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Demonstation Join the struggle against the rising tide of racism

UNITY against racism and fascism is crucial and more necessary today than at any other point since the second world war. 

Europe is facing the biggest rise in racism since fascism’s rise to power in the 1930s. This is illustrated by recent election results in Europe. 

In Italy, the racist populist Five Star movement gained 32.22 per cent, a 6.63 increase from the previous election in 2013. 

The fascist Northern League increased its vote share by 14 per cent with 17.69 per cent. 

The centre-left Democratic Party gained 18.9 per cent of the vote — a 6.5 per cent decrease. 

In Austria the far-right Freedom Party is in the governing coalition with the right-wing conservative People’s Party after polling 26 per cent, with 51 seats in the National Council, in the October 2017 general election. The Austrian Social Democratic Party only polled a tiny fraction more votes with 26.9 per cent. 

In Germany Alternative for Deutchland gained 12.6 per cent — a 7.9 per cent increase — the first time far-right nationalists gained seats in the national legislature since the 1930s. 

The SPD polled 20.5 per cent, a 5.2 per cent fall from the previous election and agreed to form a coalition government with the CDU which is likely to make this SPD even less popular. 

The common thread in these elections is a vicious circle of governments pursuing economic policies that worsen living standards, using racism to scapegoat communities and distract people from these problems, a growing racist far right, right-wing conservative parties adopting a far-right agenda and falling support for centre-left social democrats who provided no solution to people’s declining living standards and conceded instead to racism.

Britain is currently bucking this electoral trend because the left and right are sharply polarised on whether people are for or against a Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour. 

The Tories’ “hard Brexit” and adaptation to racism has absorbed the bulk of the 12.6 per cent Ukip polled in 2015, so Ukip polled 1.8 per cent in 2017, with the Tories gaining 42 per cent. 

The current Labour leadership rejects neoliberalism and austerity and champions an improvement of people’s living standards. 

It also stands up to the rise in racism, Islamophobia, anti-semitism and for a humanitarian approach to refugees. As a result, it is performing better than its European counterparts. 

In this situation there is little room for a far-right electoral force in Britain. But there is no room for complacency. We have defeated Ukip, the British National Party, the English Defence League and Britain First. 

But there are rising levels of racism that indicate at some point in the future a racist far-right electoral force could emerge. 

Hate crimes increased by 29 per cent to 80,393 — the biggest number ever recorded since such records began — in the year up to March 2017 and 80 per cent of these were racist attacks. 

Incidents of anti-Muslim abuse and attacks in public areas rose by 326 per cent in 2015, with women disproportionately targeted. 
More recently between 2016 and 2017 hate crimes targeting mosques more than doubled from 47 between March and July in 2016 to 110 in the same period in 2017.

The Community Security Trust also recorded a 34 per cent increase in violent assaults against Jewish people in 2017. Swastikas were graffitied in Cardiff before today’s UN Anti-Racism Day demonstration. 

The Football Lads Alliance is organisation similar to the EDL and over the last year it has mobilised thousands more than the EDL. 

It is posing as an organisation against terrorism, but its real agenda is racism and Islamophobia. These organisations grow when the left is strong.

In light of growing electoral support for the far right and fascists in Europe and rising hate crimes against Muslims, Jews and black people in Britain, it is incumbent on all anti-racists to unite against racism and fascism.

Trade unions, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, African, Caribbean, Asian, LGBT communities, social democrats, socialists and all anti-racists should stand together against hatred, racism and fascism. 

The lesson of history is that we must unite against racism and fascism in Europe and put aside differences on the Middle East and other matters.

Today’s UN Anti-Racism Day events are part of an international day of action against racism, with demonstrations taking place in London, Glasgow, Cardiff, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Barcelona, Warsaw, Athens and many more cities. These are peaceful demonstrations showing unity against rising racism, Islamophobia and anti-semitism in Britain and Europe. 

Diane Abbott MP, Claude Moraes MEP, TUC president Sally Hunt, Talha Ahmad from the Muslim Council of Britain, David Rosenberg from the Jewish Socialist Group and many more are joining today’s event in London.

Sabby Dhalu is co-convener of Stand up to Racism.

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