For a Europe without fascism, racism and xenophobia
Unite Against Fascism national conference
Saturday 2 March, 10am to 5pm
TUC Congress House, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS
Unite Against Fascism’s conference this Saturday (2nd March) will bring together a broad coalition of anti-racist and anti-fascist activists, faith communities, trade unions and political parties set out a strategy to defeat the rise of fascists and neo-Nazis in Britain and across Europe.
A key focus will be to deprive Nick Griffin and Andrew Brons of the European Parliament seats they won for the British National Party four years ago.
It will also assess the lessons of the last year’s success in uniting communities in many towns and cities across the country to prevent the violent racists of the English Defence League from storming into multicultural neighbourhoods.
The conference will also hear from a number of speakers from Europe. Petros Constantinou from Greece will address the shocking breakthrough by the Nazi Golden Dawn party in that country and Marwan Mohammed from France will speak about opposition to the Front National, which came third in last year’s presidential elections.
They will join a range of speakers – from TUC president Leslie Mercer, to former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, Farooq Murad of the Muslim Council of Britain, Peter Hain MP, Gerry Gable of the veteran antifascist magazine Searchlight and many others (see below).
“The Unite Against Fascism conference this year continues to face a very serious situation where the ideas that feed the support for fascist groups have not gone away and street-fighting group like the EDL are still very active. But at the same time we have welcome successes to build upon.” says Sabby Dhalu, UAF joint secretary.
“The BNP have been driven back in the last few rounds of local elections, and the EDL met such a determined and united community response to its attempts to stir up hatred in multicultural areas like Tower Hamlets and Walthamstow that its support fell away. In Cambridge – its most recent attempt on 23rd February – only 26 people turned up to its ‘national mobilisation’, while the UAF united community response numbered 1500.
“But this success is down to the UAF’s systematic campaign against the BNP, the EDL and all neo-Nazi groups. It is certainly not down to a diminishing threat or potential support base. In fact, reckless media scaremongering, ubiquitous anti-Muslim rhetoric and scapegoating at a time of economic hardship are on the increase.
“The potential for all that to spill over into fascist advances and violent racism remains worryingly present. The BNP took two seats in the last European elections four years ago and Griffin and Brons are still members of the European Parliament. We are determined to defeat them in the 2014 Euro-election and any efforts by the far right to break through elsewhere. Our campaigns in the North-west and Yorkshire & Humberside Euro regions are already underway.”
Fellow UAF joint secretary Weyman Bennett adds: “You only have to look at Europe to see the urgency.
“What happens in Europe clearly affects us in Britain. Moreover there are direct attempts by prominent fascist figures from the continent to boost their co-thinkers here. Two years ago Geert Wilders of the Dutch extreme right Party for Freedom was here, last week the FN’s Marine Le Pen was in Cambridge, the Hungarian Jobbik Party is reportedly looking to open an office here.
“The UAF organizes against all such attempts to import Euro-fascism to Britain, and is stepping up its solidarity with the European antifascist movement.
“Just as fascists and racists are seeking to coordinate across Europe, so are antifascists. We represent the majority in each country; but if the majority stays silent, a racist minority can quickly grow. At our conference on Saturday we will be exploring with European friends how to better co-ordinate and reinforce our efforts.”
Full list of speakers
Ken Livingstone Former Mayor of London and Honorary President, UAF
Diane Abbott MP
Andy Slaughter MP
Claude Moraes MEP
Jeremy Corbyn MP
Murad Qureshi London Assembly Member
Leslie Mercer TUC President
Christine Blower NUT General Secretary
Chris Keates NASUWT General Secretary
Hugh Lanning PCS Deputy General Secretary
Linda Roy CWU National Equality officer
Farooq Murad Muslim Council of Britain General Secretary
Daniel Trilling Assistant Editor New Statesman / Author ‘Bloody Nasty People: The rise of Britain’s far right’
Owen Jones Writer and journalist
Symon Sentain Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust Chair
Edie Friedman Director, Jewish Council for Racial Equality
Azad Ali Head of Community Development, Engage
Fr. Steven Saxby We are Waltham Forest
Omar Ali President, Federation of Student Islamic Societies
Petros Constantinou Greece anti-fascist campaign KEERFA national organiser
Glyn Ford Unite Against Fascism European Officer
Gerry Gable Editor, Searchlight
Marwan Muhammed Collective Against Islamophobia (CCIF)
Helen Shaw Co-Director, Inquest
Omer El-Hamdoon President Muslim Association of Britain
Ken Fero Film maker and Director, Migrant Media
Myriam Francois-Cerrah Writer and journalist
John Campbell Yorkshire UAF Chair
Daud Abdullah British Muslim Initiative
Denis Fernando Lesbian and Gay Coalition Against Racism
Aaron Kiely NUS Black Students’ Officer
Sabby Dhalu Unite Against Fascism Joint Secretary
Weyman Bennett Unite Against Fascism Joint Secretary
UAF, OSMC, PCS, NUT
MCB, Engage, East London Mosque, Islamic Forum Europe, London Muslim Centre, BMI