photo London Socialist Party

photo London Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

A demo called by the ‘Democratic’ Football Lads Alliance in London on Saturday 14 July was much smaller than the 15,000 they gathered on 9 June.

One reason for this could be because it was organised under a more overt right-wing slogan of welcoming Trump instead of just claiming to be about ‘free speech’.

The attempt to mobilise support for Trump’s racist, anti-immigrant agenda was dwarfed by the 250,000 it is estimated protested against Trump the day before.

The counter-demonstration was bigger than last time with more trade union representation, most notably from the rail union RMT and general union Unite, as well as the teaching unions NEU and UCU.

Some angry, alienated and disillusioned people have supported the demos called by the FLA, hit by austerity and decades of cuts and privatisations, betrayed by all the mainstream parties.

But there can be no doubting that the core forces trying to exploit those fears and anger are far-right racists and fascists.

Their true colours were displayed on Saturday when RMT members and others at a pub after the demo were viciously attacked with glasses and chairs. Those injured included RMT assistant general secretary Steve Hedley.

Earlier these racist thugs swarmed round a bus in order to abuse and intimidate the driver, a Muslim woman, Huba Fareed.

This attempt to coalesce a new far-right street force must be countered. The organised working class in the trade unions must take the lead.

The Socialist Party participated in the counter-demo and shared the resolution we have been raising in trade union branches.

With an energetically-built campaign, including meetings in the workplaces, trade unions can mobilise large numbers.

Trade unions should provide stewarding instead of relying on the police to keep people safe.

Trade union action can hold out hope and an alternative to those small numbers of people who may be attracted to far-right ideas.

If the trade unions mobilise with clear demands to fight for jobs and homes for all and to kick out the Tories, we’d have hundreds of thousands on the streets and could cut across the appeal of far-right leaders.

The resolution calls for a debate in the trade unions about the slogans and tactics necessary to defeat the far-right, putting the resources, authority and power of the organised working class at the centre of a mass anti-racist, anti-austerity movement. Name the day for a national demonstration.

Following the events on Saturday, a good first step would be for the two unions directly affected – the RMT and Unite (which had a contingent of bus drivers on the counter-demo) – to call a meeting of trade unionists willing to step up this fight.

  • Public meeting: Fighting racism hosted by the Socialist Party black and Asian group on Tuesday 24 July 6-8pm at the Indian YMCA, 41 Fitzroy Square, Fitzrovia, London W1T 6AQ.