Standing up to the far right in Telford
by Jodie Mallier-Ridley
On 7th May, activists from anti-racist groups and trade unions came out en masse in Telford town centre to rally against notorious fascist Tommy Robinson and his far-right followers.
The former EDL leader’s 400 supporters marched through the town then gathered in an isolated car park where they listened to him exploit local child abuse scandals for his own cynical gain.
Stand Up To Racism and Shropshire Trades Council organised an effective counter rally, where around 300 anti-fascists gathered in the town square to send a clear message: Robinson and his ilk are not welcome anywhere.
Speakers were heard from these groups as well as from UCU, USDAW and the NEU. Trade unionists from across the Midlands and beyond came to show their support for unity and to oppose Robinson’s dangerous attempts to divide us.
The NEU Left were present at the event, because as educators we care deeply about racism and oppose any attempt to divide society.
NEU Left member Doug Morgan addressed the crowd and said, “We are absolutely for justice for the victims (of child sexual abuse), but we are not for fascist division, because that’s all they want to do, they want to cause hatred amongst communities.”
Convicted criminal Tommy Robinson does not care about the victims of abuse at all, as Doug reminded us, and we must fight relentlessly to challenge his rhetoric every time.
Chants were loud and energetic, and trumpets and music drowned out the fascist propaganda peddled by Robinson in the car park. Passing cars beeped their horns and cheered the rally to show support for anti-racism, where banners from Birmingham Stand Up To Racism and Coventry NEU were on display amongst others.
John Boken, an NEU Left member who helped to organise the rally gave a passionate speech saying, “We will continue to fight, we will continue to educate, we will not stop. Whose streets? Our streets!”
As pay and living conditions get worse, the far right will continue to push their agenda and exploit the vulnerable in our society, so it is imperative that we all oppose them at every turn. This is another reason why the left urgently needs to mobilise and build the cost of living national protest on June 18th.