Lambeth group battle against racism: ‘Immigrants are our brothers and sisters’

RACISM in Britain was at the centre of a public meeting in Lambeth last night calling for an extension to the free movement of people.

The meeting, at one point interrupted by a self-proclaimed Brexiteer, served to expose racial divisions running rife in a post-Brexit Britain, and the community members trying to fight them.

It aimed to rally the community to launch a petition to protect and extend the free movement of all people in and out of the UK, support vulnerable community members, and throw support behind ongoing wage disputes such as those surrounding the Ritzy Cinema.

Organiser Alex, who asked only to be identified by his first name to protect his identity from far right groups, said: “Racism drove Brexit, and it must and can be stopped.

“Lambeth must take the lead.”

The group is to launch a mobilising campaign to get the authorities in Lambeth on board with their plans to ensure Lambeth remains open to all.

Speaker Ruth Cashman, of UNISON, said: “Human lives can cannot be ordered in importance due to colour of their skin or place of birth.

“We have the technology and resources to ensure everyone has everything they need.”

Topics on the agenda included Grenfell Tower, Kate Hoey’s policies as a pro-Brexit Labour MP, Boris Johnson’s recent gaffes, and the swing to the right of British politics.

The interrupting Brexiteer asked how his national identity could be protected without Brexit.

Ms Cashman replied: “It’s not for Labour to defend people’s national identity. Migrants coming in are our brothers and sisters, not our enemies.”

She picked apart common arguments surrounding immigration, such as posing a threat to British jobs, which she debunked giving stats showing the majority go into expanding industries.

The meeting was thought to provide a sense of hope for the most vulnerable in Lambeth. “I’m confident that we can build a movement that can win,” said Alex.

“I believe people can come together and be a real force.”

An anti-racist demonstration at the Labour Party conference in Brighton will be held on Sunday September 24, with pre-arranged transport. See Facebook for more details.

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