Public Meeting: Deaths in custody, Rising Islamophobia – The fight against racism
Edson Da Costa, Rashan Charles & Darren Cumberbatch – three black men who have died this summer after contact with the police. They are the latest in a very long list.
20 years on from the Macpherson Report after Stephen Lawrence’s murder, black people are still 6.5 times more likely to be stopped and searched. Black people still bear the brunt of police violence and racism.
The Prevent agenda has also fuelled racism by targetting the Muslim community. Islamophobia stoked by the government and media has bresulted in a rise in attacks on Mosques, including the death of a workshipper in Finsbury park.
Come to this meeting to discuss how we can fight for justice for the victims of police violence, and where next for the fight against racism
Speakers to follow.
LARAG at heart of 40th anniversary commemoration
LARAG was at the heart of the 40th anniversary commemoration of the defeat of the fascist National Front at the Battle of Lewisham in 1977.
(Above) Activists and organisers of the Battle of Lewisham with a new plaque on Clifton Rise remembering the defeat of the fascist National Front exactly 40 years before.
LARAG continues to fight fascism as part of national, united anti-fascist campaigns: the Anti-Nazi League in the 1970s and Unite Against Fascism today.
Visit UAF at http://uaf.org.uk/
Remembering the Battle of Lewisham 40 years on: music, rallies, films, talks & walks
You can download our exhibition ‘The Fight Goes On’ as a PDF. Please note this file is 28 MB. Featuring the Battle of Lewisham, and other big moments in the fight against fascism in the capital.
Events on Friday, Saturday and Sunday 11-13 August
In partnership with Lewisham Council, Love Music Hate Racism, the Albany and Goldsmiths University will be marking the 40th anniversary of the historic events that unfolded on the streets of New Cross and Lewisham.
Unite Against Fascism will be speaking as part of a Friday evening cross-community event at the Lewisham Mosque at 7pm: http://bit.ly/2vgLlG3. They also have a march and rally on Saturday 12 August. Assemble at 1pm at Clifton Rise, then gig at New Cross Inn.
LMHR events (Saturday 12-Sunday 13): http://bit.ly/2ukBOR3.
Goldsmiths/Albany events programme (Friday 11-Sunday 13): http://bit.ly/2wabupT. Events include films, poetry, comedy, walks, and a plaque unveiling.
Lewisham People’s Day
South-east Londoners and visitors share their anti-racist slogans. (Click to enlarge.)
South London initiative makes local news
London News Online has published a report on our vigil for the victims in Manchester. Read it here:
Lewisham solidarity vigil for Manchester
Lewisham offered solidarity with Manchester after the horrific attack. Thanks to everyone who joined our unity vigil for Manchester tonight. Our thoughts are with the victims, their families and all the people of Manchester.
As we observed a minute’s silence, we also stood united against those seeking to sow division in our communities.
Speakers from Stand Up to Racism, Lewisham Islamic Centre, Unite Community South East London and Bromley & Croydon Disabled People Against Cuts brought their sympathy and solidarity.
Members of the public who joined the vigil also spoke out about their solidarity with the people of Manchester and against the racists seeking to divide us.
For more on the vigil, including a video of Tony Walsh’s poem ‘This is the place’ being read by Paula Peters of Disabled People Against Cuts, follow us on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/sutrsel/
Croydon solidariy against racist attack
Solidarity from south-east London anti-racists who joined the march in Croydon opposing a horrific racist attack.
Learn more about the event here:
Goldsmiths goes to #M18 March Against Racism
Some of the many students and staff of Goldsmiths University South-East London make clear: EU workers, colleagues, and students are welcome and shouldn’t be used as bargaining chips on Brexit, which is triggered on Wednesday.
National day of action for rights for EU nationals
There will be a national day of action for rights for EU nationals:
Next step: Building the #M18 national demo
South-east London actions:
Leafleting session: email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to help.
Tuesday 28th: 5-6.15pm leafleting at New Cross Gate station.
Saturday 4th March: Help us leaflet the Our NHS national demo. Tavistock Square, near Russell Square tube from 12 noon.
(Note: there is a family-friendly placard-making session for this demo at New Cross Learning Centre this Sunday 26th, where you can also make a #M18 placard. Info here.)
Tuesday 7th March: 5.15-6.15 at Catford Bridge station. Followed by a short planning meeting in Civic Suite, where you can collect leaflets.
Thursday 9th: Day of Action – details to be announced.
Saturday 11th March: 12 noon at the Clocktower, Lewisham town centre.
Successful meeting in Catford
Yesterday we held a successful meeting in Catford with 75 participants, building Stand Up To Racism’s 18th March demo and we will leaflet for #M18 demo at the NHS demo on 4th March: contact email@example.com if you can help.
This was a show of unity in the struggle and we are reaching out with our message. When we leafleted in Catford, many locals thanked us for our work getting the anti-racist message out!
Dawn Butler MP (Labour) was unable to attend due to parliamentary business but sent us a special message:
STATEMENT FROM DAWN BUTLER MP FOR BRENT CENTRAL
I wanted to be here with you all, and commend you in person for this initiative, along with so many others who have shown that we are united standing up to racism.
My constituency Brent Central is the most diverse in Europe, and I am very proud of that. Almost everybody there has something to say about racism, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, and all the tools of Hate. There is discomfort that we have lost compassion, especially with the government’s plan (or none plan) for child refugees.
Let’s not forget what the Labour Party has achieved passing Race Relation and Equality legislation, and we have been and still are the biggest movement committed to tackling racism, so we can genuinely live in a society free from prejudice, discrimination, inequality – a fair society where there are no barriers to participation or ambition, where talent and effort should be the decider regardless of background. We strived to promote equality of opportunity, to eliminate racial discrimination and to foster good race relations. But sadly, race has been off the agenda for too long.
We still have to address many issues; reduce the gender pay gap – women are still paid less than their male counterparts; we need to strengthen protection from discrimination for disabled people to increase their choice, control and rights; address inequalities in civic participation – whilst we have Sadiq Khan our 1st Muslim London Mayor, we still only have 42 MPs from ethnic minorities out of a total of 650. We have to fight against unconscious bias to get selected for public appointments and we have to fight the Secretary of State for Culture and Media who booted off the only black women candidate put forward by Ofcom to join the Channel 4 board. In a report into the ethnic diversity of UK Boards (as of May last year) – 53 out of the FTSE 100 companies do not have any directors of colour and only 9 people of colour hold the position of Chair or CEO – UK citizen directors of colour represent only 1.5% of the total director population.
The rise in hate crime since Brexit has spiralled and we must fight against a repeat of what happened in the weeks following the EU Referendum when and if Article 50 is triggered.
People have spoken through action, marches, petitions – mobilising against Trump extremism – hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets joined by men, boys, girls, those who are gay, straight, people of all religions and those of none. It is now time that the United Kingdom united its voice against racism, bigotry, misogyny, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and all the tools of Hate which destroy communities and progress.
We have plenty to do, so let’s do this together, and be reassured you have my full support.
Public Meeting: Confronting the rise of racism
South-east Londoners join millions world wide opposing the racism and Islamophobia of the US president: Stand up to Trump – Stand up to racism!
PUBLIC MEETING: CONFRONTING THE RISE OF RACISM
REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS WELCOME – STAND UP TO RACISM, ISLAMOPHOBIA & ANTI-SEMITISM
FEB 21, 7:00pm LEWISHAM TOWN HALL, CATFORD BROADWAY, SE6
In the past weeks London, along with other UK cities and across the United States witnessed magnificent demonstrations opposing Donald Trump’s shocking racist Muslim ban. It shows people in Britain won’t accept the scapegoating and lies put out by the US president and his UK ally Nigel Farage. At the time of writing almost two million people have signed an online petition opposing Trump’s state visit to Britain. And now the Speaker of the House of Commons has opposed his invitation to address the House because of his sexist and racist statements and his attempt to ignore international law, particularly on the convention on refugees. However, British Prime Minister Theresa May has chosen to hold hands and talk business with Trump. We must resist his attempt to divide us along religious belief and race and we must oppose Theresa May’s failure to stand up to this President’s reactionary views. We must confront the rise in racism accompanying this and the Brexit vote. South-east London Stand Up To Racism and Lewisham Anti-Racism Group have organised a public meeting at Lewisham Town Hall, Catford, on February 21st, at 7:00PM. There will be a range of speakers on the platform, reflecting the concerns, hopes, strength and breadth of the opposition to President Trump, Theresa May and the ill feeling they are trying to whip up. Quotes from some of the speakers below.
The speakers include:
Dr Edie Friedman
Director, Jewish Council for Racial Equality
Lewisham Islamic Centre
Alliance for Free Movement
VP National Union of Students
UNISON Assistant General Secretary
Student Stand Up To Racism
Community stand united in Forest Hill to oppose Islamophobia and racist attacks
At less than 48 hours’ notice, a diverse crowd of around a hundred people – young and old, of many faiths and none, from across Forest Hill and neighbouring parts of south-east London – attended a vigil calling for unity and opposing Islamophobia and racism.
The vigil was held at Forest Hill station where two days earlier a man had committed a horrific knife attack on another passenger on a train, reportedly shouting “I want to kill a Muslim” before carrying out the assault.
This appalling incident took place amidst the backdrop of rising levels of racist attacks and irresponsible rhetoric used in reference to Muslims, migrants and refugees by some politicians and sections of the media.
The vigil was called by the local South-East London branch of Stand Up To Racism (SUTR), a national anti-racism campaign supported by leading political figures, trade unions and faith groups. Find them at: www.standuptoracism.org.uk
Speakers addressing the vigil included:
Naima Omar (student SUTR), Harold Wilson (local SUTR activist), Amina Mangera (chair of newly formed Unite the Union Community Lewisham branch), and Zak Cochrane (SUTR London activist). Paula Peters of Disabled People Against Cuts spoke about the attacks she as a disabled person has recently experienced and reminded us that people with mental health problems are victims and rarely perpetrators – we must not be divided, and need to stop attacks on the most vulnerable of us. Multi-faith representation included Father Bates from St Hilda’s and St Cyprian’s Church, Crofton Park; Shakeel Begg, Imam at Lewisham Islamic Centre; local teacher Michaela Loebner, daughter of a holocaust survivor; and Gurbakhsh Garcha, former Mayor of Lewisham and member of Lewisham Council’s multi-faith committee SACRE.
Local Labour councillors John Paschoud and Paul Uppex also attended, and the former spoke, along with dozens of supporters of local SUTR groups including the long-established Lewisham Anti-Racist Action Group (www.standuptoracism.org.uk/larag), a founding member of the national campaign.
There is a national demonstration against racism, opposing scapegoating, against Islamophobia and anti-Semitism and welcoming refugees on March 18th in central London on United Nations Anti-Racism Day. More here: www.standuptoracism.org.uk/national-demo-refugees-migrants-welcome-stand-racism-islamophobia-anti-semitism. All attendees were encouraged to go on it, help build it, carry on speaking out and acting on this important national issue in the light of the spike in racism following Brexit and continued scapegoating of migrants for the effects of austerity.
