Socialist Worker

TUC defends multiculturalism

by Simon Basketter, at the TUC conference in London
Issue No. 2269

The TUC denounced David Cameron’s attacks on multiculturalism.

Introducing a motion on multiculturalism Billy Hayes, general secretary of the CWU union, said, “It was no surprise that Cameron used some coded racism.

“But not only is this approach morally wrong. It is also factually wrong. Multiculturalism has been a success in Britain.

“Cameron gave great aid and comfort to the racists and fascists. We can expect government cuts to hit harder, and the economy to continue to stagnate. Inevitably this is fertile ground for the racists.

“We must expect more problems from the violent Islamophobes in the EDL. We need to mobilise against it, and stand shoulder to shoulder with Britain’s Muslim communities.”

He also highlighted the convention on multiculturalism called by Unite Against Fascism and One Society Many Cultures on 15 October at the TUC.

“I hope many unions here will send delegates to the convention,” he said.

“We stand positively in favour of multiculturalism, and positively against racism and fascism.”

The motion included an amendment from Unison calling for campaigns to ban EDL mobilisations.

Zita Holbourne from the PCS and Matt Wrack from the FBU expressed reservations over this part of the composite while supporting the motion.

Matt Wrack said, “Bans will be used against us”. He added, “In October 1936 in Cable Street it was the people of the East End, workers and trade unionists, that banned the fascists from the East End.”

TUC fringe meeting launches multiculturalism book

A fringe meeting saw the launch of a new book on multiculturalism at bookmarks the socialist bookshop, on Tuesday lunchtime.

Zita Holbourne from the PCS said, 'Multiculturalism isn't a policy, it can't be erased. To erase it you would have to erase centuries of British history.

'Multiculturalism has enriched the UK. It is important to defend as well as celebrate multiculturalism.”

Billy Hayes from the CWU said, 'They say multiculturalism has failed, yet look at the richness and diversity of London. What always strikes me is the similarity between the treatment of the Irish in the past and Muslims today.

“Multiculturalism is about tolerance.'

Martin Smith from Unite Against Fascism said, 'Six weeks since the Breivik attacks in Norway, there has been no condemning of his ideas from the respectable right.

“All the mainstream right have attacked multiculturalism and Muslims. As the crisis deepens the attacks will continue.

“Cameron can't return to a monochrome Britain. He can attack 30 years of improvements. The establishnent attack on multiculturalism is encouraging the far right across Europe. As well as celebrating multiculturalism, we have to also be antiracist.'

For copies of the book call Bookmarks, the socialist Bookshop on 020 7637 1848

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