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Posted on 4 April 2017 at 11:51 GMT

Horrific attack on Croydon asylum seeker

For workers' unity against racism and austerity

Anti-racism demo 18.3.17, photo Mary Finch

Anti-racism demo 18.3.17, photo Mary Finch   (Click to enlarge)

Paula Mitchell, London Socialist Party

Residents and workers in Croydon, south London, are horrified following the vicious attack on a teenage asylum seeker on 31 March.

Local resident and Socialist Party member Helen Ridett said: "This is appalling. These criminals who brutally attacked this young lad do not represent the citizens of Croydon.

"There is more racial integration in this town than in many other places in the UK. Our town is held up upon the shoulders of migrant labour.

"Lunar House [headquarters of UK Visas and Immigration] is situated in Croydon and two years ago working class people, trade unionists and Socialist Party members organised to drive the BNP off the streets of Croydon!"

17-year-old Iranian Kurd Reker Ahmed was left with spinal injuries, a fractured skull and a brain haemorrhage after the terrible attack by a group of young men and women.

Politicians from all the main parties have condemned the attack, including Tory prime minister Theresa May who called it "abominable," and local Tory MP Gavin Barwell who called the attackers "cowardly and despicable scum."

But we won't take any lessons from the parties of the super-rich about attacks on asylum seekers. Masses of people have fled the horrors of the Middle East seeking asylum in Europe, while the EU's 'Fortress Europe' has left the majority in squalid camps or to drown in the Mediterranean.

During and since the EU referendum, the right-wing leaders of both Leave and Remain ramped up their customary anti-migrant rhetoric even further.

But for the majority, rather than being against migrants, Brexit was a vote of rage against a privileged elite, enriching themselves while the rest of us face austerity and worsening living standards.


"To defeat racism means building a mass movement"

The Socialist Party completely condemns the horrific hate attack on an asylum seeker in Croydon. Reported racist attacks increased by 41% after the Brexit vote last year.

Capitalist politicians condemn the attack, but they provoke anti-migrant feeling as a distraction from their everyday policies that destroy people's lives.

It is not the small number of asylum seekers - just 30,000 in 2016 - that is creating the strain on our public services. It is the austerity attacks of the Tory government, including those disgracefully passed on by Labour councils.

The richest 1,000 people in Britain have doubled their wealth since the 2007-8 economic crisis, while real wages for the working class have fallen 10%, and our public services have been savaged to the bone. These conditions can lead to a rise in racism.

The last thing the rich bosses and bankers want is for us to organise against them - instead they want us to fight each other. When their politicians and media harp on about immigration again and again and again, it can give confidence to a tiny number of people to carry out racist attacks.

It is vital to combat racism. That tiny number of people who carry out racist attacks must be the ones to feel isolated, not black or Asian people or migrants.

To defeat racism means building a mass movement around demands and slogans that unite working class people: against austerity, defend the NHS, defeat school cuts, fight for council housing and a 10 an hour minimum wage.

Labour councils, and London's Labour mayor Sadiq Khan, would go a long way to undermining the conditions in which racism can grow if they refused to carry out the Tories' diktats. Instead of passing on cuts, they could use their positions to help build a movement to defeat Tory austerity.

The Socialist Party fights for a socialist alternative to cuts, privatisation, racism, terror and war.


This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 4 April 2017 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

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