Ukip leader Nigel Farage faced angry anti-racist protests on his campaign trail last week.
In London a key rally for the racist populist party turned into chaos on Wednesday of last week. Anti-racist protesters heckled and disrupted speeches attacking migrants as more than 150 others rallied outside.
Fran Manning, a student at Kingston University, told Socialist Worker, “We stood up and chanted, ‘Unemployment and inflation are not caused by immigration,’ after one Ukip speaker called for tougher border controls.
“They must learn that what they say about migrants is not going unchallenged.”
The evening was supposed to be a triumph for Farage. Instead he was forced to stay out of his rally until a brief appearance in the closing minutes.
Ukip has clearly been stung by being branded racist, and sat all its black and Asian members in the front two rows. Farage had them join him on stage for a desperate photo opportunity.
But the attendees were mostly white, middle to upper class—and visibly shaken by the noisy protest.
Rattled, Farage lashed out at Unite Against Fascism (UAF) and other campaigns, claiming they were using violence against him. Farage says he now has to have bodyguards.
UAF is one of many groups and individuals supporting the Stand Up to Ukip campaign.
It rejected his allegations, saying “Nigel Farage has had to hire bodyguards due to Ukip members making explicitly racist, sexist and homophobic statements. These have made Ukip deeply unpopular with all those that oppose such bigotry.”
When Farage arrived in Edinburgh for a rally two days later he was met by 500 anti-racist demonstrators. The protest was organised by the Radical Independence Campaign and Stand Up to Ukip.
Members of Nazi group Britain First tried to come and “protect Farage”.
The protest surged towards them and they ran away, later returning to hide behind police lines. Farage was forced to exit through a side door.
In town centres across Britain anti-racists have taken to the streets to campaign against Ukip.
In Wood Green in North London, shoppers cheered on Stand Up to Ukip campaigners from Labour, Lib Dem, Green and Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) as they leafleted last Saturday.
Labour Party prospective parliamentary candidate Catherine West said, “Racism has no place in London, and together with colleagues from the labour movement, we can defeat Ukip.”
TUSC local election candidate Simon Hester told Socialist Worker, “Ukip is led by tax-dodging millionaires so it’s no wonder they scapegoat poor migrants.”
Thanks to Emma Davis, Chris Newlove and Terry McGrath
Mainstream politicians' migrant-bashing feeds Ukip
A new poll put Ukip on a record 31 percent of the vote for this month’s European elections, while Labour has slipped to only 25 percent.
Nigel Farage and his racist party are also expecting good results in the local elections.
While the mainstream parties increasingly criticise Ukip, they don’t want to challenge them on the issue of racism and immigration.
Labour’s anti-Ukip leaflet rightly attacks its anti-NHS and pro-privatisation policies. But instead of challenging Ukip’s racism it promises that “Labour will take tough action on immigration”.
Some LGBT Tories wanted to expose the homophobia of Roger Helmer, Ukip’s parliamentary candidate in the coming by-election in Newark. They tweeted a collection of his vile quotes.
What they neglected to mention was that most were made when Helmer was still a Tory party member.
Time is short before the local and European elections. Ukip can flourish as mainstream parties champion anti-immigration agendas.
Anti-racists need to be organised and campaigning in every town and city where Ukip is standing to oppose racist scapegoating and declare all immigrants are welcome here.