Weyman Bennett from the central committee introduced a session on riots, racism and anti-fascism.
He said, “There’s been a continuous tradition of resisting racism and fascism. The Socialist Workers Party has been at the centre of that in terms of shaping events.”
He talked about attempts to divide “respectable” campaigns such as that over Stephen Lawrence from the violence of the riots.
Weyman said, “The riots weren’t mindless—Mark Duggan had been shot down by police.”
Socialist Worker refused to join the chorus of condemnation. It placed the riots in the context of national political leaders like David Cameron playing the race card in attacks on multiculturalism.
The far right is growing across Europe. Britain has bucked the trend as both the BNP and the EDL have seen serious setbacks.
Weyman added, “Imagine the situation now if we hadn’t challenged them.”
The threat has not gone away. The new British Freedom Party unites elements from the EDL, the BNP and Ukip. The coming Unite Against Fascism conference is a chance to revitalise the movement in 2012.
A moving contribution from Carol, who lived in Thamesmead, south east London, at the time of Rolan Adams’ murder (see page 10) recalled resisting attacks on campaigners, whether by racists or the police.
Sadie from east London talked about how important it was for socialists to bring people together on her estate after the riots.
Rhetta said that on N30 protests in Manchester some demonstrators supported calls for British jobs for British workers “We need to be deeply embedded in the class to challenge these attitudes,” she said.
Gabrielle from Islington said this is an ideal time to re-energise local UAF groups. “Use your imagination. Who would be in your dream local UAF group? Ask them.”
Brian from north London talked about how the media rewrites history on issues like Stephen Lawrence’s murder.
They put themselves at the centre rather than the family and the campaign.
So the SWP will produce a new book on the Marxist explanation of racism and how to fight it.