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What’s Going On At Unite Against Fascism?

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Political stupidity is nothing new and the British Left’s almost perpetual sectarianism has impeded many developments, but even I am surprised at this, from Indymedia:


Dear TCAR members and supporters,

The following open letter is being sent this week by the organising group for the Northern March Against Racism, after much consideration. It is a response to an unacceptable act of sectarianism by a leading member of UAF (Unite Against Fascism) to undermine the Northern March Against Racism, which has been called by TCAR. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that leading members of UAF around the Socialist Worker Party have attempted to undermine the work of other anti-racist organisations in the North East. We are writing this open letter in the hope that this issue will be addressed by UAF and that similar situations can be avoided in the future.



To the leadership and members of UAF (Unite Against Fascism):
Cc: Ken Livingstone, UAF Chair; Sabby Dhalu, UAF joint Secretary; Weyman Bennett, UAF joint Secretary; Martin Smith, SWP National Secretary

We are writing from the organising group of the Northern March Against Racism 2010, which is due to take place in Newcastle upon Tyne on 20 November. The march has been called by TCAR (Tyneside Community Action Against Racism), and is supported by over a dozen other organisations and trade union branches. We are writing concerning attempts by a leading UAF member and SWP regional organiser, Yunus Bakhsh, to undermine the Northern March.

On Monday 18 October, TCAR supporters put posters in the following shops in the Arthurs Hill area of Newcastle to publicise the Northern March:
Crossley Wine Centre
Brighton Oriental Food Stores
Fenham Call Centre
Mishti Mukh Sweet Centre
Tanveer Gents Hairdresser
M.A. Travels
Kamran’s Barber Shop
Geordie Hairdressing Salon
Persian Delights
Aanchal Fashions
Sanam Travel
Heera Jewelers

By Wednesday 20 October, most of these had been removed and in their place were UAF posters advertising the march in London on 6 November. We then put up more posters for the Northern March in the same shops on 20 October, of course leaving the UAF posters in place. The Northern March posters remained until the morning of Tuesday 26 October, when someone again removed the posters from shops including:
Crossley Wine Centre
Brighton Oriental Food Stores
Fenham Call Centre
Tanveer Gents Hairdresser
M.A. Travels
Kamran’s Barber Shop
Aanchal Fashions
Sanam Travel
Heera Jewelers

On enquiring with shopkeepers, several were able to confirm that a man had entered the shop, removed the posters for the Northern March, and in some cases replaced them with a poster for the UAF march. These shopkeepers confirmed from a photograph that the individual who removed the posters was Yunus Bakhsh. We have access to a shopkeeper’s CCTV footage, which clearly shows Yunus entering the shop at 14:48:26 on 26 October, removing the poster for the Northern March Against Racism, before going to the counter and handing the shopkeeper a flier for the 6 November UAF march.

We are sure you will agree that this is an appalling and unacceptable act of sectarianism, which damages the integrity of the wider anti-racist movement in the region. How can any serious socialist justify this sort of behaviour? We urge you to take measures to ensure the members involved end such acts of sabotage immediately.

The Northern March Against Racism is a vital part of building positive anti-racist unity in the region. It is being organised on an open and democratic basis. The local branch of UAF were first invited to participate in building the Northern March on 14 July, including full rights to distribute their literature, display banners and have a speaker. This offer has so far been ignored, but remains open. We hope that you will take immediate action to end the removal of our posters by your members, and that UAF will start to make a positive contribution to the Northern March. We await your response, and wish you well in London on the 6 November.

Fraternally,

Organising Group
Northern March Against Racism 2010

Justice for Immigrants! Freedom for Refugees!
Together we are Stronger!
TYNESIDE COMMUNITY ACTION AGAINST RACISM (TCAR)

formerly TYNESIDE COMMUNITY ACTION FOR REFUGEES (TCAR)

James Taylor

It doesn’t get more stupid than that. I do wish that the SWP and UAF would get their act together, British neofascism is the real danger not other antiracists.

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