revadnreac_boliviahallRevolution and reaction in Bolivia was the title of the meeting on 3 June 2009 organised by Rock around the Blockade, the Tawantinsuyu Movement and Bolivia Solidarity Campaign.

The meeting hall filled up quickly and the room was buzzing with excitement...on the platform was Marcelo from the Tawantinsuyu Movement, in the audience was Diana also from the Tawantinsuyu Movement...24 hours before they were both being held in Yarl's Wood detention centre, illegally abducted from Communications House and threatened with imminent deportation. An immediate campaign was launched by their friends and supporters, including members of all three organisations hosting this meeting. Action included excellent and urgent legal work, a barrage of faxes and phone calls to the Home Office, including the UK Border Agency and to the airline, preparations for demonstrations (and we were inspired by the recent successful actions coordinated by Colombia Solidarity Campaign to prevent the deportation of a young man) the eleventh hour the Home Office cancelled their removal and bail was granted. What a victory and what a lesson. As Nicki of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! said at the meeting, no one must be snatched in silence. It is clear that collective organisation is vital to raise the issue of Britain's racist immigration laws, the conditions in the detention centres and the deportations that go on daily, returning many people to situations where their lives are in danger.

RATB commemorates the 50 anniversary of Cuba's victory at the Bay of Pigs and the declaration of socialism


On Friday 6 May Rock Around the Blockade (RATB) packed Bolivar Hall in London for an event to commemorate the Cuban victory against the US-backed invasion at Bay of Pigs (Playa Giron) in April 1961 and the declaration by Fidel Castro of the socialist character of the Cuban Revolution.

The event opened with live music from Peruvian singer Betty Rhaza and Chilean guitarist Fernando Vergara playing revolutionary songs dedicated to Camilo Torres and Che Guevara. They were followed by an impressive range of speakers covering many different aspects of the anniversary. 

Cuba solidarity event in London - Part 1

Cuba solidarity event in London - Part 2

Click here for a written report of this event.

bolivar_hall_8_06_10_3On Tuesday 8 June 2010 Bolivar Hall, London was packed  for the big-screen premier of the new Rock around the Blockade (RATB) documentary Cuba: Defending Socialism, Resisting Imperialism.
The event began with introductions from the producers, Anthony Bairstow and Ethesham Haque, activists in RATB, who explained that most of the filming was done during a solidarity brigade to Cuba in spring 2009.
With just one camera, they returned to London with over 20 hours of footage and edited it into a 50-minute documentary which provides a snapshot of contemporary Cuba and the challenges faced by the socialist Revolution. The narrative comes from the Cubans they interviewed - an organic farmer, a state farmer, a lawyer, an economist, and a speech therapist. There is also an interview with a young Trinidadian studying for free at the International School of Sports of Physical Sciences in Havana.

cuban_5_action_12.09.09p1c5On Saturday 12th September 2009 members of Rock around the Blockade in Newcastle held a demonstration as part of the international call for solidarity with the Cuban 5 to demand their freedom.

The demonstration was at Grey’s Monument in Newcastle city centre where we had placards and banners of the five Cuban heroes calling for their immediate release, an information stall and speeches about the case of the Cuban 5, about rendition flights Britain has been involved in and the ‘war on terror’ which is used by imperialist countries like Britain and the US when they want to terrorise Muslim communities to justify their actions in the Middle East and to attack progressive governments like that of Cuba, all the while self-confessed terrorist Louis Pasada Carriles walks free on US soil. There was also a speech about ALBA and the coup in Honduras and how the gains and example of the Cuban revolution are acting as a beacon of inspiration to the working class internationally and sparking off socialist movements in Latin America.

rafael_correa_and_helen_yaffeBuilding socialism for the 21st century in Ecuador

In April 2009, Rafael Correa was elected to his second term as President of Ecuador with 51% of the vote. This gave him a mandate to continue and deepen the programme of reforms and structural changes initiated since he first became president in November 2006. In three years Correa’s government has introduced an unprecedented social and economic programme of reforms – the Citizens’ Revolution – to reverse the poverty and exploitation suffered by the majority of the population in a country which has been ravaged by neo-liberalism. Correa has announced that Ecuador is building socialism for the 21st century and joined the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA).

dayschool2On Saturday 1st November 2008, RATB supported a dayschool organised by the LSE Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! Student Society on the subject of 'Che Guevara, Cuba and Socialism in Latin America'. Attendees heard in-depth analyses of the revolutionary processes in Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador.

closeguantanamoOn Monday 11 January 2010 the London Guantánamo Campaign held a demonstration outside the US Embassy in London to mark 8 years of the Guantánamo Bay torture camp. A vigil by protesters in orange jumpsuits and black hoods was followed by an hour of speeches demanding the closure of the camp and justice for all detainees.

Nicki Jameson spoke at the demonstration on behalf of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! She pointed out that the US presence at Guantánamo Bay is an illegal occupation of Cuban territory dating back to the 1903 Cuban-American Treaty, which was signed under threat of military action.

Despite Barack Obama’s pledge to close the camp by 22 January 2010, this deadline will not be met. Just under 200 prisoners are still held there. Of these around 50 have been cleared but will not be released until the US can find countries to accept them. There may be sufficient evidence to try around 25 in the US, but much of this evidence was obtained using torture.

It is not clear why the US are still holding the approximately 120 remaining detainees. One of the speakers, journalist Andy Worthington, suggested that in Shaker Aamer's case it may well be that his release would be too embarrassing for the US government because of his extensive knowledge about what has happened at Guantánamo.

cuban5report1On Saturday 6th June activists from Rock around the Blockade and the Revolutionary Communist Group hosted a demonstration at Grey’s Monument, Newcastle in solidarity with the Cuban 5 and to demand their release. This action was called in response to the Cuban call for an international day of action to free the 5, because the Court of Appeals is making a decision this month as to whether or not if they will hear their case.  

We were there for 5 hours telling people about the case of the Cuban 5, handing out leaflets, with placards and banners reading ‘Free the Cuban 5! End the Illegal US Blockade!’

One question which is asked often is ‘Who are the Cuban 5, and what’s it got to do with us in Britain?’