Racists On The Move – it’s Time To Organise Against Them
On Saturday 23rd June, over 120 anti-racists and trade unionists met at the Stand Up To Racism North West Summit I south Manchester to discuss how to build the anti-racist movement we urgently need to stop the resurgent far right. While only 5 or 6 far-right activists turned up to attempt to disrupt the conference – they were held at bay in the street, by Muslim women – their presence was a reminder that the far right and the racists are on the move.
Earlier in the month, 15,000 had joined the London march for Tommy Robinson, former BNP activist and founder of the one-time street-movement for Islamophobes, the English Defence League. Robinson is in jail for contempt of court. He pleaded guilty as charged, but today’s growing army of racists and fascists isn’t going to the detail of his self-confessed guilt stand in the way of building a mass movement based on anti-Muslim prejudice and violence.
Fifteen thousand is way bigger than any fascist-led or racist organisation has fielded since Oswald Mosley’s blackshirts in the 1930s. In the 1970s, the National Front marches attracted about 3,000 at most, under heavy police protection. But Robinson’s supporters didn’t cower behind police lines, they went on the offensive and attacked nearby police.
The march received active support from Geert Wilders of the Netherland Islamophobic Party for Freedom, from racist former Trump adviser Steve Bannon and from Louis Aliot, vice-president of the French fascist Front National (recently rebranded as National Rally.)
The alliance lining up behind Robison’s willingly-accepted martyrdom is part of a Europe-wide movement that is thrilled to see the Italian League’s leading figure Matteo Salvini condemn north African migrants to the graveyard of the Mediterranean Sea, and that cheers on his latest idea of a racist ‘register’ of Italy’s 150,000 Roma people.
Over-arching this movement is the racist-in-chief himself, Donald Trump. Up to 10,000 people from Mexico and from central and south American states have now been forcibly split up by Trump’s agents at the Mexico-US border – and it seems there isn’t a reliable mechanism for re-uniting children with their parents.
This is why Stand Up To Racism has launched a statement specifically calling for mass protests when Trump is in London on Friday 13th July, and on Saturday 14th July when the far-right will again attempt to march in support of their fascist poster-boy Robinson:
This is not the time for complacency or passivity, it’s time to organise.