed that it was ‘illegal’. When Dominic asked for the interview to continue with a focus on the positives the staff member replied ‘you don’t have any positives’. This was noted. Dominic was then physically escorted by staff and security to part of the building which has plastic security screening separating staff from claimants. Dominic described this experience as an attempt to criminalise him for defending his rights. Staff terminated his interview after further attempts to stop him taking notes failed and he refused to sign a declaration for his Claimant Commitment to be reviewed. Dominic was then told he would be referred to a Jobcentre manager, to which he immediately agreed. As no managers were available, he was signed on for his Jobseekers’ Allowance and given an appointment to meet a manager the following week.

Accompanied by a friend and fellow FRFI supporter, Dominic met with a manager of Laurieston job centre on 30 June. Both challenged the manager and forced him to apologise over the behaviour of his staff and their claims that it was “illegal” to take notes. The manager agreed that the DWP had no legal powers to stop claimants taking their own personal notes during jobcentre interviews on their own notepad (not in the work plan booklet). No attempt was made to prevent Dominic’s friend accompanying him, and the two were in fact treated with uncharacteristic respect by G4S security and DWP staff.

A useful leaflet from Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty cites a letter written in 2010 on behalf of the Chief Executive of JobCentre Plus which acknowledges the right to be accompanied to benefit interviews: ‘On the matter of accompanied interviews…We accept that there will always be times when customers attending our premises feel the need to be accompanied by a friend or advice worker and we will always try to accommodate this where possible.’

The lesson of this small encounter is that claimants are not given their legal rights but have to fight for them. With recent declarations made against sanctions by the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), who organise amongst Job centre staff, the time for action is now!

For more details visit and to get active contact

Facebook ‘Glasgow FRFI’

Bi weekly protest stalls ‘Enough is enough!’– Say No to the sanctions, Atos, bedroom tax, workfare, zero hours!  Open megaphone for all.

Thursdays 17 and 31 July, 3.30pm, Outside Marks & Spencer store on Sauchiehall St

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Labour Council to cut access to golf courses!

On seeing the lead article and accompanying headline (crazy golf) in the 20.2.14 addition of local news The Hamilton Advertiser, I was disappointed but not surprised to see Labour council leader Eddie Macavoy blatantly paving the way for future attacks on South Lanarkshire’s municipal golf courses. In his own words Labour council leader Macavoy poises the rhetorical question “you must think to yourself ‘is this one of our priorities?”

Golf itself evolved from its humble origins in the sand dunes of the Scottish coastline as a game for everyone. This later developed into a game almost exclusively for the rich with the rise of purpose build private golf courses and there expensive membership fees. This is where the municipal golf courses come in by giving an affordable opportunity to participate in an important part of our nation’s cultural heritage.

The reason for my disappointment is the widely held belief that a good indicator for judging society is by the number of cultural opportunities available to all its citizens. To those of us who believe this then any reduction in these opportunities would be a step backwards not only for those less financially privileged but for society as a whole.

The reason I express my lack of surprise at this story is that to mask the vicious cuts in council budgets Labour councils and there puppet councillors, who have put up no real resistance to budget cuts, are touting out the same “were in a recession” rhetoric the length and breadth of the country in an attempt to pacify opposition to Labour councils. All the while the bankers, multinational companies and there lackeys in government, rake in the doe on the back of our misery.

This is why in my opinion any attempt to undermine our municipal courses should be met with stern resistance.


Concerned citizen

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Revolutionary Communist Group: Ecuador Delegation Publicity and Fundraising Appeal – December 2013

Hi my name is Dominic O’Hara,

As part of a Revolutionary Communist Group delegation I will be traveling as a representative to the World Festival of Youth and Students this December in Quito, Ecuador. The aim is to increase our understanding of and links with progressive movements building across Latin America. We will be sending and bringing back with us reports, lessons and inspiration that can be used in the struggle here in Britain against ruling class austerity, racism and imperialism.

For a number of years I have been active in our organization Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! (FRFI). I have learned a lot during this time and for my involvement have been subject to three years of arrest and trials on framed charges by Strathclyde police (now Police Scotland). This has disrupted my personal and family’s life and I now have a criminal record.  My next trial is on 6 January, 2014, for speaking on a megaphone during a peaceful static protest against welfare cuts in Glasgow City Centre.  The Glasgow Defence Campaign (GDC) has supported me throughout this harassment. To find out more visit the GDC link at the bottom of this piece and support our protest at my trial.

The Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela, the Citizen’s revolution in Ecuador, The movement towards socialism in Bolivia, are expressions of the masses organising to meet their needs by opening access to subsidised energy, food and housing as well as free higher education and health care. They look to socialist Cuba as a real living example of what can be achieved, even under a US blockade, when the masses organise for socialism. These are achievements for the world and show in practice that socialism is the only system capable of meeting the needs of humanity.

This lesson must be taken up in Britain where thousands are being punished by cuts to welfare while the ruling class plan their next imperialist venture abroad. The poor suffer in Britain, the oppressed suffer abroad. The British ruling class maintain their power and wealth at the expense of the world. They must be smashed. To successfully resist the war on welfare and peoples abroad we must support the war for welfare and for people’s freedom taking place across Latin America. 