Naima Omar, Stand Up To Racism, said: “I am proud to see so many people come out tonight to oppose Islamophobia. We cannot let our communities be divided.”
Amina Mangera said: “My Union SE London Unite Community Branch stand in solidarity against all victims of racist and islamaphobic attacks and all hate crimes which has no place in our society.”
The event was reported in the News Shopper: you can read their report here.
16 October 2016
Working with Stop The War, South-East London Stand Up To Racism presents a fundraising event in Greenwich on Sunday 16 October 2016.
Donate to our crowdfunding page for L’Auberge des Migrants.
We welcome Lewisham Council’s decision to take up to ten refugee families from Syria… but what about the children in Calais? Ten percent of the population of the ‘Jungle’ are thought to be unaccompanied children. In May this year, the Government agreed to take unaccompanied children from Calais, but nothing can happen until local councils commit to take action, process safe passage to the UK and organise foster carers for these child refugees.
Hundreds of children are living in the woods, exposed to all kinds of dangers from traffickers, cold and hunger, and the risks of trying to get onto trains and lorries (a fourteen year-old recently died). The dangers will only get worse when the camps are dispersed.
14-15 October 2016
5 September 2016
We’re delighted to announce that Jeremy Corbyn will be speaking at the Confronting The Rise In Racism: Stand Up to Racism National Conference on 8th October. Tickets will be selling fast – you can book your place now on the Eventbrite Page: bit.ly/SUTRConf
16 May 2016
LARAG is supporting the Convoy to Calais on 18th June.
More details on the Stand Up website.
Visit our Facebook page for more information about our local contribution.
14 March 2016
Here is a picture of our fantastic joint stall with friends from South East London People’s Assembly yesterday. Hundreds of flyers were distributed for #M19 #RefugeesWelcome demo and April 16th anti-cuts march. #NoRacistScapegoating #EndAusterityNow
We’ll be leafletting for next Saturday’s demo again at:
Catford Bridge station – Monday from 5.15pm
Lewisham Station – Tuesday from 5.30pm
Deptford Station – Wednesday from 5.30pm
Brockley Station – Thursday from 5.30pm
Call/text Mark on 07931 289199 if you can help.
Join the demo next Saturday 19 March – assemble 12pm midday, Portland Place, W1A 1AA.
2 March 2016
Over 80 people came to the South-East London Stand Up To Racism meeting, with great feedback to a great line-up of speakers.
4 February 2016
Stand Up To Racism south-east London meeting
You can download our new leaflet here (PDF, 2MB).
28 January 2016
Refugees welcome – Stand up to racism, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism – Black Lives Matter
LARAG/Stand Up To Racism south-east London meeting
Tuesday 1 March 7-9pm
Goldsmiths College, Richard Hoggart Building (main building), Room 137a
Near New Cross/New Cross gate stations
Imam Shakeel Begg, Lewisham Islamic Centre
Denis Fernando, Stand Up To Racism (Chair)
Vicky Foxcroft MP, Labour, Lewisham Deptford
Maya Goodfellow, Journalist (Independent & Labourlist)
Laurie Heselden, Southern and Eastern Regional TUC
Shakira Martin, NUS Further Education Vice President, former President Lewisham Southwark College
Marcia Rigg, Sean Rigg Justice and Change Campaign, co-chair United Family & Friends
Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild, Tzelem – the Rabbinic Voice for Social and Economic Justice
Hosted by Goldsmiths UCU with Stand Up To Racism/Lewisham Anti-Racist Action Group
In support of National Demo: Welcome Refugees: Stand up to racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism & fascism! UN Anti-racism Day demonstration
Sat 19 Mar 2016 London #M19
Leaflets available soon for this local meeting.
Welcome Refugees : unite against Islamophobia, racism and fascism
Saturday 6th February
UAF National conference
NUT HQ, Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London WC1H 9BD
Join Diane Abbott MP, Kate Osamor MP, Claude Moraes MEP, Martina Renner (Member of German Parliament, Die Linke), Wilf Sullivan (TUC), Anna Musgrave (Refugee Council), Talha Ahmad (Muslim Council of Britain), Colette Levy (Hidden Child from Vichy France), Lindsey German (Stop the War), Petros Constantinou (KEERFA – Greek anti-facist campaign), Sabby Dhalu and Weyman Bennett (UAF Secretaries) and many more at UAF National Conference – Welcome Refugees – Unite against Islamophobia, racism and fascism.
Click here and invite your friends to this event!
3 December 2015
LARAG supports the following key events in the New Year. Put them in your diary!
6th Feb: Stand Up To Racism / UAF national conference:
19th March: Stand Up To Racism / UN Anti-Racism Day demo:
3 December 2015
Click to download this leaflet as a PDF.
30 November 2015
Don’t Let Them Freeze! Calais Migrant & Refugee Camp Fundraiser
11 December, 19:00
New Cross Inn
Refugees and migrants escaping oppression and conflict have fled to Europe to find family and safety, but are being forced to camp out in impoverished and dangerous conditions at the France/UK border in Calais. Due to draconian and racist EU and UK border policies, people who have already suffered by loosing their homes and families and facing perils in transit, are now being forced to live in ‘limbo’, facing relentless physical and political attacks by border patrol forces and racists on both sides of the border.
But despite the lies spun by the mainstream news about the camps, the people of the UK and France have shown resilience by both resisting policies that will lead to more suffering and come to help with food, clothes and other vital supplies.
Winter will make conditions all the more dangerous for the people living in the camps, so musicians, organisers and activists have come together to put on a night of music, dancing and speaches to raise money for food and supplies.
More on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/167681326919726/
13 November 2015: Report from Refugees Welcome Here rally
We would like to thank all those who came to the Refugees Welcome event on Tuesday. We raised a whopping £1191.24, all of which will go to l’Auberge des Migrants to help build shelters for the people living in the Calais Jungle. There is still a chance for those who did not attend (or those who did!) to donate to the charity by following this link. We will continue taking donations throughout November. The charity is funded entirely by solidarity fundraisers like this one, and their work is especially important as winter sets in and they race against time to build enough shelters for the Jungle’s 6000 inhabitants.
The evening began with a few words from Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham, who expressed his frustration at the government for their slow action on the refugee crisis, and reiterated his willingness for Lewisham to host refugees.
We then had an informative talk from François Guennoc of L’Auberge des Migrants about the situation on the ground in the Calais Jungle and the pressing need for building materials to build shelters as winter kicks in.
Next up was Kofi Klu from the Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe who urged us to look at the root causes of the crisis, namely the unjust conflicts, land and resource grabs carried out by governments and multinational corporations that make vast swathes of the globe uninhabitable in the pursuit of profit and power.
He was followed by some traditional Ghanaian music that got everybody dancing!
Then a few words from local priest Gavin Berriman about challenging the dominant discourse around refugees, and suggesting ways in which the local community can help with the crisis.
This was followed by a refugee quiz from Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network, with some surprising answers that left one lucky winner with a prize!
The night was topped off by some energetic reggae from Baby’oul and Ryan, campaigners against racism and musicians extraordinaire!
Thank you once again for all those who came, and we would like to invite all those interested to attend our meeting on 1st December in Lewisham Town Hall where we will be planning the next fundraiser. Keep in touch by following our Facebook page.
LARAG was part of a cross campaign initiative with local Stop the War, CND and United Nations Association Groups. We welcome others to join us for our next planning meeting at 7pm on 1/12/15 in Civic Suite Catford.
4 November 2015: Refugees Welcome Here rally
18:30, Camden Centre, Judd Street, Kings Cross, London WC1H 9JE
Speakers include: Diane Abbott MP Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, Claude Moraes MEP, Owen Jones, Francesca Martinez, Shahrar Ali Green Party Deputy Leader, Anna Musgrave Refugee Council, Weyman Bennett, Sabby Dhalu and others tbc.
Hundreds of thousands have marched under the slogan “Refugees Welcome Here” and many more have donated aid to refugees unable to find shelter and sanctuary. We must continue to pressure the government to take more refugees. Join us on Wednesday 4 November 2015.
Click here to download the leaflet.
3 November 2015: Refugees Welcome
A fundraiser to provide building materials for Auberge des Migrants
Tuesday 3 November
Lewisham Town Hall (Civic Suite), Catford Road SE6 4RU
18:30: food and refreshments (for a donation)
19:30: main event
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/867921233297597/
Introduced by Sir Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham, followed by:
• François Guennoc, Secretary of L’Auberge des Migrants, a charity working to support migrants in Calais
• Kofi Mawuli Klu, Co-Vice-Chair of the Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe (PARCOE)
• Live music from refugee musicians
• Quiz: How much do you know about the refugee situation? (set by Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network)
Organised by Lewisham Stop the War, Lewisham and Greenwich CND, Lewisham United Nations Association and Lewisham Anti-Racist Action Group. Leaflets are available: email firstname.lastname@example.org for swift delivery.
15 October 2015
LARAG is supporting refugee solidarity events, including the October 17th Calais delegation. There is also a south London Refugees Welcome here meeting and fundraiser on Tuesday 3rd November in Catford, London SE6. Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/867921233297597/
16 September 2015
100,000 march with biggest refugee demo in decades
See here for more information:
20 July 2015: People’s Day
On 11 July 2015, LARAG took the anti-racist message to Lewisham People’s Day. We have created a slideshow of just a few of the people who chose to support us.
To get involved or be kept up to date with our activities, e-mail: email@example.com.
07/07/2015 Stand Up To Racism
Speak out against racism: take your photo with these campaign slogans and share on Facebook and Twitter. We will be promoting this campaign on Lewisham People’s Day on 11 July 2015. Come and find us!
Click to download as A4 PDF:
14/05/2015 May 2015 election
LARAG supporters took part in Stand Up To UKIP events including meetings, fundraiser, demos, leaflettings and protests in Margate, Rochester and Bromley.
Protest outside UKIP HQ in Bromley
The defeat of Farage and the lack of a major step forward for his party was a tribute to the campaign of many nationwide, but the threat has not gone away. So we have to remain vigilant, continuing to oppose UKIP but also stepping up and joining with Stand Up To Racism initiatives. Racism will increase and extend after the election. Whether it is Islamophobia, the demonisation of refugees fleeing chaos in North Africa, blaming immigrants, racist policing of black communities, or cuts in crucial benefits and public services and jobs (which disproportionately affect BME communities), we have a duty to stand up and speak out against racism.
27/03/2015 Anti-racist demonstration
15,000 stand up to racism and fascism on UN Anti-Racism Day!
Last Saturday, 15,000 people marched across Britain on demonstrations in London, Glasgow and Cardiff to say no to racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and Fascism. The demos saw a vibrant, diverse crowd from all walks of life and heard important speeches from parliamentarians, trade unionists, LGBT groups, student activists and others.
Read a full report on the UAF website.
30/01/2015 Upcoming events for February and March
Our local events are in support of the national Stand Up To Racism campaign led by UAF.
