Against fascism, for a united anti-racist left


JVL introduction

Speakers from Jewish Voice for Labour and the Jewish Socialists’ Group articulated a key message at the Stand Up To Racism rally opposing a far-right mobilisation in Whitehall on Sunday afternoon – that the fight against all forms of racism is indivisible and depends upon a strong and united movement of the left. We reproduce here the full texts of the speeches .

Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Jewish Voice for Labour

(The video shows a shortened version of the speech due to lack of time at the rally)

Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi's speech on behalf of Jewish Voice for Labour at today's march against Tommy Robinson's racist and fascist mobilisation. She had to cut it short because time was running out, but it's still good, and I hope to share the text of her entire planned speech later.

Posted by Julia Bard on Sunday, 9 December 2018

 

The rise of the far right across Europe carries terrifying echoes of the1930s: Populations plunged into poverty, no answers from the social democratic parties, and now 14 states with strutting alt-right and neo-fascist parties. Across the Atlantic there is Trump and Bolsonaro in Brazil.  As the catastrophic consequences of global climate change become more evident, the scale of the crisis is clear.

In the UK the right was diverted by Brexit, but the chaos of its implementation has enabled Gerard Batten and Stephen Yaxley-Lennon to stage a coup in UKIP, and they are on the advance.But here, only here, in the UK, there is a party with the mass support and the programme to address the causes of the crisis. It’s a socialist-led party with the prospect of government and it is under attack from all sides.  Some, in their attempts to discredit Jeremy Corbyn, allege that a Corbyn-led government would be an existential threat to Jews in this country!

But we know where our real enemy lies – among the thugs and bigots of the white supremacist far right and their respectable counterparts in an establishment which is legitimising their violent hatreds in order to divide us. We have to confront rising hostility towards Jews, as we protect and fight alongside other religious and ethnic minorities. The mass slaughter of Jews by the fascists in the 1940s is an indelible lesson to us all.

Martin Luther King said, after fighting segregation all his life, he would not allow them to segregate his mind. What he meant was, that anti-racism is indivisible. You cannot select which bits you approve of and which to discard. We must oppose all its forms, especially now, Islamophobia, and that includes the racism practiced against the people of Palestine.

History teaches all too clearly where the scapegoating of minorities can lead. It also teaches us the means for resisting. We have to build a powerful movement capable of winning the battle against incipient fascism on the streets, and the battle of ideas against racism and nationalism in our communities, workplaces, faith groups and organisations.

Jewish Voice for Labour stands in a great tradition of Jewish socialists who have proclaimed: Always with the oppressed; Never with the oppressor.

We call upon all Jewish organisations, the Board of Deputies, the Jewish Leadership Council, the Jewish Labour Movement and everyone else, to put their weight behind this movement which is committed to ensuring that there can be no more genocide: Never again, not anywhere, for anyone.

 

 David Rosenberg, Jewish Socialists’ Group

 Anti-fascist greetings from the JSG!

80 years ago on 7th December 1938, 305 of the bravest anti-fascists received a heroes ‘welcome at Victoria station – just a mile from here. They had just arrived back from Spain where they had gone as an act of international workers solidarity to fight against Franco’s fascists. Many who went with them did not return.

From Victoria they went to a banquet in London’s East End but before that they came here and delivered a message to Downing Street calling on the Tory Prime Minister of the time to aid the Spanish Republic. Their appeal failed. A few months later a Tory-led National Government recognised Franco’s fascist regime.

In those days just as now the Tories knew who their friends were.

How ironic that, this week, when we remember the bravery of those volunteers for liberty, that for the first time since Franco died, a far right party in Spain has won seats in a Spanish regional parliament. They did that by taking working class votes from socialists, by spreading anti-immigrant and anti-refugee propaganda, and by attacking women’s rights and gay and lesbian rights. The same hatreds promoted by far right populists in Austria, Poland and Hungary.

It is a warning to us all. The Far Right succeed where the Left fails.

Racists and fascists are experts in one thing only – in promoting fear. They cannot offer the solutions that people need as the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. One of those getting richer and richer is Tommy Robinson, bankrolled by American and Australian sources, who poses as the voice of the people – but offers the poor and the exploited, Islamophobia and an empty promise of white pride, instead of jobs, homes, opportunities, security in their lives.

It is being able to live with dignity and freedom, not reliant on foodbanks, not struggling to pay the rent that gives people pride, not the colour of their skin.

Who has opened up the space for the likes of Yaxley-Lennon and his UKIP-poodle Gerard Batten? It is the Tory government, led by David Cameron then Theresa May who blamed and punished workers for the bankers crisis by continuing to impose austerity while diverting anger towards immigrants through a hostile environment

Theresa May is finally finding out just what it means to be on a zero-hours contract because that is what she is on right now.

We cannot beat back the racists and the fascists who flourish on people’s misery without offering solutions to that misery.

Nor will we succeed while we let the right wing and ultra-right wing set the political agenda. The problems facing working-class people in Britain were there before the EU Referendum and will still be there after it is resolved one way or another. Robinson and Batten are simply exploiting the chaos around Brexit to promote their narrow nationalism, their hatred of all minorities, and their dream of building a cross-class far-right street movement. In our diversity, in our unity of Leavers and Remainers, we must be the people to turn their dreams into nightmares.

Tonight is the last night of Chanukah – a Jewish festival of light that celebrates resistance and freedom. Let’s celebrate the resistance to fascism of those who went to Spain from the coalmines in Wales, from the slum tenements in Glasgow, from the embattled Jewish streets of the East End, who returned in depleted numbers 80 years ago. And let’s turn their slogan into a reality. No Pasaran!