Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/413/4693
United against fascism
NICK GRIFFIN, leader of the fascist British National Party (BNP), is in court in Leeds on Wednesday 2 November facing charges of inciting racial hatred. The Regional TUC, supported by trade unions, community groups and anti-fascist organisations, has organised a major demonstration to coincide with Griffin's court appearance, to demonstrate our opposition to fascism.
Marion Lloyd, PCS (civil service union) NEC, personal capacity
The BNP want to use Griffin's appearance on 2 November as a national media showpiece for their racist ideas. They are encouraging their supporters to turn up from around the country as a show of strength. We want to make it clear that the fascists are not welcome.
The BNP found out about the anti-fascist demo, realised they were going to be outnumbered, and tried unsuccessfully to mobilise for a national rally in Keighley on 5 November. This makes it doubly important that people turn up in Leeds on 2 November. We want to send a clear message that we stand for peaceful, united communities, standing together against racism and division.
The BNP have targeted this region as a major area for recruitment. Almost a third (60,990) of their total votes in the general election were won in Yorkshire and the Humber.
Unfortunately, New Labour has deserted working-class people, doing nothing to improve their lives or end the ever widening gap between rich and poor.
The fascists use Labour's failures, blaming minority groups for the problems created by the capitalist system. They attempt to convince the public that they are respectable. The reality is that they are often racist, violent thugs, with criminal convictions.
Their supporters claim to stand for freedom of speech! Yet since the election, they have tried to stir up hatred against the Muslim community, openly blaming them for the 7 July London bombings.
Whilst gains were made by the BNP in the last election, their votes were minimised in areas where vibrant anti-fascist campaigns were run.
In Keighley, anti-fascists united to form 'Keighley Together', a trade union and community group that successfully prevented BNP leader Nick Griffin from being elected.
The BNP's fortunes were also reversed in Oldham and Barking, again as a result of community-based campaigns. UNISON members have worked closely with community groups in Dewsbury and Rawthorpe to prevent a racist backlash following the news that two of the London bombers came from these communities.
These campaigns have demonstrated how to prevent the growth of the BNP, with socialists and trade unionists playing a major role. Racism, prejudice and the far-right are only able to grow because we live in a class society where the rich and powerful exploit the rest of us for profit, and sometimes use the racist card to divide and rule.
The Socialist Party fights for a socialist society run democratically for need not profit, where poverty, discrimination and division can be abolished once and for all.
Peace and Unity in our Communities
Protest against Griffin and the BNP
Wednesday 2 November
9am outside Leeds Crown Court, Oxford Row.
12 noon, rally outside Leeds Art Gallery.
Organised by Yorks and Humber TUC and UAF
In The Socialist 27 October 2005: