On the last day of conference, PCS’s stance against fascism was brought into sharp focus by the case of rep Phil Dickens.
Under motion A602 calling for the NEC to use the full force of the law to protect members from fascist attacks, Mark Lancaster from the R&C South East Essex branch told conference about a particularly nasty branch of the English Defence League called The North West Infidels.
“On May 10 they visited a picket outside the Bootle Taxes Revenue and Customs Branch to attack PCS rep, Phil Dickens, who is a leading light in the fight against fascism on the streets of Merseyside,” he said. “When they discovered that Phil had gone home they carried out an attack anyway on a picket line consisting of seven women and one man. Having missed their man they decided on a different tactic and set up a Facebook page the next day. I will not repeat their filthy lies but what they said put our comrade’s personal safety at severe risk.”
Following more than 1,000 complaints to Facebook the page was finally removed.
“The rise of the far right is a plague across the country,” said Wendy Turner of R&C East Midlands branch seconding the motion. “They offer nothing to us in any way and exist only to peddle hate and anger towards anyone that doesn’t fit into their fascist view of the world. We must do everything we can to halt the neo-Nazis taking a firm hold on the country.”
To loud applause Phil Dickens then took to the platform.
“The response from PCS members has been brilliant,” he said. “Whilst it’s important that we continue to offer this kind of legal defence when these horrible attacks happen we also need to ensure that we are organised to physically defend ourselves and our movement. Please support this motion and the organised fight against fascism which we have to lead as workers and as a union.”
The motion was unanimously carried.
See also the Morning Star‘s coverage of the debate at conference.