Socialist Worker

Activists build for Stand Up To Racism conference to launch mass movement

by Dave Sewell
Issue No. 2523

Stand Up To Racism activists join a demonstration against austerity and racism in July

Stand Up To Racism activists join a demonstration against austerity and racism in July (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Over 1,000 people have registered for the Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) conference in central London on Saturday. It will bring together solidarity with refugees, opposition to the Islamophobic Prevent strategy, organising against racist attacks and activists in the Black Lives Matter movement.

Many of those attending will be trade unionists. Some 14 people have registered from the NUT teaching union’s branch in Ealing, west London.

Its secretary Stefan Simms told Socialist Worker, “When I sent an email out to members I got an immediate response—including from people I don’t know and who I’m looking forward to meeting.

“There is a real mood around this, far more than most campaigns.”

The conference aims to help strengthen existing SUTR groups and launch new ones in local areas and workplaces. As our rulers’ racist offensives gather pace, so must the movement against them.

Stefan said, “The response made me think of what the former RMT union leader Bob Crow did after the big Stop the War demonstration in 2003. He contacted all members to find out which of them had taken part.

“When asked why, he said that those workers who’d gone out against the Iraq war would be the future leading activists in the union.

“I’m hoping this conference will have a similar effect.”

After the conference anti-racists will launch a series of initiatives for refugees and against Islamophobia, running up to national demonstrations in March.

SUTR joint secretary Weyman Bennett told Socialist Worker, “We need to mobilise in mass numbers against Theresa May’s plan to divide people on race, religion and origin.

“The demonstrations will be at the same time as she invokes ‘Article 50’ to leave the European Union.

We need to be on the streets to say we don’t want a festival of racism.”

Stand Up To Racism activist diary

  • Saturday 8 October – SUTR conference
  • Friday 14 October – day of action for the Dubs amendment. Local events to get refugee children into Britain
  • Saturday 15 October – help refugee children, protest in Parliament Square, 2pm
  • November—Islamophobia Awareness Month with Mend, MAB and other groups
  • December—Calais winter appeal
  • Saturday 18 March—national demonstrations against racism, Antisemitism and Islamophobia and to welcome migrants and refugees

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