Socialist Worker

How we can beat back the fascist threat - starting in London on Saturday

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2612

A big protest of Tommy Robinson supporters in London last month

A big protest of Tommy Robinson supporters in London last month (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Anti-racists are going all-out to build opposition to supporters of jailed Nazi Tommy Robinson.

The fascists plan a mass rally on Whitehall in central London on Saturday as part of their attempt to regroup the forces of the British far right.

Momentum is growing behind a Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) open letter, which calls on people to protest against Donald Trump and the Nazis who idolise him.

Initial signatories included Labour shadow ministers Diane Abbott and John McDonnell and the leaders of all the major trade unions.

Supporters of SUTR in the Labour Party in Haringey, north London, were out leafleting for both protests on Friday of last week.

Tottenham Labour Party tweeted that it “will be proudly attending both demonstrations against racism”. “We’re out by Seven Sisters tube today mobilising people,” it said.

Around 28 Labour councillors have already signed in Haringey. And SUTR activists have gained support from Newham Labour mayor Rokhsana Fiaz and over 30 Labour Party councillors.

There is also growing support among leading trade unionists to take on the Nazis.

RMT union members on the Bakerloo tube line agreed last week to donate £100 and get members out onto the streets.

Mobilisation

Vaughan Thomas, RMT London Transport Region president, told members, “We need to have a mass mobilisation for Saturday 14th to oppose the fascists in London.”

Supporters of Robinson previously held a 15,000-strong rally on Whitehall in central London on 9 June. The “Free Tommy” rally was the largest outdoor mobilisation organised by fascists in British history—and brought together all the different far right factions. The Nazis sense an opportunity to rebuild a movement on the streets that can carry out racist violence against Muslims.

Alarmingly the Nazis and racist populists of Ukip have been brought together for the first time. Ukip leader Gerrard Batten has spoken at fascist rallies and asked people to “organise politically” and join his party.

The racist Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA) is acting as the bridge between the two.

And the recent mobilisations have been attended by young supporters of Donald Trump and the US alt right. Generation Identity—a group that says white people are facing genocide—was one of the most popular groups on last month’s march.

With the far right trying to grow, getting a big turnout against them is crucial.

Numbers will make it safer for protesters—and make it easier to get colleagues and classmates onto the protests. And it will be part of the process of building up our forces so we can confront the fascists on the streets and break their confidence and organisation.

Unity protest against Tommy Robinson, Trump and the far-right, Saturday 14 July, 1pm, Old Palace Yard (near Parliament), London. March at 2pm to Whitehall. Details here Called by Stand Up To Racism and Unite Against Fascism.

Racist rulers tighten rules to stop rescue operations for refugees

Almost 500 people have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea because the Italian government has closed its ports to rescue ships. Their deaths in the last three weeks bring the death toll in the Central Mediterranean to over 1,400 in 2018.

Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini stopped the Doctors Without Borders rescue ship Aquarius from docking last month. And on Monday of last week the last remaining rescue ship, Sea-Watch 3, was detained in a port in Malta.

Sea-Watch 3 captain Pia Klemp said, “While we are hindered from leaving port, people are drowning, this is absolutely unacceptable.

“Any further death at sea is on the account of those preventing rescue from taking place.”

Their deaths are part of a new clampdown on refugees—and are down to the European Union’s (EU) Fortress Europe policy.

Some EU leaders offered mild criticism of Salvini’s policies. But the real division in the EU is over how best to clamp down on refugees. Racist right wingers such as Salvini call for internal borders while the EU wants to reinforce external borders. Either way, refugees die.

German chancellor Angela Merkel hammered out a new immigration deal last Thursday with her right wing interior minister Horst Seehofer.

He had threatened to bring down Merkel’s coalition over the issue. He was hoping to outflank the far right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in upcoming Bavarian elections.

The deal backs off from internment camps on the border, but includes fast-tracking deportation of asylum seekers.

Seehofer said it sends “a signal to the world that illegal migration is no longer worth it”.

The deal shows that the EU is not on the side of refugees—any more than the Italian government is. Many of the refugees are fleeing the West’s imperialist wars and poverty in the Middle East.

Those who make it across the Mediterranean are faced with death, destitution and deportation. Over 1,000 refugees are trapped at Britain’s border at the port of Calais in northern France.

The only solution is to open the borders. That means building a mass movement against racism in Britain that can force the government to do that.


Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.