The real alternative lies in the estates of Brixton, Peckham, Hackney…

Jody McIntyre

Untitled 1151 The real alternative lies in the estates of Brixton, Peckham, Hackney...It is no use simply complaining about injustice or inequality; if we want to really advocate for change in society, then of course, we must offer an alternative.  Last Thursday, over a thousand people packed out Brixton Town Hall for the Campaign for Justice for Smiley Culture.  This is the kind of organisation we need on a local level to seriously challenge not only this government, but the political system underpinning it.

We need to take the running of our local communities back into our own hands.  It is time for people to reject the status quo of party politics, and to elect our own leaders; people, not politicians, who really represent us.

Instead of a salary of £65,738, MPs should recieve the minimum wage, or at very most the average wage, of their constituents.  Perhaps then they will be able to maintain some kind of grasp of reality.  On major issues, the people of their constituency should be consulted every time, and a failure to deliver on key pre-election pledges should be followed by an immediate resignation.

Many stories were shared at the meeting for Smiley Culture, but the words that inspired most came from his son, Merlin Emmanuel.

“For a period of time Smiley lived with us,” Merlin began, “and was very much like a big brother to me.  Growing up as a young boy in our community, I realised very quickly [that] there seemed to be a two-tier state; there was one rule for the rich and another for the poor…”

Smiley Culture died on March 15th 2011, as the police raided his home.  The police say he stabbed himself.

“This kind of thing hasn’t just started happening…” Merlin continued, “there is a clear pattern, and a trail, should you care to follow it, stained in the blood of those who have died here in this country, but have yet to procure the justice they deserve.  Ian Tomlinson was one of the most recent examples, and my heartfelt condolences go out to his family – we want you to know that the people of south London stand with you in solidarity!  We are driven by our faith and our quest for justice, and until that happens, there will be no peace!  In addition, the IPCC themselves have stated that, on average, one person per week has died in police custody in the last decade.  And that’s not including mental institutions, prisons and immigration detention centres…

Could it be that the system has rendered the appeals of poor whites [and] poor blacks, impotent?  Could it be that the British judicial system is designed to oppress us?  These are valid questions; I am asking, is it possible?

People of ethnic minorities are more likely to suffer this tragic fate [of dying in police custody]. The IPCC cannot guarantee justice, we must do that ourselves.  Power concedes nothing without demand.  If we don’t challenge the present system as a people, nothing will change.  Unity is by far the most potent weapon we have at our disposal, against the giant of this system, this system of supposed justice which protects those with influence, yet ignores the plight of the under-privileged, the poor, the downtrodden… us.  So I have a suggestion Mr. Cameron; keep your own house in order before you go to foreign territories.

To clean a vessel properly, you need to clean it from the inside out.  The system needs a change, and we are the generation to implement that change.  There would be no change in Tunisia, in Egypt, in Bahrain and beyond, if it was not for the people standing united as one.”

On April 16th, supporters of the Campaign for Smiley Culture will march to Scotland Yard to demand justice.  All those who believe in changing the system, and not merely the face that represents it, should be marching alongside them.

Details of the demonstration for Smiley Culture can be found here –

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  • lulabel5

    Jody – the link at the end of the article isn’t working – can you provide another one!


  • EricDerick

    may I just add the name of Christopher Alder to the list. The police involved in his case have been cleared and are now free to put their uniforms back on.

  • lovetruncheon

    “Instead of a salary of £65,738, MPs should recieve the minimum wage, or at very most the average wage, of their constituents.”

    who the hell is going to put up with being an MP for that money! oh yeah – people like you?

    i’d increase their wages tenfold tomorrow if it brought a better standard of person into the job instead of failed academics, solicitors and doctors.

    i note you haven’t mentioned anywhere in this article that his trial on conspiracy to supply cocaine was supposed to start last week. if he hadn’t died.

  • lovetruncheon

    weren’t those riots thirty years ago?

    “Even police commanders as recent as a few years ago, have stood up and said racism is extremely potent in the Met still and no sign of it ever being dealt with.”

    who was that and when?

    i’d like to read it, please.

  • Matilda7

    That would be Dizaei, chair and legal advisor to the BPA – and convict.

  • Peter Snelson

    No death penalty means a society considers life to be cheap, if you kill someone so what attitude. A few innocents may succumb but that would be a drop in the ocean compared to the innocents caught up in other peoples violence. Time to make them think twice.

  • JJSpeaks

    Then why is it that these kinds of incidents are more frequent in these kinds of estates than in other communities? The very mentality that is born out of desperation, turns people on another due to the competitive nature of their every day lives. No this isn’t only bound to the estates. These symptoms can be seen world wide, where conditions are harsh and supplies low.
    why did those boys feel the need to have a gun in the first place?
    I grew up on yellow brick estate in Peckham, but got out of their young. It’s not just a coincidence, the way that allot of my old friends turned out. Then the entire estate was leveled as a way of ‘dealing with the problem. That land still lies baron today.
    We are products of our environment, and all too many environments are neglected even within the same city that one family is allowed to sponge off the taxes of even the poor, who find it hard enough to feed their own children.

    I’m not trying to make any drastic generalisations, but it doesn’t take a genius to notice the correlation between these kinds of occurrences and living conditions. It has nothing to do with race, religion or cultural upbringing. People in desperate situations are allot more likely to take desperate action.

  • Leyahliscious

    May I just add the name Marlon Downes to the list. It is disgraceful that time and time again we see people (no matter their race) being on the receiving end of police brutality. As far as I’m concerned, everyone knows the police are protected by the very body, which pays them their wage. and @actually12345 how can you not be aware of the statements mentioned in the papers regarding that racism is rife in the police as in any government institution.

    Do you really think they care about where people are from when it comes to filling out these stupid ethnic origin forms?????? They do not want to seem racist hence the reason why you get the odd black person here, an asian person there, a middle eastern over there etc.


  • Ciaran Rehill

    There is, on average, one death a week in UK police custody, a higher figure than elsewhere in Europe. We must see an end to the “I am in the police and can do as I effing please” attitude evinced by most of the constabulary. McIntyre failed to mention D.C Stuart Hobkirk who let Smiley “into the kitchen to get something” supposedly alone. As with Liddle Towers, Sean Riggs and others it is just another dead member of the public. New Scotland Yard delenda est.

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