Created: Thursday, 22 September 2016 11:05
Written by Newcastle FRFI
On 14 September Newcastle Unites - a coalition between the Labour Party and the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) - published a statement on their Facebook page banning the Socialist Party (SP) from attending a forthcoming demonstration against the racist English Defence League (EDL) on the grounds that an SP member is secretly affiliated to the British National Party. Newcastle Unites has published no evidence to support its claim, and until the SP says otherwise, we assume that it has either taken action against the member, or cleared him of the allegation. In these circumstances, we condemn the ban of the SP as both sectarian and anti-democratic.
In the final paragraph of the statement, Newcastle Unites says that they ‘have only had reason to exclude one other organisation, the Revolutionary Communist Group (FRFI) because they wilfully published details of an anti-fascist meeting which led to the Trades Council building staff being threatened by the EDL.’ FRFI was banned from attending a Newcastle Unites march against the EDL on 25 May 2013 because Newcastle Unites knew we would challenge the Labour Party’s history of vicious racism. To enforce its ban on the day, Newcastle Unites, led by the pro-cuts Labour councillor Dipu Ahad and with the support of SWP members, colluded openly with the police to ensure the arrest of 14 anti-fascists, including 7 FRFI supporters, who were accused of conspiracy to commit violent disorder. After a determined defence campaign no charges were brought.
Newcastle Unites is a sectarian organisation whose purpose is to defend the Labour Party against charges of racism. For this reason, it attempted to undermine the march organised by the Migration and Asylum Justice Forum against the 2016 Immigration Act on 25 June this year. Instead of attending the march to show solidarity with migrants and refugees, Newcastle Unites organised its own demonstration against an EDL counter-mobilisation. It refused to publicise the March Against the Immigration Act, attempted to stop the march from reaching its scheduled end-point where SWP members tried to drown-out Migration and Asylum Justice Forum speakers with childish anti-EDL chants of ‘Nazi scum’.
FRFI will be attending the Newcastle Unites’ march against the EDL on Saturday 24 September where we will speak out against the government’s attack on migrants’ and asylum seekers’ access to welfare, housing, healthcare and other services and its powers to detain and deport them, and its drive to criminalise and terrorise Muslims. There can be no successful fight against fascist organisations on the street except as part of a fight against state racism: the EDL would not exist if it were not for the racism of the British state. There is an urgent need to build an anti-racist movement in Britain today. We urge anyone committed to building it to join us on the Newcastle Unites’ demonstration.