The anti-racist and anti-fascist unity last Sunday was the best display of what it will take to stop the Nazis.
For the first time, those mobilised behind the Nazi Tommy Robinson in his attempt to build a new racist street movement were heavily outnumbered.
It’s not the end of the fight, and Robinson could well mobilise many more in the future. But our side felt powerful and confident.
If we build on the success of last Sunday we’ll get to the point where we can run the Nazis off the streets altogether.
Many forces were involved in mobilising support for the anti-fascist demonstration. They included the left wing Labour group Momentum.
Momentum and its supporters did a lot of work online. They produced videos exposing Robinson, set up Facebook event pages and sent out emails to the tens of thousands of people on their email list.
There was even a text in the name of shadow chancellor John McDonnell asking people to join the demonstration.
There was a Momentum banner, held by some well-known Momentum faces. But it was one banner among many—a small part of a much larger show of force.
Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) was a dominant presence on the march. That shouldn’t be surprising.
Over the past few years SUTR activists have put in the work to build a mass anti-racist movement.
With the direct involvement of its activists, SUTR can mobilise people when they’re needed most
When the racist right reappeared on the streets last year in the form of the Football Lads Alliance, SUTR was the first to oppose them.
A lot has changed since then. In November some 30,000 people joined a SUTR demonstration against the rise of the far right.
With the direct involvement of its activists, SUTR can mobilise people when they’re needed most.
Among them are Labour Party members, Socialist Workers Party members, Green Party members, representatives of Muslim, Jewish and other faith groups, and people with no affiliation.
So it was noticeable that throughout the demonstration groups of people marched behind SUTR banners from all parts of Britain. SUTR groups from outside London had put on coaches to join the protest.
And in the run-up to the march SUTR activists put in the long hours needed to leaflet and poster for the march.
They held organising meetings. They contacted trade union branches, faith organisations and Labour Party branches.
The demonstration would have turned out very differently if none of that had happened.
The truth is it takes more than a large email list and a sophisticated web presence to build a mass anti-racist movement.
There needs to be a dedicated united front that’s focused on putting as many people as possible on the streets to smash the Nazis.