Anti-racism

Submitted by AWL on 7 May, 2006 - 10:05

Motion passed at AWL conference 29-30 April 2006.

1. The growth in hostility to Britain's Muslim communities after 9/11 and 7/7 has combined with New Labour's failure to meet working-class aspirations for improved living standards, public services and social rights and its vicious legislative and rhetorical assaults on immigrants and asylum-seekers to create fertile ground for the growth of racism and the far right. We have seen a rise in racist attacks on black and Asian people, Muslims, asylum-seekers, migrant workers, Jews, and gypsies In this situation anti-racist propaganda and campaigning is essential for any self-respecting socialist organisation. The AWL must concentrate more on anti-racist propaganda and make more interventions into anti-racist campaigns.

2. We should produce a high quality anti-racist broadsheet - and a simpler leaflet version that can be downloaded from the website - that deals with modern day British racism, including racism posed in terms of hostility towards Muslims (for instance, in terms of the so-called anti-terror laws, stop-andsearch procedures by the police and anti-Muslim propaganda by the BNP), the recent rise anti-Semitism across Britain and the rest of Europe, and also anti-immigrant and anti-asylum-seeker racism; and use this to help intervene into the trade union movement, and other relevant political arenas, to agitate for and thus mobilise a united front opposition to racism and fascism. Moreover, we should continue to utilise our existing pamplet 'How to beat the racists', and (as and when resources permit) update this.

3. We should develop a "BNP watch" or "Racist watch" section on the website and in Solidarity that keeps an eye on what the BNP and other racist organisations are doing and saying and poses responses in terms of basic working-class, socialist politics.

4. We should as far as possible involve ourselves in the genuine local anti-fascist campaigning groups that exist (eg in Dagenham, Leeds, Keighley), while maintaining and making propaganda for our position that cross-class "anti-racist" collaborations with the Lib Dems, Tories etc will not beat racism and fascism, and that alliance with conservative religious leaders beyond immediate physical defence against the far right is wrong. Essentially, we must embed ourselves within relevant antiracist and anti-fascist initiatives to agitate for and thus mobilise links with the labour movement, and to put across our distinct politics on both the nature of, and how to fight, racism and fascism.

5. We should where possible use materials produced by and participate in campaigns organised by Searchlight, in so far as it develops local anti-fascist activism and criticises Unite Against Fascism from the left, but we should also remain critical of the organisation's general politics and approach.

6. There is a burgeoning movement for immigrants' and asylum seekers' rights, against deportations etc. We should involve ourselves in this movement, maintaining our principled position of opposition to immigration controls. The EC should discuss this question and prepare a basic set of proposals for the NC.

7. We should have a session at the 2006 summerschool on modern day British racism and fascism.

8. We should make propaganda for a united anti-racist and anti-fascist campaign based on the labour movement and organising both local and national campaigns against the far right on the basis of a united campaign against racism and for good jobs, homes and services for all, immigrant or 'native', black or white.

9. We should involve ourselves in the work of Unite Against Fascism, whilst maintaining and making propaganda on our position that cross-class ‘anti-racist’ collaborations with the Tories, etc, will not beat racism and fascism. And also that alliance with conservative Muslim leaders is wrong.

10. UAF is a top-heavy popular-frontist organisation, with little internal life or grass-roots activism, tying the trade unions to an "anti-BNP" alliance with such people as Tory ex-MP Teddy Taylor and former Orange Order and Monday Club leader Martyn Smyth, and geared to asking people to vote for any "respectable" party against the BNP. We oppose this approach. However it would be tactically maladroit to attempt to make disaffiliation an issue in the unions. Most likely such an attempt would simply isolate us. Much better would be to positively propose that trade unions found a democratic, labour movement-based anti-racist/anti-fascist organisation capable of instigating grass-roots campaigning work. This approach will be the focus for our propaganda work and our practical proposals.