We have much to learn and be inspired by! As the Venezuelan revolutionaries say -   
Venceremos! We Will Win!

Support our delegation
Donations can be made via the donation button on the FRFI website (below) or by contacting myself on 07734348065. Please email if you are donating.

Support FRFI work in Britain
Buy a copy or subscribe to our newspaper Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!
Visit our website for latest news and events for areas around Britain.

Show our new film ‘Viva Venezuela! Fighting for Socialism!’
Organise, with our support, a showing of the film in your community. Speakers can be provided.
To watch online for free or order copies of the film (£5 with a pamphlet) visit

Donations to the cost of this work are very much welcome. See the donate button on our blogspot

Glasgow Defence Campaign Court Picket–Defend the Glasgow Against Atos 2! Defend Free Speech!
Monday 6 January 2014, 9 – 10am,
Glasgow Sheriff Court,

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Day of Action! Strathclyde University and beyond...

‘Anyone who thinks the change in 2010 was merely a rise in fees, and that things have settled down and will now carry on much as usual, simply hasn’t been paying attention. This government’s whole strategy for higher education is, in the cliché it so loves to use, to create a level playing field that will enable private providers to compete on equal terms with public universities...the overriding aim is to bring the universities to heel: to change their character, to make them conform to market ideology. Universities must be made into businesses, selling a product to customers: if they reduce costs and increase sales, they make a profit; if they don’t, they go bust. Profit is the only indefeasible goal, competition the only effective mechanism.’  

(Stefan Collini, ‘Sold Out’, 24 October 2013, London Review Of Books,

A one day walkout by staff and workers across 149 UK universities took place on 31 October. Deteriorating pay levels and working conditions were among the issues highlighted. According to the joint strike leaflet produced by the trade unions participating; the Universities and Colleges Union, Unison and Unite; ‘In the last four years, pay in real terms has fallen by almost 15% for most support staff in higher education. This has eroded living standards and we believe this year’s 1% offer is inadequate and that it is time to take action for fair pay’. Indeed; protest is long overdue and serious sustained action is yet to be taken by the unions to defend those working and studying at universities.

The university strikers were joined by 1,000 pupil support assistants in Glasgow fighting against the Labour Council’s demand that they must now ‘undertake specialist health care tasks and administration of medicines’ to those in their care, with little training and no pay increase, ‘in addition to their core duties of supporting the delivery of education.’ (see

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! spoke to staff picketing the main library at Strathclyde University in Glasgow. To avoid victimisation they wished to remain anonymous. One staff picketer warned that “a precedent has been set with the introduction of £9,000 fees down South...we need to do everything to fight the marketisation of education here in Scotland”. Another staff picketer commented that “people feel powerless to change things...we have been badly let down by the unions and the Scottish Government” for their lack of action “caterers and cleaners at the university have been put on zero hour contracts since last summer” and “education has become like a badge, a service...we need more education to look after each other”. The increasing use of zero hour contracts is a central part of this dispute. According to the university newspaper, the Strathclyde Telegraph (Edition 2 – November 2013), 36% of Strathclyde staff are not on full time wages and young university technicians and academics are increasingly signed onto zero hour contracts. The article adds that ‘some of Strathclyde’s catering staff are on zero hours contracts or receive low wages but were too afraid to strike’ and that these same workers were only getting 7 of the 17 hours employment they had been promised per week during the 2012 summer recess.

It is important not to forget the blows that have already been struck against staff, workers and students at the University of Strathclyde.  In June 2011, amid student protests supported by Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! (see, senior university management, including £250,000 principal Jim McDonald (see, voted to scrap Community Education, Geography, Music and Sociology from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. If you go on to the university website now you will politely be told that these courses are no longer available and swiftly directed to the so called alternatives like ‘the University’s internationally renowned Business school’ and ‘our year abroad option which provides an invaluable opportunity to experience study and life in another culture’ (see These ‘alternatives’ in no way replace the courses that were cut and are exclusively geared towards privileged students, financially secure and independent, looking for a career in the profit driven internationally based finance/business sector. For working class students, many holding down jobs to support their education and caring for or supporting families, understanding the collective community and world around their daily lives, is the main concern. In cutting the courses of Community Education, Geography, Music and Sociology the university management made working class students bear the brunt of their cuts. Across the road the public and privately financed £89 million Strathclyde Technology and Innovation Centre is rapidly built with no talk of cuts.

These cutbacks are compounded by the outrageous restriction of free speech and democracy on campus with the rapid commercialisation of university space. In the week running up to a Glasgow city centre screening of a new film on the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! supporters had their posters publicising the filmshowing repeatedly ripped down from the public announcement boards in the Strathclyde university  library entrance. On seeing security staff rip down one of the posters an FRFI supporter confronted them only to be told ‘your not allowed to put anything up which isn’t taking place in Strathclyde University or the student union’. This was not the case in the 2012- 2013 academic term with many free events, of educational value, taking place outwith the University, being publicised on campus. Like the university courses that were cut this censorship of freedom of speech and ideas has been passed with no real student consultation or vote taking place and has the effect of restricting rather than enhancing the ever important ‘student experience’.

