Protest against the far right in Dover. Photo: Eric Segal
Protest against the far right in Dover. Photo: Eric Segal

Eric Segal, South East Kent Trades Union Council secretary

South East Kent Trades Union Council mobilised a counter-protest to the far-right ‘blockade’ of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) station at Dover Docks. The far-right blockade was to draw attention to the significant role that the RNLI now has in saving the lives of people who seek asylum by crossing the Channel in small boats.

My trades union council is proud to support the joint trade union statement coordinated by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).

“Anti-migrant politics are an attempt to divide working-class people against each other. In the past decade, the UK has suffered a crisis of living standards – with wages falling and public services left to rot.

“The people to blame for this are politicians, billionaires and big corporations, not migrant workers or refugees forced to live in temporary accommodation. The anti-refugee campaign offers no solutions to the real problems faced by the deprived communities they are often targeting.

“The answer is solidarity, not scapegoating. As trade unionists, we know whose side we are on.”

The trades union council worked together with the Socialist Party, trade unions, individuals and charities like Samphire to ensure that the local community organised a credible counter-protest. The anti-migrant protest of 30 included far-right supporters, and adopted the slogan ‘Enough is enough – stop the boats’ for their banner.

A party of the working class based on the trade unions, drawing together workers, young people and activists from workplaces, community, environmental, anti-racist and anti-cuts campaigns, would provide a fighting, socialist political alternative to the far right and pro-big business parties – one that fights for decent jobs, homes and services for everyone, and defends the right to asylum.

Liverpool: Fight for jobs, homes and services to cut across support for the right

Niven Day, Liverpool Socialist Party

A protest against so-called ’15-minute city’ plans in Liverpool was held outside of the Town Hall on Wednesday 10 September. Among the protesters were a number of prominent right-wing conspiracy ‘theorists’. Socialist Party members from Merseyside attended a counter-protest organised by Stand Up To Racism.

During the protests, Socialist Party members approached some of the anti-15 minute city protesters to discuss the issues that they had with the proposals. It was obvious that this was not a rally made up entirely of committed far-right activists, although there were definitely some blatantly far-right characters among them.

When conversing with them, we found that their issues stemmed primarily in the lack of help from the Labour-run Liverpool City Council. Some even mentioned the work that the 47 Liverpool councillors did in the 1980s, building thousands of council homes and public amenities – not realising was conducted under the leadership of Militant, the Socialist Party’s predecessor. Listening to the concerns raised about 15-minute cities and housing asylum seekers in hotels, we sought to open up a discussion about how best to fight for fully funded public services and council housing, for example.

The other groups at the Stand Up To Racism-organised rally had a different approach, it mostly amounting to chanting obscenities and accusations towards those on the opposite side of the street. This only escalated divisions, risking driving those in attendance further towards the far-right.

Most of those attending the anti-15-minute city demo were working-class people, angry at the state of things – a lack of housing, low pay and crumbling public services. Socialist Party members will continue to make the case that the fight against far-right and reactionary ideas has to include fighting for a socialist alternative to address these issues, like the 47 Liverpool councillors did to take on Thatcher.