(Open) Letter to the organisers of Love Music, Hate Racism / SWP

Well the Socialist Worker Party’s comment form on the rose-tinted sweetness and light article about the festival isn’t working, so I’ll post this here:

“I was one of the people at the Love Music Hate Racism carnival, too young for the original Rock Against Racism but regard that concert with great respect.

Overall it was a great festival, but with a few major issues.

It’s a shame though that unlike the Pride events held at Victoria Park in the 90s there was fences and police everywhere, people confiscating or refusing entry to people with plastic water bottles (not just glass and alcohol) – but a really poor selection of alcohol inside.

But the biscuit was taken (away) by the police stopping the event – the aforementioned PCS tent. It wasn’t unsafe – in fact the tent was part empty – and people were just having a good time. I don’t expect the police at a political event to just shut the tent down at 5:20 for no explained reason – leaving DJ Hype and the poor MC to try and explain after getting us to step back, which we did. It was lucky that there wasn’t a riot…

Yes people had a great time, and it was the one part of the LMHR I felt racial and cultural divides breaking down with people dancing to everything to banghra to drum and bass – but I find it odd that the police would be in control of such an event, given the SWP/IS history. And as we left the organisers (not police) were rudely barking at people to move out of the way, but most of the problem was the ice cream van parked in front of the exit.

Also the irony of asking people to buy tshirts and bags to support the event. Capitalism anyone? Oh it’s ok to wear a tshirt if it has the right logo on it? Very dodgy.

So although I did have a good time, I did feel LMHR and SWP and the Unions involved were skating a very fine line –  I was left feeling disheartened rather than empowered, and felt that rather than talk to someone about it they’d rather sell me a tshirt.

So this is the revolution in action is it?”

I was talking about this with John (who is a member of the SWP, I am most definitely not although have leanings that way) – I think the festival compromised the SWP and LMHR and various groups involved.

They became the very things they railed against.

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