A packed UAF fringe meeting at the Labour Party conference this week heard a broad panel of speakers discuss important antifascist campaigns for the year ahead.
Jennette Arnold (pictured), the London Assembly Member for north east London, opened her speech by describing how she has fought fascism all her life, and will for the rest of her life.
She called on everyone to come to Waltham Forest on 27 October, when the English Defence League will try again to stage a demo in Walthamstow – after their defeat on 1 September when thousands turned out to block them.
The meeting heard from senior trade unionists Hugh Lanning of the PCS civil service union and Patrick Roach, deputy general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union.
Hugh argued for ‘no platform’ for the far right, as these parties pose a mortal threat to those they target. He also outlined the importance of migration to the economy, while Patrick emphasised the importance of equality in education and monitoring racism in schools.
Luton MP Kelvin Hopkins, who has spoken at demonstrations against the EDL in the Bedfordshire town, said he would continue to campaign to stop the EDL – and its bid to get deputy leader Kevin Carroll elected as Bedfordshire police commissioner.
Veteran antifascist campaigner Glyn Ford, who is UAF’s European officer, told the meeting that fascist and racist parties were making dangerous advances across Europe, exploiting the bitterness brought by the economic crisis.
Claude Moraes MEP also looked across Europe, noting how Muslims aee being targeted in many European countries and highlighting the dangerous gains made in Greece by the hardline fascist Golden Dawn party, which now has 18 MPs.
UAF joint secretary Weyman Bennett pointed out that Norwegian fascist and mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik targeted young people from the country’s Labour party because they were supporters of a multicultural society. The fascists might start with Islamophobia – anti-Muslim racism – but eventually threaten people from many other communities.
Important campaigns for the coming year include the national mobilisation to support the We Are Waltham Forest demo against the EDL on 27 October and the ‘Griffin Must Go’ campaign to kick out fascist British National Party leader Nick Griffin out of his North West MEP’s seat at the 2014 elections.