Report: 'Refugees Welcome Here' march - London 19 March 2016

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On Saturday 19  March, the London branches of the Revolutionary Communist Group joined the ‘Refugees Welcome Here’ march, which marked UN anti-racism day.

The march was organised under the name Stand Up to Racism, a trade-union-funded umbrella campaign. Around four thousand people marched from Portland Place to Trafalgar square.

At Piccadilly circus supporters encountered around 100 members of the fascist group, Britain First, with banners reading ‘Veterans before refugees’. Protected by police, they made little impact on the demonstration of colourful and vocal anti-racists.

At this point in time the racist thugs of Britain First  are a lesser threat to refugees and migrants than the British state, which launches and escalates wars around the world, then locks up and deports people who are fleeing the same conflicts. This is why we marched under the banner, ‘Fight Britain’s Racist Immigration Laws’, and why the speakers and chants on our sound system highlighted British state racism, expressed through immigration laws, police deaths in custody, the judiciary, prisons and detention centres.

The dominance of the trade unions, and hence the Labour Party, among the speakers on the platform resulted in an absence of links to British Imperialism. Everyone was rightly blaming the Tories for their racist treatment of asylum seekers, but simultaneously letting the Labour Party off the hook. The most recent Labour government launched imperialist wars and passed its own racist immigration bill but no speaker on the main platform denounced them for it. 

Far more than this march, last week’s demonstration outside Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre show the potential for an anti-racist movement that will challenge state racism here in Britain. We will continue pushing for that kind of movement to be built and we need your help. Join us!