It is chilling to think that as the last Holocaust survivors alive are reaching the end of their lives, fascism and the far right are surging across Europe and the globe.After the horrors of the Holocaust which saw 6 million Jewish people mass-murdered together with millions of others, Europe and the world said ‘Never Again’.
Yet it is chilling to think that as the last Holocaust survivors alive who can give us a first hand testimonial are reaching the end of their lives, fascism and the far right are surging across Europe and the globe. This rise is fuelled by the fallout of an economic crisis which has seen Jewish, Muslim, migrant, Black, LGBT, traveller communities, and others blamed as living standards fall and austerity inflicts misery on the the many for the benefit of the few.
As an EU, Muslim African Migrant woman I have experienced at first hand the racism, Islamophobia and xenophobia that is increasing, whilst living in Italy, France and Britain.
Now more than ever we need to challenge racism, fascism, antisemitism and Islamophobia in all forms. Instead, governments across Europe answer the largest global refugee crisis with barbed wire, hostile environment policies and military obstruction, whilst religious symbols such as the veil, the kippah, the turban and the small cross are being banned.
In Britain, the hostile environment has resulted in the continued deportation of British ‘Windrush’ citizens, at times with fatal consequences for those targeted. These policies are coming from the heart of mainstream European political parties, which create a toxic climate emboldening the violent far right and fascists. We are seeing forms of racism resurface which have no place in the 21st century. Black football players are being subjected to blatant racist abuse, a swastika is drawn on a football pitch, Jewish graves have been desecrated and hate crimes for all communities are rocketing.
The horrific murder of Jo Cox MP by a fascist sympathiser and the terrorist attack on Finsbury Park Mosque which left Makram Ali dead and many others injured are a stark reminder of the mortal threat fascism poses to those who it targets.
It is only by opposing racism against communities becoming legitimised and part of the mainstream, that we will be able challenge the hostile climate which violent fascists are feeding off.
In Britain, successive far right and fascist movements have been defeated by campaigns such as Stand Up To Racism, Unite Against Fascism and their predecessors. All mobilised the majority of voters that abhor fascist hatred and all ensured those most threatened by fascism were at the centre of the broadest possible coalition against it. Muslim, Jewish, Black, LGBT and migrant communities allied with trade unionists, students and anti-racists to successfully defeat the electoral threat of the BNP by turning out a vote against it, and defended mosques and other targets of the violent street movements of the EDL, Britain First, the Football Lads Alliance and the recent mobilisations of Tommy Robinson.
These have been some of the largest anti-racist mobilisations in recent British history, engaging thousands of people, the most recent demonstration against Tommy Robinson outnumbering and demoralising a resurgent far right street movement. Every year, on UN Anti-Racism Day, anti-racists are empowered by marching together as part of a global day of demonstrations.
With Trump in power, the KKK growing, and the fascist Bolsonaro now elected in Brazil, opposing racism and fascism must become part of our everyday commitment to a fascist-free future. We must mean it when we say ‘Never Again’. The global movement against racism and fascism is needed more than ever.
Join the UN Antiracism day marches on Saturday 16 March in London, Glasgow, Scotland and other cities across Europe and the world. http://www.standuptoracism.org.uk/un-anti-racism-day-demonstration/
Miriam Kane is a National Union of Students NEC member.