17/09/2014 Public meeting
Fighting austerity: Oppose racist scapegoating
The truth about immigration and the economic crisis
Zita Holbourne, Black Activists Rising Against Cuts and PCS Union NEC
Michael Burke, Economist, People’s Assembly Against Austerity
Tuesday 14th October, 7pm
Goldsmiths College, London SE14
Room 150, main building, level access via main building front and back (Laurie Grove gate) – accessible toilets – enquiries: 07931289199
Educational discussion open to all. Be armed with the facts to combat the lies of UKIP and others who blame the poorest and most oppressed in our society rather than the real culprits: government, bankers and big business.
Organised by: South East London People’s Assembly, BARAC, LARAG.
Supported by: Student Assembly Against Austerity, Stand Up To Racism, Stand Up to UKIP
Download our leaflet as a PDF. This is laid up on A4 so it can easily be printed and handed out.
07/07/2014 Immigration myths
LARAG has produced a new leaflet busting some of the common myths about immigration:
Download the leaflet in PDF format.
Download our six-poster set (A4, single PDF).
26/05/2014 Stopping Fascism in Europe after the BNP defeat in May election – far right threat remains
UAF statement 26 May 2014
Unite Against Fascism (UAF) is celebrating the news that Nick Griffin and the British National Party lost their only European Parliamentary seat. The idea that a fascist MEP could represent the North West was a stain on the region. This defeat shows that the majority of people rejected the BNP’s message of hate.
We believe the rise of UKIP was not the primary reason for the defeat of the BNP. The BNP suffered its first major electoral setbacks in 2010, well before we saw the electoral rise of UKIP. Nick Griffin and the BNP were defeated by a countless number of anti-racist and anti-fascist activists delivering hundreds of thousands of leaflets door-to-door exposing the BNP and their message of hate.
However it wasn’t all good news for the anti-racist movement on Sunday night. Across Europe, far right and fascist parties made significant gains. For example:
Austria: FPO won 20.5% of the vote
France: Front National topped the polls with 24.95% of the vote (24 seats)
Greece: Golden Dawn 9.4% (3 MEPs)
Hungary: Jobbik 14.68% (3 MEPs)
Netherlands: PVV won 13.2% of the vote (4 MEPs)
Germany: For the first time since 1945 a Nazi party won a European seat.
There can be no room for complacency here in Britain. UKIP’s election victory is a very worrying development.
We want to state clearly that Unite Against Fascism does not believe that UKIP is a fascist party; however we do believe it is a racist party and a party which should be opposed. Unite Against Fascism is proud of the role it has played over the last decade in helping defeat the BNP and more recently the racist English Defence League. But we are clear our job is far from done. Over the coming months we will continue to ensure that fascist parties do not make any gains in British politics.
We also believe that it is vital we campaign to stop the rise of racist and fascist parties across Europe, and along with other campaigning groups we will be combating the rise of UKIP.
13/05/2014 UAF National Conference
Stand up to racism and fascism
UAF National Conference
9.30am–5pm Saturday 14 June
Trades Union Congress, Congress House, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS
• Challenging racist scapegoating of immigrants
• No to Islamophobia and Islamophobic attacks
• Celebrating diversity
• Busting the myths on immigration
• Responding to racism and fascism in Europe
• Stand up to UKIP
Across Europe the fascist and populist racist right are on the rise. From the violent Golden Dawn in Greece, the anti-Roma Jobbik in Hungary, the Islamophobic Freedom Party of Geert Wilders in the Netherlands to the success of the Front National in France, these currents are encouraging hatred, fear and prejudice in a frightening wave across the continent. In Britain the far right is hoping for gains in the Euro elections. The British National Party (BNP) is seeking the re-election of Nick Griffin in the North West and is contesting seats around the country.
No to scapegoating immigrants
That is the increasing tendency of mainstream political parties to tail-end the right-wing, populist UKIP. They are out-vying each other in calls for draconian ‘anti-immigration’ policies and generally promoting a ‘Little Englander’, anti-foreign, anti-European mentality, most recently seen with the hostility and racism whipped up towards the projected arrival of Bulgarian and Romanian migrant workers.
No to Islamophobia
In particular, it has become acceptable to promote fear and hatred of Muslim people and Islam as a religion. This racism creates a climate of Islamophobia, leading directly to more attacks on the Muslim population, including murder and violent attacks on mosques.
Following the success of the UN Anti-Racism Day demos in London, Cardiff and Glasgow attended by over 10,000 people, this conference is a timely opportunity to bring together all those who are threatened by or who oppose fascism to assess the outcome of the European elections and to build a movement capable of effectively challenging racism and fascism.
Register online at the UAF website.
13/05/2014 Stand up to UKIP
There was a successful protest at a UKIP meeting in London last week:
“Say hey, hey – ho, ho – UKIP has got to go!” Great protest outside Farage’s London rally.
13/05/2014 UAF calls for vote against UKIP
UAF has issued a press release calling for a vote against UKIP:
“Unite Against Fascism (UAF) calls on the British electorate to vote against UKIP on 22 May in the Euro elections. This follows media reports linking UKIP candidates with the British National Party (BNP) and English Defence League (EDL), and on-going exposure of racism, Islamophobia, sexism and homophobia.”
Read the full press release on the UAF website.
UAF has also issued a statement rebutting allegations of violence from Nigel Farage. “We are democrats who oppose and condemn violence.”
31/03/2014 LARAG joins the 10,000-strong UN Anti Racism demonstration on 22 March
With other Lewisham groups like Save Lewisham Hospital and South East London People’s Assembly Against Austerity, LARAG joined the glorious Stand Up To Racism event on 22 March, which was attended by 10,000 people. The event was a great celebration of Britain’s diversity and how people want to stand up to racism, oppose racist scapegoating, oppose Islamophobia and oppose fascism.
The letter we wrote with Lewisham TUC to the press promoting the event, supported by many trade unions and groups across South East london, was covered in five newspapers and online.
14/03/2014 News from Beckenham and Bromley News Shopper – Borough proud of its diversity
LARAG has had a letter published in the Beckenham and Bromley News Shopper, see below. (We also enjoyed the ironic letter printed above it.)
07/02/2014 Opposing racism – celebating diversity
If you are in south-east London and can help us build United Nations Anti-Racist day on Saturday 22 March, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
LARAG supports demo: Stand Up to Racism and Fascism
• No to scapegoating of immigrants • No to Islamophobia • Yes to diversity
Rally and Demo marking UN Anti-Racism Day
11am, Saturday 22nd March 2014
Central London • Demonstration assembly point tbc
Click here to download UAF’s Stand Up to Racism and Fascism leaflet.
Please email your name/position/organisation to email@example.com to add your name to the list of supporters of the Stand Up to Racism and Fascism statement:
A day of action against racism has been called for across Europe to coincide with the marking of UN Anti-Racism Day in 2014, with eyes on the European elections in May.
Already in most European countries parties of the right, centre and even the traditional left are allowing the terrain of these elections to be dominated by racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and the scapegoating of minorities – Muslims, immigrants, Roma, Black and Asian communities.
Across Europe the fascist and populist racist right are on the rise. From the violent Golden Dawn in Greece, the anti-Roma Jobbik in Hungary, the Islamophobic Freedom Party of Geert Wilders in the Netherlands to the success of the Front National in France, these currents are encouraging hatred, fear and prejudice in a frightening wave across the continent.
In Britain the far right is hoping for gains in the Euro elections. The British National Party (BNP) is seeking the re-election of Nick Griffin in the North West and Andrew Brons is seeking re-election in Yorkshire and the Humber. The Tories and UKIP look set to try to outdo each other in their calls for draconian ‘anti-immigration’ policies and promoting a ‘Little Englander’ anti-foreign, anti-Europe mentality.
The ‘go-home’ vans sent out by the Home Office over the summer are a sign of things to come. Hostility is already being stirred up towards Bulgarian and Romanian migrant workers who will be able to work here from January.
Such campaigns simply whip up racism in general and induce a ‘blame game’ for falling living standards and squeezed incomes that falls on visible minorities in stepped up discrimination, institutional racism, abuse and violence.
This all encourages currents like the English Defence League, which turn their Islamophobic prejudices into real attempts to terrorise the Muslim population – attacking Mosques, assaulting veiled women, insulting religious sensitivities with vile slogans and throwing pigs’ heads, and organising intimidating marches into Muslim communities.
Following the rising violence of Golden Dawn and the murder of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas, (also known as Killah P), the Greek anti-fascist and anti-racist movement has proposed that next year’s UN Day Against Race Discrimination on March 21/22 should be the focus for actions against racism and fascism across Europe.
While there is a real threat that openly racist parties may win the 2014 Euro-elections in some countries, this can be prevented by the widest possible unity against them and the mobilisation of the broadest progressive forces.
Unite Against Fascism has therefore initiated this call for a demonstration and rally to Stand Up to Racism in London on Saturday 22nd March. We endorse this proposal and call on all those of goodwill to join us in a riposte to the rise of racism, to show that migrants are welcome and demonstrate our confidence in a future free of scapegoating and hatred.
