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Article – A crucial moment for the global anti-racist movement to come together

Fri, 10/16/2020 - 12:26
FROM COVID19 TO BLACK LIVES MATTER
– CONFRONTING TRUMP & JOHNSON’S RACIST OFFENSIVE
Stand Up To Racism International Conference 2020 Saturday 17 & Sunday 18 October

WORKSHOPS (Via Zoom Webinar – REGISTER HERE for link) – registration closes 1pm Saturday 17 October

Saturday 17 October 3pm to 4.15pm

  • Economic Crisis, Disproportionate BAME Deaths: Why we need Zero Covid
  • Scrap section 60 – End Stop & search BLM
  • Decolonise now – confronting Britain’s colonial legacy 
  • Trump, Salvini & Le Pen – Unite Against Fascism & the racist right
  • Love music, football & culture – hate racism 
  • Refugees welcome – end the hostile environment
  • Opposing Islamaphobia & The Prevent Agenda

PLENARIES (Live on SUTR Facebook & Youtube Channels)

CLICK HERE TO WATCH ON YOUTUBE
CLICK HERE TO WATCH ON FACEBOOK

Saturday 17 October 5pm  
Black Lives Matter Vs Trump – A Decisive Moment in the Anti Racist Movement

Sunday 18 October 5pm  
Covid19, economic crisis- why we say black lives matter

By Sabby Dhalu & Weyman Bennett, Stand Up To Racism Co-Convenors.

The 2020 US presidential election, less than three weeks away, is likely to be the most fiercely contested in recent times. Donald Trump has staked his re-election on spear-heading white supremacy and clamping down on the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.

This included the deployment of federal law enforcement agents to clamp down on Black Lives Matter protesters in cities like Portland, Oregon and Kenosha, Wisconsin and emboldening white supremacists and fascists.

The BLM movement is the biggest political movement in US history, with polls estimating 16-25 million attending demonstrations and, unlike the civil rights movement in the 1960s, the support of the majority of Americans. A Monmouth University poll in June showed that 76 per cent of Americans – including 71 per cent of white people – agreed that racism is a big problem in the US. This is a massive 50 per cent increase since the previous poll in 2015 that coincided with the first wave of the BLM movement in 2015.

The New York Times reported in June:

Never before in the history of modern polling has the country expressed such widespread agreement on racism’s pervasiveness in policing and in society at large.”

For the first time in its history, Americans supported the black community against a racist police system rooted in hundreds of years of slavery and oppression.

While the BLM movement initially emerged in response to shocking footage showing George Floyd being killed by a police officer, there is no doubt that the scale of the movement and popular support reflected the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on black communities and anger in the general population at Donald Trump’s dismal failure in response to the COVID crisis and its economic impact.

The US has one of the worst death tolls in the world with over 200,000 deaths – a huge loss of life on American soil. African Americans formed 22 per cent of Covid19 deaths but only just over 13 per cent of the population. In addition GDP fell by more than 10 per cent in the second quarter and has hit black Americans much harder. Unemployment in the US is 5 per cent higher for the black people compared to their white counterparts, over 15 per cent and over 10 per cent for black and white people respectively.

Trump is the most overtly racist US President in the last century and it is worth remembering the rise in racism since his election in 2016.

In 2016 there were 127 anti-Muslim assaults – a record high – and higher than the 93 recorded in 2001 in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This coincided with Islamophobic rhetoric during his election campaign. Immediately after his inauguration in 2017 Trump brought the “Muslim ban” that led to international solidarity demonstrations.

In 2017 hate crimes in the US rose by 17 per cent, with black and Jewish Americans most affected, with 2,013 and 938 attacks respectively.

2018 saw the most racist US mid-term election campaign in living memory. This included antisemitic conspiracy theories about George Soros, attacks on Latin American refugees, Islamophobia and attacks on black African Americans – as sharply reflected in Georgia and Florida. This was the climate in which 11 people were killed in an anti-Semitic attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

2020 has seen a staggering increase in racist attacks on Chinese and East Asian communities. Asian rights groups and San Francisco State University teamed up and launched the Stop AAPI Hate database which records reports of Covid19 racism directed at Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the US and received over 1,700 reports from 45 states. This coincided with Trump’s use of inflammatory phrases like the “Chinese virus.”

Such racist attacks do not take place in a vacuum and illustrate the precise danger of the campaign to stir up racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and AAPI racism in order to distract from and scapegoat for economic problems and the COVID crisis.

The rise in racism, Islamophobia, antisemitism and sinophobia illustrate the need for different communities to unite against racism and put differences aside on any other issues.

As we approach the presidential election and recent polls place Democrat Joe Biden 10 points ahead of Republican incumbent Trump, there is no room for complacency. In the event of a close Biden victory, Trump has already stated he would refuse to accept the outcome and no doubt the emboldened “Proud Boys” and other white supremacist and fascist organisations will be out in force in such a situation.

States such as Georgia, Arizona and Texas have seen a sharp increase in the black and Latino populations and the mobilisation of such voters may well be key to defeating Trump. Meanwhile armed fascist militias – the violent counter movement to BLM – are threatening to ‘patrol’ polling stations to intimidate and deter black, Latino and white progressive voters.

An investigation by Channel 4 News found that the Republicans mounted a targeted campaign called “Deterrence” aimed at keeping black and other voters at home on polling day in the 2016 presidential election. The National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) called it a modern day voter suppression campaign, using data and digital technology to keep black voters at home.

However such violent intimidation and digital campaigns by the Republicans were unfortunately aided by changes to the implementation of the historic 1965 Voting Rights Act. In 2013 the US Supreme Court abolished the Section 5 pre-clearance, which required all jurisdictions with a history of racist voting practices to get approval from the Department of Justice before making any changes to their voting laws, such as poll relocations and closures, electoral roll purges and new ID requirements. When the SC ruling came down, immediately many states moved to create new laws that made it more difficult for black people to vote.

The impact of this so far in 2020 has included reducing the polling stations in black and multicultural states, resulting in long off-putting queues – criminal in the context of Covid19 and the need for social distancing.

The Black Live Matter movement, meanwhile, has had a significant positive impact, both in the US and across the world. In Britain, spontaneous demonstrations led to the removal of statues of Slave owners and forced a reckoning with Britain’s imperial and colonial past. Urgent demands have been raise to scrap Section 60 powers, which have been used to harass huge numbers of black people, to address the disproportionate impact of COVID, and to decolonise and add Black history to the curriculum. The anti-racist movement has been massively strengthened, with new activists taking the lead and public opinion shifting towards action on institutional racism.

Trump is not the only elected leader whipping up racism and using inflammatory language to distract from their disastrous response to the coronavirus and its devastating economic ramifications.

Earlier this month French President Emmanuel Macron announced new laws to tackle “Islamist separatism” and defend secular values. Macron accused six million Muslims of being in danger of forming a “counter-society.” This followed a dramatic rise in covid cases in France over the last two months and a sharp increase in deaths in the last month.

Racism is on the rise in Europe, as well as the US, but the recent defeats of fascist and far right parties must be welcomed and recognised as victories.

The criminalisation of Golden Dawn and its failure to win seats in the Hellenic Parliament in 2019, is the product of a decades long, broad, united movement against racism and fascism led by Stand up to Racism’s sister organisation KEERFA in Greece.

Earlier this month the Freedom Party in Austria (FPO) suffered a huge fall in its vote share in the Viennese state election. The FPO received just over 7 per cent, a 23 percent fall in the previous elections in 2015.

Meanwhile the UK continues to have one of the worst death rates and coronavirus cases per million in the world and the government has routinely attacked refugees in an attempt to distract from this.

Hence the recent headlines of the use of nets to disable dinghies carrying refugees across the English Channel, Home Secretary Priti Patel’s announcement of new legislation on asylum, including the creation of an offshore detention centre for asylum seekers, and her attacks on “do-gooder” and “lefty lawyers” in her recent speeches.

Such dog whistle whipping up of racism by politicians is routinely met with racist attacks on the ground. Days after one of Patel’s speeches at the beginning of September, a violent racist attack occurred in which a white man armed with a knife entered a law firm. Lawyers at the firm said: “Responsibility and accountability for this attack, in the eyes of this firm, lies squarely at the feet of Priti Patel..”

Recent figures indicate an extraordinary increase in racist hate crimes in Britain. Racially motivated offences accounted for three quarters of all hate crimes and increased by 4,000 in 2019-20 from the previous year.

The Victim Support charity reported “significant spikes” in June and July, and intimidation of BAME communities with false allegations of flouting rules during lockdown periods. The Home Office also suggested that the rise in racist attacks in June and July was a backlash against the Black Lives Matter movement (BLM).

The government’s disastrous approach to the coronavirus, in failing to take timely measures to eliminate the virus, continues to disproportionately impact Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities. BAME communities account for over 25 per cent of hospital admissions and over 30 per cent of intensive care patients.

Furthermore recent research shows BAME communities were also disproportionately impacted by the economic consequences of covid. Data from the Understanding Society COVID-19 survey reveals that 8 and 10 per cent of BAME British and BAME migrant communities respectively lost their job, only 3.3% of the white non migrant communities lost their job. BAME British communities were 40% less likely than white British communities to benefit from employee protection such as furlough.

We need a public inquiry like the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, into the disproportionate impact of Covid on BAME communities.

Local lockdowns have not necessarily in response to the infection rate and instead an attack by the Conservative government on working class, multi-cultural and poorer areas, without proper financial support such as furlough.

