Socialist Worker

We need an alternative to racist scapegoating

Issue No. 2436

Standing up to racism on 22 March last year

Standing up to racism on 22 March last year (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Our rulers are using last week’s Paris shootings to ramp up Islamophobia and racist attacks on migrant workers. This comes against a backdrop of ongoing Islamophobia and racism in Britain. But ordinary people can play a role in challenging their racist lies.

After 9/11, the Stop the War Coalition made a real difference building unity between Muslims and non-Muslims. We saw the same unity when tens of thousands filled Britain’s streets in support of Palestine last summer. 

And Unite Against Fascism made sure that we’re not faced with the continuing rise of fascist parties, as some are in Europe. But we face renewed—and urgent—challenges. 

We are likely to see more Islamophobic witch hunts, as Britain uses Isis to justify a new Iraq war. 

The mainstream parties are already engaged in a racist bidding war in the run-up to May’s general election.  This will get worse as May nears—and the cutting edge of that racism is Ukip. It feeds off of the mainstream parties’ scapegoating of migrants, but also pulls them to the right. 

It’s crucial we expose their racist lies. That’s why it’s important for every campaigner to build the Stand Up to Ukip campaign in their local areas. 

But we also have show that there’s an alternative to racist scapegoating. 


That means making sure that the 21 March anti-racist demonstrations in Cardiff, Glasgow and London are a day of unity for all trade unionists, students, and Muslim and migrant groups. 

Ukip’s rise also comes at a time when there is a vacuum in British politics. While the Tories and Labour aren’t a mirror image of one another, both parties are committed to austerity.  

The stakes for working class people are high, as the NHS meltdown shows. The Tories’ cuts to health and local services have created a perfect storm. 

So the NHS is at the brunt of austerity—but also the cutting edge of resistance. Everyone must get behind the upcoming health strikes on 29 January and 25 February.  

The strikes will build the strength of our side to fight back against austerity—and can help to build unity against Ukip’s racist lies.  

Taking collections in your workplace for the strikers is important. But we also need to organise lunchtime rallies and solidarity delegations for their workplaces. 

And the strike also raises political questions. That’s why we need to build a left alternative to Labour, and Socialist Worker will be campaigning as part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC). 

Building that alternative is part of strengthening the fightback. We need to show that there’s a socialist alternative to austerity, racism and war. 


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