Initial signatories and supporters include:
Diane Abbott MP • Peter Hain MP • Emily Thornberry MP • Claude Moraes MEP • Akel Britain • Azad Ali ENGAGE Head of Community Development & Engagement • Anas Altikriti CEO The Cordoba Foundation • Shazia Arshad Enough Coalition • Richard Bagley The Morning Star Editor • Morris Beckman 43 Group Co-Founder • Natalie Bennett Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales • Christine Blower NUT General Secretary • Dr Mary Bousted ATL General Secretary • Bob Crow RMT General Secretary • Manuel Cortes TSSA General Secretary • Euan Davidson President Aberdeen Liberal Youth • Day-Mer Turkish and Kurdish Community Centre • Ronnie Draper Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union General Secretary • Abdullah Faliq Islamic Forum of Europe • Liz Fekete Institute of Race Relations Director • Larry Flanagan Educational Institute of Scotland General Secretary • Don Flyn Director Migrant Rights Network • Glyn Ford Labour MEP Candidate South West England & Gibraltar • Edie Friedman One Society Many Cultures Vice Chair • Gerry Gable Editor Searchlight • Lindsey German Stop the War Coalition Convenor • Steve Gillan POA General Secretary • Frances O’Grady TUC General Secretary • Halkevi Kurdish & Turkish Community Centre • John Hannett USDAW General Secretary • Steve Hart Unite the Union • Billy Hayes CWU General Secretary • Zita Holbourne Black Activists Rising Against The Cuts National Co-Chair / PCS NEC • Kate Hudson CND General Secretary • Sally Hunt UCU General Secretary • Fevzi Hussein Embargoed! Chairperson • Sylvia Ingmire Co-Ordinator / CEO Roma Support Group • Owen Jones Writer and journalist • Chris Keates NASUWT General Secretary • Paul Kenny GMB General Secretary • Bruce Kent VP Pax Christi • Dilowar Khan East London Mosque & London Muslim Centre Executive Director • Aaron Kiely NUS Black Students’ Officer • Mohammed Kozbar British Muslim Initiative • Hugh Lanning Unite Against Fascism Vice Chair • Jon Lansman Left Futures Editor • Max Levitas Cable Street Veteran • Len McClusky Unite the Union General Secretary • Gloria Mills TUC Race Relations Committee Chair • Gerry Morrissey BECTU General Secretary • Farooq Murad Muslim Council of Britain Secretary General • Steve Murphy UCATT General Secretary • Middlesex Anti-Racist Action • Ged Nichols Accord General Secretary • Parikiaki • Phyllis Opoku-Gyimah UK Black Pride Executive Director • Lord Herman Ouseley • Glenn Page Plaid Cymru Youth Director of Policy and Campaigns • Mike Payne GMB Regional Political Officer Wales & South West Region • Rex Phillips NASUWT Wales Organiser • Dave Prentis UNISON General Secretary • Prodeftiki • Habib Rahman Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants Chief Executive • Andy Richards Regional Secretary Unite Wales • Refugee Workers Cultural Association • Belinda Robertson Regional Womens and Equalities officer Unite Wales • Mark Serwotka PCS General Secretary • Leon Silver East London Central Synagogue President & Tower Hamlets Interfaith Forum Steering Group Member • Balwinder Singh Sikhs Against The EDL • Varinder Singh The Turban Campaign Director • The Sikh Federation UK • Michelle Stanistreet NUJ General Secretary • Mohammad Taj TUC President • Union of Cypriots in Britain • Martin Timpson Merseyside Stop the War • Ava Vidal Stand up Comedian • Rabbi Lee Wax • Matt Wrack FBU General Secretary • Mick Whelan ASLEF General Secretary • Maurice Wren The Refugee Council Chief Executive • Salma Yaqoob • Weyman Bennett and Sabby Dhalu Unite Against Fascism Joint National Secretaries
Tommy Robinson resigns – vindication for anti-fascist movement
Photo: Guy Smallman
Following the resignation of Tommy Robinson and other leading members of the EDL, officers of Unite Against Fascism, Britain’s leading fascist organisation, said the following:
Weyman Bennett, UAF Joint Secretary said:
“The resignation of Tommy Robinson, Kevin Carroll and other leading members of the English Defence League (EDL), is a vindication for Unite Against Fascism (UAF), and those that joined us opposing EDL demonstrations over the last four years. UAF mounted a tireless and relentless campaign against the EDL.”
Sabby Dhalu, UAF Joint Secretary said:
“EDL street mobilisations began to lose momentum following the massive demonstration in Tower Hamlets in September 2011 attended by over 5,000 people, uniting a broad range of communities in opposition to the EDL, that prevented the EDL from even entering the borough. This had a decisive impact on the EDL. Prior to this the EDL were mobilising 2–3,000 on the streets. After the defeat in Tower Hamlets they could barely mobilise 500 people.
“The EDL attempted to revive itself by stirring up racism, Islamophobia and division following the murder of Lee Rigby, but this did not gain the sympathy with public opinion they were hoping for. UAF mounted a national campaign under the slogan ‘Don’t let the racists divide us’. This culminated in another demonstration inTower Hamlets last month, where over 6,000 people mobilised against only 500 of the EDL who could not enter the borough.”
Steve Hart, UAF Chair said:
“Robinson et al have left a sinking ship. However leopards do not change their spots. This is only a tactical retreat and just like other European far right leaders Robinson and Carroll will use other methods – possibly electoral means – to spread their Islamophobic message. As Robinson said himself in a tweet on 2 October: ‘The biggest decision I have to make is how to evolve, how to use this voice we have created so it is taken more seriously.’ This about evolution of his brand, not abandoning hate, racism and islamophobia. The leadership of the EDL may have quit the organisation, but the EDL still intends to take to the streets of Bradford this Saturday 12 October 2013, and UA F will be supporting the We Are Bradford mobilisation. In Liverpool, the EDL and their allies in the North West will try to disrupt a big trade union March Against Fascism called by Unite the Union and other unions, supported by UAF. The campaign against the EDL goes on and UAF will continue to oppose all fascist groups on the streets and at the ballot box.”
19/09/2013 Deaths in custody
Film screening and panel discussion: Injustice
Hundreds dead in custody yet no successful prosecutions
Tuesday 22nd October
7.00pm acclaimed film Injustice by Migrant Media
8.30pm panel discussion with Ken Fero, Director, Migrant Media and Marcia Rigg-Samuel, sister of Sean Rigg
Natura Café, first floor, Goldsmiths College Student Union, Dixon Road, London SE14
Facebook: Injustice Screening 22/10/13
Since 1969 over one thousand people have died in police custody in England. No police officer to date has ever been convicted for any of these deaths. The deaths continue and so does the cover-up. Injustice is the story of the struggles for justice by the families of some those killed by the police. The meeting will then hear about the United Families and Friends Campaign and the continuing fight for justice of Sean Rigg’s family from his sister Marcia, after an inquest jury last year found the police had “more than minimally” contributed to his death at Brixton police station in 2008. The family are fighting for all lessons to be learnt and effective action to be taken against police officers, some of whom are being investigated for lying on oath. There is also currently a review into the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation of Sean’s death. The IPPC has been found “not fit for purpose”.
Organised by: Goldsmiths Student Union, LARAG.
Supported by: NUS Black Students’ Campaign, NBSA, One Society Many Cultures
Everyone welcome. Info: firstname.lastname@example.org
19/09/2013 Deaths in custody
LARAG urges support for:
19/09/2013 EDL defeated in Tower Hamlets again!
LARAG was part of a magnificent mobilisation against the EDL on Saturday 7 September. More than five thousand people joined a UAF and UEE demonstration to stop the racist EDL entering Tower Hamlets. Read all about it on the UAF website.
East End anti-fascist activist and historian David Rosenburg joins the LARAG banner at another defeat of fascists in east London, September 2013. He also organises walks (see www.eastendwalks.com) and gave a fascinating account of his recently published book at a LARAG fundraising meeting in summer 2013. More info on book at www.eastendwalks.com/?page_id=99.
Anti-fascists block BNP and outnumber EDL at demos around country
Around 1,000 anti-fascists prevented the British National Party from marching in central London today, while around the country anti-fascists outnumbered demonstrators from the English Defence League (see list of towns and cities, below).
The racists and fascists wanted to capitalise on the murder of soldier Lee Rigby by stirring up a day of racist hate. But they have failed, outnumbered by anti-racists and anti-fascists who turned out to show unity and ensure our communities are not divided.
BNP leader Nick Griffin called a national mobilisation in London, intending to march from the Houses of Parliament in Westminster to the Cenotaph in Whitehall.
But the 150 fascist BNP members could not even leave their assembly point.
Instead, hundreds of anti-fascists marched down Whitehall towards the BNP, singing: “We are black, white and Asian and we’re Jews” and “There are many many more of us than you”.
The demo, called by Unite Against Fascism, was lively and upbeat, with plenty of noise and trade union banners and placards on display.
The anti-fascist demonstrators held their ground for five hours to ensure the fascists did not pass.
Elsewhere, the EDL attempted to mobilise, promising dozens of separate demos. Some of these failed to materialise at all. At others, they were outnumbered by anti-racists and anti-fascists. Here are figures for some of the EDL demos and UAF counter-protests.
Congratulations to all the anti-fascists in London and across the country who stood up to the racists and fascists and scored an important victory.
Manchester 200 UAF to 40 from EDL splinter group NWI
Leicester around 200 UAF to 70 EDL
Norwich 100 UAF to 10 EDL
Sheffield 600 UAF to 58 EDL
Hitchen 20 UAF, no show by EDL
Leeds 300 UAF to 25 EDL
Oxford 40 UAF to 2 EDL
Edinburgh 300 UAF to 100 Scottish Defence League
Bristol 40 UAF to 10 EDL
Southampton 150 UAF to 20 EDL
Loughborough EDL didn’t appear
Romford EDL stayed in the pub
The economic case for immigration
The recent debates around immigration, which have resulted in a bidding war for who can be harder on the issue, has led to the facts about its benefits being obfuscated by both the media and mainstream parties. Whether they intend it or not, this has led to immigration being scapegoated for the economic crisis, providing a distraction from the fundamental causes of the crisis, when in fact immigration provides economic benefits.
OSMC has collated some of the articles which outline the economic case for immigration. We are concerned that a negative debate on this issue, in which mainstream parties and media pander to hysteria and myth-making, can eventually embolden the far right who will seek to exploit this climate for its own benefit.
OSMC addresses the following:
• May 2013 : Queen’s Speech proposals are costly, will cause ill-health for all and are self-defeating.
• Debunking David Cameron’s recent speech on migration.
• The inconvenient truth about migration. According to the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR), if net migration were ceased, the UK’s net public sector debt would rise from 74 per cent of GDP today to 187 per cent by the middle of this century (2061/2).
• Immigration is of benefit to everyone. Socialist Economic Bulletin outlines statistics which show that immigration benefits all, that economic growth attracts migration but also benefits from it. Wages are not depressed by economic migrants to Britain.
• Debunking myths about Eastern European migration.
• International students make a net contribution to the economy.
• How immigration prevented Sheffield’s managed decline.
10/05/2013 Longbridge by-election
BNP defeated – next stop Euro 2014 elections
Yesterday’s Longbridge by-election result saw the BNP candidate finish last with a mere 37 votes. This follows last week’s council elections which saw the British National Party (BNP) lose three of its county councillors (Leicestershire, Burnley and Hertfordshire) bringing its total number of councillors to two: Catherine Duffy (Charnwood Council, Leicestershire) and Brian Parker (Pendle Council, Lancashire).
07/02/2013 UAF Conference
Stopping the rise of fascism and racism: Celebrate multiculturalism – Challenge Islamophobia
Saturday 2 March, central London
This year’s conference hosted by Unite Against Fascism, One Society Many Cultures, PCS and NUT on Saturday 2 March is a chance for anti-fascists and anti-racists to plan the campaign for the coming year.
Hundreds of anti-fascist and anti-racist activists, campaigners, faith communities and trade unionists will come together at the conference to discuss our strategy for 2013 – and look ahead towards the 2014 Euro elections, where the MEP seats held by British National Party leader Nick Griffin and Andrew Brons, who has now formed a rival party, are up for election.
The conference will review our successes – incuding the crushing blow inflicted on the English Defence League in Walthamstow – and discuss what we do in the next year to prevent the EDL regrouping and to counter fascist candidates in the elections in 2013 and 2014.
It will also be an opportunity to discuss how we challenge Islamophobia and racism, and defend multiculturalism.
Details: The conference takes place on Saturday 2 March from 10am to 4.30pm at TUC Congress House, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS. The nearest tubes are Russell Square and Tottenham Court Road.
Register online by visiting the UAF site.
LARAG is sending delegates so please email email@example.com if you want to be a group delegate. If you need financial support to attend, e.g. help with child care, please let us know.
