Saturday, June 23, 2012

Taking on the far right - now is the time for action

UNISON's number one priority, as delegates make their way home from Bournemouth or, having arrived, try to catch up with life in the real world beyond the Conference bubble, must be to build our struggle against the Coalition Government - first of all by working for a truly massive demonstration in London on 20 October.

However, our opposition to austerity is multi-faceted, and delegates at Conference rightly gave their highest priority, in the reprioritisation ballot, to Motion 86 on Fighting the Far Right, which was passed unanimously yesterday afternoon. At a time when our rulers have sought to turn a financial crisis of their economic system into an crisis for our welfare state, there is an ever present danger that far right bigots will slither up from the sewers on to our streets to try to find a market for their lies that the cause of capitalism's crisis is your neighbour of a different race, nationality or religion.

We have seen this with the electoral progress of the neo-Nazi "Golden Dawn" in Greece (by all accounts a right shower) and - whilst the lager-fuelled louts of the English Defence League (EDL) may not pose a similar threat now, we cannot be complacent.

As well as mobilising our members to confront the EDL on the streets, in an organised and disciplined way which protects both the safety of our members and the rights of our communities not to be bullied by racist and Islamophobic street gangs, Conference's earlier decision on Rule I will enable action to be taken against members of far right organisations in our own ranks.

We need to move swiftly to initiate such action if our NEC is to keep faith with the strongly held views of our Conference. We will need to put adequate resources (in terms of quantity and quality) into the important project of implementing the will of Conference in such a way that we do not risk either injustice to individuals or putting a foot wrong.

Since our NEC Committees will not now meet until the autumn, I hope that July's NEC meeting will be able to ensure progress on this important question.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

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