A report in the Sunday Times on 4 October revealed that “wealthy areas, including the chancellor Rishi Sunak’s parliamentary seat, are avoiding lockdown despite having higher Covid-19 rates than poorer areas that are subject to restrictions..”

The report quotes a letter from Professor Dominic Harrison, the director of public health for Blackburn with Darwen to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) saying:

There is now a different level of central control applied across local authorities, with some of the more economically challenged boroughs being placed into more restrictive control measures at an earlier point in their..case rate trajectory. This has the effect of exacerbating the economic inequality impacts of the virus in those areas..”

The only effective solution to the present crisis is for the government to eliminate the virus by following a “zero covid” strategy as seen in New Zealand, Australia, China and Vietnam. This is the best way to save lives and safely and most effectively restart the economy.

This must include lockdown measures, an efficient and effective system of test, track and isolate, economic and financial support such as more funding for the NHS and schools to support more home learning, bringing back furlough and small business financial support for at least another year.

Now more than ever we must build a strong, united movement against racism, fascism, Islamophobia, antisemitism, sinophobia, celebrate our multicultural society and defend the freedom of religion, thought and cultural expression.

This year’s Stand up to Racism online conference takes place at a timely moment, where all these crucial issues will be discussed.

From Britain, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Diane Abbott MP, Dawn Butler MP, Kate Osamor MP, Richard Burgon MP, Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP, Kevin Courtney NEU Joint Gen Sec, Unison’s Roger McKenzie and Lawrence Davies, Human Rights Lawyer, Justice for Belly Mujinga will be addressing the conference, alongside many who have experienced police violence and a range of other guests.

They will be joined by international speakers including the host and producer of The Real News Network Jacqueline Luqman (US), Thanasis Kampagiannis, anti-fascist lawyer in Golden Dawn trial (Greece), Martvs Chagas PT National Secretary for Combating Racism (Brazil), Petros Constantinou (Greece), KEEFA | Bundestag member Christine Buchholz (Germany), Justice Campaigner Mahamadou Camara (France) and BLM activist Baba Aye (Nigeria)

Taking action at this crucial time will be central to the event. As well as preparing for actions over the US Presidential election, November brings Islamophobia awareness month, where anti-racists will be building solidarity with the Muslim community and renewing efforts to tackle hate crime against Muslims. As refugees face attacks from Britain and across Europe, the Care4Calais winter appeal will bring relief to some of the most vulnerable people in the continent.

January will see Holocaust Memorial day, and a host of meetings and events across the country remembering the millions who died in the Holocaust, standing together against antisemitism and fascism and saying loudly and clearly Never Again.

And on March 20th for UN Anti-Racism Day, anti-racists across the world will be organising events to bring forward a powerful message that the majority of humanity stands against racism.

Plenaries will be streamed live on Stand up to Racism’s Facebook and YouTube this Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th October at 5pm. To register for workshops at 3PM on Saturday and find out more click here.

Major International online Conference this weekend: From COVID-19 to Black Lives Matter – Confronting Trump & Johnson’s Racist Offensive

Fri, 10/16/2020 - 06:53

PRESS RELEASE… for immediate release

Friday 16 October 2020

Major International online Conference this weekend: From COVID-19 to Black Lives Matter – Confronting Trump & Johnson’s Racist Offensive

  • International Plenary 5PM Saturday 17 October
  • Closing Rally 5PM Sunday 18 October
  • Workshops 3PM Saturday 17 October

Over 50 speakers in 7 workshops & 2 plenaries including: Diane Abbott MP | Jeremy Corbyn MP | Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP | Dawn Butler MP | Kate Osamor MP | Kevin Courtney, NEU joint General Secretary | Roger McKenzie, Unison Assistant General Secretary | Jacqueline Luqman (US), host and producer The Real News Network | Lowkey Rapper & Acvitist | Lawrence Davies, Human Rights Lawyer, Justice for Belly Mujinga | Danny Haiphong (US), Black Agenda Report | Thanasis Kampagiannis (Greece), Anti fascist lawyer in Golden Dawn trial | Martvs Chagas (Brazil), PT’s National Secretary for Combating Racism | Petros Constantinou (Greece), KEEFA | Christine Buchholz (Germany), MP/ Aufstehen Gegen Rasismuss | Mahamadou Camara (France), Justice Campaigner | Baba Aye (Nigeria) | Shaka Hislop, former footballer & Show Racism The Red Card Honorary President | Eyewitness testimonies of police violence including Andrew Boateng, Ryan Colaço, Neomi Bennett and Mina Agyepong
 

Timetable here
Details & Registration here
Plenaries streamed on SUTR Youtube Channel here

As the Coronavirus crisis intensifies and the US prepares for Presidential Elections, a major international conference will take place this weekend bringing together campaigners from Europe, the US, Africa and Brazil to discuss challenging the global rise of racism.

Figures released this week in Britain revealed record levels of hate crime, three quarters of which were race hate, and a tripling of attacks against the Chinese community. Building unity against racism, Islamophobia & antisemitism will be a key thread of the event. As government led attacks on refugees intensify, campaigners will also call for safe passage for refugees and an end to scapegoating.

With the COVID pandemic continuing to disproportionately affect BAME communities, campaigners will call for an independent inquiry into disproportionate impact as well as immediate measures to supproess the virus while giving economic support to allow people to follow them.

Following the inspiring growth Black Lives Matter movement, speakers will call for action on police violence including an end to Section 60 Stop and search, the teaching of Black history in schools and continued pressure for a reckoning with Britain’s colonial legacy, as well co-ordinating international anti-racist activity such as UN anti-racism day, 20 March 2021.



QUOTES:

Diane Abbott MP said

“There is a general crisis in terms of public health and of the economy. Unfortunately this government and many others responds to all crises by scapegoating of all types including racism. They try to shift the blame for their own disastrous failings. We must not let them. Black people, Muslims, Jews or Chinese people did not cause this crisis. It was not caused by refugees or migrants. It was caused by government policy  and we cannot let them divide us.”


Kevin Courtney, NEU joint general secretary, said
“I urge all people of goodwill to come to the Stand Up to Racism conference this weekend. Lets come together at this moment of multiple crises to make a better world for all.”

Weyman Bennett, Stand Up To Racism Co-Convenor said:

“The Black Lives Matter movement has inspired millions across the world. As Donald Trump attempts to use racism to win a second term, this conference will hear from people at the centre of this global struggle on how we take things to the next level, defeat racists such as Trump and achieve real change.”
 

Sabby Dhalu, Stand Up To Racism Co-convenor said:

The thousands of preventable deaths caused by the disproportionate impact of COVID due to government mishandling, structural racism and health inequalities mean now is a crucial time for the anti-racist movement to meet. Over 25% of hospital admissions and over 30% of people in intensive care from BAME communities. We desperately need a strategy to eliminate, not ‘live alongside’ this virus as well as an independent public inquiry on disproportionate impact. This conference is where we can discuss making that happen.


Michael Wong (US), Pivot to Peace said:

“From its earliest history, the United States was built on the genocide of the Native Americans, the slavery of African Americans, the exploitation of Latino and Asian labor, and the “divide and conquer” strategy of pitting different working class groups against each other to keep each in “its place.”  But also from our earliest history, there have also been those Americans of all races, genders, and classes — Black, Brown, Yellow, Red, and White, male or female, rich or poor — who stood up in solidarity against enslavement, exploitation, and division, and fought for the rights of all people, regardless of race, gender, creed, or anything else, and drove positive change in America.  Today as in the past, either we all stand together, or we all hang separately.  The answer to “divide and conquer” is solidarity, the solidarity of all peoples.” 

Thanasis Kampagiannis, lead lawyer in the trial and conviction of fascist Golden Dawn, Greece, said

“The conviction of Golden Dawn is a historic victory for the anti-fascist movement in Greece and internationally. We are now fighting to the very end to ensure that stiff sentences for the leaders mean jail now not parole pending distant appeal hearings. The Stand Up to Racism conference is a welcome part of that continuing battle.”


Michael Brown, LA Black Lives Matter activist, said

“With yet another US election fast approaching this November, where both candidates on offer, Donald Trump and Joe Biden, are vying to preside over who will sit atop and further empire, austerity, attacks on workers’ rights and the national security state.  Mass movements such as Black Lives Matter are sure to play an integral role in shaping resistance during the struggles to come.

“How, when, and in what form will those struggles take shape, are still open questions. For certain, neither Trump or Biden presents any progressive way forward for the working class. Both capitalist politicians, regardless of who wins, must be challenged from the grassroots, by a multi-racial working class, conscious of its class interests. Anti-racism must be at the heart of that struggle.”
 

Jacqueline Luqman (US), Host & Producer of The Real News said

America’s refusal to see the fascism in its long history of racist and classist oppression in the US and around the world is why so many believe that fascism is just now being ushered in under Trump. Because it doesn’t look like the SS, they don’t see that fascism has always been here and has led us to this point. 
 

Danny Haiphong (US), Black Agenda Report said:

Full solidarity must be given to Black Lives Matter. Anti-China racism must be rejected without hesitation. How we express and act on these principles should be the only thing up for debate.” 


Petros Constantinou, coordinator of KEERFA, councillor Athens municipality, said

“The verdict of the trial for the neonazis of Golden Dawn on 7 October with a historic condemnation as a criminal organization, and the life sentence for the murderer of musician Pavlos Fyssas, was announced to hundreds of thousands of anti fascist demonstrators outside the Appeal court. Trade unions called a general strike of three hours that day.    

