Socialist Worker

Racist Ukip leader Batten’s ego battered by protest in Wigan

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2637

Some 70 anti-racist block Kipper Batten

Some 70 anti-racists protested against the Kipper Batten (Pic: Fred Fitton)


Anti-racists humiliated racist Ukip leader Gerard Batten in Wigan on Tuesday night.

Supporters of Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) organised an emergency protest against a public meeting with Batten in the Greater Manchester town.

Over 70 people joined the protest—while Ukip mustered less than 30 people inside. Fred, SUTR Wigan supporter and socialist, told Socialist Worker, “It was a real united front with support from across the Labour Party and trade unions.

“And the best thing was that ordinary people living opposite came out of their houses and applauded us.”

Labour MPs Lisa Nandy, Jo Platt and Yvonne Fovargue and the RMT and CWU unions and Wigan trades union council all supported the protest. Fred said, “Emails about it went out to all the Labour members in the three constituencies.

“It has really had a positive effect on the left in Wigan.”

Batten has tried to revive the fortunes of the racist populist Ukip party by building links with Nazi Tommy Robinson and alt right figures. He has spoken at far right rallies and called on the crowds of fascists and racists to join the party.

Falling

One of the figures Batten has associated with is James Goddard—the fascist who has harassed people around Westminster and organised “Yellow Vest” protests in favour of Brexit on Saturday of last week. After falling out with Robinson, Goddard is attempting to jostle for position on the British far right.

In Manchester the fascists tried to harass an RMT union picket line.

A 10,000-strong anti-racist protest outnumbered a march organised by Robinson and Ukip in London last December. But Goddard’s actions are a sign that the far right is still confident and could try to mobilise larger numbers onto the streets.

The far right is trying to claim the inspiring movement against French president Emmanuel Macron as their own. Fred said, “The RMT members at the protest wore Yellow Vests—and that was really important.

“We have to say that the Yellow Vest movement in France is against the establishment—and Ukip and the far right aren’t.

“Otherwise the far right will claim it as their own.”  

When the far right try to organise locally, anti-racists must be ready to oppose them like in Wigan. And mobilising for the SUTR national demonstrations in London, Glasgow and Cardiff on 16 March is an opportunity to build a stronger, militant anti-racist movement.

A far right group tried to attack an RMT picket line in Manchester last Saturday. Join the solidarity with the RMT picket this Saturday, 12 January, 8am-9.30am, Manchester Victoria station.

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