There is a sea change sweeping through British politics. The cruel scapegoating of refugees has briefly paused.
At least some of the agonising truth about why people come to Britain has been revealed to millions.
Of course, not every racist has disappeared. But many ordinary people have shown solidarity and sympathy towards refugees—and disgust at our rulers’ callousness.
We have to seize the moment.
Wars fuelled by Britain and its allies have forced millions of refugees to flee.
Now the Tories, and most of Europe’s rulers, are cynically trying to use their suffering to justify still more war in Syria.
And they will hope to soon go back to lies, vicious laws and a policy of no entry for migrants.
We must march, argue and organise to make sure this doesn’t happen.
The demonstrations this weekend are crucial. And then there needs to be continuing action in every university, college, workplace and area.
We need to break down the barriers that can divide working class people—at work, where they live, and on protests and picket lines.
This moment of hope must become a permanent war against racism and Islamophobia, and for the right of people to move as freely as money moves.
Trade unions could give a strong signal by offering free membership to all refugees and migrants.
Anti-racism must be a strong element of the TUC demonstration in Manchester on 4 October. We need to build that demonstration alongside our work in support of refugees.
And another complacent certainty is crumbling. It has become a commonplace idea that austerity is the only viable way forward.
But millions of people across Britain will cheer if anti-austerity candidate Jeremy Corbyn is elected Labour leader on Saturday.
Socialist Worker does not think the Labour Party is the answer to the problems we face. It won’t confront the system that brings war and poverty.
But the support for Corbyn shows the potential for resistance.
The Tories were smug after the general election. They thought they had crushed all opposition and could enjoy five years of untrammelled class enrichment.
They were confident that the bitterness in society could always be turned on scapegoats, with Muslims and migrants obvious targets. And Labour was expected to become even more right wing.
Now people are marching across Britain to say, “Refugees welcome here”. A representative of what the right call the “loony left” is poised to be Labour leader.
Racism and austerity are not separate issues. We need to confront both, and redouble the battle for a socialist future where people come before profit.