September 22 · 7:00pm – 9:00pm Unite House, 128 Theobald’s Road, Holborn
Solidarity with Muslim and Black communities, migrants, women and all oppressed groups!
Smash Racism and Fascism – End Immigration Controls!
With guest speakers:
Pragna Patel and Helen Lowe from Women Against Fundamentalism: who have been actively campaigning around the issues of race, religion, sexuality and gender for many years.
The past two years has seen the growth in the visibility and confidence of the far right in Britain. The fascist BNP – the British National Party have been able to stand and gain seats in European and local council elections and despite internal problems and their failure so far to win a seat in Parliament or gain control of a council, they remain a serious threat.
The same period has also witnessed the emergence of the EDL – the English Defence League, who have held a series of street demonstrations ‘against Islamic extremism’, and not, they claim ‘ordinary Muslims’. They claim to ‘protect women’ and fight for women’s rights – But their mobilisations have led to indiscriminate violence against Asian communities. This racism has nothing to do with women’s liberation.
The growth of the far right has not occurred in a vacuum. It has grown alongside the scapegoating of migrants as the cause of bad housing, decaying public services, low wages and unemployment by both the current government – Cameron having promised to ‘cut immigration by 75%’ and the previous New Labour administration. On a daily basis vicious racism is pumped out by the tabloid and broadsheet press. Is it any wonder that the far-right is growing?
The main anti-fascist organisations have so far limited themselves to ‘uniting’ the broadest possible coalitions against the ‘Nazis’. This has often meant the same right-wing politicians who have enforced the policies that have allowed these groups to thrive being put on platforms at events against them! Furthermore, the response to attacks on Black communities has often been to uncritically align with the most conservative self-appointed ‘leaders’ of those communities. One of the clearest examples of this was the counter-mobilisation to the [eventually aborted] EDL demonstration in Tower Hamlets. The EDL were notionally going to march against a conference being held by the Islamic Forum of Europe – a far-right Islamist organisation who themselves promote Jewish-conspiracy theories, condone rape, the killing of homosexuals and have links to the war criminals Jamaat-e-Islami in Bangladesh. Much of the official trade-union and left response was to ally themselves uncritically to these people – ignoring the fact that there are many in the Bangladeshi community in East London engaged in struggle against them.
This clumping together of all ‘Muslims’ in one homogeneous bloc has allowed the EDL to use the language of liberation – against sharia law, for women’s rights, gay rights, against anti-Semitism and conflate it with their Islamophobia – racist hostility towards entire Muslim communities.
We need an anti-racist movement that does not patronise black communities but fights the oppressions within them, that puts the arguments for open borders at the centre of the fight against fascism to tackle the basic premise of the politics of the BNP and EDL head on. The mobilisations against them should be used to help organise a working-class movement against the ‘mainstream’ racism Muslims, and all black and migrant communities face -against police violence, deportations, paper checks and all immigration controls.
Campaign Against Immigration Controls
Whitechapel Anarchist Group are not the authors of the above text, while we agree whole heartedly with the sentiments and will be attending the event with our fullest support, we feel we should point out that the EDL’s proposed mobilisation on June 20th 2010 was against a conference organised by the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) and not the under IFE’s name, despite this minor error the statement is correct in it’s analysis of the anti-EDL mobilisation.