Delegates from towns across Yorkshire met on Saturday 1 December in Leeds to launch the ‘Get Brons Out’ campaign and discuss how we can make our region a fascist-free zone by 2014.
The conference recognised that although British fascism has failed to break through into the mainstream like its counterparts in Europe, we cannot be complacent.
Ratna Lachman, JUST West Yorkshire, and Mukhtar Ali, We Are Bradford explained why we must consistently oppose the demonisation of Muslims and refute every racist myth. Whilst we must condemn grooming, we must also expose the cynical attempts by the BNP and the EDL to turn it into a racial issue.
Kevin Donnelly, Vice-Chair Yorkshire TUC and Elizabeth Lawrence, regional secretary UCU underlined the critical role of trade unionists in opposing fascism. Other contributors raised important questions about how the rise of UKIP and its repetition of some BNP and EDL racist myths and campaigns will make it more difficult to isolate the fascists.
Speakers and delegates also emphasised the need to broaden the base of the movement to oppose the expected growth of racism and xenophobia in the build up to the election to the European Parliament in 2014 and Westminster in 2015.
Conference also recognised that the economic and social damage caused by austerity and the failure of a new government after 2015 to restore economic growth will lead to more favourable conditions for the far right. As with the FN in France, such a revival is likely to be a bigger problem than its previous wave.
An attempt by a group of fascist thugs to get into the conference underlined that the fascists are not primarily a political party. They seek to impose their views by force – intimidating communities and if they ever come to power eradicating their opponents. Delegates acknowledged that the dramatic rise of the fascist Golden Dawn in Greece is a warning to us all.