AT the weekend more than 800 protests took place in the United States to oppose the treatment of children and families at the US border. This issue has stirred many. Social media is ablaze with condemnation – and rightly so. But this is one of many incidents that are nested in a wider political context: the rise of the far right in Europe and America. It is for this reason that people look on in horror and despair about what is happening in the world.

But we can see why the xenophobic right is growing. Living standards are in decline – as is hope for a better, more stable life. In a society that is based on competition between people, often in the fight for precarious or low waged work, identity can become a source of stability and pride. People are alienated from our political institutions. This has been a long-running process, and it has some way to go. The result is a polarised society. The far right has been able to capitalise on the situation in part because they have the backing of a section of the press and the establishment.

They would rather that people turned their anger and frustration on to immigrants who are depicted as benefit thieves, or Muslims who are projected as “invaders” hell bent on destroying white European culture. And at the core of the right-wing conspiracy theory view of the world, the Jews pushing “cultural Marxism” and multiculturalism. George Soros is therefore ascribed near godly power, and is the real enemy working behind the scenes. This interplay between identity, political alienation and economic inequality is taking place across Europe. Scapegoats are being found and channelled into popular consciousness, backed by wealthy donors and media giants. Their message forms the backdrop which allows this toxic brand of politics to churn around social media, making hate a viral phenomenon.

Some who observe this are sure that the situation will return to “normal” at some point. And probably sooner than later. Donald Trump will be replaced by someone presidential who doesn’t retweet the avowedly racist Britain First, who have sent their members to physically invade mosques. The National Front in France won 11 million votes at the last election – but Emmanuel Macron, it is claimed, can bring order. People will eventually see that Brexit is a disaster and reconsider. Angela Merkel’s migrant deal with the Italian Trump will placate tensions.

But the truth is there is no reset button. Things will not go back to normal – they are going to be driven further in to disarray. Why? Because we are only in the opening stages of what is going to be a protracted political, economic and social crisis. This is not doom-mongering. It is recognising the reality of the present world disorder. The consequences of the 2008 financial crisis are still playing out. But the consequences of the next financial crisis – which will overlap onto the post 2008 political landscape – have even more explosive potential.

But this does not mean a one-way street to a fascist dystopia. On race, class, gender, war, climate and democracy we are witness to revolutions in consciousness taking place across society, involving millions of people.

Black communities in America are once again in the middle of a fight against institutional oppression, and a racism that despite his protestations is embodied in President Trump. There is, as the weekend’s protests show, a growing movement of opposition emerging that is a serious threat to the far-right, uniting people beyond race. Steve Bannon, a leading thinker and strategist on the far-right and former Trump adviser, addressed this sense of a “race for the future” between ideological forces when he recently toured ultra-nationalist audiences across Europe, warning of the threats from new social movements.

He cited the feminist movement as one particularly potent danger to nationalist and racist movements and governments. From the massive women’s strikes in Spain, to the fight for abortion rights in Ireland and the women’s march against President Trump in the US, it is clear that this is a fight that will shape the political atmosphere in the years to come, generating the space for new radical coalitions to make lasting and dramatic change in society.

In short: we are not just afraid of the new forces of reaction, authoritarianism and racism. They are afraid of us.

What worries me more than anything else is that good people do nothing, or believe themselves to be powerless. I see posts on social media every day about the most recent outrage. I am told that I should be scared about the rise of the far right. Some confidently tell me this is a repeat of the 1930s, and that fascism is around the corner. As someone who has experienced racism, I need no warnings. But I do demand that action is taken that can generate a confident opposition to the far-right. The sense of paralysis has to come to an end.

This is why I am helping to organise demonstrations when Trump comes to the UK. I say demonstration because it is more than a protest. Yes, we will be protesting against Trump and for all the obvious reasons. But it is about something much more than that. Our point is to demonstrate that we – not the Tommy Robinson fanatics – own the streets. Our aim is to give confidence to every person who is looking at their social media or television in despair. It is to remind people that we are active participants in history, and that collectively we can ensure that the horrors of the 1930s and 40s are never repeated.

Those at the sharp end of the hostile environment and the rise in the far-right must see that there is a wave of solidarity coming in their direction. If and when Mr Trump visits it is accompanied by images of thousands of people on the streets it will channel hope – a precious commodity at times like this – to those communities. It can change the nature of the conversation. We have had enough of inaction. Too many lines have already been crossed.

This is not a protest that you can chose to ignore. It is a demonstration of what we can be. It is time we drew a line in the sand. It will be a chance for you to say that you stand with all of those under attack. That you are playing your part in building a better future. The race is on, and I am confident we will win. But it is now a matter of duty that we stand up and be counted.