Stand Up to Racism Conference speaks out against Racism Across Europe

By Alfio Bernabei, National Association of Italian Partisans in London

Loud applause at the International Stand Up to Racism Conference in London greeted a message of support to Cécile Kyenge, Italy’s first black minister in 2013, who is currently being sued by Matteo Salvini, Italy’s interior minister.

The message was delivered by the shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott during the Plenary Session at Friends Meeting House, which was also attended by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.

“I was fortunate this week to be in Bruxelles and meet the only black female MEP who has been the subject of awful harassment and abuse and who is now being sued for calling a blatantly racist party leader a racist” said Abbott referring to Matteo Salvini, the League party leader who is also Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister.

Kyenge, currently an MEP, had bananas thrown at her and was likened to an orangutan during her time as Italy’s integration minister. Upon her appointment an MEP with the League, Mario Borghezio, described the administration “a bongo-bongo government”. One of the racist attacks came from Roberto Calderoli, a League senator, who said that whenever he saw pictures of Kyenge “I cannot but think of the features of an orangutan”.

Kyenge is pursuing a legal case against Calderoli and about 10 other Italian politicians over alleged racist slurs and verbal attacks.

“I said publicly several times that the League must distance itself from racism and condemn and penalise it,” Kyenge said. “They not only never did this but people convicted of racist acts are still in positions of authority. If the League doesn’t distance itself it must mean that the party shares the [racist] views.”

Kyenge is being sued for defamation by Salvini for calling his party racist and is due to face trial in the Northern city of Piacenza.

On 12 October, a number of black Labour MPs, including Diane Abbott, wrote a letter to the Guardian newspaper in which they stated “We fully support Cécile and stand with her decision to remove her parliamentary immunity to fight against racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance.”

A number of references to Italy as a country in danger of sliding towards a new form of fascism were made during the Stand Up to Racism conference, with one of the speakers, Emma Dent Code MP, quoting as a warning the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini who said in 1935: “Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.”

Another speaker, Colette Levi,former hidden child from Vichy France, chose to read a poem by Primo Levi, the Italian Holocaust survivor, author of ‘This is a Man’, his account of the year he spent as a prisoner in the Auschwitz concentration camp.

John McDonnell said it’s time to wake up to the scale of the threat we are facing: “500,000 people signed a petition calling for Tommy Robinson release after he was condemned for contempt of court. There were at least 15,000 people to protest outside Downing Street against his jailing. Britain First has 1,900,000 followers on Facebook compared to just over one million for Labour. Three out of the far-right activists with the biggest online reach in the world are British. We cannot allow this to grow within our society. It’s time to mobilize against this threat.”

Mariela Castro to speak at Latin America 2018 Conference

Saturday 1 December 2018, 10am – 5pm
Congress House, Gt Russell Street, London
Discussion, films, stalls and music

Dr Mariela Castro is one of the special guest speakers at this year’s Latin America Conference.

Featuring contributions from more than 50 campaigners, politicians, trade unionists and academics from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Venezuela and the UK, Latin America 2018 is the largest event of its kind in Europe.

With countries across the region facing the threat of intervention from Trump, this year’s Latin America conference comes at a critical time.

Mariela Castro Espín is the daughter of former Cuban president Raúl Castro and feminist and revolutionary Vilma Espín. However, she is best known in Cuba for her work as director of the Cuban National Centre for Sex Education (CENESEX), which is at the forefront of campaigning and promoting LGBT+ rights in Cuba.

As well as addressing the main conference, Mariela will be speaking in two seminars on LGBT+ rights and challenges in Cuba, and on the process of updating the Cuban constitution. There will also be a special Cuba60 seminar looking at Cuba’s achievements on the eve of the 6oth anniversary of the Cuban Revolution. This year we are delighted to welcome more Cuban speakers to the conference: Dr Mayelín Gonzalez, a Cuban teacher, and journalist Cristina Escobar, as well as the Cuban Ambassador HE Teresita Vicente.

