Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/21394
Refugee Lives Matter - large turnout for demo
Paula Mitchell, London Socialist Party
Thousands upon thousands of people thronged through central London on Saturday on the Refugees Welcome Here demonstration. Started as a Facebook event by a couple of individuals, this demo quickly became a mass event as it caught the attention of so many people who have been moved to act because of the government's callous attitude to the refugee crisis.
Such phrases as "We are all human" were painted on many homemade banners.
This was a display of basic human solidarity, alien to the capitalist politicians who seek to divide us against each other. Socialist Party placards were extremely popular and lots of people were happy to give a donation for them, as they agreed with the slogans that proposed how the crisis could be solved:
"Refugee lives matter! Take the wealth off the 1%! Jobs, homes and services for all!".
A very diverse march, it was nonetheless predominantly young. Many on it would have been out on the streets marching against austerity on 20th June. Many of them were the same people who had enthusiastically signed up to support Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour Party leadership election.
In fact that election result was announced as people were arriving for the demo, and was met with elation - everyone was talking about it. Responses ranged from the confident "The Blairites won't be able to stop him, there's too many of us" to the serious "This is just the first step, now we have to organise".
Copies of the Socialist sold like hotcakes and at least 40 people applied to join the Socialist Party or asked for more information about us.
EU ministers slamming door shut
An acrimonious meeting of European Union (EU) interior ministers in Brussels failed to agree a binding resettlement programme for 120,000 refugees currently in Europe.
Instead, it came up with a 'voluntary' programme of accepting 40,000 refugees into the member states.
And despite previously preaching lofty 'European ideals' and defending the Schengen Agreement of open borders, the German and Austrian governments have swiftly reintroduced border controls to stem the northward flow of refugees.
At the same time the right-wing Hungarian government has sealed its border with Serbia using razor wire and troops.
So while many people in Europe support a humanitarian approach to the refugee crisis and defend the right to political asylum, EU capitalist ministers are slamming shut the door of 'Fortress Europe'.
This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 15 September 2015 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.