“This success was made possible because the battle against the neo-Nazis of the Golden Dawn became a matter for the people who fight for their jobs, for their schools and colleges, so that they are not killed in catastrophic floods and fires, so that the refugees and the immigrants are not lost in the waters of the Aegean, in the fences of Evros and in Moria. It is the same force that sparked anti-fascist demonstrations when Shezad Luqman was assassinated in Petralona and even louder when Pavlos Fyssas was assassinated in Keratsini.

“It is the fruit of struggles that we had to give for many years and to escalate after the 2012 elections when the Golden Dawn entered Parliament. It is a success for KEERFA that has given its strength since 2009. Mass workers action, united front against the nazis and “bring them to the court room”,  were the crucial choices that made possible this success.

“But this not the end for fascist threat! Racism opens the way for the fascists and we have to continue, by joining forces internationally against Trumps, Slavinis and Le Pens, against racist policies of Fortress Europe.”
 

Zita Holbourne, PCS vice president, said

Black people have contracted and died disproportionately from covid and those who are displaced due to climate poverty and persecution have bern left at high risk with no support, brutality and deaths at the hands of the state including the horrific  killing of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd continue, racist immigration laws mean some of us are treated as second class citizens, the injustice that continues for the Windrush generation and their descendants including Osime Brown and the adverse impacts on black and migrant workers in sectors hardest hit by the coronavirus  crisis mean that we are going through a collective trauma which never seems to end. 

“The global protests by the black lives matter movement have been a rallying call for action to address the systemic, institutional and every day racism we experience. Racism is a global issue so it is crucial that we work together across the world to combat it, but not just to respond to recism when it occurs but for race equality in our lifetime.”

Brendan Woodhouse, Fire fighter, FBU members and Seawatch activist, said 

I will be speaking at the conference to highlight Europe’s deadly border policies and the horrific effect that these are having on real human beings”

Victoria Showunmi, UCU Black Members Committee & NEC, said

“I have learned that there are some experiences that I can’t discuss with white friends, like the emotional effects of police brutality or Black on Black violence, and with Black friends I would not dare share the experiences of what I am giving a voice to now, my double identity or the difficulty of acclimating to their outspoken lingo and aggressive activism in the face of race inequalities.”

Andrew Boateng, Football coach, scout and community campaigner, who was accosted by police while crying with his son, said

It is important that people from all backgrounds stand together in the very real battle against racism, as it takes a collective of like-minded individuals striving for the same cause to make real positive change through structured solutions. Please do join the debate and contribute to making positive change an imminent reality”  

 
Ryan Colaço, stopped repeatedly by police, justice campaigner, said

You can constantly & unlawfully handcuff us but you will never silence the fight. We will get justice.”

Neomi Bennett, BEM, registered nurse, Dragons Den Entrepreneur & Inventor of Multi-Award Winning Neo-slip medical aid, 2018 Queen’s Honour recipient for services to Healthcare, and as of 2020 CEO and Founder of Equality 4 Black Nurses, said

“Equality 4 Black Nurses aims to bring about positive change by lobbying employers and government to reduce and eradicate racial discrimination in the Healthcare Sector.

 I as a Black Nurse find it deeply shocking and seriously disturbing to discover that according to data from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), 62% of referrals and reports for investigation of Black nurses result in no case to answer.

 I was also mortified to learn that as recent as 2019 a UK report into maternal health (Oxford University) found Black women are five times more likely to die in pregnancy, childbirth or in the postpartum period, compared to their white counterparts.

 I also find it astonishing that a May 2020 study revealed that 63% of the first 106 deaths from Covid-19 were made up from Health Care Workers from Black, Asian, or Minority Ethnic backgrounds. This is compounded by the fact that Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff make up just 20% of the NHS workforce.”
 

Virgil Bitu, GR8 Gypsy Roma Traveller community, said

 “I will be speaking at the conference on Antigypsyism – the ultimate form of hate crime.”

 
Baba Aye, Black Lives Matter activist, Nigeria, said

“As we fight to overthrow capitalism and defeat racism, we learn that struggle is the way to victory.”

 
Sans Soucismusician and artist, said

“I’m really excited to take part to this panel to support music and culture against racism. We live in a world were human connection is becoming a rare privilege. Music and sport can guide us through this moment of cultural crisis by bringing people together, regardless of who they are. Change happens when we find the stillness to be able to listen to one another.”


Notes:

1. Stand Up To Racism International Conference (online) on Sat 17 & Sun 18 October – ‘Black Lives Matter – No to Trump & Johnson’s Racist Offensive’ with speakers from the UK, US & across the world.

Timetable: http://www.standuptoracism.org.uk/wp-content2015/uploads/2020/10/SUtR-conf-agenda-2020-6.pdf

Further Details:https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/stand-up-to-racism-international-conference-tickets-119722971631?fbclid=IwAR3A3Fw_kynCRaupydbhRM4xm-26ThjGKHBCJaai7tz50FzPHmhYO0Fftoc

 For further information, interviews and quotes:

info@standuptoracism.org.uk 

PRESS RELEASE: Historic victory by anti fascists in Greece as Golden Trial ends – anti racists stress international lessons for how to fight racism and fascism

Wed, 10/07/2020 - 04:54

Wednesday 7 October 2020

Historic victory by anti fascists in Greece as Golden Trial ends – anti racists stress international lessons for how to fight racism and fascism


Stand up to Racism and Unite Against Fascism pay tribute today as the biggest trial of a Nazi organisation, Golden Dawn (GD) since Nuremberg, ends in a huge victory. 

The Athens Court declared GD to be a criminal organisation of murderers and fascists. 

Nikos Michaloliakos, GD leader was found guilty of possession of weapons and running a criminal party. Other key figures were also found guilty eg Kasidiaris, who left GD to form another fascist group. 

He and 17 former GD MP’s face years in prison. 
Dozens of GD nazis were judged guilty of a number of violent and racist offences.
Magda Fyssas, mother of murdered rapper Pavlos Fyssas, waved her fists defiantly as Yiorgos Roupakios, GD supporter, was found guilty of Pavlos’ murder. 

GD also were involved in the murder of the young Pakistani man, Shehzad Luqman.

All five accused of attacking an Egyptian fisherman were found guilty. All verdicts were unanimous. 

Seven years of huge efforts in court and on the streets, workplaces and colleges have culminated in this victory for all who detest fascism, say anti racists.

Over 15 thousand gathered outside the courts and cheered the verdicts. One Athens prison saw a banner inside, with jail Golden Dawn,  hung!

Officials moved against GD only because of anti fascists enormous pressure. Over 50 000 demonstrated over Pavlos Fyssas killing, for instance.

Greek governments’ victimisation of refugees over several years gave GD oxygen in which to grow.

Refugees in Lesbos were targeted by GD as were students, workers and others who resisted GD. 

The anti fascist movement, of which Stand Up To Racism’s sister organisation, KEERFA, played a key role throughout, has been vindicated. 

Anti fascists in Greece pledge to continue refugee Solidarity work and ensure fascism is made history in the country.
 


Petros Constantinou, organiser KEERFA, Greece, said:
“It is a historical day for the anti fascist movement. For the first time after the Nuremberg trial of Nazis, a Neo Nazi organisation is on trial after an explosion of anti fascist struggle in Greece following the murder of Pavlos Fyssas.

“The conviction as criminal organisation will send the message that the only place for Neo Nazis in in prison.”



Weyman Bennett, co convenor Stand Up To Racism, said:
“Across Europe, the US and internationally, we are facing a deep polarisation that flows from a deep and multilayered global crisis. We have seen the rise of racist populism and racist populist leaders in key political offices, who have benefited from a long running policy from the mainstream establishment of ‘hostile environments’, Islamophobia and institutionalised racism. They now in turn are using their platforms of power to normalise previously deemed unacceptable levels of racism and fan the flames of dangerous, violent far right and fascist forces.

“That’s why we need a coordinated international anti racist movement that can stand in solidarity and learn from the experiences of anti racists fighting in difficult conditions across the world. Greek prosecutors have put Golden Dawn on trial because of long running campaigning by Greek anti fascists. General Strikes by public sector workers and others in honour of Pavlos were central in pushing back GD. As anti fascists in Britain we pay tribute to KEERFA for all their enormous efforts.

“Their mass, united front work has brought the downfall of Golden Dawn. They have played a critical role in curbing the return of fascism, in a land where once of course, Jews and others were deported to concentration camps.”

Steve Hart, Unite Against Fascism chair, said  “Its very important that Greek courts have designated nazi GD as a criminal organisation and have convicted Pavlos Fyssas killers.
GD tried to win support by attacking migrants and asylum seekers, taking advantage of austerity measures.

“GD were more advanced than fascists across Europe. The trial revelations must be a wake up call. The anti fascist movement must fight on many levels, including the courts. A broad, mass anti fascist movement has brought GD down. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance”


Sabby Dhalu, co convenor Stand Up To Racism, said:
“Anti fascists in Greece have made history. They have withstood huge pressure and attacks from Golden Dawn (and some in the state) and  we celebrate as anti racism and anti fascism is triumphant this week. The far right group, Greeks for the Homeland, aims to take the space the bankrupt Golden Dawn occupied. KEERFA and allies will, we know, be the most powerful opponents of those who wish to return to Greek’s darkest times.”

