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From: The Socialist issue 1044, 29 May 2019: Now get the Tories out

Search site for keywords: Knowsley - Far-right - Labour

Fight the far-right - fight for socialist policies

Tommy Robinson, Shayan Barjesteh van Waalwijk van Doorn/CC, photo Shayan Barjesteh van Waalwijk van Doorn/CC

Tommy Robinson, Shayan Barjesteh van Waalwijk van Doorn/CC, photo Shayan Barjesteh van Waalwijk van Doorn/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Neill Dunne, Liverpool and District Socialist Party

Liverpool and District Socialist Party members were part of the counter-demonstration against right-wing racist Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, aka Tommy Robinson, when he attempted to hold a Euro-election rally in the Bootle Dock area on 19 May.

His 30-40 supporters were eclipsed by around 250 counter-demonstrators who drowned out his hateful speech.

Some scuffles broke out when his supporters acted provocatively from behind (and in front) a police cordon.

Two hours later he took his rally to Huyton, Knowsley, on the opposite side of the city. But this time he had far bigger crowd of about 300 supporters while there were only 75-100 counter-demonstrators.

Addressing the counter-demonstration was Labour Mersey Mayor Steve Rotheram and Knowsley Labour MP George Howarth. But the mood was sour.

There was a sense of bewilderment at how both politicians talked of 'socialism' as a tool for battling hate speech, when all the while they've been brazenly raising council tax, privatising services, and implementing cuts in a grotesque lack of opposition to austerity measures.

This has allowed the far-right and right-wing populists to opportunistically capitalise on poverty-stricken communities which are desperately looking for answers to pressing social problems.

Knowsley has already seen prejudice taken out on BAME communities with the horrific killings of Anthony Walker in a park and a Sri Lankan shopkeeper.

The Socialist Party has continuously called for Labour councils to refuse to implement devastating cuts and demand more funds from central government via mass campaigns.

A no-cuts strategy could mobilise communities towards socialist ideas and reduce the large turnouts for the far-right.

This is the reason why I've stood against right-wing Labour councillors in Knowsley, to offer a socialist alternative.

The solidarity that Rotheram and Howarth call for is needed. But their ideas and actions will not achieve it.

Robinson - founder of the racist English Defence League and now advisor to Ukip leader Gerard Batten - failed to win a seat in the north west.

And despite much media coverage, he got only 2.2% of the vote and lost his £5,000 deposit.

Batten lost his seat as did all of Ukip's MEPs after the increasingly far-right party slumped from 26.6% (the biggest party in the 2014 Euro-election) to just 3.3% of the vote.

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Article dated 29 May 2019

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