Note from Attac Ireland: this is a press release of a protest coalition we are part of and stand firmly behind. A list of all involved groups is available at the bottom of the page. This is an expanding list, as we are continually receiving messages from groups wishing to express their support and solidarity with this cause. Get in touch via the event’s page. Join us at 1:30pm at GPO on Saturday 6th of February to show your support. If you cannot be there but would like to show solidarity, please use social media messages with hashtag #NoPegida.
On Saturday 6 February a small group of individuals will attempt to launch a dangerous and reactionary movement in Ireland. We are calling upon members of the public to gather outside the GPO from 13.30 in response to this development. We are asking people to join us in sending a peaceful, broad-based and unified message against fascism, organised racism, and the rise of anti-migrant sentiment. Our mobilisation on Saturday is to voice our opposition to the launch of Pegida Ireland. This far-right anti-Islam group is part of a broader European campaign of hatred against migrants and ethnic and religious minorities. In response, a European Day of Action has been called, consisting of a range of counter-demonstrations taking place across Europe against these racists and fascists.
Pegida is a pan-European far-right group. Originally established in Germany it soon developed into a network, appealing to all those who want to stop an alleged ‘Islamification’ of Europe. The Pegida network leadership uses populist language, and combines an elitist and exclusive call for the protection of ‘our’ values, civilization and culture, with an appeal to the insecurities of working people whose jobs and public services are under attack not by migrants, but by governments. A notion of Europe under threat by migrants is thus presented, which often manifests itself in a racist, Islamophobic and at times outright fascist agenda.
In response to the arrival of this movement to Ireland, a broad coalition of organisations, networks and individuals have come together around the principles of anti-racism, social justice and equality. We represent a diverse range of ideologies and structures, but are united in our opposition to the disturbing rise of far-right extremism in European societies. On this European Day of Action we wish to send a strong message that Ireland, and Europe, belong to all of the people who call them home.
Mariya Ivancheva, a researcher at UCD, member of Attac Ireland, and organiser with this coalition, observed that “until recently, Ireland was one of the only countries in the continent where right-extreme organising and anti-migrant sentiments could not find fertile ground. This was no surprise, given the history of colonialism and forced migration which has made Irish people victims of exploitation and racism.”
Ms Ivancheva continued: “as a migrant who has received great welcome, I am appalled to see the rise of the xenophobic, racist, anti-migrant network of Pegida here. I am alerted that its violent language is now trying to find currency not only among Irish white supremacists and far-right sympathisers, but also among working people affected by the crisis. I hope the Irish have learned from history and will not allow this to happen.”
Ronit Lentin, a member of Anti-Racism Network Ireland, stated that “some will attempt to mask their xenophobia in ‘reasonable concerns’ about the compatibility between European values and Islam. However the idea that Islam itself should be opposed because it is an inherently alien culture that is incompatible with our own is – by definition – a xenophobic proposition. Furthermore, given that Muslims are a minority in Europe that are more often than not victims of racism, the ‘Islamification’ that Pegida campaigns against is a figment of their own racist imagination. The real ‘threat’ to our values and society comes not from migrants and Muslims, but from far-right extremists and fascists.”
We are calling on those who cannot make the event, but wish to stand in solidarity with us against racism and all forms of extremism, to use social media messages in support with the hashtag: #NoPegida. We are fully intent on holding a family-friendly peaceful protest. Yet, we should all be watchful and vigilant regarding our own security and safety. Some of the people marching in support of Pegida come from organised racist and neo-Nazi networks, which do not shy away from violence against people who look or think differently than they do.
Supporting organisations (in alphabetical order):
Anti Austerity Alliance
Africa Centre Dublin Ireland
Anti Racism Network Ireland
Autistic Rights Together
Conference of Religious in Ireland
Dialogue & Diversity
Dublin Calais Refugee Solidarity
Dublin City Centre Citizens Information Service
Gluaiseacht for Global Justice
Irish Anti-War Movement
Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC)
Irish Refugee Council
Irish Missionary Union
Irish Traveller Movement
Migrant Rights Centre Ireland,
National Traveller Womens Forum
Show Racism the Red Card – Ireland
SARI – Sport Against Racism Ireland
Sinn Féin Ireland
People Before Profit
United Against Racism