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Highlight keywords  |Print this articlePrint this article
From: The Socialist issue 168, 28 July 2000: Stop the Health Rip-Off

Search site for keywords: Pride - Gay - Unison - Leicester - Asylum

Pride Not Bigotry

UNITY AGAINST Prejudice (UAP) was organised after neo-Nazis caused the cancellation of Leicester's 'Mardi Gras' festival on 29 July. The Nazis also threatened UAP organisers.

We won't be intimidated by a small number of fascists.

This is a 'Pride' event; a celebration of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) lifestyles, to unite all groups against prejudice.

Hate crimes have risen nationally, the London 'Nail bomber' being the most extreme. David Copeland, linked with far-right groups such as the British National Party, aimed his hatred at gay people and the Black and Asian community. If the fascist groups gain confidence from getting Mardi Gras cancelled, they would threaten other events.

This is not only an attack on gay people. The fascists threaten Black and Asian people, trades unionists, lone parents, women's organisations, socialists and anyone who stands up for their rights. Gay organisations, trade union branches and other organisations have supported us including Leicester LGB centre, Leicester Lesbian and Gay Action, and NUT, PCS and UNISON branches.

We got overwhelming support at the East Midlands Regional Committee of UNISON with the promise of money and stewards. However, regional officials have gone behind the backs of elected delegates and circulated branches disassociating themselves from the event.

So much for their commitment to oppose prejudice. UNISON members are outraged and will campaign for the implementation of democratic decisions.

We intend to answer government ministers and the media who promote prejudice and distract people from where the real blame lies. This applies both to the 'promotion of family values' and to propaganda against asylum seekers.

New Labour have undermined demands for the repeal of Section 28 by requiring that teachers and others promote traditional 'family values', emphasising marriage as being the most 'desirable form' of personal relationship. This attacks relationships such as single-parent families and same-sex couples.

Both New Labour and the Tories push the idea that 'bogus' asylum seekers are 'flooding the country'. It's not surprising then that some people mistakenly believe that poor housing, low pay, inadequate benefits are all the fault of asylum seekers.

We need to answer these prejudices, to build a united movement to oppose the system that creates the conditions in which they can breed: capitalism. Capitalism uses prejudice as a means of divide and rule. Replace it with a democratic socialist society that provides for all and is based on unity and tolerance.

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