On Tuesday 5 March 2019, there was a meeting at the Sandbunker Community Centre on the Sandlings Estate in Noel Park to mobilise for the UN anti-racism day march on 16 March 2019. The meeting was chaired by Lotte Collett, vice chair of Noel Park Branch Labour Party. There will be two meeting points for Haringey Labour Party members to join the march on 16 March 2019: outside Turnpike Lane station at 11.15am and outside Seven Sisters station at 11.15am. Given the rise in racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and anti-immigrant sentiments, it is important that Labour Party members mobilise and make the march a major success.
Below is my speech at the meeting.
Last week, Donald Trump’s ex lawyer, Michael Cohen confirmed what we have always known. That is, the world’s number one racist currently occupies the White House. And he has emboldened Britain’s number one racist, Tommy Robinson and his neo Nazi supporters.
In Haringey, we have a proud tradition of standing up to fascists. 42 years ago at the Battle of Wood Green, Haringey Councillors including a certain Jeremy Corbyn and the wider community came together and resisted the National Front who had threatened to march in our area. I am proud to be sharing a platform this evening with one of the organisers of that resistance, Paul Holborrow.
The people of Haringey said to the fascists, “these are our streets and you do not belong here”. Up and down the country, that is how communities organised and defeated the National Front.
Not just just the National Front, we defeated their successors, the BNP. It’s extraordinary to think that only in 2006, Barking and Dagenham had elected 12 BNP Councillor. 12 years later in 2018, not only did the community in Barking and Dagenham get rid of the BNP, they elected 12 Muslim Councillors in the local elections. That is what the racists do not like! They also hate that Londoners elected a Muslim Mayor of London.
Sadly, it’s not just the fascists that give out vile, islamophobic abuse to Sadiq Khan almost on a daily basis. At the last mayoral election in 2016, Zac Goldsmith and the Conservative Party ran the most hateful, racist election campaign in living memory against Sadiq Khan. Islamophobia is rampant in the Conservative Party. Today, the Tories suspended 14 of their members for Islamophobic messages online.
I back Muslim Council of Britain’s call for an enquiry into islamophobia in the Conservative Party. I say this to the Conservative Party, when you turn a blind eye to islamophobia and make it mainstream, the fascists take it as carte blanche to murder Muslims on our streets.
In 2017, a fascist killed Makram Ali, an elderly man outside Finsbury Park Mosque. And a few years ago, fascists killed Mohammed Saleem in Birmingham. Never again do we want to see the killing of Muslims on our streets. Never again do we want to see the fascists marching on our streets and giving Nazi salutes.
Of course, “never again” is what Europe said after the second world war following the genocide of six million European Jews.
But, we had the genocide of European Muslims in Bosnia in our lifetime. It is 23 years since the massacre in Srebrenica when more than 8 thousand Muslim men and boys were massacred.
I am afraid with the rise of far right groups and racists across Europe, we might see another genocide. We see the demonisation of migrants and refugees every day in Europe.
Theresa May masterminded the hostile environment policy against immigrants. And Sajid Javid is implementing Enoch Powell’s Ministry of Repatriation by stripping citizenship off British citizens and deporting them.
Donald Trump sitting in the White House has emboldened and inspired racists all across Europe and the Western world. If we want to avert another genocide on European soil, we must stay united and organise because there are more of us than them. I invite you all to join in the march on 16 March.”