Category Archives: Anti – Fascist
Last year’s conference: Confronting The Rise In Racism saw the birth of a new movement as over 1500 people joined Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott, Alf Dubs and leading figures from a broad range of campaigns and organisations to pledge to unite against the rise in racism.
Following the election of Donald Trump, threats from the far-right in Europe and a prolonged wave of racism, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism as well as the ongoing humanitarian crisis facing refugees, 2017’s conference will be a crucial opportunity to come together to discuss strenghtening our movement and taking on the challenges that confront us in 2017.
Speakers already confirmed include:
Kevin Courtney NUT Gen Sec, Dave Ward CWU Gen Sec, Kate Osamor MP Shadow DfID Secretary, Catherine West Labour MP Hornsey and Wood Green, Claude Moraes Labour MEP, Shahrar Ali Green Party Home Affairs spokesperson, Talha Ahmad Muslim Council of Britain Treasurer, Maurice Wren Chief Exec Refugee Council, Moazzem Begg former Guantanamo Bay detainee, Clare Mosesley Care4Calais founder.
Trump’s failure to condemn the assault by American fascists, on a day that saw armed militias dominating the town and black people beaten in the streets, is truly shocking.
Weyman Bennett from Unite Against Fascism said: ‘In scenes reminiscent of the most violent days of the civil rights movement the ‘Alt-Right’ took to the streets to ‘make America great again’ by beating demonstrators and expressing their support for White Supremacy’.
Brian Richardson from Unite Against Fascism said: ‘The death of Heather Heyer was a terrorist attack but Trump’s failure to act shows that anything that fails to fit with his Islamophobic and racist agenda is simply ignored’.
Trump’s statements have given confidence to the fascist right in the US. Charlottesville is a terrible warming to anti racists everywhere that we have to stand up against bigotry where ever it raises its head.
Stand Up To Trump Protest – No To War, No To Racism
Saturday 19 August | 12:00-13:00
24 Grosvenor Square
W1A 2LQ London
Stop the War is supporting Stand up to Trump coalition’s protest from 12-1pm this Saturday at the US Embassy. The protest has been called in response to Donald Trump’s threats that he will unleash a nuclear war in North Korea and military action against Venezuela, as well as in reponse to his bigoted and divisive rhetoric which has encouraged far-right extremist violence.
The US and South Korean militaries are due to commence a new set of exercises on August 21st which can only greatly increase tensions and the threat of open conflict. Last year, Britain for the first time sent four RAF Typhoon aircraft to take part in military exercises in the area alongside the US and South Korean military.
Donald Trump and his national security adviser General McMaster have both stated that the “nuclear option” is on the table. Given the destructive potential of the nuclear arsenals on both sides, the ‘nuclear option’ would lead to a terrible war with enormous casualties.
Immediate steps to de-escalate are needed on both sides. The protest will include a demand that Theresa May rules out committing any British armed forces to the Korean Peninsula. Britain should instead apply pressure on the US government to end the ratcheting up of tensions and to pursue a political solution to the crisis.
Forty years ago this August, thousands of anti fascists and locals from South East London stopped the fascists of the National Front from marching. The National Front hoped that by demonstrating in Lewisham – an area with a high proportion of Afro Caribbeans – they would further intimidate minorities. The fascists, however, were to receive a rude awakening. The victory was critical in beating back the rise in racism and fascism. Saturday 13th August, 1977 helped set back the fascists for a generation.
The far right had become, pre Lewisham, mainstream in the media, in political life and often, in popular culture. In 1977, the National Front received over 100,000 votes in London elections.
The historic day in Lewisham, itself, saw trades unionists, socialists, Labour Party members, and crucially, many people from Lewisham itself, come together to say enough is enough.
Up to 10,000 people joined in to oppose the NF. All the fascists possible routes were continually blocked, NF banners were burned, and Bob Marley was played. The counter demo became a great example of black and white unity.
Nazi organizations such as the NF, believed that they could build a mass movement based upon racial prejudices and racist violence. They were wrong, and they were defeated.
Ted Parker who took part in the battle, mentions, “Thereafter the NF never again posed a serious political threat. Lewisham led directly to the formation of the Anti Nazi League (ANL) which, together with Rock Against Racism (RAR), and nowadays Love Music Hate Racism mobilised hundreds of thousands in collective expressions of solidarity between those of differing cultures and ethnic backgrounds. Organised racism was marginalised for the next quarter of a century”
Unite Against Fascism and Love Music Against Racism will be part of organising;
Eyewitness accounts and archive footage, including,
– How we defeated the Nazi National Front & built the Anti Nazi League
– The fight against the fascists today
Weekend events on Saturday 12th August/Sunday 13th August; in Lewisham.
Details and Facebook event pages here, https://www.facebook.com/UAFpage/photos/gm.133868667158866/10154541652065814/?type=3&theater
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.