Up to 700 people protested against Ukip in Margate last Saturday as the racist party held its spring conference. The demo included local anti-racists, students and trade unionists.
Some, such as Juliet Bott, came not as part of any group but simply because she wanted to make a stand against Ukip.
Juliet told Socialist Worker, “I dislike Ukip’s focus on holding immigrants responsible for all the ills of society.
“It’s important that people come out and object, otherwise Ukip can seem more legitimate.”
Petr Jano lives in the Cliftonville area of Margate. It’s part of the South Thanet constituency that Ukip leader Nigel Farage is targeting in May’s general election.
Petr told Socialist Worker, “I came to England from the Czech Republic nearly nine years ago. There are many Czech and Slovak people living in Cliftonville who came here because they want a better life.
“We haven’t had a problem with racism. But now it is very dangerous because Nigel Farage has come here with his nationalism.”
Drivers beeped their horns in support and gave demonstrators the thumbs up as the march wound through Margate.
A group of students from Kent university on the march were angry at the mainstream media for giving the impression that Kent is full of racists.
Hannah McIntosh is the women’s officer there. She told Socialist Worker, “It’s become personal for us. There is a diverse culture at Kent university with lots of international students.
“We’ve come to know these people well and now they are being blamed for everything.”
Student Harriet Cash added that Ukip’s attacks on migrants had made racists more confident. “It’s just scapegoating,” she said. “But it’s made it so that it’s ok for people to say racist things that they wouldn’t have said before.”
Farage pretends that he’s on the side of working class people. Marchers knew better.
Caron Carter came with a group from the CWU union.
“He tries to act like he’s the average man on the street,” she told Socialist Worker. “He’s nothing like it. The average person is going to food banks.”
Caron said Ukip’s anti-immigrant rhetoric was “unbelievable”. “We’re a diverse society,” she said. “But every time one of his party gives an interview they come out with something racialist.”
Stand Up to Ukip supporters leafleted in Middleton near Rochdale, Greater Manchester, on Saturday of last week.
A lot of people were friendly, took leaflets and signed the signup sheet.
Some told us how pleased they were that we were there leafleting. There were some racists and some Ukip supporters, but they didn’t seem confident.
After the leafleting, the general feeling was buoyant. Whenever people join us leafleting in Middleton and Heywood they are pleasantly surprised by the potential for putting an anti-racist argument.