Tuesday 31-01-2017 - 14:54
The student movement has a strong history of standing up against racism, fascism, and hate – a tradition I was proud to continue when asked to speak at Edinburgh’s protest against Donald Trump’s so called “Muslim Ban”, and the decision to invite him on a state visit to the UK.
It is so important, especially in the face of such appalling events, that people gather in defence of those in our communities that are increasingly under attack. When we come together in solidarity we do so not only to show our outrage and disgust, but also to show that regardless of the hurdles in our own lives, we care about our global community, and those within it who are continually marginalised and used as scapegoats.
We come together because an attack on even one of us is an attack on all of us. We don’t just sit back, silently watching from the side lines. We come together to fight for justice and liberation. When we take to the streets it’s not just to air our grievances, but it’s a reminder to policy makers and political leaders that we have our eyes on them, that they are accountable to us, and that when they fall short, when they actively engage in divisive and dangerous politics, we will stand up to them.
We will hold them to account because we are the people, we hold the power. These are our streets, our communities, our Muslim, black and radicalised, working class, LGBT+ and immigrant brothers and sisters and no-binary siblings.
Be in no doubt, the perpetrators of these coordinated attacks intend to divide us. They’re employing all forms of oppression, all the discrimination and phobias in their playbook to restrain the growing power of the people. They intend to break down our avenues of solidarity and mass organisation, until they can break down democracy and social morality to the benefit of those few at the top, who know that their days are numbered and who are frantically and constantly on the defensive.
This is why our opposition and our defence of those most vulnerable, those under attack, must also be constant and resolute. We have to mobilise wherever, whenever, and however we can. But we also have to recognise our duty to challenge hateful rhetoric, misinformation, and miseducation every day, instead fostering understanding, love and support in our communities.
I was proud to speak on behalf black students across Scotland, standing in solidarity with people across the world, wherever they are, who are being targeted by Trump’s racist and Islamophobic policies. We will always stand with these communities to send the message that they are not alone. We will give them a platform to be heard, and encourage our membership to donate whatever they can, from covering legal fees or staffing helplines.
But while we marched in solidarity, we also marched to condemn Theresa May's silence in the face of Trump's policies and rhetoric. A 'special relationship' with the fascist Trump administration is nothing to be cherished, and we should be in no doubt that this affront to our values doesn’t end in America. The ongoing atmosphere of xenophobia is paving the way for the extension of the PREVENT policy, the evictions of camps in Calais, and a clampdown on immigration is equally deplorable.
We will continue seek justice for the people villainised by these so called populist politicians, and we will fight fascism wherever in the world it rears its ugly head. I hope you’ll be there alongside us.