This year’s Solidarity Day meeting took place on 29 June 2019 in London. Solidarity Day is an opportunity to bring together the struggles of oppressed communities, trade unionists and students and build the fightback against all oppression.
The event consisted of two sessions and the audience fully participated in the debates and discussions.
The first session was on the current situation in Sri Lanka, the recent repression of the Sri Lankan government on the Muslim community and how to build a fightback. The second focused on the rights of minorities and the role of trade unions.
Speakers from Refugee Rights, Ethir Media, a Sri Lankan Muslim independent journalist and the Sri Lankan Front Line Socialist Party spoke about the recent political and social situation in Sri Lanka.
The session highlighted that the promised ‘peace dividend’ following the end of the civil war 2009 – a brutal genocidal slaughter of 146,000 innocent people – which hasn’t materialised.
The Sri Lankan government is a political crisis and in order to survive and maintain in power is stirring up communal lines and unleashed anti-migrant racist propaganda. Both the ruling parties are preparing for the Presidential election that is scheduled to take place later in the year.
The second session included speakers from Unite and Unison unions, Socialist Students and the national chair of Tamil Solidarity. They focused on the plight of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK; ‘slave labour’ in detention centres; how government cuts are affecting young people in minority communities; and an increase in racial attacks and racism affecting Black and Asian workers.
This session showed how trade unions needed to take a stand against racism and austerity, to stop the scapegoating of migrant workers for the economic problems, the power of collective action, and encouraging people to join a union.