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Posted on 3 October 2018 at 17:55 GMT

Trade union model motion on fighting the far right: jobs, homes and services, not racism

This union branch/body welcomes the decision of the 2018 TUC to launch a 'jobs, homes not racism' campaign to unite the wider trade union movement and to campaign effectively against the far right.

We note:

1) On 14 July following a counter-demonstration against the 'Democratic' Football Lads Alliance, RMT members including Assistant General Secretary Steve Hedley were violently attacked, and racist thugs also held up a bus to intimidate a Muslim woman bus driver.

2) The 9 June 'Free Tommy' DFLA demonstration in London involved an estimated 15,000 people. The DFLA demo on 14 July which included calls to welcome Trump was much smaller, dwarfed by the demonstrations against Trump the previous day.

3) Nonetheless, many people will be alarmed at the size of the DFLA demos and could be put off participating in small counter protests that rely on the police for their defence.

4) While up to 15,000 marched to 'Free Tommy' on 9 June, in March 2011 three quarters of a million marched under the banner of the TUC when people believed the trade unions were going to fight austerity.

When Jeremy Corbyn put forward an anti-austerity manifesto in the 2017 general election a million previously-Ukip voters switched to vote Labour.

We agree:

1) If the far-right attempt to invade a local community it is essential that we fight for a massive mobilisation of the community to defend itself.

The trade unions can be crucial in this. With an energetically-built campaign in the workplaces we can mobilise members.

2) We welcome the call from RMT activists for a trade union stewarding group. A list of hundreds of volunteers from each union could be drawn up, from which stewards and a chief steward with experience can be drawn on each occasion.

3) Crucially, trade union action can hold out hope and an alternative to those small numbers of people who may be attracted to far-right ideas.

While some of the people that give their support to organisations like the DFLA subscribe to the racist rhetoric expounded by their leaders, the people demonstrating are not all 'fascists'.

A lot of them are angry working class people, deeply alienated by austerity and by decades of capitalist neo-liberal policies.

They have been betrayed by all the establishment politicians, in particular abandoned by the betrayals of Blairite New Labour that has pursued pro-capitalist policies of cuts, privatisation and austerity-lite in councils and in government.

4) If the trade unions mobilise with energy and with clear demands to fight for jobs and homes and to kick out the Tories, we'd have hundreds of thousands on the streets and could cut across the appeal of far-right leaders.

This union therefore:

1) Calls on the TUC and our own trade union leaders to urgently act on the decision of the 2018 Congress.

2) In the meantime we also resolve that our branch/region will act.

3) This should include:

a) Opening up a debate about the slogans and tactics necessary to defeat the far-right, putting the resources, authority and power of the organised working class at the centre of a mass anti-racist, anti-austerity movement.

b) Responding positively to the call for a trade union stewards group, providing volunteers and organisation

c) Workers taking all legal steps (up to and including strike action) to disrupt all attempts to organise for the purposes of extending the rhetoric of the DFLA or any similar organisation.

d) The trade unions should name the day for a national demonstration.

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Related links:

Far-right:

triangleA strategy to fight the far right

triangleLeeds: don't let the far right divide us

triangleFar right attack on Manchester rail workers' picket line - trade union fightback needed

triangleTommy Robinson's rich backers

triangleJobs and homes not racism - kick the Tories out!

Trade union:

triangleTrade unions protect rail workers' picket line in Hull

triangleSpontaneous hull walkouts stick two fingers up at Tory anti-trade union laws

triangleCollege lecturers in Wales strike against low pay and workload

triangleCammell Lairds shipbuilding workers walk out

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