Thursday 21 March 2019

Inspiring anti racist marches step up campaigns against racism & fascism

A big show of opposition to racism and fascism

Pic  – Guy Smallman

 

Anger against racism was on the streets of London, Glasgow, Cardiff and cities across the world on Saturday.

Organisers said that 25,000 people joined the Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) demonstration in London.

Around 1,000 people braved light snow and freezing conditions to march through Glasgow, and a similar number protested in Cardiff.

Many on the demonstrations had come out of fear and anger at how racism is rising across society.

 

The fascist led massacre at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand brought a sharp,urgent focus to the day. Firefighters from the FBU union, below, were just one of several union delegations. FBU members had a fire engine at the march’s start which heard from a variety of speakers/campaigners.Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, people standing, crowd and outdoorImage may contain: 1 person, tree and outdoorImage may contain: 6 people, crowd, tree and outdoor

 

There was widespread union support with banners from all the main unions eg Unite and Unison, plus the PCS and GMB and a particularly impressive bloc from the CWU communication workers’ union.https://socialistworker.co.uk/images1412/Image/guy_london3.jpg

At the rally outside Downing Street Labour’s shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said, “We are facing an international fascist and white nationalist movement.

“Whether it rears its head in Trump’s America or rears its head in Europe, we have to fight it.”

Abbott added, “Muslim hatred has its enablers in mainstream politics and the media and we have to fight the enablers of Muslim hatred.”

 

 

Claudia Webbe, a member of Labour’s national executive, said, “We Stand with the victims of Christchurch. We will not be silenced.

 

“The racists want to divide us. But we will continue to march until we get them off our streets.”

Campaigner Salma Yaqoob said she was “not surprised” by the New Zealand attack.

“This has been a long time coming,” she said. “The words of so-called democrats are now being upheld in actions by the far right.”

She said mainstream politicians’ and media racism had “legitimised” the far right. “Don’t tell me these are just one-off lone wolves,” she said.

“I call out Boris Johnson, I call out Sajid Javid, I call out Melanie Phillips. Enough is enough.”

Students sent a message of resistance (Pic: Guy Smallman)

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said the protest was “magnificent”.

She promised on behalf of the ITUC federation of 160 million workers, “We will never ever let the fascists win.”

O’Grady rubbished the idea that Nazi Tommy Robinson represents workers. “Tommy Robinson is no working class hero,” she said.

“He is a thug and a menace, and a pathetic plaything of rich, millionaire white supremacists.”

CWU union general secretary Dave Ward brought a message of solidarity from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

It said the protest sent “a loud and clear message that we say no to Islamophobia, antisemitism and racism in any form”.

“An attack on a mosque, a synagogue or a temple is an attack on every one of us,” Corbyn’s message said.

Solidarity with refugees who’ve fled war, poverty and dictatorship was another theme on the demonstration in London.

 

 

Weyman Bennett, UAF joint secretary, told the rally at the end of the march, “If we don’t stand together, we will hang together.

“Who defeated the NF? We did. Who defeated the BNP? We did! We will stop the far right and fascists now.”  A big anti-racist and anti fascist movement is crucial now.

The far right right and the fascists are murderous and growing in many places. But there is also resistance and it can win.


Cardiff march – double last year’s size

Around 1,000 people took part in the Cardiff march – twice the size of the previous year.

This was partly in response to the racist terror attack in New Zealand but it was also a testament to the hard work put in by activists in Cardiff and across Wales.

The trade union presence on the march was particularly impressive. Like elsewhere in Britain, unions had been seriously promoting the march on social media. These efforts paid off.

Unity in Cardiff

Unity in Cardiff


Speaker after speaker,including Welsh Labour assembly member Jane Hutt and Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price pressed the urgency of the situation and welcomed the unity of the movement.

Uzo Iwobi from the Race Council Cymru stayed that she felt the march had been a great success with so many people being so passionate about fighting racism. Nimi Trivedi from Stand Up To Racism said, “In previous years I have come here and said that people need to be worried, the time for just worrying is over, it is now time for action.

Nimi outlined the vision of a mass anti-racism movement throughout Wales, North and South, and urged people to support the upcoming campaign in Newport against both Ukip and Britain First who are standing at the by-election after the death of MP Paul Flynn.

 


Glasgow call for fighting unity

Hundreds braved appalling weather conditions in Glasgow to join Scotland’s Stand Up to Racism march and rally. After observing a solemn, two-minute silence for the victims of the Islamophobic terrorist attacks in New Zealand, the demonstrators marched through the city centre, chanting their opposition to racism and fascism, and support for the rights of refugees and migrants.

Speakers at the post-march rally in George Square included Labour MSP Anas Sarwar. Sarwar emphasised the need for unity against racism and fascism.

“The fight against Islamophobia should not be left to the Muslim community”, he said, “it is a fight for all of us.” The same is true, he continued, of the struggles against antisemitism, homophobia, sexism and all other forms of oppression.

Together against racism

Together against racism (Pic: Andrew McGowan)


Lynn Henderson, president of the Scottish Trades Union Congress, stressed the crucial need for unity in the face of a far right which has committed massacres of Muslim worshippers in Christchurch and a Jewish congregation in Pittsburgh. “We are all marching under one banner”, she said, “and that banner is anti-racism.”

The demonstration was notable for the prominence of the banners and flags of the trade unions, including general union UNITE, public sector unions Unison and PCS, transport workers’ unions RMT and TSSA, teachers union the EIS, and the FBU.

 

 


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