Tonight members of Southampton Anti-Fascists attended a meeting called by the Newtown Residents Association to discuss the fact that the makers of the Channel 4 program ‘Benefits Street’ are currently attempting to make a new program – ‘Immigration Street’ in Derby Road, Southampton.
It goes without saying that Benefit Street was nothing more than a sneering and classist attack on innocent people, which has in many cases made their lives considerably worse, whilst simultaneously providing fodder for the increasingly bigoted attacks on benefit claimants that are becoming standard media fare. It is our assertion that ‘Immigration Street’ will aim to do exactly the same, demonizing local residents and inflaming racial tensions in what is currently a relatively peaceful and pleasant area of our city. As such we stand strongly against the production and would encourage other areas to do the same.
The evening was a loud and rambunctious affair attended by faith leaders, trade unionists, teachers, community workers, families and people of every race, religion and community in Southampton. It quickly became clear that the reformist apologism of the chair was not endearing him to many people present with cries going up of “Why don’t you let them in your house?” and “You getting a cut Ali?”.
The beleaguered chairman quickly wilted and introduced Kieran Smith, Creative Director of (so-called) Factual Programming for Love Productions. Kieran was a relatively young, incredibly patronising man who repeatedly failed to answer people’s questions fully and seemed much more interested in talking about how critically acclaimed his body of work was – here’s a hint son; no-one gives a shit if you won a fancy award, you’re a parasite.
During the (largely one-sided) debate it was alleged that Kieran and his goons had been doorstepping people outside a community day centre, targeting vulnerable residents and had also been seen interviewing a man with National Front tattoos. Kieran didn’t think any of this could cause tension in the area though, we were all being silly.
SAFA intends to begin mobilising against the production of this program immediately, Kieran made it very clear that he was unwilling to stop filming voluntarily so that leaves only one option; a coordinated, militant and wide-spread campaign of direction action by local residents (several of whom are existing SAFA members) and supporters to force these sleazy, bigotry-peddling opportunists out of the community forever.
Watch here for updates but in the meantime why not call Love Productions (020 7067 4820) and politely ask them why they think they’re going to be able to get away with dragging our community into their unpleasant, exploitative world?
Derby Road Militia, Coming Soon…