UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Communities rise against fascists

Racists were sent packing in Dundee and Walthamstow yesterday as communities joined together to drive hate off our streets. The numbers, hope and inspiration of people who joined ‘Dundee Together’ and ‘We Are Waltham Forest’ dealt another major humiliation to the SDL/EDL hatemongers.

So much for their claims they're not fascists!
In Dundee, the much trumpeted mass SDL/EDL demo turned out to be about 30 odds and sods bussed in to shout abuse outside Primark - while in contrast hundreds enjoyed the solidarity of the festival atmosphere of the Dundee Together multicultural event in City Square.

In Walthamstow, thousands gathered to dwarf the EDL by over 10 to one. A peaceful blockade stopped the EDL march forcing them on to the side streets, with some reports suggesting major disarray in the EDL leadership.

Politicians, trade unionists and representatives of different faiths delivered messages of unity and defiance. WAWF’s Sophie Bolt said the cultural mix in the borough was one of the best things about living there.

“We’re proud of our community. We’re proud of our multicultralism. We’re proud of our diversity. That’s what makes us great. That’s what makes Walthamstow great.”

In Dundee, the community and trade unions marched for a ceremony at the International Brigade memorial before a multicultural festival in the square with music, world food, events and children’s entertainment. The Council had earlier banned the SDL’s plans to rally in the square. The message of hope rose high above the bile from the racist sideshow.

It was more than a counter-demonstration. It was a celebration of a community standing together – underlined by a comment on the Dundee Together facebook page from Karen Grogan:

“… huge thanks to all the musicians, artist, performers, cooks, facepainters, bakers, jugglers and the hundreds of other Dundonians who came together to make September 1st 2012 a truly wonderful day, a day full of hope and pride”.

And Raheel Khan: "Love to all my Dundee folk. I actually want to thank the scum believe it or not. Because if it was not for them coming to spread their filth on our streets I probably would never have met all the wonderful people that I did today and I also made a lot of new friends.”

UNISON banners were prominent at both events as again trade unions joined with communities to challenge the racists.

Some have asked why we should have to turn out to combat the hate of the far right again and again. Why not just ignore them?

Dundee and Walthamstow have shown why not. These were not just demonstrations against fascists. They were celebrations of something. Celebrations of of communities that won’t be bullied, of solidarity and of values of equality. We don’t do enough of that.