Rally Against Racism in Christchurch a Success

Around 160 people rallied in Christchurch yesterday against the fascist Right-Wing Resistance’s “White Pride” day. Like maggots in an open wound, the racists of Right-Wing Resistance are trying again to infect a shattered city with their toxic hate. Two years of broken roads, cracked windows, and sky-high rents are bound to piss people off. Working people in Christchurch have every right to be angry, especially when a bunch of boneheads try to use the fallout from the quake to push their wacky “white power” ideas.  It is great that so many people rallied at such short notice to make sure the other side of the story was heard – ordinary people in Christchurch saying no to racism.

This is the not the first time Right-Wing Resistance have mobilised in Christchurch, and the city has historically been a centre of far-right organisation. Last year’s fascist rally was opposed by only one counter-demonstrator. This was a collective failing from all of us on the Left – it was vital this year that the fascists weren’t allowed to parade and intimidate unopposed. In just a few days, through Facebook, email loops  and word of mouth, activists in Christchurch managed to pull together a group determined to stand up to the racists.

The counter-rally showed the reality of working-class Christchurch, a world away from the ugly fantasy of “white power.” There were lesbians and gay men, Maori and Pakeha, Asians, students, parents; all united to say no room for racism. The fascists were outnumbered by 2 to 1 for the duration of their rally. They wanted to use the day – and their strutting, uniforms and Nazi swagger – to frighten immigrants, minorities, Maori, and queers. They failed.

The Dunedin branch of the International Socialist Organisation mobilised a van load of counter-protesters to join the rally. There were over one hundred counter-protesters in Abberley Park by the time we arrived, and our numbers swelled through the day. Groups of protesters broke off and, down Papanui Road, managed to block and hinder the fascist march for a while. Their police protection ensured their ‘right’ to spread their filth through Christchurch.

This was a very good rally – imagine the crowing the Nazis would be doing now had they marched unopposed. Despite TV3 calling it a ‘culture clash’, the footage of the day shows this for what it was: anti-racist Christchurch confronting the forces of hatred, division, and white supremacy.

It’s a credit to the Fightback comrade in Christchurch who started organisation for this counter-rally that it happened. There will be a next time no doubt, and we need to be better organised and prepared to  make sure that Right-Wing Resistance cannot march through Christchurch unopposed again.