The first point, I think I learnt then was to anchor yourself in the history of those who have struggled before you and that was exactly what we were doing as well. ....
And also that the powers that be would divide us along whatever lines they could and some of the ways they would divide us is on colour or on money or on religion or something like that.
There is a movement out there of extreme Right-wing sympathisers, if not members, that is in existence, and, you know, I fear, that racist attacks are going to be on the increase, and therefore if anything of a legacy I hope that people will recognise that, that they need an organisation like the Asian Youth Movement, that, sort of, brings the people, you know, the Asian youth together from different religious backgrounds, from different backgrounds, and also the other Black and white communities and new white European communities together,
I would say to the youth of Bradford, erm, ‘don’t listen to the politicians, don’t listen to the Council and its officers’, right, ‘organise yourselves’.
Manchester AYM took a very principled stand that we won’t accept any State funding, but the State funding came indirectly. Especially, Manchester City Council took a decision to provide coaches for immigration cases, so the coaches were coming free; so you just informed them, you know, we want to take a coach to Birmingham, and the number of people began to fall going to demonstrations. I remember a time when coaches would have eight or ten people going to Birmingham or London or Bradford for demonstrations. So it means that that element which, when you’re trying to get the money yourself to take a coach you do much more work, now the only work was that, publicise the coach, -‘hey the coach will be going from Longsight at such and such time, and no work was done.
The lesson that I would; like to sort of say is that if as a political organization or as an organization fighting something that we truly believed in, then there’s no way that we get money from those we fight against
.... If we made an application and they gave us money, they have bought us out.
We’ve lost those independent grass-root community organisations. That self-reliance, you
know, I think was one of the key features of Asian Youth Movements, and I would encourage you know, those generations today, that we have to continue to organise. You know, Franz Fanon once said, ‘every generation that comes into being faces an historic task, it either subsumes itself to the forces before it or it actively takes up the struggle to move it forward.’
When we fought we opened the legalities and created new things and when you fight back, you always find an answer. That’s what I learnt through, whether it’s an immigration campaign or self defence. If you fight back organized and have people supporting you, you’ll find the answer and you will win.