Fight the BNP with working-class politics

Submitted by Newcastle on 30 July, 2009 - 6:39 Author: Dan Katz

The fascist British National Party continues to grow, expand its influence and extend its ambitions. In June BNP leader Nick Griffin was elected to the European parliament.

Griffin is a racist and anti-semite. He believes “non-Whites have no place here at all and [we] will not rest until every last one has left our land”, and has described the Holocaust as “the hoax of the 20th century”.

Fellow BNPer Andrew Brons was also elected polling 120,139 votes in Yorkshire and Humberside. Across the country the BNP took 6.2%, as Labour’s vote slumped.

In June the BNP won their first County Council seats, fielding a record 459 candidates. The fascists now have dozens of local councillors, from the north of England to the South East.

Together with UKIP, which took 16.5% of the vote in the Euro-election, and a resurgent Tory party, the broad right in Britain is on the move.

However, unlike the Tories, the BNP poses a real, immediate physical threat to its opponents. For example, on 5 August Liverpool BNP member Peter Tierney is appearing in court on assault charges, after an attack on an anti-fascist protestor in April.

Last year Chesterfield BNP member Martin Glasgow was jailed for 12 months for a racist assault against an Asian man.

Those that march against the BNP’s Red White and Blue festival will be aware of the need to defend themselves, if necessary, from BNP thugs.

The BNP targets areas like Stoke-on-Trent. Stoke came bottom in a quality of life survey of British cities, and is a town where two out of every five houses are unfit for human habitation. The chances of surviving cancer in Stoke are the lowest in the country.

And in Barking and Dagenham, where 13,000 children live in poverty and 25% of the working population are on incapacity benefit, the BNP has also built a base.

Desperate poor whites — many of whom feel abandoned by the mainstream parties, and betrayed by Labour — are vulnerable to propaganda scapegoating immigrants and promising a fight for “white rights”.

However the BNP also has influence in some traditional Tory areas.

On the left there is debate about how to stop the BNP. Workers’ Liberty believes that the labour movement needs to unite to confront the BNP. The purely verbal, tokenistic opposition from the mainstream leaders of the labour movement must give way to active mobilisation.

We must be prepared to confront the BNP — politically, and in physical self-defence, if necessary.

The “Don't vote Nazi” campaigns which have been run by Searchlight and Unite Against Fascism (UAF) are right-wing and ineffective. “Don’t vote Nazi” campaigning leaves open the question of who workers should vote for. We are against a BNP vote, but we also oppose workers voing Tory or Liberal. Workers should vote for socialist candidates if possible and for Labour candidates otherwise.

Working class anti-fascism also means presenting clear working class solutions to unemployment, poverty and housing shortages. We advocate black and white workers’ unity in a fight for jobs and homes for all. Who should pay for what workers need? Tax the rich to fund public services properly.

If we fail to address these issues in a way in which persuades workers — reducing all our propaganda to the exposure of the BNP as racists, which most voters know already — we will fail to win the arguments (by failing to even address key concerns).

We can not fight the BNP alongside Alan Sugar (who appears prominently on Searchlight material) or David Cameron (who appears with other Tory MPs on UAF’s supporters list), because they are opposed to a working-class fight for homes and jobs for all! They certainly do not want the rich to pay for the economic crisis! Linking up with such people limits our ability to say what needs to be said.

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