For further interviews and quotes:
info@standuptoracism.org.uk 

PRESS RELEASE: Anti racists show solidarity with Greek anti racists as trial of fascist Golden Dawn ends

Tue, 10/06/2020 - 07:07

Tuesday 6 October 2020

Anti racists show solidarity with Greek anti racists as trial of fascist Golden Dawn draws to a close

As the five year trial of the Nazi Golden Dawn (GD) in Greece closes tomorrow, Wednesday 7 October, anti racists im Britain stand in solidarity with the Greek anti fascist movement and points to the lessons for the anti racist movement internationally in how to successfully fight the threat of fascism and the far right. 

Golden Dawn, open admirers of Hitler, are accused of numerous crimes and multiple killings. Some 350 witnesses and over 100 lawyers have contested one of the most important trials seen in Greece. Anti racists point to the significant international implications of he trial, which is the longest court trial of Nazis since Nuremberg, after WW2.

Golden Dawn leader Michaloliakos and his “storm battalions” (echoing Hitler’s stormtroopers) unleashed terror on refugees, trades unionists, any who stood up to oppose them.

Golden Dawn members killed the anti fascist rapper, Pavlos Fyssas, (Killah P) in 2013. Pavlos would play at Greek anti nazi events held by the anti fascist movement. Golden Dawn also were involved in the murder of the young Pakistani man, Shehzad Luqman.

The organisation’s leaders deny the Nazi Holocaust. Against a background of deep economic crisis, it scapegoated refugees and other minorities. Anti racists, MPs and trade unionists were physically targeted by Golden Dawn thugs.

Golden Dawn had 18 MPs in the Greek parliament. Due to unrelenting, inspiring work by anti racist and anti fascist campaign KEERFA (Stand Up To Racism is the sister organisation of KEERFA here in Britain, organising as part of the World Against Racism international coordination that organises mass demonstrations each year on UN Anti Racism Day in March) and others, they lost all their representatives in the last general election, both in parliament and across Europe. They have no offices and are a shadow of their former prominence.


Petros Constantinou, organiser KEERFA, Greece, said:
“It is a historical day for the anti fascist movement. For the first time after the Nuremberg trial of Nazis, a Neo Nazi organisation is on trial after an explosion of anti fascist struggle in Greece following the murder of Pavlos Fyssas. The conviction as criminal organization will send the message that the only place for Neo Nazis in in prison.”


Weyman Bennett, co convenor Stand Up To Racism, said:
“Across Europe, the US and internationally, we are facing a deep polarisation that flows from a deep and multilayered global crisis. We have seen the rise of racist populism and racist populist leaders in key political offices, who have benefited from a long running policy from the mainstream establishment of ‘hostile environments’, Islamophobia and institutionalised racism. They now in turn are using their platforms of power to normalise previously deemed unacceptable levels of racism and fan the flames of dangerous, violent far right and fascist forces.

“That’s why we need a coordinated international anti racist movement that can stand in solidarity and learn from the experiences of anti racists fighting in difficult conditions across the world. Greek prosecutors have put Golden Dawn on trial because of long running campaigning by Greek anti fascists. General Strikes by public sector workers and others in honour of Pavlos were central in pushing back GD. As anti fascists in Britain we pay tribute to KEERFA for all their enormous efforts.

“Their mass, united front work has brought the downfall of Golden Dawn. They have played a critical role in curbing the return of fascism, in a land where once of course, Jews and others were deported to concentration camps.


Sabby Dhalu, co convenor Stand Up To Racism, said:
“Anti fascists in Greece have made history. They have withstood huge pressure and attacks from Golden Dawn (and some in the state) and will, we trust, be triumphant this week. The far right group, Greeks for the Homeland, aims to take the space the bankrupt Golden Dawn occupied. KEERFA and allies will, we know, be the most powerful opponents of those who wish to return to Greek’s darkest times.”

For further interviews and quotes:
info@standuptoracism.org.uk 

STATEMENT: TRIAL OF GOLDeN DAWN

Mon, 10/05/2020 - 10:44

We are reaching the culmination of the five year trial of the Nazi criminals and murderers in Greece, known as Golden Dawn (GD).


The open admirers of Hitler are accused of numerous crimes and multiple killings. Some 350 witnesses and over 100 lawyers have contested one of the most important trials seen in Greece. The trial has implications internationally. It’s the longest court trial of nazis since Nuremberg, after WW2.


Who are Golden Dawn?

Golden Dawn leader Michaloliakos and his “storm battalions” (echoing Hitler’s stormtroopers) unleashed terror on refugees, trades unionists, any who stood up to oppose them.


Golden Dawn members killed the anti fascist rapper, Pavlos Fyssas, (Killah P) in 2013. Pavlos would play at Greek anti nazi events held by KEERFA, the key anti fascist organisation in the country. Golden Dawn also were involved in the murder of the young Pakistani, Shehzad Luqman.

The organisation’s leaders deny the nazi Holocaust. Against a background of deep economic crisis, it scapegoated refugees and other minorities. Anti racists, MPs and trade unionists were physically targeted by Golden Dawn thugs.


Golden Dawn had 18 MPs in the Greek parliament. Due to unrelenting, inspiring work by anti racist and anti fascist campaign KEERFA and others, they lost all their representatives in the last general election, both in parliament and across Europe. They have no offices and are a shadow of their former prominence.

Greek prosecutors have put Golden Dawn on trial because of long running campaigning by Greek anti fascists. General Strikes by public sector workers and others in honour of Pavlos were central in pushing back GD. As anti fascists in Britain we pay tribute to KEERFA for all their enormous efforts.

Their mass, united front work has brought the downfall of Golden Dawn. They have played a critical role in curbing the return of fascism, in a land where once of course, Jews and others were deported to concentration camps.

Anti fascists in Greece have made history. They have withstood huge pressure and attacks from Golden Dawn (and some in the state) and will, we trust, be triumphant this week. The far right group, Greeks for the Homeland, aims to take the space the bankrupt Golden Dawn occupied. KEERFA and allies will, we know, be the most powerful opponents of those who wish to return to Greek’s darkest times.

PRESS RELEASE: Anti-Racists To Protest Against Johnson’s Plans For ‘Offshore Detention’ For Asylum Seekers

Thu, 10/01/2020 - 08:27

PRESS RELEASE…

Thursday 1st October 2020

Anti-racists to protest against Johnson’s plans for ‘offshore detention’ for asylum seekers.

This Saturday 3 October at 12 noon anti-racists will be at Downing Street protesting against government plans for Australian style offshore detention of asylum seekers.

Facebook event: https://fb.me/e/5PWWXnbGx

The plans to copy the brutal Australian detention system have already been widely condemned as opening up the possibility of a humanitarian crisis. 

The announcement, coming at the start of Black History Month, shows the government’s intention to use the scapegoating of refugees and migrants as a way to divert criticism of their handling of the Covid-19 crisis. 

It goes hand in hand with a series of brutal initiatives such as the deportation the targeting and deportations of the Windrush generation and the refusal by Johnson and Patel to admit unaccompanied child refugees. 

Sabby Dhalu, Stand up to Racism Co-Convenor said: “This year millions of people marched across the globe to say Black Lives Matter – a slogan which applies to refugees risking their lives and often dying fleeing war, persecution and poverty. The proposal of an offshore asylum processing centre contravenes international law and is simply an attempt to distract and deflect attention away from the government’s failure in response to a worsening Covid19 and economic crisis.”

Stand Up To Racism co convenor Weyman Bennett said:“At the start of Black History months Johnson is planning for prison flights to take asylum seekers half way around the world copying Australia’s racist ‘offshore detention’ policy. This is a disgrace. It’s all about dog whistle racism. Such ‘offshore’ camps are nothing more than a  dumping grounds for those fleeing poverty and war.”
 

For further interviews and quotes:
info@standuptoracism.org.uk 

Stand Up To Racism International Conference (online) on Sat 17 & Sun 18 October.

‘Black Lives Matter – No to Trump & Johnson’s Racist Offensive’ with speakers from the UK, US & across the world.

Register:https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/stand-up-to-racism-international-conference-tickets-119722971631?fbclid=IwAR3A3Fw_kynCRaupydbhRM4xm-26ThjGKHBCJaai7tz50FzPHmhYO0Fftoc

Model motion: Support International Conference 17&18 October

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 02:53

We note the disproportionate infection rates & deaths amongst black communities & workers during the COVID-19 crisis.

We celebrate the #BlackLivesMatter movement that has developed globally in the wake of the killing of George Floyd.

We further note the use of scapegoating by government, press and the far right of refugees and migrants.

We believe trade unions have to be at the heart of the anti-racist struggle.

We resolve to:

1) Affiliate to Stand Up To Racism
2) To support and widely promote the Stand Up To Racism online conference on Saturday 17 & Sunday 18 October.

BOOK NOW: INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE THEMES & SPEAKERS SO FAR – 17 & 18 OCT

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 02:17

Stand Up To Racism is holding its International Conference online via Zoom and Facebook Live events over the weekend of Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 October, with the theme ‘Black Lives Matter – No to Trump & Johnson’s Racist Offensive’.

