Politics Weekly: Tottenham RIOTS AND RIGHTS: Bernie Grant Arts Centre & Broad Water Farm

“…There is a common feeling, by the Town Hall there, that black people have some heritage, some rights, some history, because these are the buildings that establish the black community…” -Andrew

Reporting, Base Camp, Tottenham, London

Sunday 29th September, 2019

“There is a common feeling, by the Town Hall there, that black people have some heritage, some rights, some history, because these are the buildings that establish the black community.”

“Bernie Grant Arts centre, the Marcus Garvey Centre, and there is also the Afro Caribbean Church…”

Initially, “Broad Water Farm, was a community hub… they had dancing, events, music, a grocery, a bar, pool.”

Broad Water Farm has a long standing history to it, that became somewhat ‘political’ Andrew says, after the killing of PC.

“It became ‘political’ when they killed PC”.

“PC was knighted, after he got killed”.

“Do you know anyone who lives there ?”

“Yes, I know Sticks, Peter etc”

“Do you still go down there ?”

Since PC got killed, they moved everyone out, refurbished everything, knocked down the towers and moved everyone into lower social housing.

“It has a bad reputation”, he adds.

That’s why it becomes political now.

You see blokes walking in there “with packages, drugs, I got robbed 3 times, then there’s the police stop and searches”.

“I don’t go down there anymore,” Andrew tells me.

*

Ki**er’s friend also, who owns an Off Licence there, an older Rastafarian, got stabbed, whilst smoking a spliff outside his shop, by the Wood Green (?) boys, they say. 

Then, another Wood Green boy got murdered, “stabbed and shot”, outside McDonalds in Wood Green.

“I haven’t been able to go to McDonald’s since”, I tell *.

“I got recruited just after him” * tells me.

“It’s a turf war” * explains.

It’s just business really, you’re taking my customers, that’s the same as a hostile take-over bid for the target’s boardroom ! 

Hence the knives and guns.

“The same happened to Wayne, but it was ‘mistaken identity’.”

“Don’t do this to me, you can’t tell me that someone is gone, dead, because of ‘mistaken identity’.”

“Are the customers the problem ?” I ask.

I have previously heard of cab drivers and drug dealers being held to gun point or knife point, (black and asian and mediterranean’s as a matter of fact, by white junkies) over a payment.

“No, the problem (the threat) are the police,” * replies.

“So if we just legalise cannabis, that will solve the problem of turf wars (?)” I ask.

“The problem is not weed, weed is relatively safe, the problem is crack”, * tells me.

*

Crack or Cocaine, is the world’s biggest ‘commodity’.

It has the largest turn-over, Andrew explains to me.

And you have to understand, some are physically, and or mentally ill, and or, on drugs themselves.

Money does not make the world go round, drugs do.

Immigration and visa and work permits, are also a problem, ‘Brexit’, too, this means many more Eastern Europeans, are no longer entitled to the same benefits that they used to be entitled to, and find themselves, now ‘on the street’ or in the black market.

Not to mention, the Meditaraneans as well, the Greeks, many Italian prostitutes are being trafficked into this country.

*

“So what happens, if you need to go to the 24 Hour ASDA’s in Hackney then ?”

As we walk down the main road, a car stops, winds down the shaded windows, and glares at me.

“Why do cars do that to me?”

They are having a change-over * explains to me.

“What’s that ?”

They’re delivering drugs, and checking that there are no police before passing it to another vehicle, basically.

“They think you’re police haha,” *laughs at me.

This has happened to me before, I  got stopped and searched, with my friend.

They thought we were police, and wanted to check, that we didn’t have any weapons.

I make them laugh.

“We just don’t like loud noise”, that’s all, *explains to me.

This area must be a cross fire, hence the cross fires.

*

“We can use the legalisation of cannabis to regenerate Broad Water Farm, just keep it legal, in that area” I tell Andrew.

“No, that won’t work, because then that will be the gateway to crack” and other stuff, he explains to me.

“Well, only have the weed legal and available, at one designated area/cafe there then”, I continue.

“Ok”, he says. 

You have to understand, England is “Pork Pie and Beer” country, Andrew tried to explain to me.

People like their pork pie and beer, in the 1950’s when we brought cannabis over, they did not like it, they said it made them crazy, there was a conflict of interests therefore, between blacks and whites, as it didn’t fit in with their appreciation of life, social life etc at the time.

This in fact, informs a long standing history, tradition and culture, of a struggle for BAME freedom and rights and community centres, like Broad Water Farm, and a conflict of black and white interests and rights within a post colonial Britain.

“Now you see, more and more black women with white men,” Andrew agrees with me.

“Because the black men are all being oppressed fighting for their rights,” he says to me.

Some “black women have forgotten the * struggle, slavery, and how white men enslaved, abused and raped them”, he continues.

Kind of like the Eastern European men.

While they have tried to move in more Eastern Europeans, to make Broad Water Farm more ethnically mixed, Andrew explains, but really, what happened, Bernie Grant said, “He got a good beating”. 

*

Bernie Grant died, shortly after making this statement.

He was known, for being, as noted in the Guardian ‘a tireless anti-racism campaigner’ who was ‘the red rag to the bulls of right wing politics’.

This is because, for Bernie Grant, it was ‘political’, because he knew, it was based, on true feelings of resentment from within the black community. 

The police were well known at this time, for BAME house raids and police brutality and brutalised Ms Jarret, she died.

This was not the only police brutalisation against a BAME woman, a mother, and for this reason, the male black community, decided, to make a political statement.

A sacrifice.

Lack of government and council funds, being withheld from Broad Water Farm by local counsellors for example, aggravated the local community.

Then it was more a political statement. 

You say, “they killed him ?” I ask Ki**er.

The guy who took the blame for it, was found not guilty.

“We all stuck a knife in him”, Ki**er explains to me, and promised to, he purses his lips and draws a line with his fingers. 

Ki**er was only 13 when this happened, but he remembers it, like it was yesterday.

He remembers it, like the Braveheart movie.

“Princess Diana came to visit Broad Water Farm, after the riots,” he tells me.

A guy, wearing a full army print outfit, then decided to “set a union jack on fire” he tells me.

“We all thought he was going to get shot (!)” Ki**er exclaims.

“Did they kill him (!?)” I ask.

“It’s OK, he has the right to protest, Princess Diana said”, he tells me.

*

You can understand now, why, there was a backlash in Tottenham, in the black community, when the police murdered Mark Duggan in 2011.

We feel, it was a racist attack.

“Irrespective of who he was, they did not have the right to kill him”.

“He was only 26”.

“Exactly, why did they decide to shoot him at that time, why now ?”

“Do you know who Mark Duggan was ?” * tells me.

“He was the richest guy in G Star”.

“Because the Police felt threatened by him”.

“We was all shocked, we were like, WTF, he’s the richest guy in G Star”.

This led to a backlash, in a new young generation, the ‘Tottenham Riots’, also known as the ‘London riots’, spread blazing fires and riots, across the country, for about 8 days, after his death.

David Cameron, had to come back from his summer holidays, as it became a state of some national emergency.

*

These attacks, against BAME, have made many BAME people feel alienated, like aliens, it has been reported, like they have no identity, and thus have to rely, sometimes on each other, strong role models, and communities, or small youth gangs like family, and sometimes crime instead of access to services that they feel they are being denied.

National Health is a MAJOR factor/issue.

Bernie Grant-2144@2x.jpg

Photo, Bernie Grant Arts Centre, Theatre & Cafe.

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