Saturday 27th October: a key day of action
Stop the fascist EDL in Walthamstow
UAF is calling on anti-racists and anti-fascists across the country to support the demo called by We Are Waltham Forest against the EDL on Saturday 27 October. For more information visit the UAF website: http://bit.ly/TxJ2HO.
Students are meeting at Goldsmiths 10am outside main building – you can join up with them there.
No more deaths in custody
Silent procession from Trafalgar Square at 12.30pm, then noisy protest at Downing Street. Please wear black. For more information, please visit the United Families and Friends: http://uffc-campaigncentral.net/.
Students are meeting at 11.30 at Goldsmiths outside the main building – meet up with them there.
01/10/12 Family of Sean Rigg demand robust investigation into death in custody following failings of police watchdog
Public meeting and film screening
7pm October 2nd,
Goldsmiths College, New Cross,
On Tuesday 2nd October Marcia Rigg-Samuel will be addressing a meeting in Goldsmiths College, New Cross, on the topic ‘Who polices the Police’: just a few days after the Coroner plans to publish a report recommending changes to the way police deal with vulnerable people in custody, and within a few days of the Met Police commissioning their own review of the treatment people with mental health problems by the police.
The meeting will discuss the failings of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), whose original review of the case the family says was a ‘sham’. The case is covered in the film Who polices the Police? by Migrant Media, which is being specially screened for students and members of the public.
Sean Rigg died in a holding cell at Brixton Police Station, on Brixton Road, at around 8.30pm on August 21, 2008. A jury in Southwark Coroner’s court in August this year found that the Metropolitan Police made a catalogue of errors which “more than minimally” contributed to Rigg’s death despite attempts by the police to cover up their role in his death. The narrative verdict was one of the most damning in recent times concerning a death in custody.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission has already announced that it has commissioned an independent external review of its investigation into the death of Sean Rigg. The IPCC has also begun a fresh inquiry into a police officer whose evidence to the inquest was contradicted by video evidence. The film gives background to the case and the police’s role, including the flawed investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
Marcia Rigg-Samuel, sister of Sean Rigg, who will speak at the meeting on at Goldsmiths College, New Cross, south London, just four miles from Brixton Police station, says: “The family welcome the significant Inquest Jury Verdict as it clearly reflects the truth of what really happened to Sean, contrary to the police officer’s accounts and their evidence given on oath. The last four years have been exhausting for the family given the fact that the IPCC’s initial investigation was a sham and if it were not for the family themselves fighting to make sure that the full facts were heard at the inquest, some of the truth would have been hidden. Now we have the truth in black and white, it is imperative that the IPCC now conducts a proper investigation into their original failed investigation, and the external review is robust, transparent and effective, in the interest of the public and justice.”
Deborah Coles, co-director of INQUEST added: “Sean Rigg’s case raises serious concerns about policing culture and practice. Time and again we’re told that ‘lessons will be learned’ and yet we see the same poor practice and system failures. It cannot continue that when someone dies in police custody no officers lose their jobs, no officers face serious misconduct action and no-one is prosecuted. A system that is not seen to deliver justice will continue to undermine public trust and confidence.”
Matilda MacAttram, director of Black Mental Health UK, who is also speaking at the meeting, said: “For mental health service users from the UK’s African Caribbean communities, the involvement of the police while trying to access healthcare is, sadly in more cases than not, the norm. The case of Sean Rigg and the subsequent high profile inquest have put the spotlight on an issue that has been of perennial concern for this group for a number of decades. With data from the IPCC showing that 50 per cent of those who lose their lives in police custody are mental health service users, it is clear which groups in society are being hit hardest by this injustice. What is not clear is what the services responsible for this groups care are doing to bring about change.”
Matilda spoke out a few days ago (24/9/12), criticising the newly formed Met Commission on Policing and Mental Health for excluding groups like INQUEST and BMHUK who specialise in working and studying this area. “It leaves one with the impression that this is nothing more than a cosmetic exercise, which will not result in any positive change.” For interviews on this specific issue, call BMH UK Newsdesk on: 07947 189 682.
Aaron Kiely, NUS Black Students’ Officer, says: “The criminalising of Black communities by the police, particularly of young people, with massive disproportionate stop and search is a continuing serious concern. It is a travesty that over the last two decades over 1400 people have died in police custody without a single prosecution of the police. Sean Rigg’s family have fought a remarkable campaign for justice vindicated by the Inquest Jury verdict.This is an important meeting not only for all students but for all those who want to see justice prevail.”
Denis Fernando from One Society Many Cultures says: “Institutional racism remains prevalent within the police and society at large. The lack of justice for Sean Rigg and his family, together with the lack of a government commitment to implementing the Lawrence Inquiry recommendations, demonstrate that there is a long way to go before Black communities consider racism to be anything other than part and parcel of policing in Britain. We fully support the Sean Rigg Change and Justice Campaign.”
Notes for editors:
1. The full jury verdict on the INQUEST website here.
2. No police officer has been successfully prosecuted despite 1439 deaths in custody or following police contact since 1990, of which 199 were from the black and minority ethnic community. See Inquest for full figures www.inquest.org.uk.
3. Data from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) shows that mental health service users account for 50 per cent of those who lose their lives in police custody and that black men in particular are over represented among this figure.
4. Watch the film Who Polices the Police? online: http://vimeo.com/46132509
5. The meeting will comprise of a film showing of Who Polices the Police?, followed by a panel discussion with Marcia Rigg-Samuel and joined by Matilda MacAttram, Director – Black Mental Health UK, and Minkah Adofo from United Families and Friends Campaign. Tuesday 2 October, 7pm, Goldsmiths College (Small Cinema). Chaired by Aaron Kiely, National Union of Students, Black Students’ Officer. Meeting organised by Goldsmiths College Student Union and Lewisham Anti-Racist Action Group Supported by NUS Black Students’ Campaign, One Society Many Cultures and Defend the Right to Protest.
6. For more information, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
7. Excerpt from recent BMHUK press release: Met Police commission on policing and mental health slammed as a ‘cosmetic exercise’. Date: Monday 24 September 2012.
The exclusion of any agency which has worked in the area of deaths in custody and mental health, particularly from the UK’s African Caribbean communities where the death rate is highest, has led to accusations that the Met’s new Commission on Policing and Mental Health is nothing more than a cosmetic exercise and will not result in any positive change.
The comments come as the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has announced it has commissioned an independent review into how it responds to people with mental health conditions.
Data from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) shows that mental health service users account for 50 per cent of those who lose their lives in police custody and that black men in particular are over represented among this figure. This has caused widespread concern at the exclusion of those have been working on these issues for a number of years from the Met’s new commission.
Matilda MacAttram, director of Black Mental Health UK, recently said: ‘It is deeply concerning to see the exclusion of the key agencies who have a track record of working in this area, and with the families affected by this issue excluded from this Commission on Policing and Mental Health. To choose to exclude experts from BMH UK and INQUEST who have the critical insight needed in this area, which would ensure the transformation in police treatment of this vulnerable group, leaves one with the impression that this is nothing more than a cosmetic exercise, which will not result in any change positive change.’ For interviews on this specific issue, call BMH UK Newsdesk on: 07947 189 682.
27/9/12 New speakers join panel discussing Who Polices the Police?
Public meeting and film screening this coming Tuesday 2nd October at Goldsmiths College at 7pm.
Marcia Rigg-Samuel, sister of Sean Rigg who died in police custody, is joined by Matilda MacAttram, Director – Black Mental Health UK, and Minkah Adofo from United Families and Friends Campaign.
For a downloadable publicity poster in PDF format, please visit www.mulberrydesign.net/downloads.html
18/9/12 Who polices the police? Public meeting and film screening October 2nd 2012
Hundreds dead in custody yet no successful prosecutions
Tuesday 2 October
7pm Goldsmiths College
(small cinema, main building)
New Cross SE14
The film Who Polices the Police from Migrant Media, and discussion with Marcia Rigg-Samuel and speaker from campaign group INQUEST. Chaired by Aaron Kiely, Black Students’ Officer, National Union of Students
An Inquest verdict in August this year showed that Sean Rigg died in Brixton Police station and that the police made a catalogue of errors which “more than minimally” contributed to Rigg’s death despite attempts by the police to cover this up. The film gives background to the case and the police’s role including the flawed investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission. His sister Marcia and campaigners come to discuss what must be done now the full facts have been revealed after their four-year campaign.
Organised by Goldsmiths College Student Union and Lewisham Anti-Racist Action Group
NUS Black Students’ Campaign
One Society Many Cultures
Defend The Right To Protest
Download leaflets and posters for the event from Mulberry Design.
13/9/12 Who polices the police?
LARAG and Goldsmiths College Student Union meeting, with film Who Polices the Police and discussion with Inquest and Marcia Rigg-Samuel, sister of Sean Rigg.
From 7pm, Tuesday 2nd October, Goldsmiths College. Details to follow – for information, email email@example.com.
13/9/12 Love music hate racism 10th anniversary event
Visit lovemusichateracism.com for details.
13/9/12 Magnificent show of unity in Walthamstow
The EDL are run out of town with their tails between their legs. Read about it on the UAF website.
16/5/12 Setbacks for the British far right in May 2012
Election: London vote crashes as BNP loses every seat it defended:
read the article on the UAF website
Luton: anti-fascists outnumber EDL as it launches new party:
read the article on the UAF website
29/4/12 Vote to stop racists and fascists on Thursday 3 May
You can download leaflets against the British National Party and other fascist candidates in the 3 May elections at the UAF website. Click to visit:
29/4/12 Join the UAF protest in Luton against the violent EDL
March in Luton on Saturday 5 May. Click for more:
29/4/12 Pensioners attacked by racists In Lewisham – press release
Two local anti-racist pensioners were viciously attacked and hospitalised this Saturday by racist thugs who said they were part of a group known as ‘March For England’, a group very closely linked to the English Defence League (EDL) and the BNP. Andy Smith, a retired teacher and active in Lewisham Pensioners’ Forum and the NUT, was viciously attacked as well as another local pensioner.
The attack appears to be in response to a planned Unite Against Fascism event across south London whose aim was to discourage people from voting for or supporting far-right racist parties in the forthcoming London assembly elections. It follows the humiliation the EDL received in last week’s ‘March For England’ Brighton demonstration where 1000 anti-racists succeeded in reducing the far-right march to a miserable and defeated mob.
The attack happened during a busy Saturday on Lewisham High Street while the victims were running a regular campaign stall, one that has been active for over thirty years in Lewisham and an integral part of the local community. Shortly after 12pm the stall was thrown to the floor by an individual who was loitering in the area and, according to witnesses, was already there waiting for the activists to arrive.
A group taking photographs and staring menacingly at the activists started to gather near the clock tower. Before too long, they passed the stall en masse at which point an altercation began, with shouts and heckling from the racist group. In response to Islamophobic statements one pensioner approached them and received a vicious head-butt as an answer, throwing him to the ground. Another pensioner intervened and was quickly surrounded, man-handled and flung to the floor receiving a knock to the head. Both had to receive medical treatment for their injuries. Earlier in the morning a photographer was also attacked by the same group of racists and had reported the attack to Lewisham police station.
