On Saturday 12th September, around 100,000 workers and youth came onto the streets of London to demand that refugees and migrants be welcome in the UK. This formed part of an international day of action, with similar demonstrations in cities across the UK and Europe. The real mood of the working class is one of solidarity, not racism and xenophobia.
On Saturday 12th September, around 100,000 workers and youth came onto the streets of London to demand that refugees and migrants be welcome in the UK. This formed part of an international day of action, with similar demonstrations in cities across the UK and Europe.
The size and defiant mood of the demonstration cuts across the usual Tory propaganda, which tries to use racism and xenophobia to divide workers from different countries. Instead we saw the real solidarity of the working class, which cuts across national divisions. Rather than fearing the “swarm” of refugees, as depicted by the Tory press, thousands were demanding the opening of the borders to migrants, and for their safe passage to the UK.
David Cameron had recently announced that the Tories will let in 20,000 refugees into Britain over the next five years. However, this long-term figure is pathetic when compared to the millions fleeing imperialist war, capitalist crisis, hunger and poverty across the world. This shows the callousness of the ruling class, who care only for their own narrow interests, regardless of who suffers.
On top of this, Cameron is trying to cynically use the crisis to whip up support for further military intervention in Syria. Rather than do anything to solve the crisis, this will further destroy the lives of millions who are already living on the edge. Cameron has only the interests of British Imperialism at heart, not those of the Syrian people. The labour movement must resist this at every level.
Jeremy Corbyn, hours after being declared leader of the Labour Party, addressed the rally at Parliament Square at the end of the march. Corbyn was greeted with enormous applause, since his victory represents a decisive break with the New Labour politics of war and privatisation of Blair and co. He correctly stated that those fleeing to the UK were “victims of war, victims of environmental degradation, victims of poverty and victims of humans rights abuses“. However, Corbyn called on those in government to “open their hearts” to those seeking refuge, and to “recognise your obligations in law”.
We must be clear: the crisis is the direct product of imperialism – the highest stage of capitalism – which results in misery for billions, so that a handful of billionaires can live in luxury. We can have no confidence in the imperialists and their Tory representatives to solve any of the problems forcing millions out of their homes worldwide.
The leaders of the labour movement must utilise the instinctive feeling of solidarity amongst workers and youth – which has been demonstrated across Europe in the past few weeks – to organise mass solidarity action, to counteract the racist hysteria of the establishment and the media, and to help provide clothing, food, and medicine, etc. to those fleeing their homes and looking for a safe-haven in Europe.
In the final analysis, even such actions of solidarity are only plasters over the gaping wounds that capitalist has created. Only a socialist programme, based on working class internationalism, can offer a way out of the current horror and barbarism. By taking over the main levers of the economy under democratic workers control – including the banks and major monopolies – we can offer full employment, decent housing, healthcare and education to all, and an end to war, poverty and misery.
We call on Corbyn to go further and give a bold lead to the labour movement. We demand:
- Open the borders to all – refugees and migrants are all victims of capitalism;
- No to imperialist intervention and war, which are the root of the refugee crisis;
- For bold socialist policies as an answer to the current unemployment, lack of housing, and poor quality of public services seen under capitalism;
- Workers of all countries: unite!