The front of the union

May 11, 2007

I was informed in an official "UCU news update" that "UCU members have noticed an increase in activity on and off campus by the British National Party in recent weeks and months".

Activity by this repulsive fascist group came as some concern, but also some surprise to me, as I had thought that the Socialist Workers Party and its umbrella/recruiting fronts had a near monopoly on totalitarian activism on my campus. In a memo from the University and College Union, Roger Kline (in his capacity as head of equality and employment rights) officially urged individual members and branches to affiliate to the organisation "Unite against Fascism" via an attached link to their website.

Knowing the SWP's long history of acting as incubus to transform legitimate anti-fascist organisations into recruiting fronts (a technique it employed over two incarnations of the Anti-Nazi League) I was suspicious, to say the least. Minimal further research suggests that UAF is at least worryingly close to being such a front.

I am indignant that the morally serious business of opposing fascist extremism has been used by the SWP merely as a recruiting device for its alternative brand of extremism. I am concerned that officers of my union, in their official capacity, use their offices and mailing lists to promote an organisation troublingly close to the SWP. I am worried on other grounds about the long-term degree of infiltration of my union by the SWP. I note that there are other anti-fascist organisations that our union could embrace.

I am bound to my union by shared professional association, nothing else. No officer of that union can presuppose any other shared affiliation with me, or right thereby to represent me.

I wish that the officers of my union should appreciate their responsibilities in this regard.

Robert Lockie

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