On Saturday 5 February, 2011, the racist and fascist organisation, EDL (English Defence League) organised a provocative march targeting people of Moslem faith in Luton, a town of a large Moslem community. Unite against Fascism (UAF) organised opposition against this provocative march and organized a counter protest at the same time.
UAF staged a rally in the centre of town with around 2,000 people, and also supported the mobilisation by up to another 3,000 people in Bury Park, the area where many of Luton’s Muslim residents are concentrated, to defend the community from possible attacks by EDL.
The rally, attended by hundreds of anti-racist anti - fascist protestors was supported by numerous individuals and organizations. Various speakers expressed their opposition to EDL and the racist BNP (British National Party). They pointed out that the rally attended by all communities and working people is a proof that we all stand shoulder to shoulder against promotion of racism and fascism and against attacks on the livelihood of all working people.
In the centre of town, trade union banners and flags from Unite, Unison, CWU, PCS, TSSA and the NUT were on show at the UAF rally, along with the banners of local trades councils. A big cheer greeted the arrival of the banner and delegation of Sikhs Against the English Defence League, who turned out in solidarity with Muslims – the EDL’s main targets.
At present, Britain is embroiled in an unprecedented economic crisis caused by monopoly capitalism. The representatives of the monopoly capitalists in the parliament are cutting public services in orders to pass the burden of this crisis on to the shoulders of ordinary people under the pretext that there is no money. At the same time billions of pounds of public money are handed out to giant financial institutions to prop up their profits. People are militantly resisting attempts by monopoly capitalism to shift the burden on to working people. Students are fighting against the imposition of tuition fees. Working people are fighting back against the dismantling of the National Health Service and other social welfare services.
The British state run in the interest of the monopoly capitalists uses racism to set people at loggerheads against each other to divert the attention of people away from unitedly fighting against the capitalist onslaught. They are targeting the people of Moslem faith in particular at this time. The capitalist media gives a lot of coverage to the racist and fascist organisations like EDL and BNP who are doing a lot of propaganda against the Muslim community in Britain labeling them as extremists and fanatics.
The mainstream media owned and controlled by monopoly capital serves its interest by giving large-scale coverage to the poisonous propaganda of EDL and the BNP. This media gives very little coverage to working people fighting racism and standing up together for social justice. It marginalises people’s struggles and effectively blunts their fight against the onslaught of monopoly capital on working people.
Youth belonging to the Sikh faith marched proudly joining a big rally against the racist EDL (English Defence League) held in Luton. They played the Dhol as they entered the rally. Hundreds of protestors gathered in the central square of town gave the marching Sikh youth a thunderous applause. History was made delivering a heavy blow to the racist schemes of the British State to use EDL and BNP to incite Sikhs again Moslems in Britain. Moslem protestors came forward to embrace their Sikh brethren and some even had tears in their eyes pouring out the love between the two communities built over hundreds of years of common struggles and collective sacrifices in fighting for freedom, independence and against oppression.
Verinder Singh spoke on behalf of the Sikh community and pointed out that the Sikh community has a proud tradition of fighting fascism in the Second World War. Thousands laid down their lives defeating Hitlerite fascism. He asked, “How can Sikhs not oppose the racism and fascism espoused by EDL?
He expressed that Sikhs have a proud tradition of upholding human rights including the right of conscience of all to follow their beliefs. How can Sikhs not oppose the attacks on the Moslem community in Britain?
He exposed the tactics of fascism in targeting Moslems today, Sikhs and other communities tomorrow and eventually all ordinary people similar to Hitler in establishing fascist rule in Nazi Germany.
He condemned the racist traitors of Sikh origin for joining EDL and expressed that these traitors should be exposed and punished.
Salvinder from Ghadar International addressed the rally by stressing the principle that an injury to one is injury to all. He pointed out that any attack on the honour and dignity of Moslems or any other community is an attack on all of us. People from the Indian subcontinent lost three million lives from the communal conflicts engineered by British colonialism and their agents during the partition in 1947. EDL, the BNP and other racist agents of the British state will not be allowed to spread their poison and create communal conflicts in Britain. He emphasized that we are forging a common identity in Britain by fighting shoulder to shoulder against racism; our identity is being forged by fighting racism as an integral part of our fight against the attack on the security and livelihood of all working people in Britain.
He declared that British identity will be forged by fighting together, whether it is the student’s against imposition of tuition fees or any other forces fighting against the destruction of free public services in health, education, affordable housing, a clean safe environment and job security. The fights for a life of security and prosperity for all is a fundamental human right and we are proud to be fighting shoulder to shoulder in these common struggles against the anti- social offensive against working people.
He declared that the anti-racist struggle must be rooted in the organisations of the working class and in local communities. The British state representing interests of the monopoly capitalist class is incapable of solving the economic problems facing ordinary people. In the face of the most savage attacks on its living standards in a generation, the working class is today developing its own local and national campaigns and building a movement to immediately halt the anti-social offensive. Peoples wellbeing is an investment, not a cost. Wealth created by working people should be used to provide quality public services as a right. This movement should take the struggles forward to create a new society without racism and ensuring social equality. A society in which the wealth created by working people is used to provide security and prosperity for all, continuously raising their material and cultural standards. This will be a real democracy in which people are decision makers shaping policies affecting their lives. Let us build the movement to create such a system.