Press Release… for immediate release
Protest for a #WorldAgainstRacism: 18 March 2023
On Saturday 18 March 2023, World Against Racism & Fascism – an international network of anti racist movements – will once again come together for UN Anti Racism Day to oppose all forms of racism and fascism in a global day of action.
Last year, over 60 cities participated in the international protest —from Canada to South Korea— and organisers hope for an even greater response this year.
They argue that “systematic state racism is giving space to the racist and fascist right to grow”. Organisers point to the recent attack on state institutions in Brasilia as an example of what the far right really represents. They point to the strikes and other mobilisations in more and more countries, which bring together people of all origins in joint struggles to defend their living and working conditions, and underline the capacity here to organise anti racist unity and solidarity.
In their declaration they conclude: “In the face of a massive cost of living crisis internationally we have to oppose racism, the politics of divide and rule and the growth of the racist and fascist right. It’s time to mobilise the antiracist majority. We must stand up together against racism and fascism.”
So far, movements in sixteen countries have already backed the call with different actions being planned for the day, and more movements are joining.
The international call: https://worldagainstracism.org/2023-waraf/18m2023-en/
See list of the movements that have signed the call so far: https://worldagainstracism.org/#call2023
Map of events planned (regularly updated): https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?mid=1PZsLNVZNq8RSBYqkLk7xLT34RyeI12o&ll=-3.81666561775622e-14%2C-3.8146771891312596&z=1
Quotes from around the world
Weyman Bennett, Stand Up To Racism co convenor (Britain), said: “We are continuing to see a polarising world in 2023, as the economic, political and ecological crisis deepens – the cost of living crisis is hitting millions of people hard, while governments have dragged the mainstream political discourse to the right. In many cases across the board they are seeking to intensify racist hostile environments, making border policies more brutal and inhumane for those seeking refuge and merely a safe life. Refugees are often fleeing war, persecution and oppression, or climate chaos. We should always remember: ‘we are all the children of migrants’. Human beings historically live migratory lives, and why shouldn’t we? The demonisation and scapegoating of refugees and migrants by state governments is opening the space, as it always does, to give far right and fascist forces oxygen to grow.
“But from Black Lives Matter to the resistance in many countries to racist pushbacks, we can see that millions of people are opposed to institutional racism and the racist offensive. With fascists like Meloni and her Brothers of Italy and Le Pen and the National Rally in France, or the Swedish Democrats, making dramatic electoral gains and entering government, organising as a matter of urgency to expose and oppose fascists in the wider street movements and in office is imperative. We also have to continue to fight the racist offensive from governments and establishment parties that fertilise the ground for them to grow. With strikes taking place against the cost of living crisis attacks in many countries, the marches on 18 March for UN Anti Racism Day are a moment we must seize to come together globally and assert the collective power of the anti racist majority – we cannot allow the politics of divide and rule to triumph. The stakes are too high. We must place anti racist mobilisation at the centre of the movement for unity, resistance and solidarity.”
Petros Constantinou, KEERFA (Greece) said: “Fortress Europe is building higher walls and fences which brutally cancel the right for asylum for refugees, transforming the borders into death traps and the Mediterranean into a graveyard. The Greek government has stopped more than 300.000 refugees with mass illegal pushbacks.
This racist escalation opens the way for fascists in Greece to come back after the defeat and imprisonment of Golden Dawn leaders. We say refugees are welcome, open the borders, stop fascism; demonstrate internationally for a world without poverty, racism or fascism!”
Christine Buchholz, Aufstehen gegen Rassismus (Germany), said: “We want to link the struggles against racism with the struggle against fascism, because extreme right-wing parties and organisations pose a serious threat in many countries. While governments are trying to push back refugees through inhumane policies of deterrence and closure as well as push backs, more and more terrorist structures are becoming apparent in the extreme right — often with links to state institutions such as the police and military.
The AfD has further radicalised itself. At their last conference, in June 2022, it became clear who directs the AfD: Fascist Björn Höcke and his formally disbanded ‘wing’. For the first time in the history of the Federal Republic, there is a danger of the permanent establishment of a mass fascist party. In Germany, our protest on 18 March is therefore also directed against the AfD. It is the parliamentary arm of right-wing and racist terror.”
