WHATEVER ELECTION result awaits us on Friday, some things are certain. Firstly, there is a greater need than ever for a mass movement against the racism and anti-immigrant bigotry that have been the driving force of Brexit. The Tory election campaign has given fresh impetus to racism and xenophobia, while the other parties have stayed silent.
Secondly, the election will not “get Brexit done”. The Brexit crisis, and the political and economic disorders that led to Brexit, have not been resolved. Thirdly, the political system remains broken and the two main parties remain divided, while the general population, on all sides, is more disengaged from the present political system than at any time since World War Two.
The chief lesson of the election is that we have to build an independent, integrated mass struggle to defend the free movement of people and stop Brexit. The current system can’t fight racism or offer a future of integration and equality. There can’t be an effective movement against poverty and inequality without a real, practical fight to overcome racism – and there can’t be such a fight without black, Asian, immigrant and youth leadership. Building that leadership and movement is the purpose of the Movement for Justice (MFJ).
‘This movement can win’
Genuine progressive change always comes from developments and struggles outside parliaments and independent of governments. One of society’s most urgent tasks is to overcome the toxic division of the working class based on race and attitudes to immigration, and to stop the rise of the Far Right that is based on Brexit. The Brexit crisis has broken the British political system and may yet break up the UK. It is unrealistic to rely on that system to defend and extend the free movement of people, end detention and deportation, and stop Brexit. That task requires the action of a mass movement led by immigrants, youth and the black and Asian communities.
“The chief lesson of the election is that we have to build an independent, integrated mass struggle”
MFJ will continue to support every struggle in the Labour Party to win free movement of people, defend immigrant rights and put Composite 20, a set of policies on immigrant rights, into effect – but winning those struggles is conditional on the growth of that movement.
That comes down to building action that makes the current anti-immigrant regime unsustainable: marches and protests in and by the black, Asian, Muslim and immigrant communities and by youth, including the demonstrations that will certainly be needed at parliament in the coming months; joint demonstrations inside and outside detention centres; school and college walk-outs; community organisation to prevent immigration raids; occupations and strikes in workplaces and universities to stop deportations.
This movement can win because it mobilises the social power of the most oppressed and most dynamic members of society, and that can inspire wider struggle and break down barriers, threatening the racist hierarchies that the system of divide-and-rule is based on.
This movement can’t just be wished into existence, nor can it be left to spontaneity; it has to be built and prepared. There are actually many thousands of people who can potentially be part of that work – organising meetings, building links, speaking to community and workers’ organisations, or in schools, colleges and universities. They need to be organised, whether they are in the community groups, the Labour Party, the trade unions or elsewhere.
Movement For Justice exists to build a movement of and for the poor and oppressed that can win a truly progressive and fulfilling future for all those struggling with the injustices of present-day society.