Gary Younge summed up the mood of the weekend’s thousands strong Stand Up To Racism international (online) conference: Mobilising The anti racist majority – How do we defeat Johnson’s Racist offensive, when he said in the closing speech of the conference:
“I’ve never seen a government quite as brazen as this one when it comes to racism, quite as open. The rise in attacks, Islamophobia, a litany of statistics show that things are really really bad… but on the other hand I’ve never seen the potential for so much anti racism as we are seeing now.
“If we go back to last June there were two competing viruses: the viral video of George Floyd being killed that spread like bushfire around the world, and mobilised hundreds of thousands of people, and the virus of covid that disproportionately affected Black and Asian people, and poor people around the world… we saw racism is a matter of life and death… but we also saw a latent community rise up and take to the streets all around the world and say we have had enough – that community was a multiracial community led by the young…
“What I love about the work of Stand Up To Racism is that if we are talking about defeating Boris Johnson, you have to form a coalition… Black people can’t do it on their own, Asian people can’t do it on their own, Muslims can’t do it on their own, the trade unionists can’t do it on their own. But we can do it together. The potential for anti racism in this country is far more potent than the potential for racism.”
The conference was a celebration of that anti racist spirit, that broad coalition of forces that we must unite in the movement into active and connected anti racist activity to take on the racist offensive.
Stand Up To Racism is proud to announce that 4,000 joined us live across streaming platforms for the final plenary on Sunday evening, with over 2,000 who joined Saturday’s plenary. Since, many more are continuing to still watch the videos of the plenaries online and we hope people will continue to share them and spread the anti racist message. Videos of the panels from all 13 workshops will be added to this report and shared on our social media platforms too.
With 15 sessions including 13 workshops across the two days, Saturday’s International plenary (watch and share HERE) and Sunday’s closing plenary (watch and share HERE), the conference showcased an incredible line up of speakers from across the anti racist movement here and internationally.
Full report on the conference can be seen here. The conference had a number of outcomes, including building for an international mobilisation against racism on UN Anti Racism Day March 2022 (see below for events).
Wednesday 20th OctoberNational day of action: Oppose the Nationality and Borders Bill: No to hostile environment
Oxford protest assemble 5.15 PM, Carfax/Cornmarket, central Oxford.
Oxford Stand Up To Racism is supporting the national day of action against the government's racist Nationality and Borders bill as it enters its third reading in Parliament.
If passed into law, the Nationality and Borders Bill will deny many refugees the chance to seek sanctuary in the UK, criminalise many of those who try, isolate refugees in harmful out-of-town institutions, and undermine 70 years of international co-operation under the UN refugee convention. Combined with the government’s refusal to set a clear target on how many refugees the UK will resettle, it would drastically cut the overall number we give safety to.
It is a cruel and inhumane law which will worsen problems such as the large, growing backlog of people awaiting a decision on being accepted as a refugee, and the poverty and insecurity they suffer in the meantime. By scapgoating migrants this law will fuel racism.
Being forced to seek refuge is not a crime. We say loud and clear, refugees and migrants are welcome here!
Climate crisis: An issue for anti-racists
The global climate emergency is here and growing evidence says Earth’s climate is changing at a rate that has exceeded most scientific forecasts.
More and more people will become displaced from more frequent and intense weather-related events, and through the erosion of already fragile livelihoods and ecosystems.
The climate crisis is going to affect human lives and humans will try to move to different places to build a new life. For hundreds of millions of people the consequences are happening now and in the immediate future.
Small island states are among the least responsible for climate change but they are likely to bear the brunt of its adverse effects and, in some cases, even become uninhabitable.
There are many complex reasons for migration but the climate crisis is increasingly a factor in these often interconnected issues leading to displacement of populations. In 2019 almost 25 million new displacements across 140 countries and territories were recorded, three times the number of people displaced by conflict and violence. In 2020 it was 30 million.
World leaders resist calls to provide legal protections to displaced people, forced to flee increasingly inhospitable conditions. Instead of taking climate action they’re looking at how to stop the flow of people, beef up border security and treat migrants and refugees harsher than they already are.
