Socialist Worker

Fight to keep racism out of the election

by Charlie Kimber
Issue No. 2551

Stand Up To Racism protesters in London in March

Stand Up To Racism protesters in London in March (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Theresa May is using anti-migrant feeling as a way to divide opposition to her government and to try and win votes.

Such electoral manoeuvres are playing with fire, fuelling more racist attacks and worsening Islamophobia.

May wants to make cutting migrant numbers a central feature of her vision of taking Britain out of the European Union (EU).

She will then say that the Tories are the only party that can deliver such cuts.

Here to stay, here to fight. Muslims and migrants on how theyre fighting racism
Here to stay, here to fight. Muslims and migrants on how they're fighting racism
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May reiterated that the Conservatives want to deliver “sustainable numbers” of people coming to Britain and defined that number as being fewer than 100,000 a year.

May said, “Obviously leaving the European Union means we can bring in control in relation to people moving from the EU into the UK as well as people from outside the EU coming into the United Kingdom.”

As polling day nears, the pressure to go deeper into the gutter to boost the most reactionary ideas and to mobilise the Tory party base will grow stronger.

That’s what happened in previous election campaigns and during the EU referendum.

In response Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) has launched a major programme of events designed to keep racism out of the election. It includes days of action, regional meetings and public events.

There will be forums on “Defending freedom of movement—fighting for EU nationals’ and migrants’ rights” and candidates will be asked to sign a pledge opposing racism, Islamophobia and antisemitism.

SUTR is calling for activists to take to the streets and to take action in workplaces on the May Day bank holiday weekend and on Wednesday 10 May.

Campaign organisers said, “There is no place for racism and scapegoating in our political discourse.

“We call on all political leaders, media outlets, candidates and campaigns to refrain from the scapegoating of migrants and refugees and take responsibility for halting the rise of racism, Islamophobia and antisemitism.”

SUTR is also contesting Ukip’s vile and more overt racism. Ukip leader Paul Nuttall announced that his party will campaign to ban the burka.

SUTR responded immediately against the attempt to inject more racist poison into the election debates.

Weyman Bennett, co-convenor of Stand Up To Racism, said, “Ukip is thrashing around for a way out of its crisis and, as usual, it is looking for scapegoats. This campaign will mean more attacks on Muslims—in particular Muslim women—and more hatred and division.”

Last Sunday Jeremy Corbyn attended the north London rally remembering the 1977 Battle of Wood Green that broke up a march of National Front fascists. He praised those who had taken part and said, “The only way communities can achieve anything is by coming together and working together.

“You can’t compromise with racism. When we unite we are stronger.”

For details of SUTR activity around the general election go to bit.ly/2olKIe6

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