The National demonstration, March Against Racism 18 March 2017, for United Nation Anti-racism day called by Stand-up to Racism, is next Saturday.
Barnet TUC calls on members and friends to meet at Argyll Street, round the corner from Oxford Circus at 11.30am.
Finchley residents! Please join our #MoreInCommon meeting on Wednesday 15th March at 7.15-8.30, at the Blue Beetle room at St Mary at Finchley parish hall, Hendon Lane (5 minutes walk from Finchley Central tube).
We want to bring together local people concerned about the rise in intolerance and racism since the EU referendum. We’ll share our ideas about what can be – and is being done – locally to build a positive response to hate, and longer-term we’ll turn those ideas into reality.
No special expertise or insight needed. All welcome – any and every religion, ethnicity, political persuasion, age – you just have to be concerned and want to help.
The day itself, of course, also happened to be the day of further protests against the most racist (to say nothing of also sexist and authoritarian) president of recent American history, Donald Trump. SUtR organisers quite right cancelled the morning session to allow us all to join around 40,000 other people on this lively and important demonstration, and it put people into the right frame of mind for the day.
The opening session contained greetings and introductions from a range of trade union speakers. Ronnie Draper, general secretary of the of the Bakers’ Union, spoke about how his union was combating the myth that immigration, rather than employers, are the cause of low wages. Suzanne Matthews of Unite the Union spoke her work organising black workers with the TUC. Janet Maiden from Unison Health spoke about NHS workers defending the ideal of multiculturalism. The conference then split into three workshops: one on Brexit and Workers’ Rights, one on building solidarity with refugees and a third on the threat of the Prevent policy.
I went to the refugee solidarity session. It was kicked off by Sara Tomlinson of Lambeth TUC, who had been involved in the Care for Calais organisation. Teachers from Lambeth had been volunteering at a pop-up school at the refugee camp operated by a courageous refugee activist who has since received the NUT’s “Service to Education” award. The school served around 100 adults and dozens of children. The school provided a vital centre of normality and stability for the refugees and was more than just a place of education (in a sense, this is true of any functioning school!). It was destroyed when the camp was forcibly dispersed in November, and conditions for the refugees are now far worse, as they now live completely rough as fugitives, and risk death to sneak onto literally any vehicle they can. Care for Calais has continued distributing basic aid to refugees, even though this is now far harder, and continues to appeal for support. Trade unions are encouraged to help out by sending useful items like sleeping bags to Stand Up to Racism and to get trade unionists to the site to help, as Lambeth teachers have. A very good report from Mile End hospital followed about them organising their own-workplace based solidarity collection. Activists are strongly advised to reproduce these actions at their own work.
There was also some good information about things that have been done to help refugees inside Britain. Unite Community in the city of Chesterfield has managed to organise English for Speakers of Other Languages classes for refugees, based on its existing programme to help Eastern European workers learn English. This actually helped build solidarity between the communities and has also resulted in refugees and migrant workers joining the unions at work, which they might otherwise never have had the opportunity to do.
The other sessions also got very positive report backs. For people who do not know about Prevent, a very handy pamphlet has been produced to explain it. Essentially an institutionalised programme of getting education workers to report “potentially extremist” behaviour by students, who are almost exclusively Muslims, has created a surreal atmosphere of paranoia and discrimination that would be funny if weren’t so horrible. Young Muslims have been called in for questioning for wearing badges that say “Free Palestine” or mispronouncing words so someone else can think they heard the word “bomb”. Children growing up in such climate can scarcely be said to be free and enjoying their rights: our movement must oppose Prevent, and champion an education that is actively anti-racist. The session on Brexit was also useful, and contained a report back from the new Free Movement of Labour Campaign, which has been invited to send a speaker to Barnet TUC’s AGM next month.
Generally, this was a timely and very well organised conference that turned what could be a very bleak few hours into a useful organising event. I would support having another one in future.
Trump’s ban on Muslims must be opposed by all who are against racism and support basic human rights. Theresa May’s collusion with Trump must end.
The election of Donald Trump in the US and the growth of anti-migrant and Islamophobic scapegoating in Britain and elsewhere have left millions of people fearful of the growth of racism.
Politicians and the media have ramped up the rhetoric against immigration while Theresa May has put the ending of the free movement of labour at the heart of her Brexit strategy.
Stand Up to Racism is organising a conference for those who believe trade unionists have to fight the attempts to divide working class people. We are stronger together, in the fight against austerity and ruthless employers.
We want to:
Join us 12pm on Saturday 4th February for the Stand Up To Racism Trade Union Conference at (Mander Hall) NUT Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London WC1H 9BD. Facebook event here
Register for conference here:
SUTR model motion to support conference here:
TUESDAY 22nd November 2016
6.30pm to 8.30pm
PEPPERPOT CLUB, 1a Thorpe Close, Ladbroke Grove, LONDON, W10 5XL
Tackling racism remains one of the key challenges in our society. Refugees are still being left to drown or face squalor in camps such as Calais, while there’s beeen a rise in reported hate crimes in Britain since the referendum. And we’ve seen racism come to the fore elsewhere – from police killings in the US to burkini bans in France.
But there has also been resistance. Refugees have refused to be locked out, while thousands have taken to the streets in the US and Britain to say “Black Lives Matter”, race hate crimes have been met by communities coming together to reject the scapegoating of migrants.
Come to the public rally to discuss how we can build on all this to confront the rise of racism.
Time: 11.30 am
Date: Sunday 9th October 2016
Place: Altab Ali Park, 40 Adler Street, London E1 1DU
Nearest tube station: Aldgate East
On 9th October, we will be commemorating the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street. It is important that we have an Irish presence at this event and we will be expecting thousands of other people to attend. The Irish played a pivotal role in smashing the British Union of Fascists at the Battle of Cable Street. Not only were the Irish part of the backbone of at least 100, 000 counter demonstrators but were to outnumber the British Union of Fascists (BUF), 10 to 1. Their leader Oswald Mosley was humiliated and decided not to allow the British Fascist Black Shirts to go ahead with the march as the police could not contain the riots from the counter demonstrators. Oswald Mosley’s popularity in Britain was to sink enormously! Not even the Fascist sympathiser, King Edward VIII, could save Mosley, and we, still, question the real reason for this monarch’s abdication in the same year! It is a victorious event that the Irish in Britain should never forget!
Everyone will assemble at Altab Ali Park, London E1 at 12 noon on Sunday 9th October. Probably, we may organise an early assemble for the Irish presence. We, then, march to the Cable Street in St. George’s Gardens for a rally with speakers and stalls. Further details will follow and we could look into the possibility of organising a late afternoon event in the Cock Tavern Pub in Euston.
There is every reason to have a proper Irish presence for the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street as it is 100 years since the 1916 Easter Rising!
For further information, please contact
Joint Secretary of the South East Trade Union Race Relations Committee,
On the 9th October 2016 anti-fascists from across the UK will come together to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street. Socialists, Trade Unionists and anti racism groups will march from Altab Ali Park to Cable Street where a rally will be held to commemorate the defeat of fascism in London’s East End eighty years ago.