Home secretary Suella Braverman’s vicious, racist speech last week is a challenge to every campaigner and trade unionist. Her deliberate and systematic assault on multiculturalism, her embrace of the fascist “great replacement” theory, and her claim that migration is an “existential threat” are part of a long history of Tory racism.
But she has gone further than her predecessors and placed herself in the global far right camp. In part this is a continuation of the scapegoating agenda designed to deflect attention from the real criminals—the rich, and the politicians that support them.
And it is also an early challenge to be the next Tory leader. This opportunist offensive goes further than the ranks of Tory racists. It will embolden the far right filth that harass refugees in their temporary accommodation. Certainly fascists welcomed her speech.
Britain First leader Paul Golding said, “I endorse Ms Braverman’s comments. She is saying publicly what everyone at home is privately thinking. Britain First only wishes that politicians like Braverman came to this logical conclusion decades earlier.”
And there was a big reaction from anti-racists too. Peter Hain and Paul Holborow, founder members of the Anti Nazi League which fought the fascist National Front in the 1970s and 80s, had a letter published in the Guardian last week.
In it they wrote, “Braverman, backed by Rishi Sunak, has crossed a line. Today the Tory government is openly using the language of the hard and racist right. There is no time to lose. Giorgia Meloni, Marine Le Pen and Donald Trump are a warning. Braverman’s Tory message of hatred and divide and rule must be urgently resisted.”
Not all Tories want to adopt Braverman’s precise themes. Pressed for an answer on whether he agreed with his home secretary, Rishi Sunak instead praised Britain’s “fantastic multicultural democracy”.
And former home secretary Priti Patel, who pioneered the Nationality and Borders Act and Rwanda deportation scheme, accused Braverman of trying to “get attention”. But Sunak has not sacked Braverman, and he continues to use the hateful “stop the boats” slogan as a centrepiece for his government.
The steer from the top is why in a poll last week many people appeared to back Braverman. When asked whether “uncontrolled and illegal migration” is an existential challenge to the West, as she claimed, 66 percent of those surveyed agreed. But such poll depend on how questions are framed. And there is plenty of popular support for migrants—if it is mobilised.
Millions of people have inter-racial families and friendship groups. Many more work alongside or go to school with others who have come to Britain from all over the world. No wonder that when asked if in general immigration is “good” or “bad” for Britain, about a third of people say it is good, a third say it is bad and third say it is neither good nor bad.
Anti-racists have to mobilise, and in a militant way. The lead for that won’t come from trade union leaders. Nor will it come from Labour, which has repeatedly tried to outdo the Tories on hostility to “illegal migrants”. Braverman has to go, and that should be just the start of driving out all the Tories and fighting for open borders.
Join the anti-racist resistance
The Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) conference on Saturday 21 October is now even more important. It must be a council of war against Braverman, the Tories and all the racists. It has to escalate the fightback to match the renewed threat. SUTR supporters across Britain have consistently held protests and rallies to welcome refugees and confront fascists and racists.
Speakers at the conference already include Neville Lawrence, Shaka Hislop from Show Racism the Red Card, actor Colin McFarlane and general secretaries from the NEU, Bfawu, Aslef and PCS unions. It’s crucial that as many strikers, anti-racists and trade unionists attend the conference as the Tories look to use racism as their rallying to keep voters.
- Sign up for SUTR’s national conference on 21 October at bit.ly/SUTRConf23
Cop who killed Jermaine Baker faces hearing—seven years on
The firearms officer who killed Jermaine Baker more than seven years ago will face misconduct proceedings. Cops shot Jermaine Baker during a Metropolitan Police operation in December 2015. The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said the officer, known only as W80, will now face a gross misconduct hearing.
Jermaine Baker’s mother, Margaret Smith, welcomed the IOPC decision and said the family “strongly support” the request for another force to conduct proceedings. She criticised Met chief Sir Mark Rowley for “capitulating to firearms officers’ demands for impunity” over the killing of Chris Kaba.
She said, “The commissioner’s position seriously calls into question whether, when push comes to shove, he and the Met Police Service (MPS) have the will or the ability, in Jermaine’s case and others, to hold his officers to account for misconduct.”
She added, “The Supreme Court, just a few months ago, dismissed the arguments made by W80 and the MPS who had sought to weaken accountability for police use of force by arguing for the less stringent criminal test to be used in disciplinary proceedings.”
Confronting the far right
Anti-racists confronted racists and fascists across Britain last weekend. In Chichester Stand Up To Racism activists called a second demo in two weeks to stand with refugees outside the Chichester Park Hotel and oppose an anti-refugee demo. The far right had called a protest called, “Protect our city, protect our children.”
The Home Office is set to take over the hotel to house refugees. Around 50 anti‑racists stood off against 50 local racists and far right figures, as well as conspiracy theorists and fascists. In Bristol activists turned out to say refugees welcome after fascists from the group Patriotic Alternative leafleted outside a hotel housing refugees.
The action involved different refugee groups and a number of union banners. And in Skegness anti-fascists took over a bandstand where Nazi Alex Yerbury and his supporters held a brief rally.