The protests against Donald Trump and the Nazis who love him have transformed the mood among socialists and anti-racists in Britain.
The 250,000-strong Together Against Trump march in London last Friday was the largest weekday demonstration since George Bush’s visit in 2003.
And tens of thousands more also took to the streets in towns and cities elsewhere across Britain (see pages 10&11).
The following day 3,000 joined a protest against supporters of fascist Tommy Robinson in London. Anti-racist numbers were significantly up from 400 a month ago—and the fascist rally was less than half the previous 15,000.
The threat of the British far right has not gone away. But our side is now in a much stronger position to push it back.
And the demonstrations have a much wider significance for the fightback against Tory austerity and racism.
The Tories’ humiliation at the general election last June gave working class people hope that it was possible to dump austerity and racism. And millions were inspired by Jeremy Corbyn’s message.
There were some Tories Out demonstrations across Britain. And shadow chancellor John McDonnell floated the idea of a million people protesting.
But the numbers of people on demonstrations and protests has been declining.
Since the general election Corbyn’s Labour has felt more like a government in waiting.
Most union leaders advocate waiting for the next general election for change, partly as it lets them off the hook for not leading a fight against the Tories.
To many workers, it seems far more likely they will get a pay rise from a Labour government than from the likes of Unison union leader Dave Prentis leading a serious fight (see page 6).
But many would take up that fight if given a lead.
And Corbyn’s success has meant that he’s been under pressure from inside the Labour Party machine to appear more “prime ministerial”.
He has been a noticeable absentee as a speaker at many demonstrations in the last year.
The protests last week are a chance to break out of this cycle. Hundreds of thousands of people came out the streets—and didn’t just wait for Labour.
Corbyn spoke and declared, “Democracy comes from popular action”.
This renewed confidence cannot be allowed to dissipate. We have to use it build a fightback on the streets, in workplaces and on campuses. We should make the September protest against the Tory party conference in Birmingham a show of force.
The Stand Up To Racism international conference on
20 October will be another key chance to build the movement.
The Tories are in crisis—let’s build the fightback to push them out now.