Civil rights hero to speak to trade unionists in London

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Black Power Olympian John Carlos tomorrow begins a two-week speaking tour of the UK, including a special meeting in London for trade unionists.

John Carlos won bronze for the US in the 200m at the 1968 Mexico Games and, together with gold medallist Tommie Smith, stood shoeless on the podium, bowed his head and raised his fist in solidarity with the US civil rights movement.

The athletes were subsequently expelled from the Games for a ‘political act’ and were widely ostracised by the athletics community on their return home.

John Carlos will spend a fortnight in the UK, speaking at events in London, Norwich, Bradford, Liverpool and Brighton.

John Carlos said: “Coming to the UK on the eve of the Olympics is a very exciting opportunity for me to talk with the new generation about why we did what we did back in 1968. When Tommie Smith and I raised our fists on that medal platform at the Olympics, we knew that we would catch hell but we didn’t care. We didn’t care because we wanted the coming generations to live and breathe as full citizens with equal rights. I was just concerned with right and wrong. We went out there for humanity. We are here 43 years later because the fight is still to be won.”

RMT activists in London, supported by UnionNews and various unions, have organised a meeting at Friends Meeting House in Euston at 6.30pm on Monday, May 21st at which he will speak alongside Doreen Lawrence, Janet Alder (whose brother, Christopher, was left to die in Hull Police Station in 1998), FBU general secretary Matt Wrack, RMT activist Mac McKenna and UAF joint secretary Weyman Bennett.

Event organiser Unjum Mirza said: “As the Olympics approach in 2012, the globe is engulfed in a deep recession. Unemployment rises as whole countries teeter on the brink. Impoverishment and insecurity deepens while the rich wine, dine and threaten to set the world aflame with wars and environmental destruction.

“Our rulers scapegoat the poor and immigrants, fuelling fascists, while families seek justice for those loved ones killed at the hands of racist police.

“But there is resistance. The Arab revolutions have inspired Occupy movements around the world from New York to London to Madrid. Workers are organising, striking and fighting from Mahalia to Wisconsin, and from Athens to Rome.”

There is no need to book tickets for the event – you can just turn up on the evening.

You can buy a copy of the John Carlos Story here


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