Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/630/9878
AT LEAST 5,000 people marched in Tower Hamlets last Sunday (20 June) to keep the racist and hooligan English Defence League (EDL) out of the London borough. A large number of young people in particular came out, despite the EDL announcing a week before that they weren't coming after all.
The march was still absolutely necessary to bring people together and show that the vast majority of people in Tower Hamlets oppose the EDL's divisive politics. It had a big effect in counteracting the fear that the EDL's original threat to march in the borough had caused and it also gave confidence to people that the EDL can be stopped.
Asian, white, black, Muslim and non-Muslim, students, unemployed people and trade unionists marched together in a common cause, with many of the large number of bystanders expressing support.
Socialist Party leaflets called for the demonstration to be a springboard to unite the local community around opposition to government spending cuts as well as opposing racism and social division. These leaflets were snapped up and eagerly read.
The Youth Fight for Jobs contingent's chants of "jobs and homes, not racism" was appreciated by other marchers. Unfortunately, most of the platform speakers didn't adopt this class approach and therefore missed an excellent opportunity to rally thousands of young and overwhelmingly working class people against cuts as well as the EDL.
As the Con-Dem government spending axe comes down on jobs and public services, the best way to stop racist groups like the EDL turning anger against the government into racism and divisions, is to build a strong fightback of workers' organisations united together with youth and local communities.
In The Socialist 23 June 2010:
Youth fight for jobs
National Shop Stewards Network
Workplace news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis