Today is the 6th of June 2020.
Today is a day when, all over the world, thousands of people will come onto the streets in hundreds of protests, despite coronavirus, despite the risks to themselves, to shout that Black Lives Matter.
Today is also the 76th anniversary of D-Day.
Today is a day when we remember that we have to fight to defend the vulnerable. That appeasement often fails. That asking politely isn’t enough. That taking a knee is all too easily ignored by those in power. That sometimes, we have to plant our feet square on the ground and say: ‘No. Enough. This ends now.’
We have done this before. I would not have a vote were it not for the suffragettes who refused to be budged, who chained themselves to railings, set fires and generally made themselves a damned inconvenience to the men who ruled the world. In order to end the Holocaust, we laid waste to half of Europe.
There is ample evidence that blame for the violence and destruction at BLM protests can be squarely laid at the feet of the police and bad actors, but even if not – I don’t care. Don’t anyone dare come to me and tell me that violence is never justified in order to dismantle a broken and unjust system, because today is the anniversary of D-Day. Today is the anniversary of the day when thousands of men laid down their lives to save tens of thousands more. How can we regret that? Does anyone look back at D-Day and say: ‘we shouldn’t have done that’? No. It was a good and right thing to do.
The good and right thing to do today is to plant our feet and refuse to be moved. To make ourselves such a damned inconvenience to the men who rule the world that they finally start to listen. This has always been the good and right thing to do, and for the times we have failed to realise this we can only ask forgiveness and pledge to do better in future.
The US Government wants to designate ‘antifa’ as a terrorist organisation. Nothing was more anti-fascist than D-Day. Nothing was more anti-fascist than the Allied soldiers who stormed the Normandy beaches. If anyone is against anti-fascism, then I am against them. And if anti-fascism is terrorism, then let me be called a terrorist.
This is where my place is. Between the vulnerable and those who would kill them. This is where I plant my flag.
Black Lives Matter. Come for me first.