Sabby Dhalu, Unite Against Fascism Joint Secretary, said:
“This vicious, cowardly attack by fascists on anti-racist pensioners illustrates why we must all campaign against fascism. The police must take action and immediately arrest and charge the perpetrators of this vile attack. We urge everyone to use their vote on Thursday 3 May and stop fascist and racist groups like the British National Party, English Democrats and National Front from getting elected, and join the peaceful demonstration against the English Defence League organised by We Are Luton and Unite Against Fascism.”
Weyman Bennett, joint national secretary of Unite against Fascism, said:
“Groups of Nazis tried to disrupt UAF members from leafleting on Saturday. We will not be intimidated. The BNP and EDL are desperate because they are not getting any real support so resorted to terror attacks.”
Jarman Parmar, Chair of LARAG, said:
“The actions of these racist attackers is shocking and strengthens our resolve to unite everyone who opposes these kind of behaviours and ideas which have no place in our society. Those who have the vote should make it count by voting against the British National Party and help stop the far right on 3 May. We all want to create and live in a society where there is no hate and no fear on racial and ethnic grounds.”
Read more about the EDL in UAF’s factsheet (PDF).
10/02/12 Richard Stone coming to Lewisham
Richard Stone from the Lawrence Inquiry is coming to Lewisham on Tuesday 6th March for our LARAG meeting. Read more by downloading our poster from Mulberry Design.
30/01/12 UAF Conference
UAF National Conference in Central London, Saturday 25th February.
Get active against the fascist threat in 2012.
Includes sessions on the Stephen Lawrence murder trial and ‘Racism and the global economic crisis’ – details below. If you want to be a LARAG delegate and/or sponsored to attend please let us know ASAP.
Billy Hayes Communication Workers Union General Secretary
Hugh Lanning Public and Commercial Services Union Deputy General Secretary
Kevin Courtney National Union of Teachers Deputy General Secretary
Farooq Murad Secretary General, Muslim Council of Britain
Dr. Richard Stone Advisor, the Lawrence Inquiry
Dr. Edie Friedman Jewish Council for Racial Equality
Sabby Dhalu & Weyman Bennett Joint Secretaries Unite Against Fascism
• Campaigning against the English Defence League
• The British Freedom Party – the new fascist electoral threat
• After the Lawrence Trial: No more racist attacks
• Defending multiculturalism
• Challenging Islamophobia and hate crimes against Muslim communities
• Stopping EDL attacks on trade union and Occupy movements
• Racism and the global economic crisis
• Lessons from Stoke and East London – defeating the BNP
27/01/12 LARAG discussion with Richard Stone
Lessons learned and the next steps fighting racism today
LARAG meeting, Tuesday 6th March 7.30pm, Town Hall Catford.
With special guest Dr Richard Stone, Panel member of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry which wrote the McPherson report on institutional racism in the police with many important recommendations. He will lead a discussion on lessons from the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry and its implementation and the recent convictions. Come along to discuss ways forward for the anti-racist movement.
Please let us know if you plan to come by e-mailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Download our poster from Mulberry Design.
19/01/12 Fighting racism after the conviction of two of Stephen Lawrence’s killers
A statement from Lewisham Anti-Racist Action Group, January 2012
It is a step forward that two racists were eventually convicted of Stephen Lawrence’s murder. We hope that the others involved in the murder will also be brought to justice. That it required his family to campaign for 18 years to get this far gives some indication of how the justice system functions for black people. We question why still no police officer has been charged with any offence nor punished for his travesty of justice. This gives the impression that the police are above the law.
The world saw the Lawrence family subjected to two counts of racism. Firstly, at the hands of racist thugs who brutally murdered an innocent Black teenager. Secondly, at the hands of the Metropolitan Police, whose abject failure led to the public inquiry chaired by Lord Macpherson, that concluded the police and other institutions were ‘institutionally racist’. The recommendations of the report are as relevant today as they were 13 years ago. The report recommended far-reaching changes to eliminate racism from policing and the judicial system.
In the wake of the verdicts in January, the public discussion began to centre on whether these changes had been implemented, how far things had changed, and whether racism remained a problem in policing. Recent racist murders, levels of ‘stop and search’ against Black people, deaths in custody, ethnic minority recruitment to the police and other issues began to be put under the spotlight.
When racist attacks occur, all Black people ask for is equal treatment before the law. However, it is institutional racism that prevents them not only from accessing justice, but also being wrongly targeted. According to official statistics, in 1999–2000, a Black person was five times more likely than a white person to be stopped by police. A decade later, they were seven times more likely. Also, in 2011 alone, between January and August, eight Black detainees died in police custody.
The Macpherson report also acknowledged racism in other areas of public life such as education and health. Oxford University has accepted only 32 Black undergraduates this year. Between 2005 and 2009–10, Black patients formally detained under the Mental Health Act rocketed from 2,700 to 4,600, which represent around a 70 percent increase.
The only way to prevent violent racist hate crimes is to create a society where the enormous contribution of Black people, all faiths and cultures is celebrated not ignored. Race Relations legislation makes it statutory and obligatory for councils to promote strong anti-racist policies. Enforcing this makes a huge difference on the ground.
What needs to be discussed after the Lawrence verdicts is why, 13 years after the Lawrence Report, are Black people still victimised by the police, disproportionately excluded from schools, experience higher unemployment rates, and still live with racist taunts, abuse, violence and even murder, demonstrated by the racially-motivated murder of 23 year-old student Anuj Bidve in Salford on Boxing Day 2011.
Lewisham Anti-Racist Action Group has been campaigning against racism and fascism in south-east London since for over 15 years. We are affiliated to Unite Against Fascism and One Society Many Cultures.
19/01/12 Further news
We will be sending delegates to the UAF Conference: Saturday 25 February, central London. Visit the UAF website for more details.
* Campaigning against the English Defence League
* The British Freedom Party — the new fascist electoral threat
* Mobilising the anti-fascist vote in the May elections
* How the BNP were defeated in Barking and Stoke
* EDL attacks on trade unions and the Occupy Movement
* Racism and the global economic crisis
* Islamophobia and hate crimes against Muslim communities
* How the EDL was defeated in Tower Hamlets
If you want to be a LARAG delegate or plan to attend, please let us know ASAP.
26/09/11 Vital lessons from Tower Hamlets’ defeat of EDL
The demonstration against the English Defence League (EDL) on Saturday 3rd September 2011 in Tower Hamlets was a huge victory for the anti-fascist movement and all those in the community who had worked together for months to stop the EDL coming to the Borough and to organise an anti-fascist, anti-racist event in response to their attempts to divide and intimidate the local community.
The attempt by the EDL to hold a demonstration through the heart of one of the most multicultural areas in the country, aimed at the East London Mosque, one of the key centres of London’s Muslim communities, was always an evident racist and Islamophobic provocation. In the event the EDL could not hold any kind of event in Tower Hamlets, while a large, peaceful anti-fascist event went ahead on Whitechapel Rd.
Saturday 15th October
National convention: Celebrate diversity, Defend multiculturalism, Oppose Islamophobia and racism!
9.30–5pm, TUC Conference Centre,
Great Russell St, London WC1B 3LS
A one-day national convention organised jointly by OSMC and UAF, bringing together a broad alliance celebrating diversity, rejecting Islamophobia and fascism. For full details, visit the OSMC website.
LARAG supports this event as part of building a broad anti-racist movement.
01/08/11 Hundreds pack East End rally in run-up to 3 Sept demo against EDL
Up to 700 people – white, black and Asian – crowded into the public meeting organised by UAF and United East End at the London Muslim Centre. They heard speakers from across Tower Hamlets’ diverse community call for unity against the EDL and urge the biggest possible turnout at the national demonstration on Saturday 3 September. Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman, who was joined at the rally by a group of local councillors, said there was “no place for hate” whether on grounds of race, religion or sexuality. We are one Tower Hamlets and we have no intention of letting the EDL divide us.
You can read the full article from the UAF here.
LARAG has no meeting in August.
We urge everyone in London: if you want to do one anti-racist thing this year, join us on the demonstration in east London on Saturday September 3rd – a day to speak up against racism. Show the racist EDL they are not welcome, oppose Islamophobia, and celebrate multiculturalism and what we all love about London.
Ask your union or local campaign to bring their banner and join us with the Lewisham Anti-Racist Action Group banner. Please circulate this to anyone progressive in your address book.
08/07/11 Exhibition updated
23/02/11 Public meeting
Defend multiculturalism, Challenge Islamophobia — Don’t let Cameron divide us
Tuesday 22nd March 2011, 4–6pm
Stephen Lawrence Room, Goldsmiths Student Union
Dixon Road SE14
(100 yards up road on right as you face main old building)
Join the discussion with:
Dr Jonathan Githens-Mazer, Co-Director European Muslim Research Centre, University of Exeter
Sabby Dhalu, Secretary of One Society Many Cultures
Talha Ahmad, Muslim Council of Britain
David Cameron’s statement that multiculturalism has failed was reminiscent of Margaret Thatcher’s infamous 1978 statement that Britain was “being swamped by alien cultures”.
Cameron has branded Britain’s Muslims as the new “enemy within” in the same way as Thatcher attacked the miners and trade unions. He is attempting to drive a wedge between different communities by linking Britain’s multicultural society with terrorism and national security.
Cameron’s aim is simple as it is crude — to deflect the anger against his government’s cuts from the bankers and onto the Muslim community.
The multicultural society and the respect and solidarity it is built on is a cause for pride, and we should reject any moves by this government to undermine and destroy it.
Called by Lewisham Anti-Racist Action Group. Supported by Goldsmiths Islamic Society, Goldsmiths Student Union, OSMC, Unite Against Fascism.
24/11/10 Upcoming events
Fighting racism and Islamophobia today
Defend our Rights — Celebrate Diversity
Wednesday 1st December, 4pm–6pm
Goldsmiths College Student Union, Dixon Road SE14
Join the discussion with:
Sara Halimah, Federation of Student Islamic Societies
Asma Meer, Muslim Women’s Support Project
Denis Fernando, One Society Many Cultures
Stuart Curlett, Unite Against Fascism
Chair: Bindz Patel, President, Goldsmiths Student Union
LARAG is sponsoring delegates to attend — if you want to be considered, please email email@example.com.
Download our leaflet (235kb)
One Society Many Cultures
Celebrate diversity • Challenge racism and Islamophobia
Saturday 11 December, 10am–6pm
Mary Ward House, 5/7 Tavistock Place, London WC1H 9SN
For more information visit www.onesocietymanycultures.org
29/10/10 Update on meeting
For a number of reasons the LARAG November meeting has been cancelled. This will help us build the demo. The next LARAG meeting will be as usual: the first Tuesday in December (7th) at 7.30pm in Catford.
