We at Leeds Beckett Students’ Union stand firmly against fascism and racism and refuse to give them any room to grow.

Below are the Students’ Unions positions and campaign on antiracism and antifascism, which are informed by our current policies addressing these issues.

What is Racism?

Racism is the belief that a particular race is superior or inferior to another, that a person’s social and moral traits are predetermined by his or her inborn biological characteristics.

Racism has existed throughout human history to different degrees and in different formations. It may be defined as the hatred of one person by another — or the belief that another person is less than human — because of skin colour, language, customs, culture, place of birth or any factor that supposedly reveals the basic nature of that person. Racism is also systemic, as in it is built into the structures of societies and has influenced wars, slavery, the formation of nations, laws, and affects the likelihood of where people will find themselves in social hierarchies.

What is Fascism?

Fascism can be defined as:

“A form of political behaviour marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.” Paxton.R - The Anatomy of Fascism (2004).

 

This is just a basic premise and its further characteristics are well defined in Umberto Eco’s Ur-Fascism (see link below). These include things like a cult of traditionalism, rejection of modernism, a rejection of critical thinking and diversity, and a selective elitism often built around ethno-nationalistic lines.

Fascism has seen an upswing lately, especially across European and America. This can be seen in many of its main tenets such as hostility to the ‘foreign’ or the ‘Other’, disdain of diversity, and a selective national identity built around a sense of national decline and humiliation all finding a home in mainstream political discourse.

This has also come with the growth of new distinctly fascist groups and organisations (broadly referred to as the alt-right), who are willing to engage in violence. In Leeds alone last year we saw the murder of a local MP, Jo Cox, by a far-right activist over her support for refugees and asylum seekers. Further, the now prescribed Neo-Nazi terror group, National Action has had somewhat of a presence in Leeds over the last few years, where they’ve previously vandalised the Nelson Mandala Gardens in Millennium Square and held protests on Leeds University campus with banners in support of apartheid era South Africa.

How can you get involved?

Already working on something? Then drop us an email, we would love to hear from you and how we could support you.

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