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From The Socialist newspaper, 11 August 2009

Stop the BNP

THE British National Party's (BNP) leaders and organisers have not changed their neo-Nazi ideas. They are committed to stirring up racism and division at every opportunity. If they succeed in this, it will weaken the ability of working class people in Britain - black, white and Asian - to organise and fight back against attacks on jobs and services.

Naomi Byron

On 14-16 August they want to use their 'Red, White and Blue Festival' in Codnor, Derbyshire, to celebrate the election of two BNP MEPs, seen by them as a step towards respectability. Campaigners against the 'festival' want to make their opposition felt, loud and clear.

Many local people oppose the BNP's 'festival of hate', with its fascist salutes when the cameras have gone and 1930s Nazi marching songs being played at high volume. They will be marching to protest against it alongside trade unionists, anti-racists, socialists and anti-fascists from around the country.

The BNP claims to be the only party that supports 'British workers'. Nothing could be further from the truth. In the middle of the deepest capitalist recession in Britain since the 1930s, with hundreds of thousands being thrown out of work, the BNP are campaigning for the introduction of workfare, ie forcing people to work for their benefits (workfare not welfare, BNP website, 2 May 2009).

Workers should not have to pay for the bosses' crisis. Instead of supporting workers fighting job losses and bullying management, the BNP often back the bosses.

In June this year Richard Barnbrook, the BNP representative on the London Assembly, joined the Tories in condemning tube workers for going on strike to prevent compulsory redundancies including 1,000 job cuts.

The BNP claims proper public services can be provided by cutting councillors' expenses and stopping funding 'politically correct' services - code for whipping up racism and division. In Barking, six out of the BNP's 12 councillors turned up to less than half of the council meetings they were supposed to attend, but they still took over 60,000 in allowances between them!

They claim year after year that they will vote against above-inflation increases in council tax. Yet time and time again BNP councillors either vote with the main parties for above-inflation hikes in council tax, or they support slashing public services. In Kirklees Council, Yorkshire, the budget proposed by BNP councillors last year included cuts of over 1 million in jobs.

Stop the far right

The BNP are a threat to working people of all races and backgrounds. At the moment the BNP leaders cannot build an openly neo-Nazi movement with paramilitary gangs. But in the future they could move in that direction.

In the meantime their electoral successes help give confidence to racists, confuse and divide our communities, and encourage individuals on their fringes to resort to violence - like the Burnley two who met at BNP meetings and were convicted in 2007 of stock piling bomb-making equipment (among other things) to prepare for a "race war". One, Robert Cottage, had stood three times as a BNP candidate.

Any movement capable of defeating the BNP needs to expose the neo-Nazi ideas behind them, but also to argue for a real alternative to the problems working people face. BNP leader Nick Griffin and long-standing neo-Nazi Andrew Brons were not elected to the European Parliament because their vote increased compared to the last Euro elections. It fell. They were elected mainly because the Labour Party vote collapsed.

The movement against the BNP must campaign to defend jobs, stop privatisation and renationalise the privatised utilities, and to stop the massive cuts in public services all the main parties are planning.

The BNP have benefited for too long from Labour's abandonment of the working class. We need a new workers' party, built by trade unionists, socialists and the millions of people searching for an alternative to the main parties.

Protest against the BNP's 'festival of hate'

Saturday 15 August

Protest and mass picket from 9am at Codnor market place, Codnor, Derbyshire.

Rally from 11am, march at 12 noon.

Speakers include: Brian Caton (general secretary POA), Unison rep, Leroy Roseinir (Show Racism the Red Card), UAF and local speakers
Called by Midlands TUC. Supported by Amber Valley CARF, Derby CARF, Notts STOP the BNP and UAF.

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