Stand up to racism and fascism: day of action

January 23, 2014 — Comment

Written by IRR News Team

We reproduce here a statement initiated by Unite Against Fascism, as well as information about a pan-European day of action coinciding with UN Anti-Racism Day.

Already in most European countries parties of the Right, centre and even the traditional Left are allowing the terrain of these elections to be dominated by racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and the scapegoating of minorities – Muslims, immigrants, Roma, Black and Asian communities.

Across Europe the fascist and populist racist Right are on the rise. From the violent Golden Dawn in Greece, the anti-Roma Jobbik in Hungary, the Islamophobic Freedom Party of Geert Wilders in the Netherlands to the success of the Front National in France, these currents are encouraging hatred, fear and prejudice in a frightening wave across the continent.

In Britain the far right is hoping for gains in the European elections. The British National Party (BNP) is seeking the re-election of Nick Griffin in the North West and Andrew Brons is seeking re-election in Yorkshire and the Humber. The Tories and UKIP look set to try to outdo each other in their calls for draconian ‘anti-immigration’ policies and promoting a ‘Little Englander’ anti-foreign, anti-Europe mentality.

The ‘go-home’ vans sent out by the Home Office over the summer are a sign of things to come. Hostility is already being stirred up towards Bulgarian and Romanian migrant workers who will be able to work here from January.

Such campaigns simply whip up racism in general and induce a ‘blame game’ for falling living standards and squeezed incomes that falls on visible minorities in stepped up discrimination, institutional racism, abuse and violence.

This all encourages currents like the English Defence League, which turn their Islamophobic prejudices into real attempts to terrorise the Muslim population – attacking Mosques, assaulting veiled women, insulting religious sensitivities with vile slogans and throwing pigs’ heads, and organising intimidating marches into Muslim communities.

Following the rising violence of Golden Dawn and the murder of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas, (also known as Killah P), the Greek anti-fascist and anti-racist movement has proposed that this year’s UN Day Against Race Discrimination on 21-22 March should be the focus for actions against racism and fascism across Europe.

While there is a real threat that openly racist parties may win the 2014 European elections in some countries, this can be prevented by the widest possible unity against them and the mobilisation of the broadest progressive forces.

Unite Against Fascism has therefore initiated this call for a demonstration and rally to Stand Up to Racism in London on Saturday 22nd March. We endorse this proposal and call on all those of goodwill to join us in a riposte to the rise of racism, to show that migrants are welcome and demonstrate our confidence in a future free of scapegoating and hatred.

Initial signatories and supporters include:

Diane Abbott MPPeter Hain MPEmily Thornberry MPClaude Moraes MEPAkel BritainAzad Ali ENGAGE Head of Community Development & Engagement • Anas Altikriti CEO The Cordoba Foundation • Shazia Arshad Enough Coalition • Richard Bagley The Morning Star Editor • Morris Beckman 43 Group Co-Founder • Natalie Bennett Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales • Christine Blower NUT General Secretary • Dr Mary Bousted ATL General Secretary • John Campbell Yorkshire UAF Bob Crow RMT General Secretary • Manuel Cortes TSSA General Secretary • Euan Davidson President Aberdeen Liberal Youth • Day-Mer Turkish and Kurdish Community Centre • Ronnie Draper Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union General Secretary • Abdullah Faliq Islamic Forum of Europe • Liz Fekete Institute of Race Relations Director • Larry Flanagan Educational Institute of Scotland General Secretary • Don Flyn Director Migrant Rights Network • Glyn Ford Labour MEP Candidate South West England & Gibraltar • Edie Friedman One Society Many Cultures Vice Chair • Gerry Gable Editor Searchlight • Lindsey German Stop the War Coalition Convenor • Steve Gillan POA General Secretary • Jessica Goldfinch Norwich Liberal Jewish Community Frances O’Grady TUC General Secretary • Halkevi Kurdish & Turkish Community Centre John Hannett USDAW General Secretary • Steve Hart Unite the Union • Billy Hayes CWU General Secretary • Zita Holbourne Black Activists Rising Against The Cuts National Co-Chair / PCS NEC • Kate Hudson CND General Secretary • Sally Hunt UCU General Secretary • Fevzi Hussein Embargoed! Chairperson • Sylvia Ingmire Co-Ordinator / CEO Roma Support Group • Owen Jones Writer and journalist • Chris Keates NASUWT General Secretary • Paul Kenny GMB General Secretary • Bruce Kent VP Pax Christi • Dilowar Khan East London Mosque & London Muslim Centre Executive Director • Aaron Kiely NUS Black Students’ Officer • Mohammed Kozbar British Muslim Initiative • Hugh Lanning Unite Against Fascism Vice Chair • Jon Lansman Left Futures Editor • Max Levitas Cable Street Veteran • Len McClusky Unite the Union General Secretary • Gloria Mills TUC Race Relations Committee Chair •Lesley Mercer CSP Director of Employment relations and Trade union services • Rhetta Moran NUJ / Justice for Bolton • Gerry Morrissey BECTU General Secretary • Farooq Murad Muslim Council of Britain Secretary General • Steve Murphy UCATT General Secretary • Rob Murthwaite UCU London Region Equalities Officer {PC} • Middlesex Anti-Racist ActionGed Nichols Accord General Secretary • ParikiakiPhyllis Opoku-Gyimah UK Black Pride Executive Director • Lord Herman OuseleyGlenn Page Plaid Cymru Youth Director of Policy and Campaigns • Mike Payne GMB Regional Political Officer Wales & South West Region • Rex Phillips NASUWT Wales Organiser • Dave Prentis UNISON General Secretary • ProdeftikiHabib Rahman Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants Chief Executive • Andy Richards Regional Secretary Unite Wales • Refugee Workers Cultural Association Belinda Robertson Regional Womens and Equalities officer Unite Wales • Mark Serwotka PCS General Secretary • Leon Silver East London Central Synagogue President & Tower Hamlets Interfaith Forum Steering Group Member • Balwinder Singh Sikhs Against The EDL • Varinder Singh The Turban Campaign Director • The Sikh Federation UKLorna Soloman Homerton Hospital And Community services UNISON • Michelle Stanistreet NUJ General Secretary • Mohammad Taj TUC President • Union of Cypriots in Britain Martin Sleath UNISON Notts County Jt Branch Secretary • Martin Timpson Merseyside Stop the War • Ava Vidal Stand up Comedian • Rabbi Lee WaxMatt Wrack FBU General Secretary • Mick Whelan ASLEF General Secretary • Maurice Wren The Refugee Council Chief Executive • Salma Yaqoob Weyman Bennett and Sabby Dhalu Unite Against Fascism Joint National Secretaries

RELATED LINKS

See more information about the rally and demo marking UN anti-racism day here

Unite Against Fascism

For more information contact 020 8971 7426 or email info@uaf.org.uk.  

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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