European Action for Racial Equality and Social Justice Archive Collection

June 9, 2021

European Action for Racial Equality and Social Justice (EARESJ or European Action) was an alliance of pan-European individuals and organisations engaged in solidarity to oppose all forms of racism, fascism and Nazism. The alliance was most active during the years 1990-1993 and had strong ties with Germany, Belgium, France and Italy.

The alliance grew following a 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. Similar to today’s problems, the concerning issues of the time included rising racial inequality and social injustice at a moment of increasing unrest and uncertainty following the fall of the Berlin Wall. The economic impact of a sharp rise in unemployment in Europe during the 1991 recession created a fear that foreign workers were taking jobs, leading to attacks on immigrants and increasing support for far-right parties.

European Action was co-chaired by Ian Macdonald QC, a leading barrister and specialist in the field of immigration law, and John La Rose, co-founder of the George Padmore Institute (GPI) and director of The International Book Fair of Radical Black and Third World Books. Founder members of the alliance include: Gus John, a Grenadian-born Professor of Education; the Jamaican-born poet and political activist Linton Kwesi Johnson; Said Bouamama, a French author; Obi Addy, a black political activist from Germany; and Azim Hajee, current treasurer of the GPI. For a full list of European Action founders please see the archive catalogue.

A major campaign, ‘Mission to Maastricht’, took place in December 1991. Delegates of the alliance participated in demonstrations at a meeting in the Netherlands of the heads of Europe. They protested against the rise in racial attacks throughout the continent and the failure of all heads of state to act purposefully in response to the rise of racism, fascism and Nazism. A picket outside 10 Downing Street was also organised, and a letter of protest to Prime Minister John Major was delivered by hand.

For more detailed information about the campaigns and history of European Action for Racial Equality and for a link to the archive catalogue visit the archive page here

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Flyer for the inaugural meeting of European Action (1992)