Socialist Worker

Activists get organised to beat back the racists on 21 March - join the protests

by Ken Olende
Issue No. 2441

anti-racists in Hackney, east London, hold a Stand Up to Racism stall last Saturday

Anti-racists in Hackney, east London, hold a Stand Up to Racism stall last Saturday (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Campaigners around Britain are spreading the word about the Stand Up to Racism demonstrations in London, Cardiff and Glasgow on Saturday 21 March.

The massive death toll of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea (see below) highlights that many are fleeing horrific conditions. 

But this doesn’t stop the Tories’ and Ukip’s endless racist tirades. 

Ukip MEP Tim Aker said, “We have been a soft touch for far too long. Illegal migrants must be deported immediately.”

Migrants aren’t to blame for workers’ suffering in Britain.

The real culprits are the bankers and bosses who caused the global crisis. 

For the London demonstration, activists in Hackney, east London, leafleted shoppers last Saturday morning. They are also publicising a local mobilising meeting.

Eylem from the Refugee Workers Cultural Association, which works with Turkish and Kurdish people, took part. 

“Racism and fascism are on the rise all over Europe,” she told Socialist Worker. “Many people from Turkey and Kurdistan came here because they have been tortured or raped.


“As migrants, we will not be silenced. We’re not just supporting, we’re taking part.”

Red Saunders, one of the founders of Rock Against Racism in 1976, was also there.

He said, “The atmosphere at the moment is different. I think this is a difficult period and I’m really worried about Ukip. 

“But we can stop them if we really mobilise and get people out there. We need to get youth and their energy.

“I’m involved in the cultural side. I film people saying why they are standing up to racism and put it up on YouTube. 

“It was inspiring last week when I filmed a Unitarian minister and the imam in the mosque on the same day.” 

Kathryn Johnson, an activist from Hackney People’s Assembly and Sustainable Hackney, said, “Those at the top of society are trying to divide us by blaming migrants—they’re also going for benefits claimants and disabled people. 

“I see issues as part of the same problem. I think the economic system doesn’t work.”

Activists in Lewisham, south London, held a mobilising meeting which around 50 people attended—many of them students. 

Speakers included local Labour and Green Party parliamentary candidates Vicky Foxcroft and John Coughlin. 

Justice campaigner Marcia Rigg, sister of Sean Rigg who died in police custody, also spoke.

This was followed by a Love Music Hate Racism gig on Sunday to build support among wider layers of people. 

Mediterranean deaths

At least 300 people died last week while attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Italy. 

The refugees are desperate. One survivor said, “We know what fate we are going towards and the probability of dying. But it is a sacrifice we consciously make to have a future.”

The boats had set off from Libya, but most of the migrants came from other African countries.

Some 2,000 people have been rescued since this tragedy. Italy ended full scale search and rescue operations last year after other European Union members, including Britain, refused to fund them. 

British foreign minister Lady Anelay claimed that saving lives only encouraged people to risk the journey.

Around 3,500 people died last year before the scheme was closed. 

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