Tuesday 31 December 2019

St Andrews Day Anti-Racism / Anti-Fascism Rally 2019

More from the St Andrews Day rally - here, Doug Haywood from Aberdeen Anarchists...

Hi. I’m an activist with many groups and causes. Today I’m speaking for the Aberdeen Anarchist Group. Check us out online, we’re fun at parties.
When our group were asked, it was suggested that we try to find a female or non-binary speaker. I’m sorry to say the only person available was another old, white male.
Doug Haywood, Aberdeen Anarchists

To go some way to remedying this I’d like to give a shout out to a women. A woman who died 100 years ago. Rosa Luxembourg.

Rosa was a tireless activist, theorist, anti war campaigner and revolutionary socialist. She became one of fascism’s first victims when she was killed in 1919 by Freikorps troops, her body dumped in a Berlin canal.

Rosa lived in a time when another world really DID seem possible, it felt like it was being born after the horror of WW1. She worked tirelessly for that better world, and the Fascists cut her down.

As an Anarchist I’m fond of her most famous quote, that, “Freedom is always the freedom of the dissenter”, (a mild criticism of the limited freedom offered by some socialist traditions), but I also love her assertion that,

“The most revolutionary thing one can do is always to proclaim loudly what is happening.”

There’s a lesson there for us today.

What’s happening is that we live in a time when many politicians are happy to pander to racist, populist rhetoric. To enhance division, fear and hatred as a means to keep power and wealth in the hands of the few.

We can see it in the hostile environment policy, in the Windrush scandal, in the hysteria over a few desperate people in inflatables trying to cross the Med or the Channel. It causes tragedies like we saw last month with the horrific deaths of 31 people in the back of a refrigerated lorry.  

Rosa Luxembourg
We must reject the ugly, insular, selfishness that leads to these tragedies. OPEN THE BORDERS. We must be internationalist, or we are lost to the bigots. To quote Rosa again,

“I feel at home in the entire world, wherever there are clouds and birds and human tears”

The right are weaponising insecurity and fear, the right are breeding hate. We must stand against this. We must stand in solidarity with those the pedallers of hate would seek to marginalise and “other”.

We must stand up in our workplaces, our schools, our streets. In our homes, clubs and when we’re socialising.

We must challenge this fear and hate wherever we find it, however it rears its head.

We cannot accept or be indifferent to fear, hate, racism and the far right. We must “loudly proclaim” that they have no place in this world. Indifference is part of the problem. We must stand up.

Nae Pasaran!