Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/844/20113
Fighting racism with Solidarity Street
Nick Chaffey, Socialist Party Southern region
Over the last six months, hundreds of local people have backed our call to boycott "Immigration Street" (see www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/820/19037). Channel 4 recently filmed this racist follow-up to the derogatory "Benefits Street" in Southampton.
People rightly fear attempts to whip up racism and anti-immigrant sentiment, and have been determined to challenge the production. Community meetings, street stalls, a march and a protest at Channel 4 have resulted in the series being reduced to one programme.
Channel 4 is part of an establishment campaign. They want to turn genuine anger over lack of jobs and homes towards immigrants. But really it's the huge cuts to public services, the NHS and city council that have caused the increased pressure.
Failed government housing policies have left 15,000 people on the waiting list in Southampton. Rents are rising fast and for many are unaffordable. Buying your home is now just a pipe dream for the majority.
Our Labour council's answer has been to ape Ukip and introduce a rule excluding people from the housing list until they have lived here for three years. Meanwhile, on 11 February, they passed a further £30 million of cuts.
To counter the racist scapegoating of immigrants we are building a united campaign - against all cuts and for building affordable housing for all.
Councillors Keith Morrell and Don Thomas make up Southampton Councillors Against Cuts, part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC - see page 5). They have shown what needs to be done: oppose the cuts, refuse to vote for them and build a campaign to restore funding.
That is why we are standing anti-cuts candidates with TUSC in the local elections in May. We want to build a campaign for jobs, affordable housing, a living wage and the services that our communities need.
In The Socialist 18 February 2015:
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