Zjednoczeni Przeciw Rasizmowi, United Against Racism (Poland) said: “We stand up to racism of the Polish government at the borders with Belarus where refugees from conflict-torn countries continue to be brutally pushed back by border guards, with 39 people reported dead and 200 missing. We stand up for all migrants arbitrarily detained, abused and ill-treated in prison-like detention centres and we stand in solidarity with those of them on hunger strikes protesting inhumane conditions and being denied asylum.
We will protest in Warsaw on 18 March as part of this global mobilisation against racist policies of governments —unlawful pushbacks, deportations and detentions— which put migrants’ lives in danger and are a source of human suffering. These policies feed and legitimise fascism and Islamophobia. To racism we say: ‘Refugees welcome’, to fascism: ‘Never again’. Down with fortress Europe!”
Unitat Contra el Feixisme i el Racisme, (Unity Against Fascism and Racism, Catalonia) said: “Here we can see the dangers of both state racism and the far-right. Last summer, over 37 people were killed by Moroccan and Spanish security forces at the frontier in Melilla. We are also seeing terrible cases of racist deportations of Muslim community activists, including one of our leading members. All this in turn feeds the growth of the far-right, such as VOX, who promote even more extreme forms of racism, sexism, transphobia, etc. So on 18 March, Barcelona will see the ‘March of Solidarity: No to racism, stop the far-right’.
It is very important for this day to be a broad international mobilisation. We are especially interested in building links with antiracist movements in North Africa and in Latin America, where we must work together against VOX’s attempts to build an axis with Bolsonaro and other far right forces there.”
United against Racism and Discrimination (Denmark) said: “In Denmark, the new centre-right government is attacking the entire working class and the trade union movement called a national day of demonstration on 5 February 2023. We support this national demonstration. With large numbers of workers also being victims of racism, it is a united fight, and a fight that can only be won if we stand together.
Inspired by the call from World Against Racism and Fascism, anti-racist demonstrations and events are being organised in Denmark’s three largest cities on 18 March 2023. Resistance works, and the government has for now shelved the idea of a Danish-Rwanda solo-project.”
United Against Racism (Ireland) said: “In Ireland we have seen a rise of far-right led mobilisations against refugees, asylum seekers and migrants. Using the deepening housing and cost of living crises, these mobilisations targeting asylum centres are an attempt to popularise slogans such as ‘Get them out’, ‘Ireland for the Irish’, ‘House the Irish’.
We say, “It is not a refugee crisis. It is a housing crisis”. Our struggle is to build wider networks of solidarity and resistance to the far-right and their poisonous racism. The working class anger towards government policies is real and justified but we must also stop the rise of the far right.
The anti-racist “Ireland for All” rally in Dublin on 18 February that brought 50,000 people from many groups and organisations was a key moment in our united struggle. Bringing together demands on working class needs and a strong anti-far right stand made it a powerful event. We are planning to build on that momentum and continue to mobilise. For 18 March, United Against Racism Ireland is planning a public rally in Dublin, as part of the international solidarity. This will be another important date to stop racism from taking control of our streets.”
Virginia Rodino, United Against Hate (USA), said: “Violence from the Far Right is becoming normalized in the United States and around the globe. Hate speech and threats of violence are being embraced beyond fringe groups — by the highest ranking members of the Republican party as well as ordinary voters swept up in the economic insecurities and fear mongering encouraged by political leaders.
Only by coming together on a global scale in a mass movement can we beat back the hatred, the fear of others, and work toward real solutions to the actual problems ordinary people face. We stand in solidarity from the United States on this international day of action!”
Najet Zammouri, vice president of the Tunisian Human Rights League, said: “Tunisians have always been the target of far-right and fascist parties in Europe and now we find ourselves in an embarrassing situation after the declarations of the Tunisian president who is promoting hate speech against sub-Saharan immigrants. Fascism has no colour, it is there whenever someone promotes the exclusion of the other. Only the union of the antifascists of the world can stop it.”