Socialist Worker

The fight against racism is international, says activist in Greece

by Petros Constantinou, coordinator of the Movement Against Racism and the Fascist Threat (Keerfa) in Greece
Issue No. 2545

Anti-racists in Greece welcomed refugee children to schools earlier this year

Anti-racists in Greece welcomed refugee children to schools earlier this year (Pic: Workers' Solidarity)


The weekend of Saturday 18 March will be an international mobilisation against racism that was initially called by the movement in Greece.

Many trade unions and local councils are supporting demonstrations in nine Greek cities. This includes the island of Lesvos, where thousands of refugees are trapped.

We are mobilising in the refugee camps and expect many refugees to join the demonstration. Our main slogan is “Down with Fortress Europe”.

We want to end the isolation of refugees, welcoming them into the cities and closing down the camps. We want to cancel the European Union’s agreement with Turkey that means they can be detained and deported.

Hospital cleaners will be marching, many of them migrants from Eastern European or African countries.

They are employed by private contractors that could soon be brought into the public sector. Shamefully the government wants to exclude those workers who aren’t citizens.

We’re also protesting against the far right across Europe.

Breakthrough

There will be big a march in the Netherlands where racist Geert Wilders could make a breakthrough in next week’s election.

And there will be one in Austria where the fight continues after the narrow defeat of the fascist Freedom Party candidate Norbert Hofer last year.

I will being going to Paris on Sunday 19 March for a very important demonstration that could open up the possibilities for a fight against fascist Marine Le Pen.

It draws on the anger against police racism following the rape with a truncheon of young black man Theo Luhaka. The demonstration was even announced last week by a witness testifying at the trial of the officer who shot and killed French-Moroccan Amine Bentounsi in 2012.

In Greece the Nazi Golden Dawn party is in a mess. Already on trial for their violent attacks, the defeat of their campaign to keep refugee children out of schools has created splits in their leadership.

A prominent affiliate group has dissolved and an MP has left the party, meaning it is no longer the third largest in the Greek parliament but the fourth.

We finally won one of our most important fights against them last Saturday, when a public TV station announced that it would stop giving Golden Dawn airtime.

They had been broadcasting speeches by its leader for an hour every month. But after campaigning by Keerfa, the media workers’ union announced that it would strike to stop any further such broadcast, forcing bosses to back down.

Protests are also taking place in other countries from Poland to South Korea, as well in as three cities in Britain. This movement is our chance to resist the racists and the far right.

Stand up to racism demonstrations, Saturday 18 March
London: assemble 12 noon, Portland Place
Glasgow: assemble 11am, Holland St
Cardiff: assemble 11am, Grange gardens
For transport details and publicity to download and print, go to standuptoracism.org.uk/national-demo-refugees-migrants-welcome-stand-racism-islamophobia-anti-semitism

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