Socialist Worker

Anti-racists organise against Ukip in Rochester and Strood

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2429

Anti-racists are organising against Ukip in the run-up to the Rochester and Strood by-election on 20 November.

Ukip is widely predicted to win its second MP in the by-election. But not everyone in the area wants a Ukip victory.

Steve Wilkins is secretary of Medway trades council and has been involved in the Stand up to Ukip (Sutu) campaign. 

He told Socialist Worker, “It’s quite polarised. There are lots of people who are very pleased to see us.

“But there are also people who say there are too many immigrants and they’re voting Ukip.”

Steve said disillusion with mainstream politics has boosted Ukip too. “Two people said exactly the same thing to us—they don’t know what Ukip will do for them, but said it can’t be worse than what we’ve got now.”

Yet Ukip’s candidate is Mark Reckless, who was the Tory MP until he defected. 

Sutu campaigners have held Saturday stalls and leafleted houses and big workplaces. 

Headquarters

Protesters forced Ukip leader Nigel Farage to relocate when he turned up for a press conference at Ukip’s Strood headquarters last Saturday. 

Activists have also leafleted at election hustings—most of which Reckless appears to be boycotting.

“I think in a few cases we have changed people’s minds about Ukip,” said Steve. “We’ve certainly given people pause for thought about supporting them. And we are giving heart to everyone who is sick of Ukip’s racism.”

Campaigners are also taking on the fascist group Britain First, which has a candidate in the election despite telling people to back Ukip. It plans to protest in the constituency this Saturday. 

During a recent demonstration anti-fascists outnumbered Britain First. They plan to hold another counter-protest.

Ukip supporters originally fraternised with the local Britain First, but have now been instructed not to. 

But Ukip’s attempts to appear respectable can’t cover up the racism at the heart of the party. 

A win for Ukip will embolden every racist in Britain. That’s why we need to mobilise against them.

standuptoukip.orgSutu Wales has called a protest against Ukip Wales’ conference. Saturday 6 December, 11am, Margam Orangery, Port Talbot, South Wales

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