Anti-racist conference will launch a “rallying cry” against the right

Anti-racists kneel in Brixton, south London, on the anniversary of George Floyd’s murder (Photo: Guy Smallman)

Anti-racists will debate how to advance the fight against racism, the far right and fascism at an international conference on October 16-17.

The online conference Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) comes amid conservative “culture wars”, attacks on refugees and migrants and a takeover by racist cops.

SUTR co-organizer Weyman Bennett told Socialist Worker that conservative culture wars mean the left must be united in the fight against racism. “Boris Johnson uses the demonization of migrants to escalate racism,” he explained.

“It’s about increasing the divide and conquer politics and stifling the Black Lives Matter movement.

“It means we have to physically and mentally show our willingness to fight Johnson and his class. That is why uniting our class to welcome every refugee and destroy every fascist organization, as well as debate and discuss how to do this, is vital.

The Conservatives are using racism to distract from all the chaos they are causing. They are scapegoating migrants to distract from the pandemic’s murderous management of poor wages for millions of workers and the lack of affordable housing.

This offensive against the refugees resulted in the new Nationality and Borders Bill by Interior Minister Priti Patel, which is currently under consideration in parliament.

The law will criminalize migrants who come to Britain by “illegal” means. But undocumented migrants don’t have the luxury of plane tickets and passports when fleeing countries torn by war or persecution.

“We must also fight against the ideological assault,” Weyman said. “It is no coincidence that, in the depths of crises, the right refers to the same racist rhetoric: it is the tactic of divide and conquer.

“It is important that we have a united front.

To listen

Labor MPs Diane Abbott, Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, Bell Ribeiro-Addy and Dawn Butler are expected to speak at the conference. Scottish Labor Party leader Anas Sarwar is also attending.

The conference will also hear from a range of trade unionists.

They include Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham, NEU Deputy General Secretary Kevin Courtney, PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka, and Bfawu Leader Sarah Woolley.

Conservatives will make refugee rescue a crime
Conservatives will make refugee rescue a crime

With the Tories on the attack, tackling racism is vital for any trade unionist.

Above all, the international conference will hear speakers fighting against anti-racism and the extreme right in the world.

This includes Marwan Muhammad of the Collectif contre l’islamophobie en France and Petros Constantinou of the Greek anti-fascist group Keerfa and the former Brazilian Minister of Racial Equality Martvs Chagas.

Sessions include World Against Racism and Fascism, No Hostile Environment – Unite Against Nationality and Borders Bill, and Black Lives Matter – Racist Police and the Fight for Justice.

Others will focus on the fight for anti-racist workplaces, the rise of Islamophobia 20 years after September 11, and opposition to the Conservatives’ draconian police bill.

The SUTR conference is important for organizing a response in Britain, as well as for coordinating internationally with anti-racists.

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