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Saturday 25 October - TCAR's Northern March Against Racism! Newcastle!

On 25th October the 2nd Northern March Against Racism, called by TCAR (Tyneside Community Action for Refugees), took the message of anti-racism, working class solidarity and internationalism to the streets of Newcastle. Anti-racists from Jarrow to Carlisle, Sunderland to Durham, Zimbabwe to the Czech Republic, DRCongo to Iraq, young and old, employed and unemployed, chanted together: “Unemployment and inflation are not caused by immigration – Rubbish, come off it, the enemy is profit!”

The march had been planned since July, but had become all the more important following the intensification of the economic crisis and the further deepening of racism indicated by the appointment of Phil Woolas as Immigration Minister, who has stated that the government has been ‘too soft’ on immigration in the past, and that he has been brought in to take a harder line.

Marching from the West End to Grey’s Monument the protestors demanded decent living conditions for all. As the march passed the offices of Angel Group, who make millions of pounds every year by providing substandard and unsafe accommodation to asylum seekers on government contracts, chants of “Angel Group – Devil Group!” rang out. On Stanhope Street passers-by showed their support for the march by buying TCAR’s newsletter, ‘Resistance’.

As the protestors arrived at Grey’s Monument they were confronted by a counter-protest of around 20 fascists from the National Front and Combat 18, holding a banner reading: ‘Stop Immigration – Start Repatriation’. The police stood by and allowed them to continue with their open racism for some time before politely asking them to move on, with a police sergeant standing chatting and laughing with the fascists. Their chants and insults were drowned out by the united chanting of the anti-racists, joined by many passers-by.

The street meeting following the march went ahead despite intimidation, visibly from the fascists and from behind the scenes by the police and council. First the police had claimed that they couldn’t ‘accommodate’ the march due to the Sunderland-Newcastle Derby on the same day. When TCAR informed them that we had no need to be ‘accommodated’ and that the march would go ahead regardless, they backed down. They then threatened that as they did not consider the rally to constitute a ‘meeting in the open air’ they would not allow donations to be taken without a permit. Both council and police have refused to define what they do consider to constitute a meeting. In the face of concerted opposition on this point the police also backed down, and took no action on the day.

Speakers included representatives from TCAR, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! and a number of other groups.

Speaking at the rally Sam Magill from Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! pointed to the roots of the current crisis in capitalism’s inherent contradictions, and the urgent necessity for socialism. She made the point that in order to rebuild a socialist movement in Britain it would be necessary to confront and destroy the Labour Party:

“The Labour party has waged bloody wars and attacked resistance movements internationally for nearly a century. If we are to change this then we must demand a total split from the Labour party. The millions and millions of people who are dying in countries like Congo; Iraq; Afghanistan from wars of economic plunder and the millions more dying from malnutrition and preventable diseases can’t afford to wait for us any longer. We need to build an internationalist movement today; a movement for socialism which can stand up against racism not only in this country but all over the world and demand a decent life for all! NOW!”

Other supporters of FRFI used the open forum to raise the question of Britain’s parasitic position in the world economy, and the fact that oppressed countries on which Britain’s wealth depends have been feeling the full effects of the crisis for a long time. They called out organisations on the left who are presently calling for government spending on ‘us’ instead of the banks, without questioning the source of Britain’s wealth. In Britain the logical direction of a ‘socialist’ movement which ignores Britain’s imperialist character is national socialism, or fascism.

TCAR will continue the struggle in Newcastle for all refugees’ and migrants’ rights. Contact us to get involved.

hear audio from the march here!
for the full audio, on indymedia, click here!

Together we are stronger!
Together we will win!

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