Other guest speakers include
Maritza Espinales, Nicaraguan MP – Guillaume Long, former Ecuadorian Foreign Minister – HE Rocio Maneiro, Venezuelan Ambassador – HE Guisell Morales-Echaverry, Nicaraguan Ambassador – Tariq AliChris Williamson MPKaren Lee MPDan Carden MPVictoria Brittain, Journalist – Laura Morales, Justice Mexico Now – Colin Burgon, Labour Friends of Progressive Latin America

And many more including:
Marcus Barnett, Young Labour International Officer – Christine Blower, National Education Union – Pablo Bradbury, Argentina Solidarity Campaign – Tony Burke, Unite – Dr Lauren Collins, Academic – Andy De La Tour, Actor – Dr Francisco Dominguez, Academic – Huda Elmi, Labour Party NEC –  Julia Felmanas, Brazil – Jesus ‘Chucho’ Garcia, Movement of Afro Venezuelans – Lindsey German, Stop the war – Artin Giles, Chair, London Young Labour – Dr Mayelín Gonzalez, Cuban teacher – Diana Holland, Unite – Kate Hudson, CND – Mike Jackson, Lesbians and Gays support the Miners – Jon Lansman, Momentum – Dr Grace Livingstone, Academic – Lara McNeill, Youth rep on Labour’s NEC – Dr Alan McCLeod, academic – Navendu Mishra, Labour Party NEC – Roger McKenzie, UNISON – Fidel Narváez, Ecuador – Pablo Navarette, Alborada – Dan Ozarow, Action for Argentina – Bernard Regan, CSC – Carol Regan, CSC – Gabriel Rodriguez, Argentina – Steve Sweeney, Foreign Editor Morning Star – Calvin Tucker, Morning Star – Steve Turner, Unite – Adrian Weir, Unite – Jack Youd, Unite

#JC4PM: General Election Now!


7pm / Tuesday 16 October / Conway Hall

Come along for a night of comedy, poetry, music, discussion and politics with a fantastic lineup of acts and speakers. Following the Labour Conference, it’s clear the grassroots are behind Jeremy Corbyn and are willing to fight back against the onslaught he’s facing. This will be a great night of laughs, politics and a forum for organising.
The event is free but seats are selling out fast, so book on Eventbrite to avoid disappointment!

Keep Space for Peace week

This week, activists from around the world are holding actions and protests to demand an end to plans for a US Space Force during the annual Keep Space for Peace week.

In June, President Trump made a highly controversial announcement: he directed the Pentagon to develop a ‘Space Force’ – a new branch of the US military, ‘separate but equal’ to the US Air Force – to ensure ‘American dominance in space.’

Here in Britain, at Menwith Hill outside of Harrogate in North Yorkshire tonight, a demonstration will take place between 6pm and 7.30pm. All are welcome to join. See Global Network Against Weapons website for more events.

Future Wars Conference: The Impact of New Technologies
10th November • London

The US Space Force will be a major theme of our Future Wars Conference that will explore The Impact of New Technologies, taking place on the 10th November in London.

Speakers include Duncan Campbell investigative journalist Arielle Denis ICAN Campaigner Stuart Parkinson Scientists for Global Responsibility Ted Seay Former NATO arms control advisor Elke Schwartz Lecturer in International Politics at LSE Carol Turner London Region CND Dave Webb CND and Lucas Wirl International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility.

Agenda for Monthly Meeting on 11th of October 2018, 7pm at Greek Cypriot Brotherhood, Finchley

07:00 PM


Attendance and apologies

07:05 PM


Review minutes of previous meeting

07:10 PM


Matters Arising from the Minutes

07:15 PM


Kick out Capita

07:45 PM


Antifacism and antiracism

08:05 PM


Report from trades council conference

08:20 PM


Any Other Business and Delegates Motions

08:30 PM


Meeting Ends

Please submit other business to the secretary before 5pm on the 9th.

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