European Action for Racial Equality and Social Justice (EARESJ or European Action) was an alliance of individuals and organisations engaged in the struggle against racism, fascism, nazism and xenophobia in Europe. The alliance was most active during the years 1990-1993 and brought together anti-racists and anti-fascists, irrespective of their ideologies, through forums, campaigning activities and the interchange of ideas and experiences. European Action advocated an independent, radical, democratic and non-sectarian approach.

Campaign action was centred on the Mission to Maastricht in December 1991. The alliance also debated and opposed the new asylum and immigration legislation (1991-1993) and expressed solidarity with those condemning attacks on asylum-seekers, immigrants and the socially weak. European Action made its strongest ties with Germany, Belgium, France and Italy, as well as with the United Kingdom. European Action was co-chaired by Ian Macdonald QC, the leading barrister and specialist in the field of immigration law and by John La Rose, political and cultural activist, poet, essayist, publisher, founder of New Beacon Books and Director of The International Book Fair of Radical Black and Third World Books.

Flyer on yellow paper with black text and logo. Headed 'Stop the Killings'. It carries the European Action logo, a group of people marching forwards, waving flags.
Flyer for the inaugural meeting of European Action (1992)

European Action was initiated after an influential workshop titled 'Racism, Nazism, Fascism and Racial Attacks: the European response' (23 March 1990) at the Ninth International Book Fair of Radical Black and Third World Books. The forum highlighted the European struggle against racial inequality and social injustice at a time of increasing unrest and uncertainty following the fall of the Berlin Wall. The European Action alliance aimed to work in solidarity with other Europeans as a broad, united front of people to oppose all forms of racism, nazism, fascism and racial attacks.

The momentum behind European Action increased following participation in the Tenth International Book Fair forum 'Racism, Fascism, Xenophobia in Europe: the struggle against it' held in Manchester on 28 February 1991 and again in London on 6 March 1991. The forum included an examination of the economic impact of events within Europe. For example, diminishing support within Germany for reunification, the sharp rise in unemployment during the 1991 recession and the fear that foreign workers were taking jobs became triggers for anti-immigration attacks and increased support for far-right parties. The result was a string of violent attacks on asylum-seekers and refugees, such as those carried out at Molln, Rostock and the firebombing of the crematorium on the site of the Ravensbruck concentration camp (1992-1993).

European Action adopted the slogan 'Don't Wait Until the Ovens Begin to Burn', a quotation from Malcolm X speaking in 1965 during his visit to Britain. This allusion to the gas chambers of the Holocaust symbolised the fear felt by those engaged in the struggle against racism, fascism, nazism and xenophobia throughout Europe and also the determination that such horrors would never be repeated.


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