BOOK YOUR PLACE

JOIN, SHARE & INVITE TO THE FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE
 

DOWNLOAD MODEL MOTION TO PASS AT YOUR UNION/CAMPAIGN MEETING: http://www.standuptoracism.org.uk/model-motion-support-international-conference-1718-october/

Speakers announced so far include:

Diane Abbott MP
Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP
Brendan Woodhouse, Seawatch/ FBU firefighter
Clare Moseley, Care4Calais
Kevin Courtney, NEU joint general secretary 
Edie Friedman, Jewish Council For Racial Equality (JCORE)
Mohammed Kozbar, Chair Finsbury Park Mosque
Zita Holborne, PCS vice president
Victoria Showunmi, UCU executive & Black Workers Committee chair

THEMES & WORKSHOPS

Plenaries:
Saturday 17 October 5pm  
Black Lives Matter Vs Trump – A Decisive Moment in the Anti Racist Movement
Sunday 18 October 5pm  
Covid Crisis, Racism & Building the Fightback

Workshops

Saturday 17 October 5pm
Covid19, economic crisis- why black lives matter 

Scrap section 60 – End Stop & search BLM

Decolonise now – confronting Britain’s colonial legacy 

Trump, Salvini & Le Pen – Unite Against Fascism & the racist right 

Love music, football & culture – hate racism 

Refugees welcome – end the hostile environment

The conference comes at a crucial and heightened moment, following intense months for the anti racist movement in the midst of the global Covid19 pandemic, where we have seen the shockingly disproportionate BAME deaths during the crisis. 

We have seen, and of course been part of, the emergence of an inspiring and combative #BlackLivesMatter movement in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd. 

Both have laid bare the deep institutionalised racism at the heart of society, and we have seen hundreds and thousands of people joining the anti racist movement actively. 

The intensification in recent weeks of the scapegoating of refugees and migrants in the mainstream media and across the political establishment, and the horror of tragic and needless deaths as well as the fire that has ravaged Greece’s largest refugee camp in Lesvos, has also underlined the need for a mass anti racist movement that can oppose division.

The conference will take place over Saturday 17 October, and Sunday 18 October, with workshops running (online via Zoom) from 2pm on the Saturday, a major international angled rally on the Saturday at 5pm, and a major domestic angled rally taking place on the Sunday at 5pm.

Book now to reserve your place

Covid Conspiracists, QAnon and the far right

Sun, 09/27/2020 - 11:16

As thousands gather for anti-lockdown protest in Trafalgar Sq…

Covid Conspiracists, QAnon and the far right

On Saturday (26 Sep) afternoon, 6,000 to 7,000 gathered on the anti-lockdown protest in Trafalgar Square. 

People came for many reasons. Many simply distrust the government’s handling of the Covid-19 lockdown. Others believe that lockdown is being used to crack down on their civil liberties. It would be a mistake to write off everyone who attended or sympathised with the protests as a racist or worse. 

But whatever the reasons that brought people to Trafalgar Square, for anti-racists this movement is problematic. 

The government’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis has been appalling. But it’s ordinary people who have suffered most with Black communities and front line workers hit the hardest. Boris Johnson is to blame for the response to the crisis, but he isn’t making the virus up. 

Some, both in the crowd in Trafalgar Square and on the platform (including notorious anti-semite David Icke), have a clearly racist agenda. The racist and fascist right see the anti-lockdown protests as a potential recruiting ground.

Anyone attending these events has to ask themselves if they feel comfortable sharing the square with the likes of David Icke or ex members of English Defence League (EDL), British National Party (BNP) or the present day Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA) thugs who were in the crowd. Known fascists have operated on these protests without challenge. Fascist flags have been displayed and nobody has attempted to remove them. 

Many on the protest having lost all faith in those in power are buying into conspiracy theories explaining the crisis including QAnon. 

These theories, given oxygen by racist politicians like Donald Trump, can seem to give an explanation to a world that’s apparently out of control. But they are riddled with racism. 

The QAnon signs presented on the anti-lockdown protests reference the conspiracist argument that Trump wants to expose a global cabal of promanent figures involved in Satanic child abuse, including Bill Gates, George Soros (the Far Right’s favourite target for antisemitic conspiracies) and others who are alleged to be central to such horrors. 

Trump’s continual attacks on the Black Lives Matter movement, his overt racism and Islamophobia, and his nods to antisemitism have made him a hero of the racist right and the darling of the conspiracy theorists. 

Many of the militiamen who have carried guns against Black Lives Matter activists are inspired by QAnon. Trump says he “doesn’t know much about QAnon but appreciates their support”

It’s not surprising then that amongst the many different flags, banners and signs on the protests this Saturday, that the QAnon signs and “Make America Great Again” baseball caps also appear. 

The “Save our children” group that has also been seen on anti-lockdown and anti-vaccine events across the country is riddled with far right figures who for example blame London’s Muslim Mayor Sadiq Khan amongst others for covering up abuse. 

Individuals like David Icke and Kate Shemirari, (prominent on last week’s 3,000 strong event in London), have been key to the mobilisations. They are supporters of many of the key conspiracy theories themes. Shemirari for example says that “the NHS is the new Auschwitz” and argues that 5G technology caused the Covid-19 virus. 

Much of what is being expressed on the platforms at anti-lockdown events echoes ideas once on the margins of society but now regularly heard on Fox News and echoed by the far right Breitbart. 

The anti-lockdown protests are not simply far right mobilisations. But the far right are certainly present. It’s been far right thugs who have led the attempts to clash with the police that made the headlines. 

While the far right’s presence on the anti-lockdown events is worrying we need to put it in perspective. Compared with the mass mobilisations around the Football Lads Alliance, Democratic Football Lads Alliance and Tommy Robinson a couple of years ago they are still very much on the back foot. 

Their recent attempts to mobilise in Dover and West Wales around opposition to refugees have not broken through their general isolation.

But with the second wave of the pandemic hitting us the far right in Britain hope they can match the successes of their friends in the US and Europe. 

The QAnon and their ilk are pernicious illustrations of old myths and prejudices, packaged in the language and medias of the 21st century. 

That the world’s most powerful person, Donald Trump, is happy to have QAnon support speaks volumes. Anti racists, inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement must monitor and maintain a watching brief over these contradictory developments. 

Hundreds of anti racists take to streets across Britain to say #RefugeesWelcome #BlackLivesMatter

Sun, 09/20/2020 - 18:38

Hundreds across Britain took to the streets in towns and cities across Britain supporting the call from Stand Up To Racism & Care4Calais to join a day of action across England, Wales and Scotland to say that refugees are welcome here. Anti racists joining the day of action stood in solidarity with refugees and migrants who anti racists argue  are being viciously demonised and dehumanised by politicians and the establishment.

The day of action was supported by Diane Abbott MP, Lord Dubs – who was a child refugee on the Kindertransport – the PCS union, Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP, and a host of councillors, campaigns and faith organisations.

A picture gallery can be accessed here, and you can view all the videos of the wide range of speeches via our Twitter feed, @Antiracismday. Quotes are below.

Brilliant to hear from @BellRibeiroAddy at the @SLSUTR protest at Windrush Sq Brixton as part of today's national #Solidarity day of action to say #RefugeesWelcome #BlackLivesMatter #RefugeeLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/jinO4lfkuJ

— Stand Up To Racism (@AntiRacismDay) September 19, 2020

Naima Omar speaks out in #solidarity with refugees and warns of the dangers of scapegoating with the far right and racists trying to divide us, at today's day of action to say #RefugeesWelcome #BlackLivesMatter #RefugeeLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/ttDMlfd5YB

— Stand Up To Racism (@AntiRacismDay) September 19, 2020

Hackney Councillor @sfajanathomas of @HackneyNorthLab asks "where is @BorisJohnson humanity?" at @AntiRacismDay @hackneysutr @IslingtonSUTR @HaringeySUTR vigil saying #RefugeeLivesMatter at @FinsburyParkMosque today.#refugeesarewelcomehere"#RefugeeLivesmatter#blacklivesmatter pic.twitter.com/pZoAVkrz4j

— Sasha Simic (@sashasimic) September 19, 2020

Video: Here’s Tia Bush @Care4Calais volunteer on the appalling situation faced by refugees in Calais as part of today’s #RefugeesWelcome day of action #RefugeesLivesMatter #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/u1osXP04EY

— Stand Up To Racism (@AntiRacismDay) September 19, 2020

#StandUpToRacism co convenor @weymanbennett1 speaks out at Downing Street on today's #solidarity day of action to say #RefugeesWelcome #BlackLivesMatter #RefugeeLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/M5fmGH200F

— Stand Up To Racism (@AntiRacismDay) September 19, 2020

Ulrike from Amnesty International joins today's protest at Downing St as part of #StandUpToRacism & @Care4Calais #solidarity day of action to say #RefugeesWelcome #BlackLivesMatter #RefugeeLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/HJNfTINVcS

— Stand Up To Racism (@AntiRacismDay) September 19, 2020

@Richardson67B on today's #StandUpToRacism #Solidarity day of action to say #RefugeesWelcome #BlackLivesMatter #RefugeeLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/AqlaFQPMM7

— Stand Up To Racism (@AntiRacismDay) September 19, 2020


In central London a van with a 20 foot banner saying ‘Refugees Welcome – Black Lives Matter’ started its journey across the capital at Downing Street at 10am for a press call, where speakers and campaigners highlighted the plight of refugees and condemn the scapegoating by mainsteam politicians.

Anti racists point to the dangers of such rhetoric in fuelling violent far right and fascist forces who have rallied in Dover and elsewhere, and have targeted hotels housing refugees across Britain. 

Yesterday, anti racists gathered on a beach in Tenby, Wales, at a protest called by Stand Up To Rscism in the wake of scapegoating and racism in response to the arrival of 250 refugees to a former army base. A report with pictures can be found here

Stand Up To Racism wanted to ensure that in the centre of London, the widespread solidarity with refugees, and condemnation of the government’s shameful inaction, can find expression despite the difficulties of safety during the Covid19 crisis. 

