Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/854/20627
Establishment witch-hunt in Tower Hamlets
In a blatantly undemocratic political act, an Election Court judge has barred Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman from office.
The establishment media have formed a baying pack spitting hatred and bile at Rahman, Britain's first Bangladeshi Mayor.
The judgement has let leash a nasty backlash against 'multiculturalism' and anti-racism, displaying astounding double-standards.
Rahman has, for example, been found guilty of 'undue religious influence'. Yet no such charges were brought when, in 1980s Liverpool, the Liberals invoked the Pope to try and stop Catholics backing Labour candidates who supported the Militant (forerunner of the Socialist Party).
A big dose of revenge by Labour - who ousted Rahman from the Labour Party only to be defeated by him in the 2010 mayoral election - is mixed with outright racism against a Bangladeshi council leadership. But mainly the institutions of the ruling class want to crush any hint of rebellion. It is outrageous that the Labour Party has been complicit in this.
Lutfur Rahman has not led an anti-cuts battle. His cabinet has forced through millions of pounds in cuts just the same as Labour councils have.
But he did introduce measures the Socialist Party supports - the preservation of an Education Maintenance Allowance and council tax benefit, for example. He wasn't seen by the establishment as 'one of them'.
This judgement should not be interpreted as meaning that austerity cannot be fought by councils. But it does show that a ruling class determined to drive through savage cuts cannot be fought by partial measures on a local basis alone.
Rather than 'Tower Hamlets First', what is needed is to put the working class first and mount a struggle based on mobilising working class organisation and resistance, locally and nationally.
There has been plenty of time since Rahman's election in 2010, and even since the investigation began last year, to refuse to implement the cuts and build up a mass campaign based on the community and trade unions in the borough and appealing to rebel councillors and trade unionists nationally.
The Socialist Party and many other TUSC supporters in Tower Hamlets think that a mayoral candidate is needed that stands on this bold platform of anti-austerity in deeds as well as words. The cuts that will rain down from the new government can be fought; Tower Hamlets can still be defended.
For background and more about how councils can fight the cuts, see 'Tower Hamlets: Government attacks local democracy' at www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/836/19780
Further in depth material will follow on www.socialistparty.org.uk dealing with the many issues raised in the judgement.
In The Socialist 30 April 2015:
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