A last look back at 2017

This selection of photos from Steve Eason sums up a year when austerity continued but thousands of people kept on fighting.

UK General Election

This was the truly historic event of the year for British politics. It’s not just that Theresa May’s gamble went disastrously wrong. Corbyn’s success showed there is an alternative to all the main parties of the neoliberal centre. Real political debate, including socialism, is back on the agenda.

Theresa May’s highly scripted campaign goes wrong as she visits Ealing – 20 May

DUP opposition to abortion and LGBT rights were highlighted at this protest against their deal with the Tories – 24 June

Jeremy Corbyn speaks at the Not One More Day protest called by the People’s Assembly – 1 July

Trump

Elections around the world went wrong for the neoliberal centre in 2017. In the French presidential election, neither of the two main parties made it to the final round. In Germany, Angela Merkel is still trying to form a government. But if the collapse of the centre made the rise of Corbyn possible, the populist and fascist right also took advantage, with Le Pen coming second in the French presidential poll and the AfD in the German parliament. Thousands protested against Trump when he took office – and if reports are accurate of a UK visit in the next few months, we can expect huge protests in future.

The Women’s March on London brought thousands into the streets as Trump was inaugurated – 21 January

Trumps Muslim migration ban sparked further protests a few weeks later – 4 February

Fighting racism

All the parties of the neoliberal centre supported wars in the Middle East – interventions that have led to a worldwide growth in Islamophobia. Austerity and war have turned millions of people into migrants and refugees. The right has responded with scapegoating and racism. But communities were also determined to show that they remained united.

Unity vigil at Finsbury Park Mosque after an attack where a van drove into pedestrians – 20 June

Protests against slavery in Libya, a country left in chaos after US-led interventions – 9 December

Grenfell

The 71 deaths at Grenfell Tower were horrific in themselves. But they struck a chord with many people because they were an example of something broader – the Grenfell residents, mostly migrants, lived in poverty in dangerous housing. But they were surrounded by wealth, and their Tory council treated them with murderous contempt. A hundred Grenfell households are still living in hotels.

Protesters demand justice – 16 June

Silent protests continued to demand justice for Grenfell almost six months later – 14 December

Defending public services

Campaigns and strikes continued to fight for the NHS and its staff, with welcome support for the Labour leadership. With the London housing crisis in the news after Grenfell, campaigners in Haringey fought back against plans to privatise and gentrify council estates – the borough may elect a left Labour council in May 2018.

Marchers in defence of the NHS – 4 March

John McDonnell joins a protest in support of Serco strikers in East London – 15 July. The hospital cleaners from the Barts NHS Trust gained a pay rise, but could have won much more.

Campaigners in North London fight the privatisation and gentrification of council estates – 23 September. The privatisation plan is currently expected to collapse.

Strikes

Strikes in 2017 reflected the staff in today’s workplaces – women and men, black and white, straight and LGBT, often doing service and white-collar jobs. Strike levels are low, but strikes can still win, with BA cabin crew gaining pay rises after months of action.

BA Cabin Crew strikers bring workers’ struggles to the increasingly corporate London Pride parade – 9 July

On strike at the Bank of England – 3 August

International solidarity

The boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against apartheid Israel has continued to grow over the last few years – and the UN vote over Jerusalem highlights both Israel’s isolation and Trump’s determined support. Years of campaigning for abortion rights in Ireland have led to a referendum on the issue, to be held in summer 2018.

Protest at the DSEI arms fair in Docklands – 4 September

Protesters draw chalk marks outside the Irish embassy – 30 September. Since 1983 over 200,000 Irish women have travelled to England to access abortion.

All photos by Steve Eason

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here