Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/512/3452
Students protest at Griffin and Irving
OXFORD UNION, the upper-crust student debating society, invited Nick Griffin, leader of the far-right, racist BNP and holocaust denier David Irving to a debate on free speech on 26 November. Students and anti-racist campaigners organised a protest to try to stop the event going ahead. Between 700 and 1,000 people turned up during the evening to voice opposition to the two men's racist ideas.
According to the BBC, Griffin and Irving arrived two hours early hoping to get into the meeting. Both Griffin and the Union hired private security and the police were out in their hundreds. Protesters still managed to delay the meeting starting until after 10pm. Around fifty protesters got in to the debating chamber, disrupting the event. Griffin and Irving had to speak in separate rooms.
Toby Harris reported that Oxford Socialist Students were involved in this campaign and took part in the protests.
Socialist Students and Socialist Party members have also raised the urgent need for a left political alternative to the BNP. Leaflets explaining the campaign for a new mass workers' party were distributed to protesters and nine copies of the socialist were sold.
None of the speakers at the rally put forward a clear programme for working-class opposition to the BNP and to racism and fascism or even an explanation for the small growth in BNP support.
Protesters felt they had succeeded in severely delaying and obstructing the meeting. There is huge opposition to inviting these racists to speak. Protesters came from Birmingham, Bristol and Essex.
Socialist Students will keep campaigning against any decisions to give fascists a platform, explaining that the BNP have no solutions, and they will keep fighting for a new mass workers' party.
In The Socialist 29 November 2007:
Environment and socialism
What we think
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Marxist analysis: history
Workplace news and analysis