Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/566/6894
Exeter: Mobilising to stop the far right
THE FAR right British National Party (BNP) reared its ugly head again in Exeter. Last Saturday, this threat was met by a united front in Exeter High Street by socialists of various backgrounds. The biggest and the most youthful contingent was that led by the Socialist Party.
The day of action was in response to the BNP setting up a stall in Exeter the previous Saturday hoping to capitalise on Gordon Brown's slogan of 'British Jobs for British Workers'. A slogan which backfired badly on them, locally, when Polish workers came out with other workers in Plymouth's Langage power workers' strike!
Exeter Socialist Party and Socialist Students had two stalls selling papers and handing out their own leaflets, which included campaigning for a new workers' party as a way to defeat neo-fascist organisations, and promoting the 'Youth Fight For Jobs' campaign through petitions.
Exeter Labour MP and Health Minister, Ben Bradshaw, spent some time at the Unite Against Fascism (UAF) stall and did not interact with either Exeter Socialist Party or Socialist Students. He seemed to be more interested in seeking publicity from the local press.
Exeter Socialist Party produced its own anti-fascist leaflet, maintaining the right to act independently within the united left umbrella organisation. Simply calling for a vote for 'anyone else', as UAF does, is insufficient to mobilise working-class people to defeat the BNP.
When the Exeter Socialist Party set up a stall in opposition to the BNP, the police, fearing an outbreak of 'public disorder' closed first the BNP stall, then ours.
This raises the question of the right to have stalls in the centre of Exeter, a situation which might entail the organising of a campaign involving other groups to defend this right.
The BNP intends to stand a candidate in the Exeter area for the European elections in June. They will be opposed vigorously by us and others on the left.
Exeter Socialist Party intends to oppose the BNP by building opposition amongst youth and those who are prepared to unite around a socialist programme of jobs, decent pay and public services.
Exeter Socialist Party
In The Socialist 11 February 2009:
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party campaigns
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party review