Over 30 people — mainly local workers but also some school and university students — attended a meeting on 2 July called by the Sheffield Department for Work and Pensions branch of the PCS trade union to discuss working-class anti-fascist campaigning.
The meeting had the support of individuals in other unions such as Unite, UCU, and GMB, because of the frustration of many of their activists at the failure of mainstream anti-fascism (expressed through campaigns such as UAF and Hope Not Hate/Searchlight) to develop a working-class perspective that can cut the roots of fascism, rather than just exhorting people to vote for anyone but the BNP (which necessarily means voting for the very same capitalist parties whose policies have allowed the BNP to grow).
There was universal agreement that effective anti-fascist campaigning had to have a working-class political programme that could counter the BNP’s exploitation of legitimate working-class grievances around issues like jobs and services. Whilst stressing the need for unity with activists currently organised in campaigns like UAF, many speakers also emphasised how refreshing it was to attend an anti-fascist meeting that was based on a real, open and inclusive discussion about which tactics and political perspectives are effective — rather than a top-down rally dominated by celebrities, religious leaders and trade union bureaucrats.
The meeting agreed to attempt to make contacts with workers in Southey and Firth Park — the areas of Sheffield the BNP targets most heavily — and aim for a public meeting in one of these areas, as well as to mobilise for the upcoming demonstration against the BNP’s Red, White and Blue festival. An organising meeting was scheduled for Thursday 23 July.
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