Socialist Worker

Step up the fight to drive out the EDL

Issue No. 2234

The use of Islamophobic arguments by mainstream politicians has encouraged the growth of the far right in Britain.

Martin Smith introduced the session on fighting racism and fascism.

He and Weyman Bennett are the central committee members responsible for the party’s work in the anti-fascist movement.

Martin explained that the fascist British National Party (BNP) has been thrown into crisis by its disastrous performance in last year’s general election.

The sustained campaign led by Unite Against Fascism (UAF) was key to this defeat.

The English Defence League (EDL) has emerged as the main far-right threat in Britain.

It has organised 35 protests and put thousands of thugs onto the streets.

UAF has challenged it on every occasion, but this has stretched the organisation.

The police spend up to £500,000 per demo attempting to keep Muslims away from confronting the EDL.

And some of the left have lost the plot, arguing that we should not demonstrate against the racists. That is not our tradition and it will not work, he argued.

Martin said, “The EDL wants to carry out an anti-Muslim pogrom in Luton on 5 February. We must stop them.”

UAF needs to keep on widening its base of support.

Weyman emphasised how important UAF’s trade union backing is—support from union leaders has made it far harder for the police to victimise UAF activists.

More than 20 delegates spoke in the discussion that followed. Several warned against simply dismissing the BNP, which has maintained support in many areas.

Balwinder from Southall talked about a new campaign to fight Islamophobia among Sikhs.

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