25/10/10 Important autumn events for anti-racists in south-east London
Two weeks of anti-racist activity in south-east London
Please let us know if you can help where requested — we have UAF demo and OSMC leaflets which we can get to you if you have your own plans to distribute. ‘For evil to prosper all that is necessary is that people of good will do nothing.’
Tuesday 26th October
Unite Against Fascism Day of Action at Goldsmiths College
With stall and leafleting from 12 noon–2pm. Stall is on main corridor near Loafers cafe. Please e-mail if you can help.
Thursday 28th October
7.30pm: Anti-fascist short films and short Q and A
With invited speaker at Cafe Crema in New Cross: Love Music Hate Racism, an NUT-sponsored film; new film East End United about the response by the community to the threatened fascist EDL to march in Tower Hamlets this year; and a film about the Battle of Lewisham.
Venue details: 7.30 for 8.15 screening. Tickets: £6 includes polenta meal or cake and wine/drink. Café Crema: 306 New Cross Road, London SE14 6AF. Few minutes from tube (London Overground) and national rail: New Cross or New Cross Gate. Easy on the buses. 020 8320 2317; 07905 961 876 (Chris).
Friday 29th October, 5pm
UAF station leafleting
Meet at New Cross station. Due to sickness of some key activists, help is needed. Please email a.s.a.p. if you can help to confirm details.
Saturday 30th October, 12 noon-2pm
Lewisham market UAF leafleting
Due to sickness of some key activists, help is needed. Please email a.s.a.p. if you can help to confirm details.
Tuesday 3rd November, 7.30pm–9.00pm
Town Hall, Catford.
Saturday 6th November
National march and carnival against racism, fascism and Islamophobia
Central London. Organised by UAF and Love Music Hate Racism; supported by the Muslim Council of Britain, the TUC and most national trade unions and many others. Latest info at http://uaf.org.uk
Saturday 11th December
One Society Many Cultures national conference
Celebrate diversity — challenge racism and Islamophobia
10am–6pm, Central London. with Ken Livingstone, Anas Altikriti (British Muslim Initiative), Dr Edie Friedman (Jewish Council for Racial Equality), Dr. Jonathan Githens-Mazer (European Muslim Research Centre), Billy Hayes (CWU), Neil Jameson (London Citizens), Bruce Kent (Pax Christi).
For more info: http://www.onesocietymanycultures.org
LARAG will be sponsoring delegates. Please let us know if you are interested.
17/09/10 Important autumn events for anti-racists in south-east London
Thursday September 30th, 7.30pm
Public Meeting in Brixton: Unite Against Racism and Islamophobia
With Ken Livingstone, Chukka Umunna MP, Sabby Dahlu & Weyman Bennett (Unite Against Fascism), Bella Ribeiro-Addy (One Society, Many Cultures), Anas Altikriti (British Muslim Initiative), Betty Joseph (NUT)
Lambeth Assembly Hall, Acre Lane, Brixton Sw2
Friday October 1st, evening
Goldsmiths: Love Music Hate Racism gig
Love Music Hate Racism gig at Goldsmiths College Student Union — part of Black History Month. LARAG will have its exhibition there about how to defeat the fascist BNP.
For more info, see http://www.goldsmithssu.org/blog/entry/3
Sunday October 3rd, afternoon
Hackney: free Anti-Racist Festival
UpRise is born out of the ashes of the former Rise festival. It will use the universal language of music and the arts to celebrate the commonalities of London’s rich cultures. Donations needed from £1.
Tuesday 5th October
LARAG discussion on One Society many Cultures 7.30pm
OSMC discussion as part of LARAG/SE London UAF discussion opposing Islamophobia and building a broad united anti-racist movement. Everyone welcome.
Town Hall, Catford.
For more info, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday 12th Oct, 5pm
Goldsmiths College: Public meeting on Islamophobia
“Islamophobia: The New Racism in the War on Terror”, co-hosted by the Sisters’ Islamic society. Room: RHB 309, Goldsmiths College.
For more info, see http://www.goldsmithssu.org/blog/entry/3
Monday 25th October, 6pm
Called “one of the most powerful films ever made” in the UK by the Guardian, Injustice looks at the appalling record of black deaths in police custody.
In the Common Room, 1st floor of Tiananmen Building, Dixon Road.
More info see http://www.goldsmithssu.org/blog/entry/3
21/07/10 Forthcoming events
Saturday 28 August
Anti-fascist coach from south London to ‘We are Bradford’ event against the EDL — details to follow. If you want to go, please write to email@example.com so we can ensure that enough transport is arranged and so that you can be informed of details nearer the time.
Tuesday 7 September
LARAG meeting — 7.30pm Town Hall, Catford. With speaker and short film from Love Music Hate Racism.
Tuesday 5 October
LARAG meeting — 7.30pm Town Hall, Catford. With discussion on Islamophobia and speaker from One Society Many Cultures.
09/07/10 Exhibition updated
Our exhibition “The Fight Goes On” has now been updated, including the recent 2010 election results and lessons in how to defeat the BNP from the very successful UAF campaign in Barking.
You can download a printable copy (A3, 22MB colour PDF) via the link on the left. The online version has also been updated.
09/07/10 Sign the petition
Thais, Jhoselin and Justina belong in Lewisham!
Thais and Jhoselin arrived in the UK with their mother Justina Grajeda and their father in 2002. Their father died tragically in 2007 in a bike accident. Now aged 16, the girls are described as grade A students, and both have places at local sixth forms.
The family’s application to remain in the UK has recently been turned down by the Home Office. This decision has brought great stress to this family, especially to the girls, who have been trying to come to terms with the unexpected recent death of their father.
LARAG is supporting their call on the Home Secretary to grant this family the right to stay in the UK. Please sign and distribute their petition (5.4 MB PDF).
07/05/10 Latest news
LARAG thanks all its supporters, UAF supporters more generally and all anti-fascist campaigners for the excellent work done nationwide in the last few hectic months, particularly in Barking and Dagenham.
Nazi BNP humiliated in general election
• Griffin falls to third place in Barking
• Fascists fail to make gains in Stoke
• Pockets of BNP support entrench
The fascist British National Party suffered a major blow in the general election when its leader Nick Griffin spectacularly failed to take his target seat of Barking in outer east London. Griffin was beaten into third place in the constituency — behind Labour and the Conservatives — with a share of just 14.6% of the vote, compared with the 16.9% the BNP polled in 2005.
Unite Against Fascism joint secretary Weyman Bennett said: “The BNP were defeated by mass anti-Nazi activity. We built a coalition against them of black, white and Asian people, trade unionists, LGBT people and members of different faith groups. We systematically visited every ward, every major workplace and council estate, exposing the BNP as Nazis.”
The BNP fared no better in their Stoke-on-Trent target seats, coming fourth in each seat. Deputy BNP leader Simon Darby took only 7.7% of the vote in Stoke Central, while BNP candidates in Stoke North and Stoke South took 8.0% and 9.4% respectively.
The humiliation suffered by the BNP in Barking and Stoke came amid a wave of popular revulsion against the party’s Nazi and racist politics.
The day before the election BNP candidate Bob Bailey was filmed viciously lashing out at an Asian man in Barking. Former Stoke BNP leader Alby Walker issued a statement condemning the BNP’s virulent racism and apologising for his previous involvement in the party.
But results in other areas should warn us against being complacent over the BNP threat. The fascists polled several strong results in Yorkshire, including 10.4% in Rotherham, 8.9% in Barnsley Central, 8.6% in Barnsley East and 7.7% in Rother Valley. And while the BNP was held back in Barking, the fascists made significant gains in the neighbouring constituency of Dagenham & Rainham, where their share of the vote rose from 4.4% to 11.2%.
For further analysis watch www.uaf.org.uk
09/04/10 Latest news
Support the days of action in Barking and Dagenham on Sunday 11th April and Sunday 25th April.
For the latest south-east London action, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
LARAG activists have been active opposing the EDL in Bolton and supporting the UAF day of action in Barking and Dagenham — more to follow.
Meanwhile in response to the BNP threatening to stand in Lewisham, LARAG initiated a Stop the BNP Mayor in Lewisham statement, published by Newsshopper — read their report.
Wide community opposition to racist party standing for mayor in Lewisham
In response to the news that the fascist party the BNP plans to stand their controversial candidate Tess Culnane for Lewisham Mayor in the local elections in Lewisham in May this year, a wide variety of political, community, church and trade union organisations have jointly signed a statement opposing the racist, Islamophobic and divisive politics of racist parties like the BNP, urging the people to use their vote.
Councillor Jarman Parmar, Chair of the Lewisham Anti-Racist Action group, which coordinates Unite Against Fascism activities locally, organised this statement:
He said: “We know that the vast majority of people in Lewisham do not support the racist politics of the BNP which is trying to divide our community, so we have successfully brought together the broadest range of organisations to show their shared belief that racist politics have no place in this Borough. We all have to use this opportunity at election time, when serious economic problems need to be addressed, to show that their politics of hatred should not be given space to grow. We all need use our voice in May for democracy and tolerance. Fascists were stopped in Cable Street in 1936, at Lewisham in 1977, by myself and many others and they must be stopped today.”
Statement on behalf of organisations and individuals:
As representatives of many political opinions and parties in Lewisham, we affirm the values of unity, tolerance and mutual respect, which have always helped people from different backgrounds to live together.
We are deeply concerned at the activity of racist and fascist groups such as the British National Party, which use people’s fears to stir up race hate, which their candidacy in the Lewisham Mayoral election will seek to do.
We also reject their demonisation of Muslims, and their claim to speak for Christians, as an affront to all our religions and beliefs and a danger to the unity of the whole community.
In the next few months the people of Lewisham will choose their Mayor who will lead Lewisham council in all its policies at the Town Hall.
We believe that a high turnout of voters will minimise the impact of candidates on extremist platforms in our borough.
So we urge the overwhelming majority to turn out and vote, and give a clear signal that messages of race hatred and division are not welcome here.
