We have been horrified by the widespread condemnation and demonisation in recent days of those involved in riots throughout the UK. Such condemnation ignores and so reinforces the deep-seated and worsening socio-political context from which these actions arise. This context includes: the deliberate and systematic creation of inequality and unemployment (above 20% in the case of young people); the disenfranchisement and disempowerment of wide sections of society; the greed and immorality of those with wealth and power; an abhorrent programme of cuts aimed at deepening inequality and eradicating the social contract; and rampant police racism, oppression and brutality. We recognise the necessity of placing any blame for recent events at the door of those who create and maintain these conditions and a collective responsibility to act to bring about their end.
In this spirit, we call for the following:
1. An independent inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of Mark Duggan
2. The disbanding of the IPCC and its replacement by a new body, entirely independent of the police, which will have as its first priority the investigation of the 333 deaths in police custody since 1998
3. A refusal to grant new powers given to police, whose recent history of unlawful killing, corruption and racism demonstrates their unfitness to wield such power
4. An end to calls to punish those involved in rioting with increased sentences, vengeful violence and even the threat of the loss of social housing and benefits, to be replaced by meaningful attempts to empower those who are marginalised
5. A united repudiation of the attempts of far-right and fascist groups, such as the EDL, to hijack social unrest for their own purposes
6. The immediate reinstatement of the EMA and the scrapping of university tuition fees
7. The reversal of the punitive programme of cuts that is targeting most heavily areas of deprivation and marginalised groups, including young people, to be replaced by a policy of positive investment and wealth re-distribution
8. The support of those involved in community and campaigning groups, including trades unions, who must refuse to condemn and disown those involved in riots and instead must do everything possible to engage with them, recognising their actions as part of the broad range of responses to the neoliberal cuts programme
9. A far-reaching re-evaluation of our failing economic system that, even and especially in crisis, protects the interest of the wealthy against that of the people, promotes a socially and environmentally unsustainable model of growth and acquisitiveness, and allows the exclusion of huge sections of society from meaningful participation and a decent quality of life.
Nottingham Students Against Fees and Cuts
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