The horror of news breaking in recent weeks of more lives lost needlessly as people sought in desperation to survive by crossing the sea, was for many anti racists across Britain and the world as devastating as it was enraging.

The fire at the Moria refugee camps on Lesvos and its humanitarian aftermath are a further sign of the terrible situation refugees fleeing poverty and war face.

Five years on from the heartbreaking death of three year old Alan Kurdi, 16 year old Abdulfatah Hamdallah, a Sudanese refugee, drowned trying to cross the Channel with another boy in an inflatable dinghy. Anti racists point to the Tories’ border controls, constructed to keep desperate people out, and condemn these policies in light of the tragic deaths.

Anti racists organising the day of action across the country were heartened at the response in their communities, particularly in light of increased difficulty regarding safety with the rise of coronavirus, to turn out to say ‘refugees are welcome here, the black lives matter, and that refugee lives matter’.

Stand Up To Racism local groups across Britain held their solidarity protests (socially distanced with stewards, risk assessments, and with masks and sanitizer available) on Saturday 19 September, alongside the central London tour with the van, which also visited all the local protests around London communities.

Actions that took place across Britain, included:
Central London
London, Windrush Square Brixton HERE
London Finsbury Park Mosque HERE
London, Tower Hamlets HERE
London, Newham HERE
London, Croydon HERE
Glasgow HERE
Orkney HERE
Newcastle HERE
Lancaster HERE
Manchester HERE
Halifax HERE
Derby HERE
Nottingham HERE
Bristol HERE


Diane Abbott MP said
“Racism, discrimination and hate crime are on the rise in many countries.  This is often because governments are consciously using racism in all its form to divide, and to distract from their own failings.  In Britain the government has catastrophically mishandled the Covid-19 crisis.  This in turn is leading to economic disaster and hundreds of thousands of job losses. 

“In that light, they need scapegoats.  Increased, stop and search, the abuse of Prevent, demonising refugees – all this and more is part of their agenda.  We cannot let them win.  As the US has shown, a committed movement fighting against racism and for black liberation can win majority support and put the racists in a minority.  That must be our aim here too. 

“And I want to salute all of you who commit so much of your time to these causes.  You are needed now as much as ever.”

Lord Dubs, who as a child refugee fled the Nazis with the Kindertransport, said

The shocking pictures of Moria Camp or of refugees in Calais are deeply shocking.  No human beings should be left to exist in such circumstances. In the interests of humanity and international solidarity we should immediately offer to take some of these unfortunate victims, especially the children, and give them safety in this country. That is my plea to the Home Secretary.”

Stand Up To Racism co convenor Weyman Bennett said
“The heartbreak and rage we all felt seeing more needless deaths as as a result of racist border policies is something that anti racists cannot stay silent about.

“This is about showing those in the most desperate situation that they have our solidarity, such as those fleeing fire at the Moria refugee camps on Lesvos with nowhere to go, or those who have had to flee each time the French police come to smash up the camps at Calais or Dunkirk, where tents are taken and those trying to deliver aid that has collected by anti racists, trade unionists and communities across Britain – are obstructed and told they are carrying out ‘illegal distributions’.   

“The disgusting scapegoating and demonisation of these people who are merely seeking to survive and to exist, is not in our name.

“The racism at the heart of this system that means we have to campaign to say #BlackLivesMatter, that #RefugeeLivesMatter, and that racism is not in our name. And that racist rhetoric is providing oxygen to nasty far right and fascist forces.

“We need the anti racist movement to come together in solidarity and unity and show that the racists do not speak for us. We must speak up for humanity.”

Clare Moseley, Care4Calais, said

The government is now arranging regular charter flights in a shameful bid to send people anywhere but the UK rather than simply hear their asylum claims.

We are working in 30 hotels across the country where people who have newly arrived in the UK are being temporarily housed. The people in these hotels are terrified. We talk to people who can’t eat or sleep due to fear. The UK has become yet another yet kind of hell for asylum seekers.”
Labour Councillor Susan Fajana-Thomas, London Borough of Hackney & Chair of Islington Refugee and Migrant Forum, said
“The UK government needs to urgently address the lack of safe and legal routes for people seeking refuge in this country.

“It is too simple and misguided to place the blame of people dying at sea onto people traffickers, for what is a complex humanitarian crisis that requires our best efforts for a sustainable solution.

“We must not pass on the responsibility to other countries, which in effect is us turning our face away and choosing not to see the plight of refugees. This belies our humanity!”


For further interviews and quotes:
info@standuptoracism.org.uk 

PRESS RELEASE: Solidarity Day of Action this Saturday 19 September: #RefugeesWelcome #BlackLivesMatter

Thu, 09/17/2020 - 08:04

PRESS RELEASE… for immediate release

Thursday 17 September 2020

Solidarity Day of Action this Saturday 19 September: #RefugeesWelcome #BlackLivesMatter

Central London targets and socially distanced protests around Britain

#RefugeeLivesMatter  #StopTheScapegoating


Stand Up To Racism alongside Care4Calais is calling a day of action across England, Wales and Scotland to say that refugees are welcome here, and to stand in solidarity with refugees and migrants who anti racists argue  are being viciously demonised and dehumanised by politicians and the establishment.

The day of action is backed by Diane Abbott MP, the PCS union.

In central London a van with a 20 foot banner saying ‘Refugees Welcome – Black Lives Matter’ will target symbolic locations for a press call, where speakers and campaigners will highlight the plight of refugees and condemn the scapegoating by mainsteam politicians. Anti racists point to the dangers of such rhetoric in fuelling violent far right and fascist forces who have rallied in Dover and elsewhere, and have targeted hotels Housing refugees across Britain.  

Stand Up To Racism aims to ensure that in the centre of London, the widespread solidarity with refugees, and condemnation of the government’s shameful inaction, can find expression despite the difficulties of safety during the Covid19 crisis. 

The horror of news breaking in recent weeks of more lives lost needlessly as people sought in desperation to survive by crossing the sea, was for many anti racists across Britain and the world as devastating as it was enraging.

The fire at the Moria refugee camps on Lesvos and its humanitarian aftermath are a further sign of the terrible situation refugees fleeing poverty and war face.

Five years on from the heartbreaking death of three year old Alan Kurdi, 16 year old Abdulfatah Hamdallah, a Sudanese refugee, drowned trying to cross the Channel with another boy in an inflatable dinghy. Anti racists point to the Tories’ border controls, constructed to keep desperate people out, and condemn these policies in light of the tragic deaths. Anti racists are organising to say ‘refugees are welcome here, the black lives matter, and that refugee lives matter’.

Stand Up To Racism local groups across Britain are holding solidarity protests (socially distanced with stewards, risk assessments, and with masks and sanitizer available) on Saturday 19 September, alongside the central London event taking place.



Actions are taking place across Britain, including:

Central London
London, Windrush Square Brixton HERE
London Finsbury Park Mosque HERE
London, Tower Hamlets HERE
London, Newham HERE
London, Croydon HERE
Glasgow HERE
Orkney HERE
Newcastle HERE
Lancaster HERE
Manchester HERE
Halifax HERE
Derby HERE
Nottingham HERE
Bristol HERE


Diane Abbott MP said
“Racism, discrimination and hate crime are on the rise in many countries.  This is often because governments are consciously using racism in all its form to divide, and to distract from their own failings.  In Britain the government has catastrophically mishandled the Covid-19 crisis.  This in turn is leading to economic disaster and hundreds of thousands of job losses. 

“In that light, they need scapegoats.  Increased, stop and search, the abuse of Prevent, demonising refugees – all this and more is part of their agenda.  We cannot let them win.  As the US has shown, a committed movement fighting against racism and for black liberation can win majority support and put the racists in a minority.  That must be our aim here too. 

“And I want to salute all of you who commit so much of your time to these causes.  You are needed now as much as ever.”

Stand Up To Racism co convenor Weyman Bennett said
“The heartbreak and rage we all felt seeing more needless deaths as as a result of racist border policies is something that anti racists cannot stay silent about.

“This is about showing those in the most desperate situation that they have our solidarity, such as those fleeing fire at the Moria refugee camps on Lesvos with nowhere to go, or those who have had to flee each time the French police come to smash up the camps at Calais or Dunkirk, where tents are taken and those trying to deliver aid that has collected by anti racists, trade unionists and communities across Britain – are obstructed and told they are carrying out ‘illegal distributions’.   

“The disgusting scapegoating and demonisation of these people who are merely seeking to survive and to exist, is not in our name.

“The racism at the heart of this system that means we have to campaign to say #BlackLivesMatter, that #RefugeeLivesMatter, and that racism is not in our name. And that racist rhetoric is providing oxygen to nasty far right and fascist forces.

“We need the anti racist movement to come together in solidarity and unity and show that the racists do not speak for us. We must speak up for humanity.”

Labour Councillor Susan Fajana-Thomas, London Borough of Hackney & Chair of Islington Refugee and Migrant Forum, said
“The UK government needs to urgently address the lack of safe and legal routes for people seeking refuge in this country.

“It is too simple and misguided to place the blame of people dying at sea onto people traffickers, for what is a complex humanitarian crisis that requires our best efforts for a sustainable solution.

“We must not pass on the responsibility to other countries, which in effect is us turning our face away and choosing not to see the plight of refugees. This belies our humanity!”


