Support is growing for Stand Up To Racism’s open letter calling for people to take to the streets against Donald Trump on 13 July and Nazi Tommy Robinson’s supporters on 14 July. Activists spoke to Nick Clark about why they’re building for the protests
July 6, 2018
Courtesy: Socialist Worker, UK
Rakhia Ismail, Labour councillor in Islington, London
We need to make a clear statement that we are utterly against Tommy Robinson and his cronies.
Fascism is growing drastically across Europe. We can’t take it lying down. We need to show them that we’re standing up to them.
They’re creating divisions in Britain and blaming Muslims in particular, as well as black people and ethnic minorities.
The far right were nothing to be worried about before. But I was there opposing the “Free Tommy” rally on 9 June. That was an eye-opener for me.
Since Donald Trump came to power, they’ve been inspired and have this extra energy.
Steve Bannon, who used to work for Trump, is sending personal messages to the far right here and may even be financing them.
These are issues that are very concerning. We’re not going to keep quiet.
They have to see that there are many British people who are standing up to Trump, Robinson and their rhetoric. We are more than them—they are few.
As a Muslim woman and a parent I want to make it very clear that the majority of British and non-British Muslims stand up to racism, and we are going to defy them in numbers.
I was at an Eid party, more than 100 Somali and Muslim women were there.
My message to them was simple—the more we stay inside and get scared, the worse it will get, the more likely it is that the fascists will come to us in our homes.
People have to come out in numbers. We have neighbours who are non-Muslims and who are British. We talk to them—they’re very respectful of our faith. Plenty of people supporting Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) are non-Muslim themselves—so there’s no reason to be scared.
There are lots of Muslim sisters who are signing the SUTR petition, and hopefully will be coming out on that day. It’s about encouraging people and making them understand they have to defend their rights.
Amira Taha, Salford City Unison black members’ officer
It’s essential for everyone who is against racism to be on the streets both on the 13 and 14 July.
What’s happening in the world is terrible. Everything we never thought could happen is happening—just look at the children locked in cages by Trump. Or people in some countries such as Malta celebrating when refugees drown.
People from our class face injustice. We’re the ones who suffer most from the government’s policies.
There are plenty of people who oppose racism but aren’t yet out on the streets.
This is a problem—I’ve been on demos when there were too few of us and the far right have been vicious and violent. But when our numbers are bigger, we manage to stop them. The bigger they are, the more they grow, because they feel as if they can crush everybody.
If you’re not a Muslim and think you’re safe—you’re not. Refugees, migrants, asylum seekers, Jews—no one is safe. Even if you’re white, if you’re against the far right’s politics you’re not safe.
So this is our opportunity to unite.
This is not the time to ignore them. It only feeds them when we ignore them because they think they’re stronger.
This is an opportunity to be on the streets in big numbers—because we are the many.
I’ve had enough of the few winning all the time.
Khaled Moyeed, Labour councillor in Haringey, London
Twenty eight Labour councillors in Haringey have signed the statement calling for people to join the protests on the 13 and 14 July.
It’s really important for councillors to do this because they’re connected to the communities in their wards. If they sign the statement then the likelihood is that a lot more people will know about it.
In Haringey we’ve also released a press release, and we’ll also be organising stalls leading up to the protest to build momentum.
It’s really important to attend because we saw all the different splinter groups came together when the far right had their last march.
They demanded the release of Tommy Robinson—and were openly giving Nazi salutes in central London. Their language has been openly that of fascists.
We haven’t seen anything like this in such numbers for a very long time. Even Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirts didn’t succeed in getting that many.
But we should remember that the Blackshirts were successfully resisted.
We’ve also got history in Haringey. We had the Battle of Wood Green in 1977 when we—including councillors—stood up to the National Front. We’re continuing in that tradition.
It’s important to do that—not just to stand in solidarity with the people who want to resist on the street—but also because we have to demoralise the fascists and let them know there are more of us than them.
We have to tell them that these are our streets and they have no place here. The fascists want to sow division and hatred. Haringey is a very diverse and multicultural borough. People coexist peacefully. We can’t allow something like this to create division and fear.
Jane Loftus, Vice president CWU union
The world is at a crossroads.
Across Europe and Britain the far right are exploiting the crisis caused by governments’ failure to provide for the many not the few.
Trump’s visit should never have been agreed.
His soundbites are offensive to all—and encourage the fascists to march.
They need to be challenged.
I—along with my union—pledge to fight racism and fascism by demonstrating on 13 and 14 July, destroying the lies, and uniting in our communities.
Paddy de Cleir, President, Islington NEU union
The far right and the Football Lads Alliance represent the worst in society—and they’re pretty dangerous as well.
I’m going because not enough of us demonstrated against them previously.
It was pretty scary, but I was really impressed with the people who protested against them. The Muslim women were out in force, shouting and chanting and showing no fear.
These women were very brave in the face of that. If they can do it, we all can do it.
Racism and fascism is about trying to divide people. When racists and fascists are stronger, it’s a threat to us.
Trade unions are about standing together—if we don’t stand together then we fall apart.
Trade unions are under attack. It makes it harder to organise, stand together, and represent each other and our values which are the best of society.
Working class people are disenfranchised.
People are pissed off, but people like Tommy Robinson want to channel that anger in the wrong direction.
They looked powerful. But if they see mass mobilisations against them we can make them realise they don’t own the streets anymore.
We’ve seen it before when street movements can evolve into something big and dangerous. Let’s not let that happen this time.
Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Officer, Jewish Voice for Labour
We offer support to the Muslim community, the main group singled out for attack.
And we stand with all those targeted by the far right—people of colour, migrants, LGBTQI people, Jews, trade unionists and human rights defenders.
We condemn absolutely the violent marchers and their leaders.
And we believe that united action against this despicable rabble is the only way to defeat their poison.
We’ve released a statement calling for action against the far right.
And we call on all those opposed to far right violence to unite behind counter demonstrations and other actions called by anti-fascist groups, trade unions and others.
Editorial: We must campaign and stop them building
The forces of British fascism see an opportunity to rebuild their strength.
The 15,000-strong “Free Tommy” rally last month was the largest outdoor mobilisation by fascists in British history.
It brought together the Nazis, the alt right and the racists populists of Ukip. The bridge between the two is the Democratic Football Lads Alliance—which mobilised 2,500 onto the streets of London recently.
The fascists and racists have been fuelled by the racism of Donald Trump and the Tories. And taking on wider racism is important.
But fascists aim to build a mass movement that can smash their opponents and perpetrate racist violence. And as a street movement, they gain confidence by marching.
That means we have to break their confidence on the streets.
Stand Up To Racism and Unite Against Fascism have sounded the alarm—and held protests against the fascists and racists. The demonstration on 14 July is a chance to begin to broaden the movement against the far right and to give new momentum to anti-racists.
Safety on those demonstrations comes through numbers.
A big turnout on 14 July will help us get to a position where we can confront the fascists and stop them marching where they want to march, rally where they want to rally. And that way we can push back and break their organisation.
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