United resistance by workers and students is urgent!

Free education from the chains of profit!
Freedom of speech and ideas now!
Victory to those fighting back!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

FRFI Statement in response to GAA Meeting walkout of 18 July

On Thursday 18 July, supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! experienced the latest organised attempt to exclude us from the Glasgow Against Atos campaign. In a concerted act a number of individuals walked out of the campaign unwilling to engage in meaningful discussion about how to take this vital campaign forward.  

A GAA activist pointed out that Atos' corrupt sponsorship of the Commonwealth Games next year in 2014 is a real opportunity to challenge them and that such behaviour should not be allowed to set the campaign back.

A whole range of shabby tactics has been used against FRFI. Slanderous emails and facebook postings have circulated in increasing in volume and intensity and attracted the dubious encouragement of many who have never attended a single anti- Atos event. 

FRFI Supporters face court for involvement in GAA street activity. We have openly argued for the fullest defence of the democratic rights of all. Now FRFI is accused of deliberately seeking arrest as part of a strategy of self promotion. One of the two comrades arrested on the 22 February GAA picket, for using a loudspeaker, has outrageously been described as a ‘liability to any campaign who don't want any attention from the police.' (‘to members of FRFI and Glasgow Defence Campaign’, 22 June)

Within days of the 18 July meeting a GAA member prominent in the campaign against Atos sponsorship of the Commonwealth Games, and not a supporter of FRFI, was visited by plain clothes police. Is he to be slandered also?

Only the vile multinational Atos and its friends in government stand to gain from this backward and reactionary behaviour. 

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! has never disguised its socialist politics and our commitment to the defence of the disabled and the working class. 

We openly argue for the politics of action, democracy, involvement and solidarity because we say that this is how that defence can be successfully built. The politics of those who walked out are the politics of exclusion, control and ultimately isolation. We reject this completely.

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! calls on all those who want to take the Glasgow Against Atos Campaign forward in openess, militancy and determination  to join together in democratic spirit and organisation.

Atos Out!
We Shall Win!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Hamilton Against The Bedroom Tax – Goes To Town With The Cutters!

On Saturday 13 April the Hamilton Against the Bedroom Tax campaign took to the local town centre to hold a static demonstration. This was to show our feeling towards the bedroom tax and to let people know that there is a resistance building to it in Hamilton and across Scotland. Around twenty campaigners turned out with supporters from the local community, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!, RNU Scotland, Glasgow Against Atos, the Motherwell Against The Bedroom Tax campaign and the Unite union joining forces. Buoyed by the good weather we carried out a lively leafleting session for around two hours. The public reception towards the bedroom tax and the cuts in general was a feeling of anger and a sense that we must do something against this seemingly endless wave of attacks against our working class communities.

The widely criticised bedroom tax is nothing but a blatant assault upon the poorest sections of the working class. It is not about how many spare bedrooms you have; it is purely about who can pay and who can’t. We in Hamilton Against the Bedroom Tax see this attack for what it really is and we intend to defend our homes and communities against it.

We aim to work within our local community to build a campaign with an open and democratic structure. We believe that those affected by the cuts should be given the opportunity to lead the struggle. As the Edinburgh born socialist James Connolly once stated ‘None so fit to break the chains as those who wear them!’.

Our next public campaign meeting will take place at the Fairhill civic centre on Thursday 18 April, 7-9pm. Anyone who wishes to stand with us in our total rejection of the bedroom tax and to work towards its abolition is welcome to come along to give there opinion on how we should take forward and build this campaign.

All power to the people!

“The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways: the point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

Danny McGarrell

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Hamilton Against the Bedroom Tax Campaign Launched

On Thursday 7 March a meeting was organised to call for resistance against the bedroom tax in Hamilton, the meeting was called by supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! The call was answered by around 20-25 people who attended the meeting at the Fairhill civic center. The meeting had a lively feel to it from beginning to end; there seemed to be a real desire from within the room to fight this most recent assault of the poor by the rich ruling class.

As a result of the meeting we agreed that there should be a campaign against the bedroom tax in Hamilton and that this will be called ‘Hamilton Against the Bedroom Tax’, that there should be a facebook page put in place to keep people up to date and informed  about the campaign and its future events and actions (which is now up and running) and we also agreed that there should be a day (Saturday 16th March - anyone interested contact us) where Hamilton Against the Bedroom Tax activists will be going door to door around our local areas with leaflets to inform and encourage people to come along to our next meeting on Thursday 28th March, Fairhill civic centre, 7-9pm.

Hamilton against the Bedroom Tax is dedicated to building a democratic campaign against the blatant attacks of the ruling class against the poorest sections of our communities.

Well done to all who turned out for this initial meeting, let us organise and make each one bigger than the last.

Power to the people!
Onwards to victory!

FACEBOOK: ‘Hamilton Against The Bedroom Tax’
PHONE: 07734348065

Danny McGarrell