North London Unity

IssueSeptember 2011
Feature by Unity Assembly

On 13 August, 3,000 people of all ages and backgrounds, mainly from Hackney and Haringey, but with additional support from all around London, marched from Gillet Square, Dalston in Hackney, to Tottenham Green in Haringey. The march was organised and publicised just two days before by the hastily-formed North London Unity Assembly initiated mainly by Turkish organisations and the Haringey and Hackney Anti-cuts Alliances.

The aim was to provide a united community response to the recent disturbances, especially those in Tottenham and Hackney, and to the causes of despair and frustration that can result in riots. The march was led all the way by a dozen children behind a huge “Give Our Kids A Future!” banner, followed by a mass of placards and banners from a wide range of community groups, trades union branches and political organisations as well as hand-crafted placards from scores of individuals. Up to 10,000 leaflets were distributed to the public – text below. The march, which progressed without incident, finished with an “open mic” rally outside Tottenham Town Hall. This consisted of short but heart-felt speeches from over 30 of the marchers explaining how they felt about the recent disturbances and putting forward their views on the way forward for a better future for our youth and for our communities generally.

The Unity Assembly is calling for a culture of valuing, not demonising, youth and unemployed people; support for those affected by the rioting, including the immediate rehousing of people made homeless, grants for affected small businesses, and restoration of damaged areas; reversal of all cuts to youth services in our boroughs; no cuts to public services, but instead, investment into community-led regeneration of our communities, including access for all to decent housing, jobs, education and sports facilities; an independent community inquiry into policing methods in our boroughs, and an end to discriminatory stop and search; and availability of legal support for all those people arrested by police.

The North London Unity Demonstration was called by an ad hoc open assembly of 70 community activists on 9 August. Supporters included: Hackney Alliance to Defend Public Services, Haringey Alliance for Public Services, Day-Mer (Turkish and Kurdish Community Centre), North London Community Centre, Day-Mer Youth, Alevi Cultural Centre, Fed-Bir, Black Activists Rising Against Cuts, Kurdish Community Centre: Roj Women, Halkevi, Gik-Der (Refugee Workers Cultural Association), Britannia Peace Council: Hundred Flowers Cultural Centre, TOHUM, Stratford RMT branch, Socialist Party, Youth Fight For Jobs, Right To Work, Red Pepper, Haringey Solidarity Group, SWP, Haringey Trades Union Council, Hackney Trades Union Council, Queer Resistance, Coalition of Resistance, Peoples Assemblies Network.