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BFAWU Conference 2024 The labour movement must build solidarity at a ‘time of monsters’, warns BFAWU president

THE labour movement must build solidarity at a “time of monsters” at home and abroad, the bakers’ union’s Ian Hodson warned today.

The BFAWU president blasted racist rhetoric from hard-right figurehead Nigel Farage, Israel’s killing of tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians in Gaza and urged resistance against inequality and injustice.

Mr Hodson spoke on the opening day of the union’s annual conference in Staffordshire, during which delegates unanimously endorsed a motion bearing the words of late socialist MP Tony Benn: “If we can find the money to kill people, we can find the money to help people.”

Addressing members at the conference centre in Stone, Mr Hodson said: “We’re meeting in a really dangerous period in our history.

“Farage tells us: ‘Oh, the problem is all the Europeans coming over here.’ But it was the Tories that stopped building council houses. It was the Labour Party that carried that policy on.

“Those are the people responsible, not a refugee. It was political decisions that made our homes so difficult to come by, just as it’s political decisions that are making people hungry.”

He condemned Mr Farage, who last week U-turned on a decision not to stand as a parliamentary candidate for hard-right vehicle Reform UK in July’s general election, as a “racist who comes from the National Front with a fascist past.”

Mr Hodson, who is a key ally of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, also condemned the smearing of campaigners calling for a ceasefire in Gaza as “haters.”

He said: “Apparently, people who want to see others die is OK — it’s normal. That’s not normal, is it?

“To me, hate is killing a doctor because you don’t want them to repair the damage that the bullets and bombs have done.”

Israel is coming under growing international pressure to end its assault on Gaza, which has led to the deaths of at least 36,000 people, estimates suggest.

Despite many challenges, Mr Hodson urged the labour movement to come together and fight back.

“They want us to believe that there isn’t anything we can do,” he said. “They want us to believe that we’re beaten. They want us to believe that we’re isolated and that we’re on our own.

“But we’re not: when people stand up, they make a difference.”

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