You are:


Return to news listings

Stand up to racism and fascism

31 March 2014

A pan-European day of action took place on 22 March to coincide with UN Anti-racism Day, writes Kerry Abel, TSSA learning organiser.

With racist and fascist parties looking to use the run-up to the European Parliament elections in late May, now is an important time for anti-racists to push back against those who would divide our communities.

UN Anti-racism Day commemorates the victims of the Sharpeville Massacre of 1960, when 69 peaceful demonstrators against apartheid were killed by the South African police. In South Africa, the day is a public holiday that celebrates those who lost their lives in the country’s fight for democracy and equal rights.

Following the death of Nelson Mandela, it is fitting that we too should cherish, as Mandela said, ‘the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and equal opportunities’.

With eyes on the European elections in May, most countries are seeing parties of the right, centre and even the traditional left allowing racism and xenophobia to enter into political and media debates. Across Europe, we’ve increasingly seen Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and the scapegoating of minorities – immigrants, Roma, Black and Asian communities – become the norm.

Earlier this month it emerged that the Home Office has been sitting on a report that disproves one of the big claims made about migration – that it costs jobs for ‘British’ workers. In fact the latest information shows that nearly nine out of every 10 new jobs created go to British workers and just 13 per cent to people from outside Britain.

Despite this, there is the increasing tendency of mainstream political parties to tail-end the right-wing, populist UKIP. As Desmond Tutu pointed out recently, many politicians are vying with each other to ramp up calls for draconian ‘anti- immigration’ policies and promote a ‘Little Englander’ mentality, most recently seen in the hostility whipped up towards the mostly non- existent arrival of Bulgarian and Romanian migrant workers.

In particular, it has become increasingly ‘acceptable’ to promote fear and hatred of Muslim people and Islam as a religion. This racism creates a climate of Islamophobia, leading directly to attacks on the Muslim population, including murder and violent attacks on mosques.

Let’s celebrate diversity by expressing our cultures and identities. Let’s demonstrate our confidence in a future free of scapegoating, racism aind hatred.

For more information see

Return to news listings