Trades Union Councils Programme of Work 2010-2011


Fighting Fascism and the Far Right

Despite their poor showing at the 2010 elections, the threat of the growth of the far right will continue particularly during the recession when groups on the right will use xenophobia to exploit the unemployed and to play on people’s unfounded fears for their future, offering simplistic solutions in terms which are nothing but racism. Trade union councils are well aware that the face of the far-right has changed, and hides its true intentions by adopting a democratic rhetoric. The higher profile of the BNP at local and national elections is evidence of this. Trade union councils must develop campaigns which are able to counter this „softer‟more „affable‟approach by far-Right and their attempts to infiltrate decent society and become acceptable. Working with other groups in their communities, and their Regional TUC, trade union councils should develop a programme to counter act the activities of the far right which could include anti-fascist material and information, public meetings and events celebrating diversity. A useful resource to support campaigning is the “Unity Is Strength” resource toolkit produced by Searchlight – searchlight/ . It gives some invaluable background and myth busting information on the BNP and other Far Right groups, and also practical tips on how to go about taking the campaign into the workplace. Copies can be obtained through Another useful support for trade unions is TUFS (Trade Union Friends of Searchlight). TUFS provides practical advice, highlights good practice and alerts unions to the activities of far-right parties. Trades Council can affiliate to TUFS through contacting Searchlight at PO Box 1576 Ilford IG5 0NG or on this webpage of Hopenothate. Trades Councils and individuals can also be encouraged to subscribe to Searchlight which also provides useful information and advice. Hopenothate was created by Searchlight to campaign, and support campaigns, against parties such as the BNP during elections and beyond. Unite Against Fascism (UAF) has also been working closely with the union movement and of late has been focussing on the English Defence League (EDL). TUC General Secretary, Brendan Barber, has been a signatory to their founding statement and UAF is supported by a number of the UK’s leading trade unions. The UAF also produces campaign support material which trades councils may find useful. They can be reached at . Far right groups, such as the BNP, are also homophobic and sexist and it is important for trades union councils to ensure that this aspect of fascist politics is included in any of their anti-fascist campaigning and campaign material. Again the Regional TUC, Regional TUC equalities committees, and organisations such as Searchlight, can help with developing campaign material. Trades union councils, working with affiliated teaching unions, should consider the possibilities of developing education packs or other learning aids which could address the issue of racism, homophobia and sexism in schools, colleges and adult education. This would also offer opportunities for working with local Union Learn Reps, Trades Union Studies departments and regional TUEd and unionlearn whose expertise is there for trades union councils willing to develop work in this area. To find your local unionlearn contact point to get more information about how your regional unionlearn team can help your trades union council go to


Summary Counteracting the „moderate‟face of fascism with campaigns which reveal the BNP, EDL and others real agenda Put on events, involving the local community, which celebrate diversity Affiliate to Trade Union Friends of Searchlight and HopenotHate and support these organisations events and campaigns Use the Searchlight resources to assist with the trades union council’s anti-fascists campaigns Highlight the sexist attitudes of the fascist parties and develop working relationships with lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gender groups working in the area to seek advice and support for union campaigns against BNP, EDL and others. Education is an important element in counteracting fascist propaganda – consider how the trades union council can get involved with local education programmes   

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