Fascists and racists are targeting refugees kept in hotels across Britain. Fascist organisation Yorkshire Rose has called an anti‑refugee protest outside one of two hotels in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, next Saturday.
Jill is an activist with the local Stand Up To Racism group, which, along with Rotherham Trades Council and Unite Against Fascism, has called a counter-protest against the mobilisation. “The racist propaganda pushed constantly by the likes of home secretary Suella Braverman is a perfect mix with the situation here,” Jill told Socialist Worker.
“Rotherham is an ex‑mining community with nothing to replace those jobs. Opportunities for young people are diminishing all the time. The transport system is appalling. “There’s lots of stress and strains on schools, as they’re often in areas of high deprivation where children are going in hungry or not clothed properly. And there are foodbanks everywhere.”
Jill says that the Tories work hard to put out a “horrible narrative that refugees are the problem”. “But they’re not,” she explained. “These poor people have the most appalling stories. Yet the Tories cynically use them to create division and deflect anger away from themselves and the absolute misery they’ve caused.”
Life for refugees in Rotherham—and across Britain—is “horrendous”. “People think refugees are kept in five-star hotels—they’re not. They’re like prisons, and the food is crap,” Jill said.
The hotels in Rotherham are run by Mears Group. Here refugees complain they even face racism from some of the staff. Once inside the hotels, Jill says the refugees “languish with no understanding of when their papers are going to be processed. They can be there for years. It’s an utter disgrace.”
A Rotherham newspaper published a story about young men hanging around outside their hotel. “They wrote that a little girl was riding her bike in a car park nearby and felt threatened,” Jill explained.
“It’s absolute garbage, but it’s sowing the seeds of racist ideas in society. “We have to squeeze the oxygen out of all these racists and fascists.”
Anti-refugee protests are sometimes called by fascist groups—such as Yorkshire Rose in Rotherham and Patriotic Alternative in Cannock, Staffordshire. But in some areas its racist local groups that take the initiative. That’s what happened in Erskine, in Scotland, recently.
These organisations often describe themselves as “concerned locals”, and sometimes suggest their demonstrations have been “hijacked” by the far right.
Some gatherings of “concerned locals” have welcomed the far right onto their demonstrations, while others have rejected Nazi involvement. Whether the far right is present or not, every anti‑refugee protest is racist and should be countered.
The fascists will continue to organise their own protests as well as attend other local ones to give themselves publicity and a platform to recruit. But cloaking the rallies called separately from the hard-core fascists and treating their protesters as “not as bad” only legitimises racism.
No scapegoating and hatred towards refugees can be accepted—whether it’s from organised Nazis or racist groups.
Join the counter-protest against the Yorkshire Rose fascists, Saturday 18 February, 1pm, Holiday Inn, Express Park, Manvers Way, Rotherham, S63 7EQ. Called by Rotherham Trades Council, Stand Up To Racism and Unite Against Fascism
Know your enemy—who are the fascist Patriotic Alternative?
Patriotic Alternative is a fascist, white-supremacist organisation. It has been involved in calling and supporting anti-refugee protests outside hotels in Erskine, Hull, Cannock and Skegness, as well as rallies outside Drag Queen Story Hour events.
Some of its members do Nazi salutes, carry weapons and don blackface. They push racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia and homophobia online and through mass leafleting, banner drops and conferences.
Patriotic Alternative was founded in September 2019 by Nazi Mark Collett—a former leading British National Party member and chairman of its youth wing. In 2002 he called Aids a “friendly disease because blacks, drug users and gays have it”.
He’s referred to refugees as “cockroaches” and said there’s “no smoke without fire” when it comes to persecuting Jewish people. Collett also asked whether Nazi party leader Adolf Hitler was “such a bad guy?” Patriotic Alternative’s other leading members are linked to fascists such as Tommy Robinson and some were activists in the banned Nazi group National Action.
Patriotic Alternative’s website has a big countdown to 2066—when “native British people are set to become a minority”. It says it aims to raise awareness of “the demographic decline of native Britons”—an echo of the “great replacement” lie that fascists use globally.
These “patriots” attempt to organise regional groups across Britain with media and fitness officers. Patriotic Alternative’s 20-part plan of their vision includes an end to all immigration. It says Britain has “no legal or moral obligation” to take refugees from nations “that do not lie on her borders”.
It would accept only white European nationals or people who can prove British ancestry. Patriotic Alternative also pushes the racist myth that social housing demands have risen because of “mass immigration and the birth rate of the immigrant population”.
It also vows to protect family values—the “traditional nuclear family, which consists of a mother, father and children”—and “British jobs for British workers”.
Welfare would only be available to fluent English speakers. Schools wouldn’t be able to mention “systemic racism”. Employers could restrict “displays” of religious symbols, Christianity would be promoted, and places of worship funded by “foreign sources” would be shut.
Capital punishment would be reinstated, and national service would be reintroduced. This is the world filled with the most extreme forms of hatred Patriotic Alternative wants to see. These Nazis must be confronted wherever they appear to stop them spreading their propaganda and hate. They need to be kicked into the gutter where they belong.