Socialist Worker

Take to streets against racism

by Mark L Thomas
Issue No. 2223

Racists and Nazis will try to grow as the cuts hit home.

In Britain the English Defence League (EDL) pumps out Islamophobic poison, while in Europe the far right are making significant gains.

The election results from Vienna in Austria were the latest worrying sign—the far-right Freedom Party got 27 percent of the vote and took 28 seats in the regional parliament.

That’s why the Unite Against Fascism (UAF) national demonstration against racism, fascism and Islamophobia in London on Saturday 6 November is so vital.

It’s a crucial opportunity to broaden the anti-racist and anti-fascist movement—and it’s getting a great response.

The TUC is backing it, as are the leaders of almost all the major trade unions—opening the door to every trade union branch in Britain to mobilise widely for it.

So too are the Muslim Council of Britain and the British MuslimInitiative, and the Islam Channel is to run daily adverts. Campaigning charity the Runnymede Trust is also supporting the march.

It’s vital this support is turned into work on the ground to build the demo.

Josh Hollands from Hull University spoke to Socialist Worker about how he is mobilising for 6 November.

“At the freshers’ fair we visited each of the student union sabbatical officers, liberation campaigns and other societies to ask for their support,” says Josh.

“We had a great response. The Labour club and the Islamic, LGBT, Hindu and black students’ societies all signed up.

“We’re approaching trade union branches to help cover the cost of coaches, and we have a timetable of activity which includes student delegations to workplaces and mosques, working with local youth groups, organising stunts and stalls and putting on Love Music Hate Racism gigs.”

Steve Rolfe is at Manchester University. He told Socialist Worker, “We got over 40 student societies to back the UAF pledge for the protest and then asked people what they could do to build it.

Pledge

“The Man City supporters’ society will help leaflet the football ground and we plan to have music nights and a rally on campus on 25 October to build support.”

UAF activists are setting up local mobilising committees, inviting trade unionists, anti-racist campaigners, religious groups and others to get involved and help maximise the turnout.

A North West UAF mobilising committee met for the first time last week to discuss plans for building for the demo.

“It was very productive,” said Paul Jenkins, UAF’s regional organiser.

“We had people from UAF groups in Liverpool, Manchester, Burnley, Wigan and Bolton. We drew up a diary of activities and exchanged ideas about who to contact.” The Unite union office in Liverpool is selling tickets for the coaches to the demo.

The 6 November can be a vital stepping stone in the fight to stop the rise of racism and fascism.

And it can also give an important confidence boost to all those arguing for a fightback on the streets against the cuts.


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Tue 12 Oct 2010, 18:13 BST
Issue No. 2223
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