For further interviews and quotes:
info@standuptoracism.org.uk 

Join open online fringe meeting at Trade Union Congess 6pm, 15 September

Mon, 09/14/2020 - 02:10

Join this Tuesday’s open online fringe meeting at Trade Union Congess 6pm, 15 September

Stand Up To Racism is organising  an online fringe meeting at this years TUC Congress on Tuesday 15 September at 6pm. The event will be livestreamed via www.facebook.com/StandUTR and we will post the link in this event when the meeting is starting.

Click going, invite and share the meeting within you networks: Facebook event page here

This week the Trades Union Congress (TUC) representing more than 6 million people meets online. 

It will discuss the huge crisis facing ordinary people as a second Covid-19 wave develops and the government moves to withdraw the furlough that has kept millions in work. 

Covid-19 has hit black communities massively disproportionately. Meanwhile the #BlackLivesMatter movement has exposed the deep institutional racism at the heart of our society – where policing targets black communities and refugees and migrants are scapegoated. 

Speakers include: 

Kevin Courtney, National Education Union (NEU) general secretary 

Matt Wrack, Fire Brigade Union (FBU) general secretary 

Sarah Woolley, Bakers’ Food & Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU) general secretary 

Wilf Sullivan, TUC Race Equality Officer 

Victoria Showunmi, University & College lecturers’ Union (UCU) Black Workers’ Committee chair & National Executive 

Glen Hart, Rail, Maritime & Transport union (RMT) Black Workers’ Committee chair

Fayrouz Kraish, NHS worker & Unite Scotland Black And Ethnic Minorities (BAEM) Committee

Shaka Hislop, footballer

Ged Grebby, Show Racism The Red Card

Petros Constantinou, anti racist campaigner in Greece (KEERFA)

Weyman Bennett & Sabby Dhalu, Stand Up To Racism co convenors

plus US #BlackLivesMatter activist 

With the dramatic growth of the Black Lives Matter movement and the massively disproportionate deaths amongst BAME communities and frontline workers there are crucial issues for trade unionists and anti racists to discuss. 

This important online meeting during TUC Congress on Tuesday 15 September, 6pm, will highlight the important role trade unions can play in the fight against racism, to support the Black Lives Matter movement and to defend refugees and migrants. 

Please join the event and help us build it.

The meeting will also be promoting the #RefugeesWelcome day of action organised by Care4Calais & Stand Up To Racism on Saturday 19 September.

The day will oppose government scapegoating of refugees, call for the UK to follow the German and French governments and take in refugees – especially unaccompanied children – following the disastrous fires at the Moria refugee camp on Lesvos, and opposing the targeting by far right groups of hotels housing refugees in Britain.

Facebook event page here

Placard available here

PRESS RELEASE: As trial begins, anti racists hold day of action #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd – Fri 11 Sep

Thu, 09/10/2020 - 07:05

PRESS RELEASE… for immediate release

Thursday 10 September 2020

As George Floyd’s killers’ trial begins, anti racists hold national day of action demanding #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd

#BlackLivesMatter
#ScrapS60

#TakeTheKnee: Friday 11 September

The trial hearing of the four ex police officers charged with the murder of George Floyd starts tomorrow, Friday 11 September.

On that day the judge is to hear whether those accused of George Floyd’s killing will be tried collectively or as individuals.

Stand Up To Racism is asking all those who are supporting the fight for justice to #TakeTheKnee – on that day – in solidarity with George Floyd and to oppose racist policing in Britain.

The day of action, tomorrow on the day the trial begins, Friday 11 September, will see safely socially distanced protests across Britain where anti racists will come together to #TakeTheKnee in an act of solidarity, defiance against institutionalised racism, and demanding justice. This will include a protest targeting the US Embassy in London. 

The inspiring #BlackLivesMatter movement developed across the world in the wake of George Floyd’s killing.The issue of racist policing is at the heart of that movement.

#JusticeForGeorgeFloyd 
#BlackLivesMatter #ScrapS60

Stand Up To Racism groups across England, Scotland and Wales are organising socially distanced and safe solidarity events in towns and cities across the country, with social distancing stewards, sanitizer, masks and gloves to ensure safety as well as the right to protest during the pandemic. 

Actions are taking place across Britain, including:

London, US EMBASSY HERE
London, Tower Hamlets HERE
London, Hackney HERE
London, Newham HERE
London, Walthamstow HERE
London, Haringey HERE
London, Kingston
Medway
Leeds HERE
York HERE
Sheffield HERE
Coventry HERE
Norwich HERE
Oxford HERE
Manchester HERE

 
Stand Up To Racism co convenor Weyman Bennett said

We stand with those facing racist harassment and violence at police hands. In Britain the massively disproportionate use of use of stop and search under section 60 against black people must end.

“We face a crossroads in fighting racism and discrimination that has killed thousands who are disproportionately killed by police in our communities, and are disproportionately affected in Covid19 deaths due to institutionalised racism.

“This is not a moment, this is a movement. No more black people killed by the police, No more inequality justified by racist lies. No more divide and rule by the rich and powerful who use racism as a tool to defend inequality in society. We need change and we need it now, in fact we demand it.”


For further interviews and quotes:
info@standuptoracism.org.uk 
 

Stand Up To Racism International Conference: Sat 17 & Sun 18 October

Mon, 09/07/2020 - 06:28

Online Event: Book your place here

Stand Up To Racism is holding our International Conference – Black Lives Matter – No to Trump & Johnson’s Racist Offensive – on Saturday 17 & Sunday 18 October online

More details, speakers & themes to follow

See the Facebook event page here

Day of action: #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd #ScrapS60

Mon, 09/07/2020 - 06:24

Day of action #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd #BlackLivesMatter #ScrapS60 #TakeTheKnee

Friday 11 September

The trial hearing of the four ex police officers charged with the murder of George Floyd starts on Friday 11 September.

On that day the judge is to hear whether those accused of George Floyd’s killing will be tried collectively or as individuals.Stand Up To Racism is asking all those who are supporting the fight for justice to #TakeTheKnee – on that day – in solidarity with George Floyd and to oppose racist policing in the UK.

The inspiring #BlackLivesMatter movement developed across the world in the wake of George Floyd’s killing.The issue of racist policing is at the heart of that movement.

We stand with those facing racist harassment and violence at police hands.In Britain the massively disproportionate use of use of stop and search under section 60 against black people must end.

#JusticeForGeorgeFloyd#BlackLivesMatter#ScrapS60

Please organise and/or attend socially distanced solidarity events in your town, city, workplace or college/uni campus. Bring banners and placards. 

Sat 19 Sep: SOLIDARITY DAY OF ACTION #RefugeeLivesMatter

Mon, 09/07/2020 - 06:22

#RefugeeLivesMatter – Solidarity Day Of Action

Stop the Scapegoating

Saturday 19 September

Stand Up To Racism is calling a day of action across England, Wales and Scotland to say that refugees are welcome here, and to stand in solidarity with refugees and migrants who are viciously demonised and dehumanised by politicians, the mainstream media and establishment.

Download the placard here

The horror of news breaking in recent weeks, of more lives lost needlessly as people seek in desperation to survive by crossing the sea, was devastating and enraging.

It comes as a result of racist border policies.Five years on from the heartbreaking death of three year old Alan Kurdi, 16 year old Abdulfatah Hamdallah, a Sudanese refugee, drowned trying to cross the Channel with another boy in an inflatable dinghy, using shovels for oars. He died because the Tories’ border controls are constructed to keep desperate people out, preferring them to drown trying to reach safety than welcome them.

We say Refugees Welcome Here – Stop the Scapegoating!#RefugeeLivesMatter.

Stand Up To Racism calls on local groups across Britain to hold solidarity protests (socially distanced and with masks and sanitizer available) on Saturday 19 September, with a central London event taking place too which London groups are encouraged to build and attend.

Add ‘Stand Up To Racism’ as a co host on Facebook for events called as part of the Day of Action, and email info@standuptoracism.org.uk with details

Anti racists say refugees are welcome, as a pitiful protest by fascists fails to turn out numbers in Dover

Sat, 09/05/2020 - 11:20

Anti racists gathered today in Dover to send a positive message that refugees are welcome here and that refugee lives matter. Up to 200 fascists had mobilised in opposition to this message, to spread hate and division. The small gathering of fascists was looking to build forces off the back of the vile racist scapegoating of refugees and migrants that we have seen from politicians and the mainstream media across the establishment in recent weeks.

Around 150 turned out on the anti racist demonstration organised by Kent Anti Racist Network, and supported by Medway Stand Up To Racism and other anti racists including the Rail, Maritime & Transport (RMT) union, the Communication Workers Union (CWU), and the Folkestone Mayor Jackie Meade, the local Trades Council and Green Party activists.

Eyewitness anti racists described the fascist mobilisation, saying,

“It was a poor turnout given all the hype and publicity surrounding their national call out. Nigel Marcham, the organiser, was led away from his demonstration by police.

“There were no players there from groups such as Britain First or For Britain, who have recently looked to intimidate asylum seekers at hotels, for example in Essex.

“A group of ‘Chelsea Headhunters’ (a notorious fascist football group, detested by the vast majority of Chelsea fans) met up with a few thugs each from Cardiff and Millwall and were involved in confrontations with the police. Some went back, frustrated, to Golden Lion pub.

“The fascist mobilisation included a mix of ex English Defence League (EDL) thugs too. Several were arrested and their demonstration dissolved.

