When fascism comes calling it doesn't care what shade you area

02 May 2019

Aksir Ali, Leeds branch and the BAME Representative Committee member for District 4, reports on the March Against Racism in London.

 

The unity demo March Against Racism was planned well in advance of the day, Saturday 16th March, and fell a day after 50 people - children, women and men, young and old, were killed praying in a mosque at Christchurch in New Zealand, gunned down by a white supremacist.

 

The global rise of far-right politics could not be any clearer.

 

As the Trump presidency has inspired a wave of racism in the United States, here in Britain a new far-right street movement, driven by the media and united through social media platforms, is taking advantage of the current political landscape, attacking migrants, refugees and the Muslim community.

 

Islamophobic hate crime and anti-Semitism has grown tenfold under a conservative government that struggles with racism within its own membership and policies - like the Windrush scandal - which destroy people's lives with detention and deportation.

 

There was never a better time for ASLEF's BAME committee to join 25,000 people in London at the event organised by Stand Up to Racism and Love Music Hate Racism. We were joined by other ASLEF members including EC president Dave Calfe and DO6 Dicky Fisher.

 

The demo started outside the Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane. Crowding around a fire engine, which formed a stage, numbers grew on a cold and cloudy but, thankfully, dry day. As a speaker called out 'Christchurch!' the crowd chanted 'Never again!'

 

'Auschwitz!' 

'Never again!'

'Grenfell!'

'Never again!'

 

The crowd was warming up and the cold was fading away.

 

As the march passed New Zealand House banners were lowered and wreaths were laid by Islamic and Jewish organisations, other faith groups, and trade unionists.

 

The rally gathered at Whitehall where speakers including Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady, poet Michael Rosen, and representatives of the Muslim Association of Britain, the Jewish Socialists' Group and the Jewish Council for Racial Equality took to the stage.

 

Speakers called for unity against racism, Islamophobia, white supremacy, anti-Semitism and fascism.

 

The march demonstrated confidence in our values of respect and equality for all, multiculturalism and peace. It demonstrated solidarity against racial discrimination of all kinds, and the politics of hate and fascism.

 

Supported by the TUC, the ASLEF BAME committee was proud to take part and stand united with our brothers and sisters.

 

I would like to finish with a quote from Dr Edie Friedman, chief executive of the JCORE: 'When fascism comes to call it doesn't care what shade of difference you are.'

 

 

This article first appeared in the May 2019 issue of the ASLEF Journal. Read the full issue here.

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