Jeremy Corbyn’s long record as an anti-racist campaigner & activist

In Uncategorized on October 29, 2020 by kmflett

Jeremy Corbyn’s long record as an anti-racist campaigner and activist

I last saw Jeremy Corbyn in person just before lockdown in early March 2020 when he delivered the 20th anniversary Bernie Grant lecture at the Bernie Grant Centre in Tottenham. His speech that day ranged across issues from anti-racism, the history of slavery and the rise of Black Sections in the Labour Party.

Sir Keir Starmer’s decision to suspend him today from the Labour Party is an attack on all anti-racists and the left in general. Starmer has certainly made firm statements against racism, although his description of Black Lives Matter as a moment not a movement wasn’t one.

Its difficult to argue though that Starmer is an anti-racist activist and campaigner or has a record of it.

Corbyn by contrast has always been up front about it.

We were both young men with beards in the North London labour movement in the 1970s (and we still are except not young) even if we had diverging views on the best way to achieve socialist advance.

Corbyn played a key role in the Battle of Wood Green on 23rd April 1977, one of the landmark battles which grappled with the rise of the fascist National Front, eventually successfully:

Corbyn was the organiser of that demonstration. He made sure that Councillors of all parties were on board and managed to unite those who wanted a peaceful protest and those who wanted to confront the fascists as well.

The local Hornsey Journal paper had the following quote from him:

From Haringey Councillor Jeremy Corbyn on behalf of the organisers of the counter-demonstrations ‘Why did the police allow the National Front to march through the busiest shopping area of North London, an area populated by several of London’s largest immigrant communities? It must be clear from Saturday’s demonstration that there is the widest possible opposition to these modern day fascists. How much longer must it be before fascism is banned from our streets?’

Since then Corbyn has continued to be an anti-racist activist. Some politicians as they progress through their careers prefer to play down or rewrite their past. By contrast Corbyn is always prepared to remember what he did on that April day in 1977 and was the keynote speaker at the 40th anniversary event in 2017.

He continues too to appear on Stand Up to Racism platforms and, where appropriate in days like these, attend protests.

It is an impressive and principled record which is more I’m afraid than can be said for the current leader.

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