Socialist Worker

Unions throw their weight behind anti-fascist march

by Anindya Bhattacharyya
Issue No. 2103

Nazi führer Nick Griffin

Nazi führer Nick Griffin

Firefighters in the FBU union are the latest group to get behind the national demonstration against the fascist British National Party (BNP) due to take place in London on Saturday 21 June.

An emergency resolution passed at the FBU’s annual conference in Southport, Merseyside, last week condemned the BNP as “a racist and fascist organisation [that] poses a direct threat to the interests of trade unionists and working class people”.

“It was an important debate to have at the union conference,” firefighter and delegate Yusuf Timms told Socialist Worker.

“It was good for the union to show its backing for anti-fascist campaigns and to reaffirm its policy against the BNP.

“The conference decision will also directly help us get as many people as possible to the demonstration.

“Our union pledged a donation of £5,000 to help organise the march, as well as promising to circulate anti-fascist material around fire stations.”

The FBU agreed to mobilise its members for the 21 June protest, which has been called by Unite Against Fascism (UAF) and Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR), and bring the national banner to the demo.

The PCS civil service workers’ union also passed anti-fascist motions at its annual conference in Brighton last week.

It voted to continue its campaign to get BNP members kicked out of the civil service.

The debate saw union members praising the work of UAF and LMHR, which the PCS is affiliated to.

“Some 130,000 people voted for the BNP in the London elections,” said PCS deputy general secretary Hugh Lanning. “This shows the challenge that we face in our campaign.

“We need action such as the national parade and march against fascism in London on 21 June.

“The PCS should be a no go area for the BNP – and we give our commitment to smashing them.”

Other trade unions have also pledged their support for the demonstration, including Unite, UCU, NUT and NASUWT.

Meanwhile UAF activists across the country have been booking transport and mobilising for the 21 June protest.

These include coaches from areas such as Burnley, Leicester, Manchester, Liverpool, Hull, Rotherham, Sheffield, Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Oxford and Swansea.

Many of the groups of local campaigners booking coaches and selling tickets have been buoyed up by the

100,000-strong LMHR carnival held in east London on the eve of the 1 May local elections.

“People from Burnley brought 70 people to the carnival, including around 50 young people,” said Donna Guthrie from UAF.

“Many of them attended an organising meeting in Burnley and are now coming to the national protest too.”

The recent elections saw the Nazi BNP making gains in many areas of the country – including grabbing a seat on the London assembly.

But the BNP’s thugs can be stopped in their tracks if the anti-fascist majority comes together to form a united mass movement against them.

The growing momentum for the 21 June demo – building on the success of the carnival last month – shows that the thirst for such a movement is felt far and wide across the country.

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Tue 27 May 2008, 18:52 BST
Issue No. 2103
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