700 protesters gathered in the village of Codnor, in Derbyshire, on 16 August 2008, and put down an important marker for anti-fascism.
For the second year running the fascist British National Party held their ‘Red, White and Blue Festival’ on a farm owned by BNP supporter Alan Warner. Last year the festival was opposed by a single protester – a local resident who felt compelled to show his disgust for the gathering fascists and their racist politics. Things were very different this year.
This demonstration – called by Notts Stop the BNP, trade unions and local activists – was a significant departure from what had become the standard ‘strategy’ of anti-fascists. For too long, anti-fascist activity has been restricted to parades through city centres and emergency leafleting at election time. The demonstration against the RWB festival was the result of sustained local activity, attempts to mobilise the labour movement and the production of campaign materials that focussed on the political terrain contested by the BNP.
A number of factors, not least the sectarian behaviour of the SWP’s ‘Unite Against Fascism’ front group and restrictions placed on demonstrators by the police, meant that attempts to disrupt the BNP festival directly had to be abandoned. With larger numbers, more unity and some consistent political work within anti-fascist campaigns we should hope to build a militant, working class campaign against the BNP and other fascist organisations.
The demonstration against the RWB festival was an important first step on this road. Nick Griffin and the BNP call the current period – a time when they’re building their ranks, making electoral gains, training a core of hardened fascists – the ‘quiet revolution’. Anti-fascists need to make something clear: there is no such thing as a ‘quiet revolution’. We are in a battle with the forces of reaction – our class enemies – and intend to organise ourselves accordingly.