Anti-racists are going all-out to build for national mobilisations in London, Glasgow and Cardiff next Saturday. There is now less than a week to go to the 17 March demonstrations, organised by Stand Up to Racism (SUTR).
Coaches are booked from all major cities and towns, including Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool. Around 90 rallied in Newcastle on Saturday, with speakers including Labour MP Laura Pidcock, and a similar number came to the SUTR mobilising meeting in Wolverhampton in the West Midlands on Friday night.
Activists in London and many other areas were giving a final push this week to make sure there is a big turnout in the capital.
Valerie, joint BAME officer for the Islington North Constituency Labour Party (CLP), will be marching to defend freedom of movement. “We have to stand in solidarity with people who are not being given their rights about where they can live and where they can move,” she told Socialist Worker.
“People are uncertain, it’s important to march.”
The Tories want to end freedom of movement for European Union (EU) nationals as part of their drive to scapegoat migrants. They want to deflect working class people’s anger at the politicians, bosses and austerity.
Valerie slammed the Tories for peddling “lies used to scapegoat so people will forget the real socio-economic causes”.
“It’s them and their bleeding cuts, migration has helped the community,” she said.
And many want Labour’s left wing leadership to stand against pressure and defend freedom of movement. Valerie said, “I recently put a motion forward to defend freedom of movement in Labour”.
The Tories’ attacks on migrants are part of Britain’s racist immigration laws that lock refugees out—and criminalise them if they make it in. Solidarity with refugees will be one of the key messages on the 17 March demonstrations.
Around 50 people also joined a film screening of Calais Children—A Case to Answer in Lewisham, south east London, last Tuesday night.
Director Sue Clayton was part a judicial review at the High Court over ZS, an Afghan child refugee trapped at Britain’s border in Calais. The Tories rejected ZS’s application under the Dubs Amendment to allow in child refugees, which they subsequently dumped altogether.
“In the last few years refugee has become a dirty word,” she told Socialist Worker. “Every refugees is supposed to be a criminal, an Isis member, the press has made sure that every refugee is seen as an enemy of the state.
“We have got to change the whole narrative.
“It’s not just about these children, it’s about the whole way Europe thinks it can pull up a fence and forget about the rest of the world.”
The 17 March is an opportunity to bring together all of these struggles and build a bigger anti-racist movement across Britain. Valerie said, “They are a minority—but anti-racists are a minority within a bigger majority that rejects racism.”
“This march is even more important now. Black or white, Christian or Muslim—we need solidarity.”