Why I’m standing for Unite Against Fascism Assistant Secretary
As a dedicated anti-fascist and socialist, I’ve worked with many people to fight against hatred and ideologies that divides communities and can lead to genocide. In 2008, after the British National Party got elected to the Greater London Authority, Croydon Trade Union Council and Battersea & Wandsworth Trade Union Council decided to set up South London Anti-Fascists Group, which has worked with both Unite Against Fascism (UAF) and Hope Not Hate as well as other groups.
I have chaired South London Anti-Fascists Group for the last 4 years, in that time we have:
The British National Party are in decline and the EDL’s marches are appearing to dwindle in number, despite this there are new emerging threats facing our communities: whether it is parliament attacking the disabled and the sick via benefit cuts or traveller communities, or thugs attacking new migrants like Roma & Gypsy communities. We must change to respond to these threats, I pledge to do this by arguing for change in UAF to:
Moving beyond “parachute” anti-fascism
While the UAF are good at mobilising people out for demonstrations, it appears as if UAF parachutes into a community for a counter-demo and leaves once it has ended. I know there are good local groups that do work throughout the year. But for the number of activists that are affiliated to the national organisation, those groups are too few and far between. We have not enabled strong local groups to share their skills with new members who are interested in developing local groups.
Committing to stronger internal democracy
I think UAF has been sometimes slow to respond to national trends due to the lack of internal democracy and grassroots led decision making. I believe if we are to be effective in stamping out racism and hatred in all its forms, we need to strengthen our base and change tactics that don’t work. By developing active participation through democratic structures we can learn and share good examples and experiences.
Building proactive local grassroots groups
I would use my capacity to re-orient UAF to establish more local groups which can act pro-actively against racism and fascism. People experience racism and the politics of hatred throughout the year, we need to local groups to build positive communities to combat against it. This means more than holding Love Music Hate Racism gigs, it is building relationships across different sections of our communities and gaining trust. Pro-active means not limiting our visible actions to EDL/BNP counter-demonstrations but doing community work in local communities where migrant and working class communities are under attack or threat.
Dropping token “anti-fascist” MPs
Politicians in all the mainstream parties have and continue to use the language of the far right to attack immigrants and multicultural communities. We must challenge popular racism by speaking out against it. I believe we should sharpen our focus against policies and practices that foment racism, like scapegoating migrants for high unemployment.
I don’t believe it is credible for politicians that seek a cap on African and Asian migrants can be called “anti-fascist”, so I’d call for David Cameron and other anti-immigrant MPs to be removed and rejected from our founding signatories.
Offering concrete solutions
We are not a political party neither would I want UAF to become one, however we need to say something positive in the face of the economic crisis that we are facing. I do not feel it is credible for anti-fascists to fight fascism yet say nothing on the economic insecurities that fuel racist scapegoating and victimisation. We should not offer full political programme but we should be working with our partners in the trade union movement to promote alternative policies, and show that migrants aren’t to blame for this crisis.
Nominate & Vote for Justin Baidoo as Assistant Secretary of UAF
Nomination paper and details are here: http://uaf.org.uk/2011/12/uaf-conference-saturday-25-february-central-london/
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