“We need to build a revolutionary anti-racist movement on the streets”: Inside the March Against Racism

From threats to the traveller community to the torment of Child Q, thousands of people flocked to central London to demand justice and an end to racism.

“We need to build a revolutionary anti-racist movement on the streets”: Inside the March Against Racism
Words and photos:
Chris Bethell

Last weekend, thousands marched through the streets of London in solidarity against racism in the UK and across the world. Organised by Stand Up To Racism, the demo gave people the opportunity to highlight a variety of causes and injustices, from immigration to Islamophobia to the Ukraine refugee crisis.

The march was led by a group of nomadic travellers who are being targeted by the Police, Crime and Sentencing Bill, which could make their way of life illegal. Others held signs calling for justice for Child Q, a black pupil who was strip-searched at school after being wrongly suspected of carrying drugs. Many simply turned up to show how sick and tired they are of our current system. We went along to speak to demonstrators about what they’re standing together against.

Max from Revolutionary Communist Group

"I’m here because we all need to stand up against the systemically racist British state and the capitalist system that keeps it in place. We need to have our voices heard by the government and we need to have our voices heard by the people in power; the bourgeoisie. We need to build a revolutionary anti-racist movement on the streets. It’s just as important now as it was 20 years ago. The whole reason we’re here is because we know the system is rotten. We need to get rid of it, to replace it with something more compassionate. I’d like to see the transition from capitalism to socialism on a national level."


"I’m here today because the laws they’re trying to bring in now will make me a criminal for just living my nomadic way of life. Why make that? That’s why I'm here, to show my support and keep my way of life going. At the moment there’s nothing stopping people from being nomadic and living their life like that. With the Police, Crime and Sentencing Bill they’re making trespass a criminal offence. So straight away, no matter where I go, even if it’s on a public highway, it makes me a criminal for trespassing on our own land. That could be a £2,000 fine or even a prison sentence, and then to be known as a criminal from then on. I think it’s fuelled by racism, all of it is, I think they’re frightened because they’ve got no control over the nomadic people in this country. But we’re just everyday people, the same as everyone else. My family has been in this country for over 500 years, they’re not going to stop us."


"I’m standing up against racism because it’s still a huge problem in our society and in our world. The recent case of Child Q has shocked us all, it’s very deeply disturbing. I’m just sick of it all, really, I’ve been on many of these marches and I just want it to end. I don’t think protests in themselves effect change, but I think it’s through coming together and standing in solidarity [that will create] change that really matters. We have a strong history of protest in this country, and I think we forget that a lot of the wins we’ve had come from people getting out and spending time together. People should get out and join their local movement. I’m here with the Birmingham Climate Justice Now movement. There’s no climate justice without racial justice. Join a group and chip away."


"I’m lending my voice against racism, because if you’re just sat in an armchair watching telly then you’re not going to make a difference. I think by peaceful protesting and getting out with like-minds, you can make a difference in a subtle way. I’ve been to rallies, I don’t like to call them protests. I go to rallies about NHS pay, women’s rights, anti-racism and anti-war. I’m hopeful that they raise awareness and can bring these issues to the people who were not aware of what’s happening – those people in their armchairs."


"I am here today to show my solidarity with all of the migrants and communities of colour. I feel like as a Polish migrant we need to build solidarity with people from other countries and all walks of life, regardless of their immigration status, because this is how we resist the hostile environment. The immigration system has become more and more hostile for the last 20 years. This year is the 10-year anniversary of when Theresa May announced the hostile environment policy in the UK. It has caused misery, and it doesn’t stop migration. We have seen the Windrush scandal and we have seen people dying in the English Channel. We’ve learned that there’s no stop to migration. We can only welcome people – welcome them and build communities together. That’s why I’m here."

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