Lee Jasper, Senior Race Advisor to Ken Livingstone (unwelcome anarchy at ESF, Guardian letters October 19th) engages in a crude attempt to portray what was effectively a protest against the lack of democracy and consensus by the GLA in the organisation of this years European Social Forum as a 'racist attack'. As members of some of the UK's leading anti-racist organisations dealing with the daily reality of racial violence for minority communities and its impact on our society we feel compelled to ask Lee Jasper to stop using accusations of racism to provide political cover for what was clearly political dissent aimed at his employer the GLA and the Mayor of London.
We witnessed the protest and that whilst there is never any excuse for any sort of 'scuffle' - the protest was supported by large sections of the audience, with banners highlighting the Labour Partys policies on racism and war and calling for its representative the Mayor not to be allowed to speak in the forum. What ever the rights or wrongs of such protests, Lee Jasper and the GLA must not play 'the race card' to silence these voices.
The ESF did however clearly highlight that our real fight is against Tony Blair, David Blunkett and New Labour and policies which have done so much to legitimise popular racism and Islamophobia and herald the re-emergence of the British National Party. Lets save the accusations of racism for where they really belong.
Piara Power, Director Kick It Out
Ashika Thanki, Secretary Newham Monitoring Project
Suresh Grover, Chair of National Civil Rights Movement
Rajiv Menon, NMP Educational Trust
10/19/2004 8:33:36 PM