Trade unionists are building for a conference on Saturday to discuss how they can unite the fight against racism and the wave of strikes over pay.
Stand Up To Racism’s (SUTR) and the TUC union federation’s conference, in London and online, takes place as the Tories ramp up scapegoating to divide working class people. SUTR national co-convenor Weyman Bennett told Socialist Worker that workers “have to fight together against divide and rule”.
“We have strikes about the standard of living and the government is attempting to misdirect workers to blame a poorer part of the class, particularly refugees,” he said. “We have to combine the fight for living standards and fighting against racism.”
Weyman added that the Tories’ “weapon is one of divide and rule”. “We’ve seen that our picket lines are massively multi-racial and the Tories know the strength that has,” he said. “That’s why the unions have to come together and oppose divisions the Tories try to put in place.”
He added that Tory scapegoating was giving confidence to “small groups of fascists organising outside hotels” where asylum seekers are housed.
The day will be split between plenaries and workshops. Union leaders addressing the conference include RMT assistant general secretary Eddie Dempsey, NEU general secretary Kevin Courtney, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka and FBU general secretary Matt Wrack.
There will also be speakers from the Aslef, Bfawu Unite, UCU, CWU, GMB unions. And a spokesperson for the family of Chris Kaba, who was killed by police in south London last year, is due to speak.
As our rulers are plunged into crisis after crisis, they intensify the scapegoating of some of the most vulnerable. “But they don’t mention their own refusal to pay tax or the huge profiteering of the oil and gas companies,” said Weyman. “They’d rather blame refugees and the poorest in society—we need to reject this lie.”
Weyman added that activists in Britain must “heed the warning of France and Italy”. “In both countries there have been major strikes, but they’ve both still seen the birth of far right groups in the aftermath of capitalist crises.
“The key is to make sure the strikes are as strong as possible. And that anti-racism is as strong as possible on the pickets, meetings and demonstrations during the struggle.”
SUTR is organising national demonstrations in London, Glasgow and Cardiff on Saturday 18 March to build the fightback against racism. In the run-up, activists should be building for the day to show that working class people will overcome the Tories’ divide and rule. “Every pro-strike and anti-racist action can help push back the divisions that the Tories stoke up,” Weyman said.
Sign up to 4 February SUTR trade union conference at bit.ly/SUTRTUC23Original post