Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/584/7453
Protests at BNP
THERE HAS been a series of protests in the North West since the BNP sneaked in the electoral back door to win an MEP here. The BNP claims "democratic support" from the north-west. But 92% of voters didn't vote for them! They do not represent the overwhelming majority in the region.
Hugh Caffrey, Manchester
The Socialist Party-initiated demonstration on the night the result was announced set the tone. Several hundred protesters, including many working-class youth, prevented Griffin getting into Manchester town hall for hours. The next night, 500 demonstrated in Manchester, with other demonstrations in Liverpool, Preston and Lancaster.
Griffin met with protests again when he tried holding a press conference in Manchester. Some people from the nearby estate asked Griffin if he'd come back without his "minders", or try doing a press conference in Piccadilly Gardens, to see how big his support really is!
When we heard that the BBC would interview Griffin, the Socialist Party and others immediately mobilised for a successful demonstration outside the BBC building.
In the past, BNPers being elected has led to a rise in racial attacks. Mass demonstrations could cut across this. Young people, the majority on the demonstrations, want mass action now. Some unions, campaigns and others are already discussing the situation. Local campaign groups initiated by workers and youth could mobilise big numbers to demonstrate.
In the North West, the BNP sneaked in because the Labour vote collapsed by 250,000 and the turnout fell by half a million! Most people are sick of the main parties - their corruption, privatisation and inaction while millions are thrown on the dole. To prevent the BNP picking up the protest vote at next year's council and general elections, we need credible alternative candidates.
Taking up the issues of jobs, services, housing and wages, a working-class electoral alliance could win many people who didn't vote this time or who protest-voted. Some campaigns already intend to stand. Others are discussing it. The Socialist Party will help co-ordinate the strongest possible challenge regionally.
The best way of pushing back the BNP is a mass movement now, and a serious alternative at the next elections. If you agree, join us today!
Protesting in Sheffield
ANTI-RACIST campaigners in Sheffield have protested twice in one week against the election of a BNP member to the European Parliament representing Yorkshire and Humberside region.
After the election of Andrew Brons, Sheffield Unite Against Fascism called an emergency protest on 8 June. Over 200 people showed their disgust that a racist and fascist had been elected to represent them.
A later rally outside Sheffield Town Hall attracted around 150 people. One speaker mentioned the crowd's diversity, mainly young people of different racial backgrounds, disabled people, socialists and trade unionists, saying that under BNP rule, most of the crowd would be persecuted.
The Socialist Party and Sheffield Socialist Students played a key part, running a stall and issuing leaflets advertising our next meeting on how to defeat the BNP.
Sheffield Socialist Party members have been campaigning against the BNP on the streets for several weeks before the EU elections and still do so. We try to engage in conversation with workers, arguing that immigrants and asylum seekers are not to blame for the global recession, the loss of jobs and deterioration of public services. An alternative is needed to the three main parties that will fight for jobs, homes and services for all.
In largely working-class based towns such as Rotherham and Barnsley Labour's vote fell dramatically and the BNP present themselves as a party representing the white working class.
Sheffield Socialist Party will be on the forthcoming anti-BNP march in Sheffield and we will also be campaigning in towns such as Barnsley where the BNP hold weekly stalls.
We argue for a genuine left-wing, anti-racist alternative to the three main capitalist parties that can improve the living standards of working class people.
AROUND 600 protesters gathered in Leeds city centre on 13 June to protest the election of BNP MEPs. Speakers, including representatives from the trade union movement, condemned the BNP and some also condemned the current economic situation, including rising unemployment and the social housing shortage that has provided fertile ground for the BNP's rise.
Andrew Brons, the elected MEP in Yorkshire and the supposed 'respectable' face of the BNP, was a member of the British National Socialist Movement (Nazis) in the 1960s and National Front in the 1980s.
Last Saturday's demo shows workers and youth don't want to be represented by fascists. The BNP stands against the trade union movement and for division.
The anger of the protest poured over into an unofficial march through Leeds city centre. Although the BNP did not dare hold a counter-demo, two people were arrested on suspicion of inciting racial hatred on Saturday, but only charged with disorder and given £80 fines.
In The Socialist 17 June 2009:
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party editorial
Lindsey Oil Refinery construction workers
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party review