Far right AfD leader Alice Weidel cancels speech under pressure from anti-racist campaigners
Far right AfD leader Alice Weidel has announced she will not be speaking at the Oxford Union on November 7th. The cancellation comes following an outcry against the decision by the Oxford Union to invite her to speak.
Kate Douglas from Oxford Stand Up To Racism said "This is an important victory for anti-racists. We were expecting hundreds to join our protest, and the cancellation shows that anti-racists can make a difference if they organise and mobilise. The Stand Up To Racism campaign united campaigers, councillors, academics, trade unionists, students and Oxford residents, and drew the support of the local Labour MP. All oppose the Oxford Union giving a platform to a representative of a party that is deeply racist and has Nazi members. The AfD has built it's fortunes on the racist scapegoating of Muslims, migrants and refugees and played a key role in neo-Nazis hunting migrants on the streets of Chemnitz. Already we face a sharp rise in racist attacks and didn't want racism being fuelled here."
Weyman Bennet, joint secretary of Unite Against Fascism, said " Across the world we are seeing a rise in racism and the far right. Far right and fascists seek the prestige of institutions like the Oxford Union to legitimise their racist views. Wherever racism is given credibility it emboldens racists to launch attacks, as was the case in the horrific murder of 11 Jews at their synagogue in Pittsburgh. In the UK the far right and fascists are trying to reorganise to build a street movement around EDL founder Tommy Robinson. We have to say 'Never Again' and call on all anti-racists to support the call by Dianne Abbott MP and John McDonnel MP to join the TUC backed Unity march against racism and fascism on November 17th."
This week it came to light that the AfD have used a picture of Holocaust survivor and veteran Anti Nazi League and Unite Against fascism supporter Leon Greenham in a photo claiming that the AfD is a victim of left win oppression. This is a foul abuse of a man whose wife and son were murdered in Auschwitz. Leon spent his life campaigning to stop fascism growing again and would no doubt have supported our protest against the AfD speaker at the Oxford Union.
This Thursday Oxford Stand Up To Racism wil be hosting a special screening of "Everything Must Fall" about the campaign to challenge racism in South Africa's Universties. This is a great opportunity for anti-racists to come together to celebrate our own victory to keep the AfD speaker off campus and to discuss what else can be done to challenge the rise in racism and fascism.
Free entrance - all welcome
7 pm Thursday 8th November
Ruskin Room, Cohen Quad, Exeter College, Walton Street, Oxford, OX1 2HE (map)
with guest speaker: Brian Richardson, Campaigning lawyer / Stand Up To Racism
The student movement Rhodes Must Fall (#RhodesMustFall, #RMF) garnered much media attention in March of 2015, after Chumani Maxwele of the movement defiled a Rhodes statue on the Upper
Campus of the University of Cape Town (UCT) with faeces.
Instead of succumbing to public pressure and media scrutiny, the movement became further radicalised and escalated their calls for decolonisation of the institution, starting with removal of the Rhodes statue. The ideological struggle of removing the statue became explosive and triggered national debate on social media under the banner #RhodesMustFall. Exactly one month after the cataclysmic event, on 9 April 2015, the Rhodes statue was taken down by the University. This event marked a symbolic shift in the discourse of South Africa, to one more decolonial in character.
The power of the Rhodes Must Fall movement resonated around the world. In Oxford, students launched their own RMF campaign to decolonise Oxford University and to challenge the institutional racism here. The University continues to resist calls for the Rhodes statue to be removed and continues to be publicly criticised for its discrimination against Black applicants, students and lecturers. Students successfully forced the Oxford Union to admit it was institutionally racist, yet the Oxford Union continues to honour racist and fascist speakers with a platform, including the fascist thug Tommy Robinson, Nazi Marine le Pen, and now the far right Alice Weidel.
We are witnessing an unprecedented growth in racism and far right activity not seen since the 1930s. Racists and fascists, emboldened by racist pronouncements by mainstream politicians like Trump, Bolsonaro and Boris Johnson, have launched racist attacks, including the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting.
Join us at the film showing for an inspiring portrayal of the South African student resistance and discuss what lessons we can learn from their struggle.
The demonstration is initiated by Stand Up To Racism, co-sponsored by Unite Against Fascism and Love Music Hate Racism, and is supported by the TUC and major national unions including Unite, UNISON and CWU, Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell amongst others. Local union branches in Oxfordshire are mobilising to bring members to the march, with call issued to students to support - join us. Book your seat on the Oxford transport now (which will be cheap or free)
The recent rise in attacks by the far right has created a real thirst for a mass anti-racist mobilisation in the spirit of the Anti Nazi League. Now is the time to take to the streets.
There is an urgent need to build a movement against racism and fascism.