Glasgow’s Response to Fascism

After facing enmity from politically oppositional groups as well as from the Scottish Police Force, the Scottish voice of freedom from discrimination spoke again this Saturday morning, in the protest held at 10:30 in George Square.

In a world that, from the limitations of lockdown, is now facing a widespread and quick capitulation in enormous social gatherings of protestors and activists all over the globe, Glasgow emerges today, raising its voice against both racism and fascism. The event was organised by the people of Glasgow to show what a united response to these issues looks like, in the light of recent events.

After the demonstrations of Wednesday 17th June, when members of far right groups turned up to oppose the peaceful protest against the maltreatment of refugees, movements from all over Glasgow’s political landscape, including Stand Up To Racism, Campaign to Welcome Refugees and Black Lives Matter in their Glasgow branches, came together today for International UN Refugee Day to speak against fascism, racism and discrimination.

During the happenings of Wednesday evening’s gathering, conducted in support of asylum seekers to end hotel detention which many are facing at the moment, barricades of policemen were seen shielding the peaceful protesters from far right militants and loyalists who were present once more, after the protest had previously been rescheduled from the Saturday to the Wednesday to avoid clashes.

The ridiculous claim of these groups was the ‘protection of statues’, that practically translated to their standing in front of a cenotaph with flags while endorsing threatening approaches towards the demonstrators, as the refugee protest proceeded in the Western corner of the square. However, one day later through the statement of Chairman David Hamilton released to media on 18th June 2020, the Police Federation took a stance, claiming culpable the right to protest in the name of ‘the health of our nation’. This ‘breaking of the law’ in the eyes of the Chairman sees those who defend statues, and enact violent behaviours towards other members of the community, as culpable as those who have decided to appeal to the greater value of an ideal that is the defence of human rights.

To leave one’s home in the midst of a pandemic, in order to ensure that those who are most endangered will be able to have the safety and dignity they have been deprived of, is not the same as standing (mostly mask-less and hostile, unlike most protesters) to oppose those basic human rights.

If one is prepared to support these accusations and recognise both stances as criminal, turning blind to the radical need for humanism and fundamental rights, then one is choosing to obey, rather than listen. We must be open to understanding the language of justice in order to move, as a nation, towards a brighter future.

Scotland is a country which has historically refused to become indifferent to injustice and oppression by standing proudly with justice and solidarity, in order to leave no one behind. When this basic stance is endangered or refuted by others, it must be reaffirmed until each and every member of the Scottish community is assured the dignity and justice they deserve. The real danger is indifference: we cannot, as a social body, ignore the small yet crucial tumours of hatred that are growing against the grain. This is not simply a legal issue, this is a human stance. We must choose to stand with morality and humanity. The response coming from the people of Glasgow today, was the same which was pronounced in the past and will journey towards the future: we are here to welcome, not distance.

Comments (9)

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  1. Ian McCubbin says:

    So glad this peaceful dignified event happened and it shows we have no place for the far right in any form in Scotland.
    Democracy, dignity, respect, inclusive are the key words describing our Independence movement which has all creeds, races and backgrounds except fascists.
    They are not welcome.

    1. Gary says:

      Well said Ian. I just wonder how many of the far right mob know how to spell Churchill’s name never mind knowing anything about him.

  2. Daniel Raphael says:

    Bravo. (applauds from across the pond, where we have some problems of our own). Carry it on, sisters and brothers!

  3. Kevin Hattie says:

    Well said, Erin.

  4. SleepingDog says:

    There are other ways:

    If these statues represent attempts at the aggrandizement of individuals symbolizing the dominance of past elites in perverting the course of history, then I imagine it would be helpful to counter their defence with clear, engaging and authoritative historical corrections. For example, it may not be immediately apparent to people unfamiliar with UK mainstream culture, but during and in the aftermath of WW2, Europe was dominated by mass movements of refugees. If they had not received collective help on a massive scale, their suffering and the humanitarian catastrophe would have been many times worse, and have significantly depopulated the continent. Understanding what happened from individual and family experience, up through the political, military and social systems, would go a long way to fill in important gaps in British public knowledge, unless I am mistaken. I draw on books like Keith Lowe’s Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II.

    1. SleepingDog says:

      I should have said “For example, it may not be immediately apparent to people unfamiliar with UK mainstream culture, but *many people in the UK may not be aware that* during and in the aftermath of WW2, Europe was dominated by mass movements of refugees.” Or basically, the WW2 refugee/humanitarian crisis is absent from British mass culture, I would argue (please feel free to give familiar examples I may have overlooked).

      Anyway, this article describes some of those other ways of engaging with statues:

  5. Jim says:

    While it is clear who these protesters are and as you say growing in number, Police Scotland who have been aware for some time with little action taken, it is also an issue with the tabloid press and our public broadcasters when reporting events, they either ignore or miss represent the agitators grouping all as wrongful, we had them portrayed as green or blue at the weekend

  6. Keith Muir says:

    In the 1930’s when everyone was appeasing fascism the Scots were in Spain fighting fascism now they are walking down our streets! vote yes secure this country!

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