Everyone knows Tommy Robinson! He is the brave and self-sacrificing hero behind the EDL, if you support them. Or a racist, criminal thug, if you don't. But we all know his face. We all know his recent history. And he regularly appears on TV so that left-wing commentators, and BBC presenters (often the same people) can attempt to cut him down to size. They don't always succeed.
But what do we know about the UAF, the Unite Against Fascists organisation which sprang into existence in 2003 and counts on the support of all manner of celebrities and politicians, and politicians who want to be celebrities? Would you recognise any of their leaders if you passed them on the street? And what of their backgrounds and motivations? Shouldn't they come under the same searching investigation which the EDL seems to face? Do we really know who is behind the UAF?
It is not unfair to say that their logo has all the charm of a soviet era poster, with what appears to be two people, one with a round head and one with a square head, punching their fists in the air. I can imagine that the roundheaded person is a reference to the republican forces of the English Commonwealth, when monarchy was overturned. But who is the character with the square head? It may well be a reference to the 70's band, Ian Dury and the Blockheads, who knows.
What we do know is that the honorary president of UAF is Doreen Lawrence, the saintly mother of Stephen Lawrence. Not only is she a board member of Liberty (which probably tells us all we need to know about her views on liberty), but she actually held the Olympic flag at the Opening Ceremony with Ban Ki Moon and Shami Chakrabarti, which either tells us that she is the third most important person in the world, or that there is a very cosy clique of people gathered around the faux-concept of liberty for some. There is much public criticism of Doreen Lawrence, who appears to be invited to join any committee or organisation which sets itself the task of rooting out the violence and hatred of white people for those of other ethnicities. It is of course unfortunate that most racist violence takes place between people of BME backgrounds and does not involve white people, expect as victims. It is not unfair to say that Doreen Lawrence has made a successful career out of the loss of her son.
But she is only the honorary president, and the real power behind the soviet style logo belongs to the Joint Secretaries, Weyman Bennett and Sabby Dhalu. Weyman is an interesting man. He is a member of the Central Committee of the Socialist Workers Party, and a hardline Trotskyite. As you might expect, he lives in the socialist paradise of Haringay. The recent controversy in the SWP over the allegations of sexual assault over many years made against Martin Smith, also known as Comrade Delta (no, not Citizen Smith), saw Bennett take the side of those who decided that this criminal matter should be handled by the SWP rather than the capitalist running dogs of the Metropolitan Police. Naturally the Central Committee and Bennett voted to support Comrade Delta.
In 2010 Bennett was arrested at a counter-demonstation on suspicion of conspiracy to organise violent disorder. At that particular event there were 74 arrests. Only 9 were of EDL supporters, the rest were UAF members and sympathisers. At the same event Martin Smith, (aka Comrade Delta), was also arrested but later released. Clearly the Socialist Workers Party leadership were out in force. Later that year Martin Smith was arrested again, this time for assaulting a police officer.
What about Sabby Dhalu? Who is he? Well he is a she! Presently she is Secretary of "One Society Many Cultures", another multi-cultural organisation on the Left. This groups main agenda seems to be to promote the meme of Islamophobia, and to trumpet the benefits of continuing unrestrained immigration. Dhalu's organisation is part of the National Assembly Against Racism (didn't you know there was one?), and is part funded at least by UNISON’s General Political Fund.
What is the agenda of the NAAR? Well their website says..
Now more than ever the anti-racist movement, with the black and Asian communities, trade unions and other progressive organisations, must assert the enormous contribution that Britain’s diverse communities have made to the wealth and dynamism of this society.
I think we all know what the word 'progressive' means. Hardcore socialism. And here we find anti-racism helpfully described. It doesn't mean not treating members of other ethnicities badly. It doesn't mean not encouraging violence against members of other ethnicities. It certainly doesn't mean asking what the experience of white people in our large cities is like, and if they experience racism. It means the socialist, 'progressive' agenda, multi-culturalism and continuing immigration.
It's well worth following the links from website to website. On the NAAR site, the sponsors of Sabby Dhalu's group, we also see reference to their "charitable partner organisation the Respect Trust". There's a website for this Trust, although it appears to have been removed from the register of Charities this year. This website also describes its activities..
Respect Trust works in partnership and solidarity with people affected by racism, Black community groups, anti-racist organisations, students, trade unionists and all anti-racists to bring the widest support for initiatives to challenge racism and promote the values of multiculturalism.
Again we see the false dichotomy between racism and multi-culturalism, as if to oppose multi-culturalism is to be a racist, which is exactly how we are being encouraged to think.
Before we review what we know about the leadership of the UAF, let's turn for a moment to a report of their conference in 2012. In this friendly and positive description we find perhaps the best possible description of the manner in which UAF operates. Firstly we discover that it is funded to a great extent by the union movement. The NUT alone apparently gave UAF £55,000 in 2012. It would also seem that One Society Many Cultures, and the NAAR were receiving funds from UNITE. We should remember that Christine Blower, General Secretary of the NUT, has been a member of the London Socialist Alliance, a group of far-Left political groups, and describes herself to the left of Old Labour. While Len McClusky, General Secretary of UNITE, is of course a communist of the old school, not the Common Purpose variety.
So we can see pretty clearly that much of the funding behind UAF comes from extreme left-wing trade unionism. The same conference report describes that there was a maximum attendance of about 350 people. That's not necessarily bad for a political organisation of this nature. But what is more enlightening is that our reporter estimated that 20 were members of Socialist Action, and 100 were members of the SWP. So out of a maximum attendance at the UAF conference of 350 people, about 35% could be immediately identified as members of extremist left-wing organisations.
The report goes on to describe the lack of democracy within the UAF, and that since its founding in 2003 there had been no elections to the National Committee until 2012. And at this conference it seems to have been arranged that for each position being subject to election there was only one candidate! Here is the description of one such electoral incident involving Comrade Delta, who holds significant power in the UAF organisation..
Lo and behold, there was only one candidate for each position. (Many of them were nominated by “Love Music Hate Racism” and “One Society Many Cultures” – “organisations” which decide these things how, exactly?) However this was only achieved by excluding Justin Baidoo, a young socialist and trade unionist from South London wishing to challenge SWP full-timer Martin Smith for assistant secretary, on a technicality. The chair of his union branch had sent in the nomination, but failed to send in the reaffiliation form.
The UAF is clearly an extremist left-wing body. It's leaders are all members and associates of extremist socialism, and it receives much of its funding from extremist socialist union leaders. But it still manages to support what this interesting report calls 'the alliance with right-wing political Islam'. And at this conference Azad Ali was appointed UAF vice chair. He is a member of the Islamic Forum of Europe. At a conference in 2010 he defended Hamas and Hezbollah, and found himself in trouble when he posted an incitement to violence against British troops on his website in the form of a quotation..
If I saw an American or British man wearing a soldier’s uniform inside Iraq I would kill him because that is my obligation.
He later tried to sue the Daily Mail, but the Judge in the case said..
Mr Ali ‘was indeed . . . taking the position that the killing of American and British troops in Iraq would be justified’.
Haras Rafiq, a moderate Muslim and director of counter-terrorism think-tank Centri, said: ‘It is crazy that we have Secretaries of State at the same event as someone who is praising Hamas. It gives people who support terrorist organisations credibility and legitimacy.’