Jean’s speech notes at the United Against Fascism demonstration in London on Saturday 6 November 2010
This is an important demo: we cannot be silent in the face of the growing activities of those who preach a politics of hatred.
We must stand up for rights of all to live in peace, be treated equally and to feel safe in their homes and on the streets where they live. This is a positive message, a positive movement and we need to have a strong voice.
Yes, there are problems in our society: unemployment is rising and many people lack decent homes. But these are not problems caused by race, religion or immigration. They are the problems caused by:
- the chase for economic advantage, quick returns and low costs
- inequality in our society – a lack of investment in social housing, in industrial development, in jobs
These problems are set to get worse with this Government and its vicious, unnecessary cuts programme.
We have to read the small print on what they are doing, too. For example, the move for police not to keep records on arbitrary stop-and-search. We need to remind this Government about our history, some of the background to the so-called Brixton riots and the recommendations of the Lawrence enquiry. We have to continue the struggle to guard progress so often won at the cost of oppression, inequality and the loss of precious lives.
We know that there is a growth across Europe of parties and movements which promote fear and hatred of certain groups: anti-semitism is still there; we have the stirring up of Islamaphobia – whether overt as in the Netherlands or through repressive laws in Belgium and France (and those laws on the veil, for example, are not only supported by right-wing parties but by parts of the left as well): the Roma face growing state persecution: immigration laws get tough and we are told multi-culturalism has failed.
This climate is fostered by hard-line nationalist movements working across borders and we must do that as well in order to spread a different vision.
We have to challenge those who spread lies and distortions, whether on the streets, in the press or in politics. Let us also remember that the BNP did not win its seats in the European Parliament because its vote went up but because others stayed at home. We have to provide people with a reason to vote for something better.
It is possible for people of different heritage and belief to live together, within a strong framework of human rights, democracy and dignity. It can only happen if we stand united and stand strong.
To watch Jean’s speech visit: www.youtube.com/greenpartyew