Socialist Worker

Anti-racists get organised to take on the right on the streets

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2623

Stand Up To Racism supporters leafletting at Old Trafford in Manchester

Stand Up To Racism supporters leafletting at Old Trafford in Manchester (Pic: Manchester Stand Up To Racism)


Supporters of Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) have been organising against racism and the threat of the far right across Britain.

The SUTR group in west London was part of a hundreds-strong solidarity vigil outside Al-majlis Al Hussaini Islamic centre last Wednesday. A driver had tried to mow down worshippers leaving a religious festival at the mosque the previous night.

Dr Ali Abd, who attended the solidarity vigil, told Socialist Worker, “The response has been fantastic. We’re not going to feel intimidated by this attack.”

The attack comes as the far right are gaining confidence.

Racism pushed by the Tories and the press against Muslims, migrants and refugees has fuelled a resurgent street movement around Nazi Tommy Robinson.

The Democratic Football Lads Alliance has called a march in London on 13 October. Alongside street mobilisations, they are trying to build support among football fans.

That’s why SUTR groups in Manchester and Leeds took the anti-racist message to football grounds last week.

Campaigners leafleted the Manchester United vs Wolves match at Old Trafford last Saturday. One SUTR activist said, “Some supporters took a leaflet, read it and joined in.

“Many others took the leaflet out of their pocket once seated inside and sat reading it before the match started.”

And in Leeds around 14 SUTR supporters leafleted Elland Road football ground on Tuesday of last week.

Positive

The local group reported “overwhelmingly a very positive reaction” from the fans. “Hundreds of Stand Up To Racism stickers and nearly 1,000 leaflets were given out,” it said.

The leafleting was supported by the Unite union.

Meanwhile, a SUTR group in Birmingham organised a 100-strong protest outside Ukip’s national conference last Saturday. And Peterborough SUTR has called a protest against Ukip leader Gerard Batten for 29 October.

SUTR groups are building for a major international conference on 20 October and an anti-racist, anti-fascist demonstration on 17 October.

At an 80-strong meeting in Sheffield last Wednesday, senior assistant general secretary of the RMT union Steve Hedley warned against making concessions to far right arguments.

“We can’t win over working class people by taking on the clothes of the far right,” he said.

Around 40 people came to an SUTR meeting in Lowestoft, Suffolk, last week. It agreed to leaflet in Great Yarmouth this Saturday from 1pm.

A Muslim speaker told the meeting how there had been incidents and attacks on the small mosque there.  SUTR North East and Newcastle Unites have called a counter-demonstration in Newcastle city centre this Saturday against the

Frontline Patriots (former EDL) demonstration calling for a ban on the burqa. It assembles at 11.30am at Newcastle Monument.

SUTR members in Hackney, east London, had a stall at a local Labour Party meeting on Citizenship in a Hostile Environment last week.

It discussed the impact of the attacks on the Windrush Generation and other groups.


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