On the anti racist side, there was a good mood of solidarity with refugees and hatred of far right, and it was mainly people from the local community.”

Given the fascist mobilisation was intended as a national one, it was a pitiful turnout for them. Of course, any time such dangerous and divisive forces raise their ugly head and try to build, it is vital that anti racists come together to oppose them.

The #BlackLivesMatter movement has blown open the deeply intitutionalised and violent nature of racism in society. It has done so at a time of intensifying crisis and a global pandemic that has been handled murderously by this government. We are seeing deepening polarisation, with far right forces taking confidence from the racism of Trump, Johnson and their ilk. The mass anti racist movement is crucial to turn the tide against the rise of racism. This task is urgent.

Weyman Bennett, co convenor Stand Up To Racism, said

The fascists and the Nazis have been given the green light by Trump, Johnson, and our vicious Home Secretary Priti Patel. They have reached into the gutter to attack desperate children refugees.

Rather than accept their incompetent handling of the Covid19 crisis and the consequences of that, they seek instead to divide Black and white, Muslim and non Muslim, and refuse to confront endemic racism in society.

It is important that we unite, Black and white, and fight back.”

For quotes and interviews:

info@standuptoracism.org.uk

Solidarity with Kenosha – Black Lives Matter

Fri, 08/28/2020 - 08:04

The shooting of Jacob Blake seven times in the back by a Wisconsin Law official in Kenosha, Wisconsin has unleashed a fresh wave of Black Lives Matter mobilisations in the US, determined to force action on systemic racism and police brutality.

A series of demonstrations in Kenosha immediately followed Jacob Blake’s shooting where, horrifically, two people were killed and one injured after being shot down by a far-right gunman who police allowed to walk away still carrying the rifle.

The demonstrations in cities across the US that followed were the latest in what many are now realising is a serious and longlasting movement for change. Most notably, the world of sport saw a series of unprecedented and historic series of strike actions by players and cancelling of games, starting with the Wisconsin-based Milwaukee Bucks.

“We are calling for justice for Jacob Blake and demand the officers be held accountable. For this to occur, it is imperative for the Wisconsin State Legislature to reconvene after months of inaction and take up meaningful measures to address issues of police accountability, brutality and criminal justice reform. We encourage all citizens to educate themselves, take peaceful and responsible action, and remember to vote on Nov. 3.”

– Statement by the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team

The Bucks’ action was met with immediate solidarity from their opponents the Orlando Magic and all play-off games that day were cancelled. Their sister Baseball team the Milwaukee Brewers also cancelled their game, again met with immediate solidarity from their opponents, and eventually every team in Baseball cancelled a game over the following 36 hours, as well as all Ice Hockey play-offs on Thursday and Friday.

WNBA players joined protests by wearing t-shirts with bullet holes in the back, and players from across the US and the sporting world spoke passionately about levels of racism in US society and the need for change.

Protests are continuing across the US and the World, with today’s March on Washington – ‘Get Your Knee Off Our Necks’ set to draw tens of thousands both in person and online.

In Britain, protests have taken place across the country organised by local Stand Up To Racism and Black Lives Matter groups calling for justice for Jacob Blake, and this weekend will see two crucial demonstrations in London calling for justice:

SATURDAY 29 AUGUST – US EMBASSY – 1PM – Enough is enough – Justice for Jacob Blake, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor & Black lives in the UK.

SUNDAY 30 AUGUST – NOTTING HILL – 1PM – JOIN THE FIGHT FOR CHANGE – https://millionpeoplemarch.com/

tue 25 Aug – refugees welcome – Protest outside the home office

Fri, 08/21/2020 - 03:50

TUESDAY 25th AUGUST 2020 | 6pm

Socially distanced protest

Outside the Home Office, 2 Marsham Street, SW1P 4DF

Called by Stand Up to Racism South London and Care 4 Calais

REFUGEES WELCOME HERE! – IMMEDIATE SAFE PASSAGE

People so desperate to get to a place of safety have risked their lives this year to cross the busiest and one of the most dangerous shipping lanes in the world in tiny boats and childrens dinghies. This government should have a humanitarian response and welcome people whose lives have already been devastated by war, environmental degradation and poverty.

Undocumented refugees have a international right to claim asylum, but this Government is denying them this right.

The Government of Boris Johnson is committing a crime of dehumanising and vilifying people. They have the potential to greatly enhance this country through their work and the contribution they can make to our society. Many of them already have family ties here.

We demand that refugees be guaranteed safe passage to the UK if they wish to claim asylum here.

Other vigils taking place across the country – contact your local group for more info.

Analysis: The Tories are whipping up racism to disguise catastrophic Covid failings

Fri, 08/21/2020 - 03:43

SABBY DHALU picks apart a centuries-old narrative that scapegoats BAME and refugee communities

This article originally appeared in The Morning Star

MAINSTREAM media headlines over the last week lead us to believe that the biggest crisis in Britain is that 900 people want to seek asylum here.

It would be nice if this was the case. It is easily resolved by simply allowing people to apply for asylum in Britain. A smaller and much poorer country like Lebanon which is the size of Cornwall, and currently gripped by a humanitarian and political crisis, has a population of 5.9 million people, and 1.5 million of them are refugees.

Lebanon hosts the largest number of refugees per capita, amounting to 25 per cent of its population and equivalent to Britain welcoming over 16 million refugees. Let that sink in.

Clearly, 900 people fleeing war, climate change, poverty, persecution and destitution seeking asylum in the seventh-largest economy in the world with a population of over 66 million is no crisis. In fact studies show that immigrants contribute disproportionately more to the public purse.

The refugee crisis is the lack of safe routes to Britain, the result of decades of legislation making it harder to seek asylum here, forcing people to make perilous journeys across the Mediterranean and risking their lives. Even ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s weighed into the debate on Twitter, calling out the government’s lack of humanity in response to desperate people.

So why the headlines? Why the calls for the navy to deploy patrol boats and send them to France? Why is Priti Patel promising to introduce new asylum legislation that would “send the left into meltdown?”

The answer? It’s a smokescreen for the government’s catastrophic failures in response to the coronavirus and the economic downturn. Wrongly blaming immigrants is a centuries-old tactic designed to scapegoat and distract from disastrous government politics.

One hundred years ago headlines blamed Jewish and Irish communities, then, in the post-war era, Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, African and Caribbean communities were attacked and, today, Muslims and refugees are the chosen target for racist scapegoating from politicians and the media.

The real crisis is Britain’s disastrous response to the coronavirus and its equally disastrous economy. Following several weeks of decline, Covid-19 cases are beginning to increase again, rising to above 1,000 in the last few days.

In some regions in England the R value could be above 1. According to data released on August 7 2020, the R value is estimated to range between 0.8 and 1.1 for London, north-west England and south-west England. In cumulative terms, deaths per capita in the UK continue to be the worst of any major country and 34 per cent are people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities.

Covid cases are increasing again because the government prematurely eased the lockdown in a series of measures announced from the middle of May through to July. Daily deaths would have reduced to zero by early June had the government simply waited a few weeks before easing the initial lockdown.

In addition the UK’s 20 per cent GDP slump in the second quarter was worse than other major economies, plunging the economy into recession. The 20 per cent fall was much worse than in Germany and the US, where GDP for the last quarter fell by 11.9 per cent and 10.6 per cent respectively.

The government is failing to introduce measures to remedy this situation such as a zero Covid policy to eliminate the virus as recommended by the British Medical Association and Independent SAGE, reimposing a national lockdown (which is necessary especially if cases continue to rise above a thousand and the R rate is above 1) and extending furlough. We cannot live with a deadly virus and get on with our lives, and nor can the economy recover. Instead the government is stirring up racism towards refugees and easing the lockdown.

After the previous attempt at racist scapegoating spectacularly backfired, the Tories were forced to change course. Craig Whittaker, the Tory MP for Calder Valley, recently faced a fierce anti-racist backlash after he suggested that BAME and Muslim communities were not taking the coronavirus pandemic seriously. Such outrageous, racist and Islamophobic comments have no factual basis and received widespread condemnation.

Tweets from MPs, comedian Nish Kumar and others calling out the racist attempt to blame Muslim and BAME communities for the government’s repeated failures trended on Twitter and shocked mainstream media.

Similar comments were made by Bolton Conservative councillor Bob Allen who stated on Facebook: “Don’t penalise me over the increase in Covid cases in Greater Manchester. I’ve stuck to the rules for four long months. Blame the 48,000 illegal immigrants, the BAME community and the morons that never obey the rules.”

Allen now been suspended by the Conservative Party. However, no action has been taken against Whittaker. This casual racism from politicians and the media is not without serious consequences.

Online Islamophobic abuse has increased by 40 per cent from last year during lockdown. Gorton MP Afzal Khan tweeted that he and other prominent Muslims in Manchester recently received Islamophobic and abusive mail. In Leicester, according to police, there were 208 racially aggravated incidents in July, up from 156 in 2019. These and previous figures indicate a link between racism from politicians and media coverage, and racist hate crime on the ground.

The Black Lives Matter movement inspired people around the globe to take to the streets and force nations to confront racism today – and its roots in imperialism, colonialism and slavery. The Black Lives Matter slogan also applies to the black communities who have died disproportionately from Covid-19 and those making the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean. We must unite against racism — whoever the target is — and robustly oppose racist scapegoating.

Sabby Dhalu is the co-convenor of Stand Up to Racism.

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