Monthly Archives: June 2016

Jo Cox – statement from SUTR / UAF

In the aftermath of the horrific killing of Jo Cox MP, Unite Against Fascism Joint Secretaries and Stand up to Racism Co-Convenors Sabby Dhaluand Weyman Bennett put out this statement:

“We are deeply saddened that Jo Cox died as a result of this attack. Our thoughts and sympathy are with her loved ones. We would like to echo the magnificent words of Brendan Cox, Jo’s husband, who said that Jo would have wanted us to ‘unite to fight against the hatred that killed her. Hate doesn’t have a creed, race or religion, it is poisonous.’

“We cannot allow double standards in response to such attacks, especially now that information has come to light linking Thomas Mair to neo-Nazi terrorist and white supremacist groups. Jo Cox’s murderer shouting ‘Britain first’ must be treated in exactly the same fashion as some one shouting ‘ISIS’ and carrying out a similar attack. This incident cannot be treated as an isolated incident by someone with mental health problems. Britain First and the paramilitary ‘Britain First Defence Force’ must be investigated for terrorist and criminal activity.
 
“Batley and Spen has a history of fascist activity. Six years ago Terrance Gavan – who was linked to the BNP – was sentenced to eleven years in prison after fifty four explosive devices were found in his home in Batley. The constituency has a history of fascist activity for over a decade: From electoral support for the BNP to English Defence League and Britain First demonstrations.
 
“The lesson of history is that we must unite social democrats, liberals, socialists, trade unions, Jews, Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, those with no faith, LGBT communities, disabled people and all those who oppose fascism. An injury to one is an injury to others.
 
“This attack has taken place in the context of a racist discussion on immigration in the EU referendum debate. Exactly the same racist arguments were used against Jews, Irish, African, Caribbean, Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities. There is no doubt that Jo Cox was targeted because of her positive views on immigration, her humanitarian work helping refugees, and her excellent relations with the local Muslim community . Politicians stirring up this toxic racist debate on immigration are responsible for the climate in which this attack took place. We say racism out of the referendum – unite against fascism.”

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Leeds Stand Up to Racism fundraiser

Nationally, Stand Up To Racism began in 2014 as a national demonstration for UN Anti-Racism Day. Each year, the annual demonstration has grown in size, with over 20,000 people at this year’s event. These demonstrations put across a powerful message: Challenging myths on immigration, opposing Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, tackling institutional racism and providing expression for the overwhelming support for providing a safe haven for refugees.

The urgent refugee situation, the scapegoating of migrants and refugees, and the rise in Islamophobia mean we need an ongoing campaign on these issues, so Stand Up To Racism has organised countless national and local rallies, convoys to Calais, postcard campaigns, and protests at key moments. We played a key role in organising the huge Refugees Welcome Demonstration in September 2015, and recently held a rally with Alf Dubs, the Labour peer leading the campaign in parliament to accept child refugees.

On June the 18th we are working with other campaign groups and trade unions to send another major convoy of aid to Calais, and in October we are hosting the People’s Refugee Summit, bringing together representatives and groups from across Europe to agree on a common humanitarian solution to the refugee crisis. On March 18th next year, we hope to organise the biggest UN Anti-Racism demo yet.   For more on Stand Up to Racism nationally see @AntiRacismDay / www.standuptoracism.org.uk

In Leeds we have played our part organising two local demonstrations in Leeds to say Refugees Welcome Here, as well as public meetings, supporting anti-racist gigs and local protests, organising coaches for the national demonstrations, and building support for the Leeds Convoy to Calais.  In the current climate of racist scapegoating during the EU Referendum – which is likely to continue whatever the result – the importance of building an anti-racist movement on the streets and an anti-racist current in schools, colleges and workplaces cannot be underestimated to counter the divisive poison coming from too many politicians and too much of the media.

Report Back from Leeds Convoy to Calais / Discussion of the EU Referendum Result – Leeds Stand Up to Racism Fundraising Meal – Sunday 26 June

In the evening of Sunday 26 June we are also having a fundraising meal for Leeds Stand Up to Racism at Fairuz – a great Lebanese restaurant in Merrion Street, Leeds LS2 8JU – arrive about 7.30pm for food to be served at 8pm – the meal is £20 a head which includes a donation towards Leeds SUTR.  There will be a report back from the Leeds Convoy to Calais and a good opportunity to discuss what the EU Referendum result means for anti-racists.  Please book your place / rsvp in advance by 25 June by emailing sutrleeds@gmail.com or calling 07900324479.   Please also contact us to find out more about Leeds Stand Up to Racism and get involved sutrleeds@gmail.com  @SUTRLeeds