Socialist Worker

Protest on 21 March to stop scapegoating

by Ken Olende
Issue No. 2440

Waida Forman is a Labour councillor in Harlow, Essex.

Waida Forman is a Labour councillor in Harlow, Essex.


 

The need for a raging protest against racism was pushed home last week as David Cameron stepped up his scapegoating of migrants.

Cameron had already attacked health workers for supposedly not being able to speak English. 

Yet some Tory MPs said he has been too soft. And a new pamphlet from the right wing Civitas think tank called for even tougher controls on migrants.

But many are angry at the attacks—and will join the Stand Up to Racism protests on Saturday 21 March in London, Glasgow and Cardiff.

Waida Forman is a Labour councillor in Harlow, Essex. She spoke to Socialist Worker about her worries over the Labour leadership pandering to racism in the coming election.

“They’re not attacking big corporations, but migrants,” she said. “Well, I’m a migrant. And I’m a nurse. I’ve never come across any clinical worker who can’t speak English.

“I don’t know why the leadership is doing this, but then they don’t talk to little people like me. I sometimes think they just see us as vote fodder. But how am I supposed to knock on people’s doors and ask them to vote Labour?”

 

Undercut

Waida said the 21 March protests can undercut mainstream racism. She is chair of Harlow trades council, which is backing the London demonstration and sending a delegation.

“We can’t just sit by,” she said. “People tend to blame others when they don’t have what they need. We need to pressure Labour MPs to change the party’s policies.

“If everyone had a home and job, they wouldn’t be blaming migrants.”

Several union branches have passed motions supporting the protests, including from the Unite, NUT and UCU unions. 

The Unison union’s health service group executive agreed to support the protests and pushed for delegations to attend. 

It added that, given the rise of racist scapegoating of NHS staff, it would be good to have health workers in uniform on the demonstration.

Rashida Islam is raising the profile of the protests by pushing for anti-racist street art. 

She told Socialist Worker, “This is a way of pushing the debate out to layers of society that might not otherwise be involved.” 

Anyone interested in taking part should contact her at ­streetartagainstracism@gmail.com

Stand Up to Racism and Fascism demonstrations on 21 March—London 12 noon, central London. 
Followed by a rally in Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN. 
Glasgow 11am, George Square, G2 1DU. 
Cardiff 11.30am, Clare Gardens, Riverside, CF11.  
Go to standuptoracism.org.uk

If you enjoy Socialist Worker, please consider giving to our annual appeal to make sure we can maintain and develop our online and print versions of Socialist Worker. Go here for details and to donate.

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.