Socialist Worker

Anti-racists get organised to stop Tommy Robinson’s European election bid

A mass campaign can stop the infamous Nazi from becoming an MEP, writes Tomáš Tengely-Evans

Issue No. 2652

Anti-racists mobilised against Tommy Robinson in Manchester in February

Anti-racists mobilised against Tommy Robinson in Manchester in February (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Anti-racists are mobilising to stop Tommy Robinson winning a seat in the European elections this month.

The Nazi figurehead announced he was standing for MEP in the North West of England on Thursday of last week.

He hopes to rally his far right supporters and benefit from the Tories’ Brexit crisis.

Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) and Unite Against Fascism (UAF) are calling for unity among Leave and Remain supporters to stop Robinson.

SUTR co-convenor Weyman Bennett said, “Tommy Robinson is the most dangerous fascist in this country.

“He has spent his time terrorising Muslim communities for the last ten years and he is also a threat to all black and Asian people.

“The former British National Party (BNP) member wants to take the same seat that his former leader Nick Griffin had.

“They are both of the same ilk and Robinson should be stopped.”

Robinson had planned to kick off his road show of the North West in Salford Quays on Sunday, but failed to show up. Supporters of SUTR rallied in Bexley Square in Salford in the morning.

Speakers included Labour MEP Julie Ward, Salford Labour councillor

Sam Bellamy and leading trade unionists from the region.

Dozens of leading trade union, political and faith group figures have signed a statement rejecting Robinson and racism.

Farage’s new Brexit Party, made up of former Tory and Ukip types, is also running in the European elections.

List

Robinson had hoped to stand as part of Ukip’s list.

But party leader Gerard Batten was unable to push through a rule change to allow former members of the fascist BNP and English Defence League to join.

Robinson, standing as an independent, will have to compete with Farage and Ukip for votes.

But his profile on the far right means that he could galvanise racists much more than other candidates.

Robinson is trying to carve out a space by ramping up Islamophobia. He said, “I admire what Farage achieved in the past, but he’s terrified of talking about issues like the Islamification of Britain.”

Ameen Hadi, Salford City Unison union branch officer, said people should “not take the threat lightly”.

“We have a history in the North West of Nick Griffin and the BNP managing to become elected representatives on a low turnout,” he told SUTR supporters on Sunday.

“Around 132,000 votes saw Griffin elected, so we need to make sure everyone is campaigning to stop him.”

He added, “Whether you’re Leave or Remain, you might have misgivings about what is going on in the political system.

“But if there’s any reason to vote in the European elections this is it—to stop Tommy Robinson getting elected.”

A big vote—even if he doesn’t win—would act as a boost to Robinson and every fascist and racist in Britain.

Nazi Robinson must be stopped.

Stop fascist Tommy Robinson—keep racism out of elections. Meeting, 7pm Fri 3 May, Methodist Hall, Manchester, M1 1JQ. Weekend of opposition to Tommy Robinson, Sat 18 May and Sun 19 May Protests, rallies and campaigning across North West region from Carlisle to Crewe, Liverpool to Manchester. Go to Stand Up To Racism Manchester on Facebook for more information

Nazi facing retrial weeks before European vote

Tommy Robinson is back in the High Court on Tuesday 14 May.

Attorney general Geoffrey Cox, a Tory minister who gives the government legal advice, ruled that he should face a retrial.

Robinson allegedly committed contempt of court by filming outside a sexual abuse trial in Leeds last May.

He was jailed for 13 months soon afterwards.

But Robinson was released on bail last August after the Court of Appeal ruled that he should face a retrial.

This saw two initial hearings at the Old Bailey Court last autumn before Judge Nicholas Hilliard referred the case to the attorney general. If he is sent down again, it could become a big focus for the fascists and the far right.

The “Free Tommy” movement mobilised 15,000 onto the streets of Whitehall when he was in jail in June.

Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) and Unite Against Fascism (UAF) have called a counter-mobilisation outside the High Court. They said it was important for anti-racists to “have a presence on the streets”.


Youtube far righters run on Ukip ticket but candidacy divides members

A Ukip candidate defended using the “N-word” last week.

Carl Benjamin—who uses the name “Sargon of Akkad” online—is the party’s lead candidate in the South West of England region.

He said he finds “racist jokes funny” and used racist and bigoted language about Asian and disabled people in a YouTube video from 2015.

When questioned about it last week, Benjamin said he was “not really interested in discussion about any of these comments”. And he told people who object to racist language to “go and have a cry”.

Around 80 people, mainly young supporters of the far right and alt-right, turned out for his campaign launch in Bristol last week.

Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) supporters in Bristol were set to hold a mobilising meeting on Thursday night.

The traditional wing of Ukip is resisting leader Gerard Batten’s attempts to appeal to the far right—and many have jumped ship for Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party. But Batten has refused to dump Benjamin and the other alt-right figures who joined Ukip last summer.

Meanwhile Mark Meechan—known online as “Count Dankula”—is standing for Ukip in Scotland.

Meechan was fined £8,000 last year for teaching his dog to give the Nazi salute whenever he said, “Sieg Heil” or, “Gas the Jews”.

SUTR held a national day of action against Ukip on Saturday of last week. Activists handed out thousands of leaflets in towns and cities including Leeds, Liverpool, Portsmouth, Harlow and Swansea.


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.