Image via BBC News
It’s happened — Boris Johnson, the UK’s former foreign secretary with a back catalogue of racism, classism and misogyny, is our new prime minister. Boris is a leader who has said he admires Donald Trump, thinks Africa would be better off being recolonised, and has called black people “picaninnies” with “watermelon smiles”. So it makes sense to feel angry, deflated or frustrated with the British political system right now. At gal-dem, we want to dissent rather than dishearten. So we’re already asking ourselves: what can we do? Here’s a list of tangible things you can do today and in the future to oppose our new prime minister.
The most straightforward form of action we’re encouraging people to take is to get onto the streets tomorrow and protest. Thousands of people have planned to turn out in Russell Square at 17:30 to show resistance against Boris in the form of a street party protest. Make banners, signs, and invite your friends. Because gal-dem oppose everything he stands for, we’ll be cohosting — and you can follow updates here.
2. Support grassroots organisations and campaigns
Boris Johnson’s stances and past comments against people of colour in many ways make him a symbol of institutional racism, and the hostile environment. Now, more than ever, is the time to support or get involved with groups like Docs Not Cops, Lesbians and Gays Support The Migrants, Against Borders for Children, The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, and Sisters Uncut, and campaign against legislation like Prevent. Donate money, go along to meetings (bring a friend if you’re nervous about going alone), sign petitions and add your voice to their campaigns. Boris will continue a legacy established by Theresa May, and so the struggle against both austerity and the hostile environment must continue.
3. Get involved with other political parties
Another way to show opposition to Boris and the Tory government is to get involved with political parties with policies that oppose the hostile environment and austerity. You can read up on where parties stand on issues from immigration to education, and consider joining and going along to meetings. It’s also worth familiarising yourself with your MP’s contact details and encouraging them to oppose Boris’ harmful policies in the future.
4. Support critical media
Some media sources will hold Boris to account more than others. Read, support, donate money to, and share content from media sources that show willingness to criticise both the new prime minister and the Tory government.
5. Oppose racism in your everyday life
The racism, classism and misogyny characterised by politicians like Boris are part of a wider trend both within the UK and beyond. Oppose racism and fascism, both covert and overt, when you see it and feel it’s safe to do so. Boris campaigned for Brexit, and racist hate crimes in particular increased rapidly after the leave campaign won in 2016, and are predicted to spike again when we do leave. If you witness someone receiving racist abuse in public, read up on what to do, and how to report it.
6. Use your voice
It may not feel like a political action, but talking, tweeting and writing about your opposition to Boris and his government is one way of pushing against it. Whatever platform you have — whether it’s social media, panel discussions, phone conversations, column inches or a seat around a dinner table — use it. If you feel like you have things to say that aren’t getting airtime in the mainstream, it’s also never too late to start pitching and writing online about it. Let’s not allow Boris’ bigotry to be normalised.