The racists will not win
27th February 2012
A strong CWU contingent (pictured) joined over four
hundred delegates at the annual Unite Against Fascism (UAF) conference on
Saturday (25th February).
UAF national officer, Martin Smith, set out the
tasks and challenges for 2012 and hailed the success of
anti-fascist mobilisations in confining the influence of the
English Defence League (EDL) in the past year. Saying there was no
room for complacency, Martin also outlined the UAF intention to
kick the British National Party out of its remaining seats at local
elections and focus on pushing back the British Freedom Party as
Concurring, UAF joint secretary, Weyman
Bennett, set the context of the fight against fascism in a
climate of institutional and public racism and warned that
institutional racism was "opening up" space for fascists.
Citing David Cameron's attack on multiculturalism
in Munich as the most serious development to date, CWU general
secretary Billy Hayes said: "The conditions
under which fascism can grow are not created by abstract economics
- but by politicians, writers, presenters and opinion makers in the
"We must defend multiculturalism against bigoted attacks
whether those come from the EDL or from David Cameron," he
continued and concluded by renewing his commitment and that of the
CWU to opposing racism, Islamaphobia, and anti-Semitism.
A number of black and Muslim speakers, among others, highlighted
the increasing level of public racism, whether directed at women
wearing hijab or black footballers. A speaker from the Muslim
Council of Britain spoke out against politicians who 'use
Islamophobia to buy cheap votes'.
Many speakers from the floor contributed to a lively debate
over whether anti-fascists should call for the EDL marches to be
banned. Despite differing views on the question, all agreed to
unite against the fascists, including CWU head of Equal
Opportunities, Linda Roy who said: "CWU
members will be attending as many events as possible this year
against the EDL. We are determined to mobilise and stand up to
this fascist organisation."
One of the conference highlights was a moving speech by former
professional footballer Leroy Rosenior from Show
Racism the Red Card who spoke of his own experience of racism and
the need to take on racism and homophobic arguments. Agreeing with
Leroy, Paul Mortimer, a former England under 21
player, also shared his experiences with the conference.
A small group of about five EDL members protested outside the
conference but, moved on by police, the message couldn't have
been clearer: The racists will not win.
*CWU senior deputy general secretary, Tony Kearns, was elected UAF treasurer.