The Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) conference last Saturday was a fantastic success. It must now become the launchpad for a mass social movement.
The 1,500-strong conference brought together many activists who have been fighting in their workplaces, universities and localities.
The support and speeches from Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott, Alf Dubs, the UCU union’s Sally Hunt, the TUC’s Gloria Mills and many others were extremely important and welcome.
They give confidence to those who feel intimidated by the racists.
Corbyn and Abbott were absolutely right to speak at the conference. It showed they were serious about building an anti-racist movement.
Their detractors will use any excuse to attack them, even if it derails anti-racist resistance.
Socialist Worker is proud to be a part of SUTR and to support its activities. It is a movement of many different forces already, and it should remain so.
The crucial component is the work done at workplace and local level.
That means campaigning in solidarity with refugees and migrants, opposing racist myths and scapegoating, combating Islamophobia and confronting state racism.
The inspiring conference has to be followed by broad-based events in every city and town to push back against the rise of racism.
There must be workplace groups and tens of thousands of people wearing stickers and badges.
It could not be a more urgent time. Last week’s Tory conference made clear that Theresa May is using racism to glue together the different elements of her government.
They told the 30 percent of NHS doctors who were not born in Britain that after an “interim” period they could be replaced.
SUTR must be the rallying point for all who refuse to bow to such filth.
SUTR is not some add-on to the general resistance to austerity. It is a central part of it. And putting a positive alternative to austerity is also a part of fighting racism.
A working class that fights for decent pay and to break the Housing Act will be much less prone to swallowing racist myths.
Upcoming SUTR events (see box) need the support of every anti-racist and everyone who hates the Tories.
Let all the children in
Local protests were set to take place around Britain on Friday and Saturday in solidarity with migrants in Calais. The protests will also demand that child refugees are let in.
It comes as France prepares to demolish the “jungle” in Calais where over 10,000 refugees are locked out by Britain’s border.
Clare Moseley of charity Care 4 Calais told last Saturday’s Stand Up To Racism conference, “People are going to be put in aircraft hangars, barns and sheds” with “nothing to eat”.
“I am terrified,” she added.
An Eritrean man was killed in a car accident on Sunday trying to cross the border.
Labour’s Lord Alf Dubs said the Tories have “cheated and lied” their way out of taking in refugee children.
He moved an amendment to the Immigration Act to let in children who don’t otherwise qualify.
The government now says accepting children who prove they have close relatives in Britain fulfils its obligation. But it was already obliged to admit them.
Dubs called the U-turn “a complete breach” of “the spirit and the letter” of the amended Act.
The Tories are preparing legislation to punish asylum seekers for risking their lives, Refugee Council chief Maurice Wren warned.
Theresa May has tried to divide refugees brought in under Britain’s official resettlement schemes from “the rich and the strong” who make their own way.
A new law could turn that into official discrimination.
The European Union plans to deport tens of thousands of refugees to Afghanistan under a deal agreed last week. Pakistan is already driving refugees back, despite an intensification of the Afghan war.