SABBY DHALU puts out the call to all those who oppose racism to come together today in a show of unity for the March Against Racism
GEERT WILDERS’S Freedom Party did not become the largest party in the Netherlands general election. However there is no room for complacency.
The Freedom Party gained five more seats and its failure to gain more was largely due to the ruling liberal party VVD stealing its clothes.
Hence the banning of Turkish ministers last weekend and police brutality towards Muslims ahead of the elections.
Earlier this week, the European Courts of Justice upheld the right of employers to ban religious symbols which will primarily affect Muslim women. The ruling is a product of growing Islamophobia.
It is crucial to unite against Islamophobia and discriminatory workplace dress policies and stand up for the rights of women to choose what they wear.
Meanwhile the consequences of the EU-Turkey deal and the failure of European countries to provide proper protection for refugees are currently gaining very little media coverage.
More refugees are dying than ever before while attempting to reach Europe and appalling conditions in refugee camps in Greece is leading to a mental health crisis with many children attempting suicide, according to Save the Children. This is an indictment of the world’s richest countries.
Next month, France goes to the polls to decide on a new president. Front National candidate Marine Le Pen is topping the polls. Whether Le Pen wins the presidential election is a different story, but her current polling is alarming enough.
Though Donald Trump is facing much obstruction — such as the recent block by the courts on his revamped Muslim ban — his presidency remains every bit as racist as his campaign.
In Britain, research by the TUC has found that one in three black and minority ethnic (BAME) Britons have either experienced or witnessed racial abuse since the EU referendum.
There is concern that hate crimes could increase again following the triggering of Article 50 in the next few days.
Unfortunately for some, as TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said, Brexit has “given racism a new lease of life.”
Following the EU referendum, the Tories have shifted further to the right incorporating much of Ukip’s blatant racism and anti-immigration agenda.
The Tory government’s “hard Brexit” approach to withdrawing from the EU is wrongly prioritising cutting immigration over jobs, working conditions and living standards for the many.
In reality the economy badly needs immigration and the Tories’ Brexit plans will in fact lead to worsening austerity and low wages.
Low unemployment recently gained much media coverage but the fact nominal wages have fallen in the last two months was not given the same coverage.
This is only likely to get worse, as is the racism that will undoubtedly increase as the Tories seek to scapegoat for their own economic failures.
So today’s national demostration, March Against Racism, comes at a timely moment.
Thousands of people are expected to march through central London, Glasgow and Cardiff in a show of unity against the rise in racism, Islamophobia and anti-semitism and in support of refugee and migrants’ rights.
Today’s march — which also happens to coincide with United Nations International Anti-Racism day — is part of a series of demonstrations taking place around the world. Other nations taking part include the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Poland, Greece, Austria, Denmark and South Korea.
Speakers include shadow attorney general Shami Chakrabarti, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady, MPs David Lammy and Catherine West and many other leading faith, community and trade union figures.
Stand Up To Racism is organising the event which is supported by the TUC, Unite, Unison and many others.
We call on all those who oppose racism to come together and show unity against racism, Islamophobia, anti-semitism and in support of refugee and migrants’ rights in a celebration of our diverse society.
Sabby Dhalu is co-convenor for Stand up to Racism. The March Against Racism will begin in London at 12pm at Portland Place, W1AA; Glasgow at 11am, Holland Street, G2 4NB and Cardiff at 11am at Grange Gardens, CF11 7LJ. For more on Stand up to Racism visit standuptoracism.org.uk.