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From: The Socialist issue 1099, 2 September 2020: Tory schools chaos - unions must fight for safety

Search site for keywords: Nottingham - Right-wing - Trade union - Union - Council - Far right - Anti-racism

Nottingham: Socialists and anti-racists oppose right-wing march

Nottingham Socialist Party members

Around 300 trade unionists, socialists, anti-racists and anti-fascists mobilised for the local trade union council counter-protest to oppose a right-wing march into Nottingham city centre on 22 August.

Organised under the main slogan of 'justice for all', and led by an organiser apparently with links to the so-called 'Democratic Football Lads Alliance', publicity for the march and a motorbike ride raised veteran mental health and child wellbeing.

But it was actually a cover for various groups, including anti-migrant propaganda with a video comparing the homelessness of veterans (which is shameful) with the myth of 'immigrants' being put up in five-star hotels.

The composition of the event was a 'mixed bag', with a number of far-right supporters from around the country, 'God Loves Donald Trump' supporters, those who want better veteran support, and antisemitic conspiracy theorists QAnon.

The event attracted 500 marchers and a rumoured 250-300 bikers who rode around the city.

However, by the time the walking march arrived at the police-designated spot, its numbers had reduced to around 250-300. It seems that some of the marchers were uncomfortable with the people on the event, and presumably the shouting of passers-by.

The organisers had claimed that they were going "to take over Nottingham", which did not happen as the square was held by the trade union council protest, and attempts by small groups of the far right to confront the counter-protest were seen off.

The police had allowed the event to take place, and they let right-wing infiltrators take photographs of the anti-racism protesters, saying there was nothing they could do!

Trade union council stewards were blocking their cameras and getting counter-protesters to make their views known, forcing them to leave, although not before photographs were taken.

The march eventually made its way back to the BBC building in Nottingham's outskirts and held its rally there instead.

Role of unions

The Socialist Party was well represented on the counter-protest and we leafleted in the weeks beforehand, contacting trade unionists personally to build on the trade union council's own mailing.

However, the only two trade union branch banners were brought by Socialist Party members. There is a serious need for more trade unions to take up the struggle against racism and the threat of the far right directly, fighting for workers' unity and for full funding of services for all.

There is a pressing need to put forward real demands, such as 'jobs and homes not racism' and opposition to all cuts, which are our trade union council policies. This can undercut any support the divisive far right may gather. Some counter-demonstrators were just shouting "Nazi scum off our streets", which is an inadequate response.

The Socialist Party and many trade unionists have consistently opposed cuts to services such as in child services and mental health. The far right have no record of doing that and need to be exposed.

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The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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Article dated 2 September 2020

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