Why unions should not automatically line up with UAF

Submitted by martin on 5 June, 2010 - 10:08 Author: Pete Radcliff

This is the speech made by Pete Radcliff at the UCU conference 2010, calling for the motion to support UAF to be remitted.

I am calling for this motion to be remitted because this issue deserves more serious debate and the motion glosses over very serious problems that have existed for some time but have got particularly worse over the last year since the formation of the English Defence League.

The motion does not deal with our relationship with the Hope not Hate campaign. Even worse, although mentioning the existence of local anti-fascist organisations of which there an increasing number, it does not mention the very poor relationship between the UAF and those campaigns.

In Nottinghamshire, where I live, we have had a lot of activity by the BNP as well as a violent demonstration last December by the EDL. We have a large local campaign, Notts Stop the BNP, supported by many trade union activists and other anti-racists.

The Notts campaign initiated the demonstrations against the BNP’s Summer Festival in our area and when the EDL had their demonstration in December we organised many hundreds against it.

How did the UAF respond to our frequent requests for co-operation for these actions. They refused!

They simply demanded that we do as they told us. No co-operation, no discussion, no democracy!

The same thing happened in Newcastle last Saturday when 600 racists of the EDL marched through the town. The UAF organised separately not only from the locally active North East Against Racism campaign but also from the Regional TUC.

Why is there this disunity?

Because the UAF does not want to co-operate with the many anti-racist activists, particularly trade unionists, who know that the BNP feeds off real working class anger and despair at being ignored. In anti-racist work we have to raise our alternatives, the policies of our unions, the policies of our working class movement.

We cannot do that in a Unite Against Fascism campaign that treasures its alliance with the likes of Peter Hain and even worse, David Cameron, more than any alliance with working class anti-racist campaigns.

Remitting this motion cannot and will not lead to disaffiliation from UAF. Hopefully it will call the UAF to account and allow a serious discussion on how to fight the growing threat of the far right.

Add new comment

This website uses cookies, you can find out more and set your preferences here.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.