JEREMY CORBYN called for a fightback against racism and the rise of the far right at the massive Labour Live festival on Saturday.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell introduced the Labour leader, who was met by chants of “Oh, Jeremy Corbyn” from the 13,000-strong crowd.
In north London’s White Hart Lane Recreational Ground, he recalled the 1977 Battle of Wood Green that took place less than a mile from the site of the festival.
On April 23 that year, a crowd of over 3,000 anti-racists opposed a march by the fascist National Front.
Mr Corbyn said that many people at the time ignored the march because they deemed the fascists to be harmless.
“Some of us said: ‘No we are not prepared to let our multicultural society be divided by these people’,” he declared.
“The far-right rise in central Europe and other parts of the world has to be challenged by recognising that we are diverse but our differences bring us together and make us stronger.
“Never ever allow any racists to divide us. We will never allow it. We want to live in a world with decency and, above all, hope.”
He said it was nonsensical that racists blamed minority groups and refugees for the problems they face in their own lives.
The Labour leader also reeled off a list of the failures of the free market, turning his ire on the lack of truly affordable housing and funding for mental health, education cuts resulting in young children’s creativity being “stifled” and the privatisation of public services including the NHS.
He said: “I don’t want to live in a society that creates disgraceful levels of inequality between the richest and the poorest.
“I don’t want to live in a society that is building luxury houses and flats to keep them empty, for somebody to make a profit out of them while homeless people are sleeping on the streets outside.
“We need and can do things very very differently if we want to and that is what brings us together.”
As Mr Corbyn wound up his tour de force speech, a group of Open Europe pro-EU protesters immediately in front of him held up a banner and chanted: “Stop backing Brexit,” in a carefully choreographed propaganda stunt.
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