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Think tank calls for progressives to take on Europe’s far-right parties

29.04.2014 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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Contact: Ellie O’Hagan

E: ellie.ohagan@classonline.org.uk

T: 0207 611 2571

The Centre for Labour and Social Studies (Class) has released a new essay today [Tuesday] by Glyn Ford, a Labour candidate in May's European Elections in South West England.

The essay, entitled “How can the European left deal with the threat posed by xenophobia?” charts the rise of xenophobia as a Europe-wide phenomenon, which has become more of an urgent threat following the increase in popularity of far-right parties such as UKIP.

The essay argues that European far-right parties have succeeded thanks to the spread of misinformation about the effects of immigration, the ratcheting up of fear, and Euroscepticism: all of which have been assisted by a compliant media.

As UKIP looks to be successful in the forthcoming European elections, the essay calls upon progressives to take on far-right parties by exposing their xenophobia, addressing the social problems that have led to their rise, and mobilising the groups which may be negatively affected by xenophobic rhetoric.

Glyn Ford said: “These parties grew on fertile soil as a product of genuine concerns in communities under increasing social and financial stress. But progressives must expose xenophobic parties for what they are; we must address the concerns of their voters, and we must mobilise those threatened by their policies and very existence in politics.”

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Notes to Editors:

1. The Centre for Labour and Social Studies (Class) is a new think tank established in 2012 by Unite the Union, GMB and the Institute of Employment Rights to act as a centre for left debate and discussion and has the growing support of a number of trade Unions including ASLEF, CWU, FEU, GFTU, NUT, PCS, PFA, TSSA, UCATT, MU, NUM and BFAWU. Originating in the labour movement, Class is working with a broad coalition of supporters, academics and experts to develop and advance alternative policies for today. http://classonline.org.uk/about/panel

2. Glyn Ford is a member of the Steering Committee of Unite Against Fascism and the former Chair of the European Parliament's Committee of Inquiry into the Growth of Racism and Fascism in Europe. He was a Labour Member of the European Parliament from 1984 to 2009 and is a candidate in May's European Elections in South West England. He has recently published ‘Our Europe, Not Theirs’.

3. A copy of the essay can be found here: http://classonline.org.uk/pubs/item/how-can-the-european-left-deal-with-the-threat-posed-by-xenophobia

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