CAMPAIGNERS HANDED out about 600,000 leaflets against the British National Party (BNP) during the Unite Against Fascism day of action last weekend. 'It was a tremendous step in getting the message out that we are going to stop the BNP making headway in the elections on 10 June,' says Weyman Bennett, joint secretary of Unite Against Fascism (UAF). Everywhere we heard reports of people joining Unite in significant numbers and many more delighted to see the campaign taking off. It is a springboard to mass leafleting on 1 May, when we are aiming to hand out not hundreds of thousands, but millions of leaflets. We are going to build on last weekend to get even more people involved.'
Two conferences aimed at trade unionists underlined the message last weekend. A TUC anti-fascism conference in London was booked out with 150 people who heard TUC deputy general secretary Frances O'Grady, Lee Jasper, adviser on race relations to the London mayor, and others. 'Over 150 delegates attended a Unite Against Fascism national rally held in Birmingham on the same day,' writes Phil Turner.
'Speakers included TUC general secretary Brendan Barber and Billy Hayes, leader of the post workers' CWU union and the national treasurer of UAF. The conference heard of the successful launch of local UAF organisations in scores of towns and cities across the country.
Lots of other areas were leafleted last weekend, including Brighton where over 40 UAF activists braved the stormy weather and downpours to give out over 6,000 leaflets to shoppers. Andy Player reports, 'The leafleters received an overwhelmingly positive response and loads of people stopped to chat. Thanks to a Labour councillor, there were also voter registration forms available, which came in useful. Union members from GMB, Unison, Natfhe and Aslef helped leaflet. Green councillors Keith Taylor and Simon Williams teamed up with three of their Labour counterparts, including Simon Burgess, a Labour Euro candidate in the South East region. Respect Euro candidate Paddy O'Keefe also helped out. So far, the event has been covered in the regional daily paper, The Argus, on BBC South East TV and by local and regional radio news. The GMB branch covering Brighton & Hove bin workers sent their banner to Saturday's event. The branch also donated £200 to the Brighton & Hove Unite Against Fascism group.'