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From: The Socialist issue 716, 2 May 2012: Kick out the ConDems!

Search site for keywords: EDL - Racist - NUT - Lewisham - Union - Cuts - English Defence League

Thug attack won't stop anti-racist work

Youth Fight for Jobs placard on the successful anti-EDL demonstration in Tower Hamlets in June 2010, photo P Mason

Youth Fight for Jobs placard on the successful anti-EDL demonstration in Tower Hamlets in June 2010, photo P Mason   (Click to enlarge)

On Saturday 28 April trade union activists were attacked by racists claiming to have allegiance to 'March for England', closely linked to the English Defence League (EDL). The Retired Members' Secretary of Lewisham NUT teachers' union was hospitalised as a result.

Lewisham NUT has stated: "that it is no coincidence that this attack should take place just a few days before elections to the Greater London Assembly. Candidates supported by racist and fascist parties are seeking to benefit from the public anger against the effects of the austerity measures.

"Racism and fascism provide no answers to the problems facing young people, nor to any part of our community. Instead of bringing people together to defend their jobs, homes, pensions and public services, racists and fascists make it harder to defend our livelihoods by dividing communities instead."

Martin Powell-Davies, secretary of Lewisham NUT and a member of the NUT executive, is standing as a candidate for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) challenge for the London-wide list part of the GLA elections.

"Saturday's outrage shows that, far from standing up for people's rights, the racists instead attack trade unionists and socialists out campaigning to defend our local communities from cuts.

"As trade unionists, we pledge to defend our union members and our local community from racist attacks and to continue to campaign for the united trade union action which is needed to defeat cuts and austerity." On this basis, the NUT is linking up trade unionists and others in Lewisham.

Martin adds that: "This includes offering a political alternative to racism - but fundamentally to the cuts that are destroying working people's lives. The racists play on this - claiming they offer an alternative when in reality their policies would maintain the status quo. Voting TUSC on 3 May is a vote for a united campaign for jobs, homes and public services for all."

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Article dated 2 May 2012

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