Socialist Worker

Anti-fascists set to meet to discuss victories and new challenges at UAF conference

The Unite Against Fascism conference will look at how we beat Nazi Nick Griffin and what has to be done next, reports Annette Mackin

Issue No. 2407

UAF activists protesting against Nick Griffin

UAF activists protesting against Nick Griffin (Pic: Mark Krantz)


Anti-fascists are set to gather for the Unite Against Fascism (UAF) conference on Saturday of this week to plan its next moves following last month’s European elections.

Petros Constantinou from the Greek anti-fascist group Keerfa will talk about the struggle against the Nazi Golden Dawn party. Other speakers include Labour MP Diane Abbott, Mohammad Taj from the TUC and Kevin Courtney from the teachers’ NUT union. 

The recent election saw Nick Griffin, the Nazi British National Party (BNP) leader, lose his seat as MEP for the North West of England. His defeat came after years of campaigning by anti-­fascists to expose him and the BNP as Nazis.

Some have tried to claim that Griffin was broken because Ukip took up the racist vote which would otherwise have gone to him. Weyman Bennett, joint secretary of UAF told Socialist Worker, “This was not the case. Systematic campaigning over the years strengthened our side and weakened the fascists.

“What’s more, all major trade unions committed themselves to UAF. These factors broke the BNP.”

Nahella Ashraf is a UAF activist in Manchester. She told Socialist Worker that from the moment Griffin was elected MEP in 2009 anti-fascists called protests to confront him. 

Confront

“We mobilised to stop him from making his way into the count at Manchester Town Hall and made sure he couldn’t make a victory speech on the steps at the end of the night. 

“This tactic meant he was never able to come to Manchester the entire time he was the MEP. This stopped him from building in one of the biggest cities in the North West.”

UAF conference will also host a number of workshops in the afternoon. These will include a Stand Up to Ukip meeting to discuss the launching of a statement to build support for the campaign against the racist party. There will also be discussions on how to join up the fight with other anti-fascists in Europe.

“The Nazis are down, but not out,” said Weyman.

“In France there have been magnificent anti-fascist demos, but the Front National did well in the elections because at the heart you need a united front to take them on.

“You need socialists, anti-racists and social democrats united in stopping them. And that is what UAF does.”


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