Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2263

Workers can play a central role in beating the racists

This article is over 12 years, 10 months old
Monica Nkechi Okpe, a Norwegian socialist and trade unionist, spoke to Socialist Worker about how workers can stop the racists
Issue 2263
Randi Faerevik, Monica Nkechi Okpe and Tim Robinson  (Pic: Socialist Worker)
Randi Faerevik, Monica Nkechi Okpe and Tim Robinson (Pic: Socialist Worker)

“After the attack it is easy to see how quickly things can change.

In the first few days after the attack some people shouted at black people in the street. They were told they were trash and that they are to blame.

The government opened a telephone helpline for young people. One young Muslim women called and asked if it would be better if she left Norway, as if the attack was because of her.

And one of my colleagues was told ‘go back to where you came from’.

Islamophobia has been the ‘respectable’ face of racism—and has made it easier for the right to make overtly racist attacks. Our response needs to be political.

Some people brought union banners to the flower memorial rally right after the attacks.

Not everyone agreed with this, but I think it’s a good thing.

It says more than, ‘We are sad.’ It says, ‘We have power, we can stop this happening again.’

The fascists haven’t marched in Oslo. We have come out in big numbers to stop them—anti-racist activists, trade unionists, cultural groups and others.

We’re having a meeting to bring all these people together to plan a march.

The role of workers is central.

Work is the one place where people are together as a collective.

In my workplace, organising the union has helped to defend people from racism and root out racists from the workplace.

Here we have huge strength.

That is how we can stop these attacks happening again.

In Oslo, and in London, we must organise in the workplaces and take to the streets to stop the racists.”

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