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Stevenage: March against the far-right, racist EDL
The far-right, racist English Defence League (EDL) is planning to hold a march in Stevenage on 7 June. They want to spread their hatred and racist propaganda.
Stevenage has never had an event like this in its history - far-right supporters in the area in the 1970s and 1980s never gained any support.
Trade unions and socialists have always shown that working class unity is our strength and stood up to these ideas and kept them from growing.
But this means that we have not developed a well-oiled network to confront the far-right as has been the case elsewhere. So we've had to start from square one.
The local trades council, including members of the Socialist Party, called a counter demonstration. It put out a statement which has been circulated as wide as possible in the trade union and anti-racist movement and in the local press.
Following a court case, highlighted by the EDL, where two Muslim men and one woman from Stevenage were charged with trafficking, grooming and prostitution, the trades council explained that "...The vast majority of Muslims and of the Pakistani community are horrified by this crime, so why are the EDL demonstrating? The EDL want to promote racial division.
"Stevenage and District Trade Union Council will organise a counter demonstration because we feel that such hatred cannot go unchallenged and the division created between working people must not be allowed to grow."
Far-right groups like the EDL try to exploit legitimate fears that working class people have, particularly about a lack of jobs, homes and services.
They want to see working class people turn on each other rather than on the bosses and politicians who are really to blame.
That's why it's important that it's the trade unions showing the lead in Stevenage - the organisations who can lead united struggles against all attacks on workers.
In just two weeks we have built up quite a campaign against the EDL. Their trip to Stevenage will not be welcomed and the two or three EDL members in the town will remain isolated.
- Oppose the far-right, racist EDL
- Meet 1pm Town Square Gardens, behind the swimming pool, Stevenage
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