Signatories: Sir Steven Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham; David Britton, Conservative Mayoral Candidate; Chris Maines, Liberal Democrat Mayoral Candidate; Dean Walton, Green Party Mayoral Candidate; Joan Ruddock MP (Labour); Fr Paul Butler — Rector of S. Paul’s, Deptford; The Rt. Revd. Christopher Chessun Bishop of Woolwich; Gurkbash Garcha, ex-Lewisham Mayor; The Venerable Christine Hardman, Archdeacon of Lewisham & Greenwich; Darren Johnson, Leader Green Party Group & Prospective Parliamentary Candidate; Owen Hylton, Pastor, Beacon Church; Jim Dowd MP (Labour); Heidi Alexander, Labour Parliamentary Candidate, Lewisham East; Sue Luxton, Green Party Councillor, Ladywell Ward, & Lewisham Chair of Sustainable Development Committee; Jimi Adefiranye, Brockley candidate (Labour); Paul Moore, Lewisham TUC; Martin Powell-Davies, Secretary, Lewisham NUT; Cathy Duggan, Secretary, Lewisham NASUWT; Des Freeman, Secretary, Goldsmiths UCU; Jacob Sakil, Young Mayor; Jesse Fajemisin, President Goldsmith SU; Sadie King, Lewisham UNISON Equality Officer; Delroy Brent, Lewisham UNISON International Relations Officer; Mike Lewis, Chair, Lewisham UNISON Black Members’ Group; Vicky Foxcroft, Brockley Candidate (Labour); Paul Newing, Brockley candidate (Labour); Cllr Jackie Addison, Crofton Park Councillor (Labour); Cllr Sylvia Scott, Crofton Park Councillor (Labour); Pauline Morrison, Crofton Park candidate (Labour); Cllr Sam Owolabi-Oluyole, Evelyn Councillor (Labour); Norman Doyle, Assistant Headteacher and Lewisham Resident; Cllr Crada Onuegbu, Evelyn Councillor (Labour); Joseph Folorunso, Evelyn candidate (Labour); Damien Egan, Lewisham Central Candidate (Labour); Mike Harris, Lewisham Central candidate (Labour); Roy Kennedy, Ladywell candidate (Labour); Tim Shand, Ladywell candidate (Labour); Monique Howell, Ladywell candidate (Labour); Cllr Madeleine Long, New Cross councillor (Labour); Cllr Paul Maslin, New Cross councillor (Labour); Cllr Stephen Padmore, New Cross councillor (Labour); Paul Bell, Telegraph Hill candidate (Labour); Joan Millbank, Telegraph Hill candidate (Labour); Dan Whittle, Telegraph Hill candidate (Labour).
In addition to meetings and helping Unite Against Fascism days of action in Barking and Dagenham(email email@example.com for details), we are organising films and discussions in New Cross and Deptford in March on lessons learned how to stop the fascist BNP:
Sunday 7th March — live bands, bar c with short film from Love Music Hate Racism (from 7pm) and discussions (from 4pm) with films, Caribbean food with Q&A on fighting racism and fascism. All at the Albany Deptford as part of Lewisham Peace Justice Solidarity event — see ‘Forthcoming Events’ at Lewisham Peace Justice Solidarity. You can find a leaflet with full details at Green Crofton Park.
Thursday 18th March — a series of short films at Café Crema New Cross, including Who Shot the Sheriff? — the history of Rock Against Racism and Love Music Hate Racism; Lewisham 1977 about the Battle of Lewisham, filmed in New Cross by Deptford TV volunteers; and The Battle of Cable Street and The Legacy of Cable Street with film maker Yoav Segal. With Q&A with the film maker and Unite Against Fascism. For details of the films and venue, see under ‘Forthcoming Events’ at Lewisham Peace Justice Solidarity.
South-east London UAF launched on Facebook
There is now a new Facebook page for anti-fascist activists across south-east London. Keep abreast of the latest news here.
New leaflet warning of racism and the BNP launched in south-east London
No platform for the BNP on Question Time
LARAG is urging people to protest against the BBC’s decision to invite BNP leader Nick Griffin to appear on Question Time on 22 October. You can see Unite Against Fascism’s response on their website here, where you can also download leaflets.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to be informed of local activities.
Shut down the BNP’s Nazi ‘festival’
Unite against Fascism and Love Music Hate Racism Counter demonstration:
Kettle the Nazi BNP’s Red, White & Blue ‘Festival’
Codnor, Derbyshire Saturday 15th August
This fascist rally will take place off the back of the European Elections and see the BNP attempt to draw the harder elements of its audience into its core organisation. If the fascists succeed in building on their election success they will start to pose a direct threat to all of us. Their ‘RWB festival’ provides a chance for us to show that our movement will not let them go unchallenged, by surrounding it in our thousands and shutting it down on its main day.
We can’t let the BNP membership hit 6000. We need to take this opportunity to confront them while they are still small and separate them from their support base. We are taking coaches from across the country to allow anti fascists to take part in this mass mobilisation. Coaches from South East London will leave Lewisham Station at 6am. The demonstration will be accessible to every anti-racist.
Buy tickets — everyone should attend
Tickets for the coach cost £20 full price / £10 subsidised / £5 school and FE student. We are asking everyone to come and bring who they can with them. Everyone should be able to raise anti fascist campaigning at their work or community group.
A national leaflet can be downloaded from www.uaf.org.uk.
Donate to subsidise the cost of transport:
The cost of transport is prohibitive to many and donations allow us to provide cheap tickets to students and the unemployed. We can accept cheques, card payments or cash. Please make cheques payable to Coach Brokers Ltd (include ref no. CB-003-626 on back of cheque).
Our exhibition “The fight goes on” has now been updated and is available for download via the link on the left. The online slideshow has also been updated.
Leafleting is being organised across south east London stations and markets up until the June 4th elections, and especially over the weekend from Friday 29th May until Tuesday 2 June. If you can help us mobilise the anti-fascist majority in London please email email@example.com.
The threat of the BNP in SE London and nationally into the June 2009 elections: some key facts
A successful campaign in Downham, in south-east Lewisham, meant that at the by-election on 19 February 2009 the BNP vote was pushed to 283 votes (just over 10% of those who voted, voted for them) which is down from a peak of 513 votes (nearly 20% of the electorate, in a late 2002 by election).
However the BNP threat is growing elsewhere, where more campaigning is needed — they came within 10 or so votes of being elected in a Bexley ward in January 2009 and on February 19th were elected with 41% in Swanley in Kent, turning over a safe Labour seat. At the Unite Against Fascism conference on 21/2/09, where hundreds of activists came from across the country, the threat of the BNP at the elections on June 4th in other parts of the UK, especially Yorkshire, the North West and the West Midlands was highlighted.
The UAF have produced an excellent pamphlet analysing the BNP’s growth across the country and identifying the priorities and challenges for anti-fascist campaigning learnt over the last few years. This can be ordered from UAF, and is also available from LARAG.
The conference discussed the impact of the recession on the BNP’s growth, the Love Music Hate Racism campaign, which is attracting young people, and the need to rebut the racist myths that the BNP build their support on.
Two recent publications are recommended which systematically analyse and challenge common myths and distortions and show their consequences:
“Sleepwalking to segregation? Challenging myths about race and migration” (order form)
by Nissa Finney and Ludi Simpson
“Muslims Under Siege: Alienating Vulnerable Communities” (read online)
by Peter Oborne and James Jones
LARAG says: Unite to Stop the fascist BNP in the run-up to the European Elections in June 2009
The British National Party will be standing in the Downham by-election on Thursday 19th February. As part of Unite Against Fascism, LARAG will be ensuring that the truth about the fascist BNP is delivered to all voters, so as to mobilise the majority opposed to their racism and hate-fuelled politics.
LARAG’s next meeting on Tuesday 3rd February will plan our activities. Your help and support is needed, so please do at least one of the following:
1. Come to our next meeting — so we can plan activities together — email firstname.lastname@example.org for further details
2. Tell us which day/s you can help us leaflet, from midday onwards on either of the two weekends before the by-election (ie 7th or 8th or 14 or 15th February). Email email@example.com
3. Send a donation to Unite Against Fascism, which is leading this initiative and vital work needed to stop the BNP making further inroads in the European Elections in June this year.
4. Come to the Unite Against Fascism national conference on Saturday 21st February. LARAG will be sending a delegation. LARAG urges everyone who is opposed to the rise of racism and the fascist BNP to attend the Unite Against Fascism conference on 21/2/09 (see leaflet on right) and get involved in Stop the BNP activities wherever they stand.
For evil to prosper all that is necessary is that people of good will do nothing.
Last chance to Stop the Fascist BNP in London!
Little time is left to mobilise the vote to Stop the fascist BNP being elected on the Assembly.
Help urgently needed now and then up until May 1st. LARAG is prioritising all resources to stopping the BNP.
For info on local activities, or if you want to leaflet your local station, street, estate or local meeting (you can order leaflets from us), then just email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also we urge you to sign up to www.uaf.org.uk to see all events across London and be updated as new parts of the campaign are rolled out. Events are planned to commemorate the fascist bombings in Brixton, Brick lane and Soho and also to protest about the fascist BNP election broadcast. Get involved now!
Unite against fascism
LARAG urges people to attend the Unite Against Fascism National Conference in Central London on March 1st as the next step in the campaign to stop the fascist BNP in the May elections. More at the UAF website.
Our exhibition will be on display – see link opposite. LARAG is sending a delegation and will discuss the conference and its conclusions and what we can do locally at our next meeting in early March: email email@example.com for details.
LARAG Press Release:
Response to attack on newly opened Stephen Lawrence Centre in Deptford.
The Stephen Lawrence Centre is a fitting memorial to the racist murder of this young man and a permanent contribution following the determined efforts of his mother, Doreen Lawrence, ensuring that all members of community are given the opportunities that her son were denied.
We are therefore disgusted at the regular vandalism of the centre particularly the significant incident this week, showing the continued existence of racism, and the violence and criminal behaviour that accompanies these ignorant and hate-fuelled beliefs. These latest incidents (4 in total in the last week since the opening of the centre) remind us that the plaque commemorating Stephen on the spot where he was so brutally murdered was also repeatedly vandalised by racists over the years.
Doreen Lawrence fought an inspiring campaign over many years to get justice for her son. She changed policing in London for the better in the process. She was supported by many people and organisations in the process.
Sadly some people have not shown the same respect for her in her battle for justice.
So like the Mayor of London we condemn the vandalism and note that it also comes on the anniversary of the inquest that confirmed Stephen’s death to be an unprovoked racist murder.
So racism must not be allowed to drop down the agenda. Especially with the fascist British National Party hoping to get elected on to the London Assembly in May this year. We must all use our votes to ensure racism is not given a voice and space in the forthcoming Mayoral and Assembly elections.
Mahmuda Kabir, Secretary Lewisham Anti-Racist Action Group
and Councillor Jarman Parmar, Chair LARAG
Free exhibition: Fighting fascism in London
New exhibition for Londoners produced by LARAG:
‘The fight goes on! 70 years of struggle against fascism in London.’
On October 27th, the Lewisham Anti-Racist Action Group launched a brand new exhibition: ‘The fight goes on! 70 years of struggle against fascism in London.’
See a slideshow of the exhibition here for more. You can also download a high-quality PDF for printing out (see link on left; please note that this is a very large file and will take a long time to download). Order the exhibition for free loan from: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Using eye witness accounts and some rarely seen photos the exhibition documents three decisive occasions when Londoners have had to mobilise to defeat fascist parties threatening London, whether on the streets or through the ballot box. The exhibition covers the Battle of Cable Street 1936; the Battle for Lewisham 1977 and forthcoming the London elections 2008. Lessons from the past are accompanied by an up to date assessment of the fascist threat to London today, examining the campaign by Unite Against Fascism. There words of wisdom and inspiration from Holocaust survivors and celebrities from TV and music are used to speak out against the evil of fascist parties today and urging people to use their vote. The exhibition shows the important role the Jewish, black and all other minority ethnic communities have played in uniting with all those wanting to defeat the scourge of fascism in our great city.
If you know of a local organisation that wants to exhibit it at a meeting etc email email@example.com.