By Tomáš Tengely-Evans
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March to defy racist threat

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Issue 2644
The Stand Up To Racism demonstration in 2018
The Stand Up To Racism demonstration in 2018 (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Anti-racists are preparing to march in London, Glasgow and Cardiff.

The demonstrations, part of an international day of action against the rise of racism and the far right, will take place on Saturday 16 March.

Protests and actions are planned in the US, Germany, Poland, Greece and other European countries.

Anti-racists were boosted by news of a 200,000-strong demonstration in Milan, northern Italy, last Saturday.

It was backed by the major CGIL union federation and the city’s social democratic mayor Giuseppe Sala.

One protester said that they joined the demonstration demand the government put “people before profit, before differences, before identities”. “We should always respect their rights,” they said.

Another protester added, “We are against this atmosphere of racism, our families chose to be of many colours and differences.”

Italy’s racist interior minister Matteo Salvini has launched an assault on Roma people, refugees and migrants.

We will be united against racism on 16 March
We will be united against racism on 16 March
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He issued a decree last September that makes it easier to deport migrants and strip them of citizenship. He has also forced through a clearance of a Roma camp after calling for a census last June.

Salvini engaged in deadly grandstanding when he refused to let the refugee rescue ship Aquarius dock in Italy. This contributed to charity Doctors Without Borders’ decision to stop search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean last December.

Salvini’s League party is one of a growing number of far right and racist governments and parties across Europe. Others include Austria’s Tory/Nazi coalition and Hungary’s antisemitic prime minister Viktor Orban.

The far right has been fuelled by state-sponsored racism against Muslims, ­refugees and migrants.

And this has been pushed by mainstream politicians—conservative, liberal and social democratic. A High Court decision last week highlighted the Tory’s racist attacks on migrants in Britain.

It ruled that Right to Rent, which requires landlords to checks prospective tenants’ immigration status, is “discriminatory” and could breach human rights laws.

The judge Justice Spencer said evidence “strongly showed” the scheme led landlords to discriminate against potential tenants based on their nationality and ethnicity.

Right to Rent was introduced in England as part of the Immigration Act 2014—the centrepiece of Theresa May’s “hostile environment”.

The High Court ruling means the Tories will not be able to roll out the scheme to the rest of Britain or Northern Ireland.

This underlines the need for a mass movement against racism and the importance of marching in London, Glasgow and Cardiff next Saturday.

Social media ban and legal threat for Robinson

Robinson has mobilised over media ‘censorship’
Robinson has mobilised over media ‘censorship’ (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Nazi Tommy Robinson is having a bad week.

Lawyers acting for a Syrian school student served Robinson with a letter informing him of their intention to sue for defamation.

A video last December showed the student, Jamal, being grabbed by the throat by another pupil.

The pupil had shared posts by Robinson and Britain First on Facebook.

Robinson claimed that Jamal had attacked other children and that “lots of Muslim gangs are beating up white English kids”. He was later forced to admit spreading “fake news”. But Robinson won’t be able to take to Facebook and Instagram any more as they deleted his accounts last week.

Facebook said Robinson had posted “material that uses dehumanising language and calls for violence targeted at Muslims”.

Robinson said on YouTube last week that he was “looking at the possibility of a massive demonstration in London against censorship”. He has mobilised thousands on that basis before.

Anti-fascists must oppose Robinson and his supporters on the streets.

BBC axe far right Dankula

Anti-racists have forced BBC Scotland to axe far right Mark Meechan from an upcoming programme.

Meechan was fined £800 for teaching his dog (right) to do a Nazi “sieg heil” salute whenever he said, “Gas the Jews” or, “Heil Hitler”.

Meechan is better known by his alt right online persona Count Dankula.

BBC Scotland had planned to feature Meechan as part of a series of programmes. But it backed off.

Unite Against Fascism Scotland said, “Only the public outrage denied this platform.

“It prevented the unnecessary, unforgivable distress that this would have caused to ageing Holocaust survivors and their families.”

Hundreds join rallies to build support for national anti-racist demonstrations

People at a ‘No Pasaran’ anti-racist conference last Saturday
People at a ‘No Pasaran’ anti-racist conference last Saturday (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Around 150 people joined an evening of politics, music and spoken word in Birmingham on Thursday last week.

It was organised by the local Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) group to build for the demonstration in London.

Acts included rappers and spoken word artists Kurly and Zara, and Basil Gabbidon who was formerly in reggae band Steel Pulse.

The audience heard powerful speeches by Unison union assistant general secretary Roger McKenzie and Zak Cochrane from Love Music Hate Racism.

McKenzie emphasised the seriousness of the racist threat—and said now was the time to stand up and to get onto the streets on 16 March.

Refugee Nas Popalzai spoke about his successful fight to get the right to remain in Britain having come as a lone child from Afghanistan.

And Kedisha Brown-Burrell spoke about the long struggle for justice for her brother Kingsley Burrell, who died after contact with the police in 2011.

lAround 100 people came to an SUTR public meeting in Newcastle and 70 to a public meeting in the Black Country.

Other SUTR public meetings attracted 40 in Lewisham in south east London, 30 in nearby Croydon and 20 people in Barking in east London.

For details of upcoming rallies go to

Some 70 people joined an anti-racist vigil on Wednesday of last week after an attack on a Jewish man in Islington, north London.

The attack took place near Highbury and Islington tube station on Tuesday night of last week.

The vigil was organised by the Islington SUTR group. It brought together Labour Party members, other socialists and representatives from the local Jewish and Muslim communities. Sanai, a college student, told Socialist Worker she came because “if you want to change things it’s not enough to say racism is bad”.

“It means fighting it, not just talking about it,” she said.

Speakers included poet Michael Rosen and Claudia Webbe, a Labour councillor and member of the party’s national executive ­committee.

“We are in unity with our Jewish brothers and sisters,” said Webbe. “We will not tolerate antisemitism or racism of any kind.”

UCU union members have condemned a far right group’s online abuse of union vice president Nita Sanghera.

Generation Identity targeted Nita, who is a ­leading supporter of SUTR in the trade union movement.

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