ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Posts Tagged ‘Unite Against Fascism

What’s Going On At Unite Against Fascism?

leave a comment »

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.

Unite Against Fascism, Islamophobia And Antisemitism

with 14 comments

There is a problem in Britain and parts of Europe, that problem is anti-Muslim bigotry.

Most of it seems to be a refocused form of existing xenophobia and racism, that are common to many European countries, including Britain, on the weakest.

The levels of social deprivation and poverty faced by many Asians in Britain is well-known and documented, but more so in areas where there is a predominantly Muslim mix. They are often treated like second class citizens. Bigots and neofascists like picking on who they see as weak or vulnerable, that’s why they pick on Muslims for the moment. Their targets have changes over the decades, other ethnic minorities, but the bigot’s and neo-fascist’s basic methods haven’t, stir up hatred.

Modern day neo-fascist in the English Defence League want to use anti-Muslim bigotry to ferment racial hatred in Britain, to start riots and conflict, as the EDL’s recent actions show

This type of bigotry however it masks itself should be combated, from the violent racism of the EDL to the casual anti-Muslim joke. It is wrong and socially cancerous to society and individuals.

So I welcomed the recent Unite Against Fascism initiative against Islamophobia and other forms of racism.

Others might have their reservations concerning the UAF, as a SWP front, but I think if they are going to combat racism that I am prepared to pass over, momentarily, the SWP’s previous mistakes, whilst they do good work.

Astute readers will notice that the original letter from the UAF includes a passage deploring the rise of antisemitism as well, which is to be welcomed:

“We, the undersigned, are deeply concerned by the rise in fascism, Islamophobia, antisemitism and racism. The English Defence League has organised events across the country, stirring up hatred, Islamophobia and racism – running riot in some cases and provoking violent attacks on Muslim, black and Asian communities and on Mosques and Mandirs (Hindu temples)
…”

Imagine, however, my surprise when I read an email on the 6th November’s event and saw something missing.

Yes, that’s right, opposition to antisemitism had somehow been dropped from the event’s main propaganda. There’s a small bit is on a flyer and a previous email, but all of the Facebook links leave it out.

I assumed it was a simple slipup, so I looked on the Facebook page of the UAF.

Nothing mentioning *specifically* opposition to antisemitism, as the letter had.

Nothing.

So I asked a question or 2+ in their comments boxes, but didn’t receive terribly illuminating replies.

In fact, the UAF replies were tetchy, defensive and avoided dealing with my questions, directly. I suppose the UAFers didn’t know what was going on, but couldn’t exactly admit it.

Now I’m prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt in this instance, but I think that the UAF should employ better proof readers and make sure that they don’t forget about opposition to antisemitism in all of their documentation.

The UAF need to spell out their opposition to antisemitism on Facebook and in their links, clearly, and not make it appear as an afterthought.

Update 1: Please let me remind any of my new readers to absorb my comments policy, in particular the bit:

“So if you are hung up about the existence of Jews, Muslims, the Roma, immigrants, “foreigners”, the French, the Irish, etc and feel the need to express your petty hatreds and xenophobia, do it elsewhere. “

Update 2: For UAFers and anyone else interested in combating antisemitism and racism then the CST’s yearly Antisemitic Discourse in Britain is vital reading.

The CST has much more, and here’s a PDF copy.

Update 3: Lancaster Unity has a good dissection of the xenophobia and hate mongering found amongst the worst tabloids in Britain over the last week or so.

We, The Undersigned.

with one comment

This is a welcome initiative from the UAF:

;

We, the undersigned, are deeply concerned by the rise in fascism, Islamophobia, antisemitism and racism. The English Defence League has organised events across the country, stirring up hatred, Islamophobia and racism – running riot in some cases and provoking violent attacks on Muslim, black and Asian communities and on Mosques and Mandirs (Hindu temples).

Alongside this the British National Party has received unprecedented electoral support for a fascist organisation in Britain.

Despite losing many council seats in the elections this year, the BNP’s share of the vote overall continued to rise and it has two elected members of the European Parliament.

This is in the context of a wave of Islamophobia and racism in Europe and the USA, including threats to burn copies of the Qur’an, attacks on Mosques and Islamic cultural centres, bans on Muslim women’s full-face veils and the construction of minarets. In France, the Roma people have been singled out and subjected to mass expulsions.

Now, more than ever, we must unite to turn back this tide of hatred.

We stand against the rise of racism, fascism, Islamophobia and antisemitism and support the demonstration on Saturday 6 November.

Signed:

Derek Simpson joint general secretary, Unite the union, Tony Woodley joint general secretary, Unite the union, Keith Sonnet deputy general secretary Unison, Ed Balls MP, Diane Abbott MP, Billy Hayes general secretary, CWU, Tony Kearns deputy general secretary, CWU, Chris Keates general secretary, NASUWT, Christine Blower general secretary NUT, Kevin Courtney deputy general secretary, NUT, Mark Serwotka general secretary PCS, Hugh Lanning deputy general secretary PCS, Matt Wrack general secretary FBU, Bob Crow general secretary, RMT, Jeremy Dear general secretary NUJ, Pete Murray president NUJ, Gerry Conlon Guildford Four, Paddy Hill Birmingham Six, Runnymede Trust, Napo, POA, Musicians Union

Written by modernityblog

03/11/2010 at 20:31