A tide of hatred for US president Donald Trump has isolated Theresa May in her insistence on bringing the bigot-in-chief to Britain.
A day of protests is set to take place across Britain on Monday of next week as MPs debate Trump’s planned state visit.
The date was already marked for campaigning by the One Day Without Us initiative to highlight the importance of migrant workers in the face of racist scapegoating.
Ake Achi, the Birmingham-based founder of the initiative, told Socialist Worker, “The idea is to show the contribution we make. But not only that—it’s to show that there’s a network of people who will support migrant workers’ rights and fight together against what the government is doing.”
The government this week formally rejected a petition signed by nearly 2 million people against Trump’s visit. MPs will still debate the petition next Monday at 4.30pm.
A protest has been called by Stand Up To Racism (SUTR), the People’s Assembly and others outside parliament from 3pm—and another event is planned from 6pm.
Many other cities are also holding protests.
MPs are not scheduled to have a vote on Monday. Campaigners are demanding an indicative vote and pushing for a full parliamentary debate.
Some students are organising actions on their campuses. Mataio Dean from UCL university in central London told Socialist Worker, “We want to have a protest or a walkout.
“We’re trying to get the UCU lecturers’ union to back it. That’ll be jointly with something organised by students from nearby Soas.”
He added, “We’ve had a few Student Stand Up To Racism meetings. People from both the Islamic and the black and ethnic minority societies have come. We’ve been leafleting for SUTR and getting a really good response.”
In Birmingham students plan a day of banner making ahead of a protest and rally in Birmingham city centre. Students will also join a rally in Manchester city centre.
Meanwhile students at Queen Mary University in east London will rally on campus.
Up to 4,000 marched against Trump in Edinburgh last Saturday. Alan Bell told Socialist Worker, “Things are clearly changing.
“The anger that people have towards the racism in society is being focused on the disgusting misogynist Trump.
“New people are becoming politicised since Trump’s election. They want to be part of something big and believe that they can change society.”
To take this movement forward, groups that organised a 40,000-strong march against Trump in London this month have now launched a broad-based Stand Up To Trump Committee backed by several unions and others. It will hold a summit in London this Saturday.
Opposition is already bearing fruit—and the Tories’ plans for the state visit are already unravelling.
Speaker of the House of Commons Jon Bercow has said he doesn’t think Trump should be allowed to address parliament.
The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that Trump’s aides suggested an indoor rally at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham instead of a visit to London.
This would be a humiliating retreat.The Telegraph claims it’s founded on the hope that Trump would be more welcome in the West Midlands.
Ake said, “I don’t think they sat down before making that decision—if they think Trump will be welcome in Birmingham they don’t have a clue.”
Activists have promised big protests. Birmingham council quickly pointed out that it hadn’t been consulted. One Labour MP declared Trump “not welcome here” and started a petition against the visit.
Weyman Bennett from SUTR said, “Protesters have been on the streets in their thousands against Trump over recent weeks in London, Birmingham and many other cities.
“Trump and May have to realise that wherever they choose to come, they will be met by mass protests.”
United to keep bigotry out
The Stand up to Trump organising meeting last Friday brought together a broad range of groups.
They included Stand Up To Racism, the People’s Assembly, Labour left group Momentum, Stop the War, Abortion Rights, Muslim Engagement and Development, the Muslim Association of Britain and Friends of Al-Aqsa.
The Unite, CWU, NUT, UCU unions and the NUS student union also took part.
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s office, the TUC union federation and the organisers of last month’s Women’s March attended as observers.
They plan a nationwide organising summit in London this Saturday.
Speakers are set to include Faduma Hassan,? from Momentum, NUT teachers’ union general secretary Kevin Courtney, and Phyllis Opoku-gyimah from Black Pride.
Writer and broadcaster Tariq Ali, comedian Shappi Korsandi, and musician Tom Robinson will also speak.
Vile Tories close down route to safety for child refugees
The same Tory government that’s opening the door to bigot-in-chief Donald Trump slammed it in the face of lone child refugees last week.
Home secretary Amber Rudd announced last Wednesday that Britain would stop taking in children under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016, known as the Dubs amendment.
Labour peer Alf Dubs, whose campaigning saw the amendment adopted, told Socialist Worker, “It’s a shameful closing down of the scheme to bring child refugees in. It’s quite wrong and it leaves vulnerable children in danger.”
Tens of thousands of children are among the refugees seeking safety in Europe—100,000 by some estimates. The British state finds any excuse not to take them in.
Some have been able to come as relatives of people already in Britain, others have risked their lives travelling in the back of lorries.
The amendment committed the government to identify and take in other unaccompanied children.
It was expected to bring in 3,000. Rudd said that 200 have been brought in so far and the scheme will be closed after just 150 more.
Dubs, who came to Britain as a child fleeing the Nazis in the 1930s, called it “a shabby breach of what they said at the time.”
Rudd claimed the closure was necessary to stop human traffickers.
But it’s locking children out that makes them vulnerable to the most predatory and exploitative elements.
The decision was slammed in parliament. Labour MP and home affairs select committee chair Yvette Cooper accused the government of “turning its back” on children.
MPs will debate a motion on unaccompanied children in Greece and Italy next Thursday.
It will raise the issue of the Dubs amendment. A legal challenge will be heard in May.
Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) has launched an online petition against the closure and over 100 people were outside Downing Street at short notice last Friday.
Welcoming refugees will also be one of the demands of the SUTR national demonstrations on Saturday 18 March.
Popular outrage forced David Cameron’s government to accept the Dubs amendment. It will take even more to stop Theresa May’s government overturning it.
Dubs said, “What people should do is get onto their MPs, contact their local councillors, and join demonstrations.”
Camp conditions ‘appalling’
In the wake of the British government revoking the Dubs agreement many children will continue to suffer in horrendous conditions imposed by this inhuman act.
The La Liniere refugee camp in Dunkirk, northern France, has tripled in size to around 1,500 refugees, following the closure of “the jungle” Calais refugee camp.
On entering La Liniere through “security” the sheer number of children and babies in the camp is instantly obvious. These children are exposed to freezing temperatures in damp overcrowded huts.
Even bare essentials are proving to be life threatening—the only heating in the huts are paraffin lamps.
Children and adults are being hospitalised by carbon monoxide poisoning.
Volunteers in the camp are fighting an uphill battle to improve the appalling conditions.
Tensions are high between refugees and the security, as they are removing huts when left empty for a short space of time.
This only increases the overcrowding, and forces many to seek refuge in the smaller camps on the borders of Calais and Dunkirk.
These camps pose even more risk to children as it is harder for volunteers on the ground to supply essential aid.
The impact of dismantling “the jungle” hasn’t cut the number of refugees in crisis, it has increased their vulnerability through dispersal.
Carol went to northern France with Social Work Action Network last weekend.