WSF (1996): “No Justice No Peace! London Youth Tackle Racist Cops!”

WSF (1996): “No Justice No Peace! London Youth Tackle Racist Cops!”

From Workers Solidarity, magazine of the Workers Solidarity Federation, volume 2, number 1, first quarter 1996. Complete PDF is here

Riot police clashed with demonstrators in Brixton, South London on the 14 December 1995. Cars and shops were damaged. Bricks, petrol bombs and chunks of concrete were hurled at the cops. The riots have been described as among the most serious in years.

The riot began after a demonstration of about 100 youths was held outside the Brixton police station. The youths were protesting the death of Wayne Douglas, the second Black man to die in custody in six months. In May 1995 Brian Douglas (no relation) died of head injuries after his arrest in Clapham.

They are just a few of the victims of racist cops who terrorise black ghettos and “illegal” immigrants. Of course, almost no cops have been charged for their racist violence. We can not rely on the capitalist courts for justice. Needed are mass action and militant campaigns. Like the great 1992 Los Angeles Revolt against police brutality, the Brixton riots involved both Whites and Blacks. Maximum unity of the workers and the poor in the struggle against bosses and their cops is the road to freedom.


About Lucien van der Walt

I teach at Rhodes University, the Eastern Cape. I’m South African, born and bred. I have long been involved in union education, and have a background in social movement and left-wing activism, the Workers’ Library and Museum, the Anti-Privatisation Forum, and the National Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU). I’ve presented or published 100s of papers conferences and workshops, published in key journals like 'Capital and Class' and 'Labor History', have co-edited 4 journal specials (these on global labour history, African labour, and unions in the Global South), and produced five books. I was Southern Africa editor for the 2009 'International Encyclopaedia of Revolution and Protest' (Blackwell). My focus has been on South Africa, but I have also done research in Zambia and Zimbabwe. I won the 2008 international 'Labor History' thesis prize, and the 2008/2009 Council for the Development of Social Science Research prize for best African dissertation, for my PhD thesis on South African anarchism, syndicalism and black militants. My books includd include 'Politics at a Distance from the State: Radical and African Perspectives' (2018, co-edited with Kirk Helliker), 'Negro e Vermelho: anarquismo, sindicalismo revolucionário e pessoas de cor na África Meridional nas décadas de 1880-1920,' and 'Anarchism and Syndicalism in the Colonial and Postcolonial World, 1880-1940: the praxis of national liberation, internationalism, and social revolution' (co-edited with Steve Hirsch, Brill, 2010/ 2014).