The same states fortifying their borders and fuelling racism against migrants and refugees are also those who have, for decades, failed to address climate change.
Governments that demonise migrants and refugees also assist the far right in stoking hatred with alarmist predictions of climate disaster and mass migration that ‘threatens the white race’.
Increasingly, we’re seeing not just attacks on refugees and migrants but attempts to criminalise solidarity with them. This is shown by the current attacks on rescuing charity Royal National Lifeboat Institution, dismissed by racist Nigel Farage as a ‘taxi service for migrants’.
The global climate summit COP 26 is taking place in Glasgow in November. It is the most important yet: life on Earth literally depends on what agreements are struck there.
While world leaders meet people around the world will be mobilising for a Global Day of Climate Justice. Anti-racists must mobilise to pressure world leaders and demand climate justice is enshrined in any agreements struck at COP26.
Global Day of Action For Climate Justice
Oxford march and rally - assemble 1 PM Saturday Nov 6th
Manzil Way Gardens, Cowley Road, Oxford. Organised by Oxfordshire COP26 Climate Alliance, supported by Oxford Stand Up To Racism and many others.
Contact us if you would like to join the Oxford Stand Up To Racism contingent on the global climate strike demonstration in Oxford on Nov 6th or to help build the anti-racist presence in the march.
The latest IPCC report on climate change highlights the urgency of action needed to avert climate catastrophe. Already we are witnessing record global temperature, extreme weather events, floods, droughts, wildfires, crop failures and destruction of ecosystems on an unprececdented scale. Increasingly this will force more and more people to migrate. We need to ensure that this is not met with a tide of racism.
Governments that demonise migrants and refugees also assist the far right in stoking hatred with alarmist predictions of climate disaster and mass migration that ‘threatens the white race’. Increasingly, we’re seeing not just attacks on refugees and migrants but attempts to criminalise solidarity with them. This is shown by the current attacks on rescuing charity Royal National Lifeboat Institution, dismissed by racist Nigel Farage as a ‘taxi service for migrants’.
We need to be the counter weight that mobilises the majority who want to see compassion at the heart of how we treat vulnerable people searching for a better life.
Other key SUTR diary dates:
Opposing the Nationality and Borders bill
Weds 20 October: Protest called by #TogetherWithRefugees Parliament Sq London 4.30pm
Local groups are asked to initiate solidarity events outside London and in workplaces and on campus as part of a ‘day of action’ in solidarity with events in Parliament Square. FB event with more details here.
Sat 23 October, Demonstration: 12 noon, Italian embassy London: ‘Defend the right to asylum’ protest called by Amnesty UK Europe. FB event here.
Friday 22 Oct: Support Show Racism the Red Card ‘Wear Red day’
In the wake of Euro2020 and the battle around #TakeTheKnee issues around racism and football have become a crucial arena for argument, organisation and debate.
Stand Up To Racism has been working closely with Show Racism the Red Card and is one of the co-ghosts on the event page for 22 October - details here.
With trade unions and campaign groups getting behind ‘Wear Red day’ it’s a fantastic opportunity to raise antiracism on campus, in the workplace or in the community. Everyone can do something on the day.
Take a picture at work or at college and tweet and post on Instagram using the #WRD21 hashtag. In a number of towns and cities Stand Up To Racism groups are working with supporters to organise #WRD21 photo shoots and #TakeTheKnee’s at football grounds with Stand Up To Racism banners and campaigners wearing red
November is Islamophobia awareness month. SUTR will be holding events on Islamophobia and supporting initiatives led by Muslim groups – find out more about #IAM20 on the MEND website
Over 5,6 and 7 Nov events will be taking place around the COP summit
- Including 6 Nov - the anti racist bloc at the Glasgow demonstration
- 7 November national online meeting as an official event at the COP26 People’s Summit – keep an eye on twitter.com/antiracismday for details
19 October –Ricky Reel: Time for Justice event on anniversary of Ricky Reel’s Murder - register here
Holocaust Memorial Day: In January SUTR will organise a national event marking Holocaust Memorial Day, to unite against antisemitism and fascism and to say loudly and clearly "Never Again".
19 March 2022 - will see events and actions around the world for UN Anti-Racism day.
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