Socialist Worker

Union with a proud anti-racist tradition

Issue No. 2196

Around 300 delegates packed into a anti‑fascist fringe meeting on Saturday—just hours after the mobilisation against the racist English Defence League (EDL) in Dudley.

Fresh from the protest, Weyman Bennett from Unite Against Fascism addressed the meeting.

“We have two fights on our hands,” he said. “The first is to stop the British National Party (BNP) making electoral headway and gaining legitimacy.

“The second fight is against the EDL. Their supporters interchange with the BNP. We shouldn’t just treat them as football hooligans.”

Jean Geldart from Hope Not Hate also addressed the meeting.

“If the Nazis gain control of Barking council they will control all of the public services and it would be a disaster,” she said.

Kevin Courtney, deputy general secretary of the NUT, said, “Teachers have a special role to play in fighting the Nazis.

“We have to say we’re not having them in our schools and not having them talking to our children.”

NUT delegates from Dudley had missed the day’s sessions to attend the protest there.

Jim Warner from Dudley NUT told the meeting, “The police told us we couldn’t assemble in the town centre.

“We had to get the bishop of Dudley to intervene—it was the only way to get a meeting point.

“But Unite Against Fascism is part of Dudley—we had hundreds of young Asian people and trade unionists on our side.”

Teachers spoke of the threat that the BNP posed to education.

Ivan Hickman, of Stoke NUT, said, “They have several school governors in Stoke and the chair of the Children and Young People’s Scrutiny committee in Stoke is also a BNP member,” he said.

“We don’t want these people in positions of responsibility for children.”

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.