On 16th June, These Walls Must Fall campaigners and organisers celebrated the 170th anniversary of Halifax Chartist, Benjamin Rushton.

In Halifax, campaigners and Right to Remain staff attended the event along with other groups such as the Calderdale Trade Council, Friends of Lister Lane Cemetery and National Education Union. 

The Halifax Chartist movement emerged in mid-19th century Halifax and was led by figures such as Benjamin Rushton and William Cuffey. They advocated for democracy reform and workers’ rights and committed to global solidarity. The Chartist movement has had a lasting impact on contemporary struggle against racism, borders and inequality. 

In particular, Benjamin Rushton is known for his work as an activist, writer and think, who dedicated his life to dismantling the oppressive systems that exist. He believed that human beings, regardless of race, deserved equal rights and opportunities. 

In addition to inspiring anti-racist movements, the Halifax Chartists’ commitment to international solidarity offers an important insight into how we address issues relating to borders. 

These Walls Must Fall campaigners were inspired by these important figures in history, and the Chartist movement, so it was vital for us to show our solidarity by attending. 

Campaigners and attendees helped lay a commemorative wreath at Rushton’s grave, and listened to speeches from groups such as Calderdale Council, Unite and Friends of Lister Lane. 

Vee, organiser from These Walls Must Fall said: “As we navigate the challenges of our time, let us draw strength from the struggles and triumphs of those who came before us. Let us be inspired by the internationalist ideals of Rushton, Cuffey, and others, and let us forge ahead with the conviction that a world free from racism and borders is not only possible but necessary.”

The Chartist movements struggles against racism and borders inspire us to challenge the status quo, to question the arbitrary divisions that separate us, and to recognise the humanity that unites us all. It is a call to action to reject prejudice and discrimination, to tear down the walls that divide us, and to build bridges of understanding and empathy instead. 

In times like this, where the government is hostile to migrants and marginalised groups more than ever, we should look to our history and be inspired by the resilience of such figures. 

These walls must fall!