Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/604/8433

From The Socialist newspaper, 2 December 2009

How mass campaigning closed BNP HQ

THE FAR right BNP moved into their headquarters in Welling, south east London in 1987. Labour Party Young Socialist branches in London responded with a call to the community and trade unions to join in a united campaign to rid them from the area.

Lois Austin

Many local politicians defended their right to be there with lame arguments about defending democratic rights. We warned that this was not a harmless bookshop as the BNP claimed but an organising centre for a fascist organisation - a cancer in our community.

We warned that if the BNP were allowed to take root their organisation would grow, causing division and would be a danger to the black and Asian community.

We organised rallies and demonstrations, directly challenging the BNP and trying to prevent their activities. At times we were met by skinheads in jackboots giving the Nazi salute.

We were outnumbered by fascists and surrounded when we marched through Eltham, south east London. Our worst fears were confirmed when Greenwich council published statistics for racist attacks that showed an increase of 200% in the few years that the BNP had been active in Welling.

By 1993 there had been three racist murders. Our campaign had by this stage dug deep roots in the local trade unions and community and had taken on a national and international dimension by becoming part of Youth Against Racism in Europe (YRE).

We responded with bigger demonstrations and demands on local politicians, all of whom remained silent on the issue of closing the BNP HQ.

In April 1993 Stephen Lawrence was murdered. This tragic death at the hands of racist thugs sent shock waves throughout the community, black and white alike. The YRE, south London trade unions and anti-racist organisations, including Panther, the black socialist organisation, responded by calling a demonstration just a few weeks after Stephen was murdered.

Between 8,000 and 9,000, predominately young people, marched through Welling and directly passed the BNP headquarters, their anger could not be contained when it reached the building where the protesters demanded it be closed down.

A second demonstration was organised in October 1993, it was co-organised with the Anti-Nazi League, and this time had 60,000 plus on it. The momentum to close the HQ was now unstoppable, responding to mass pressure and public mood, the council set up a planning enquiry.

The YRE and the community campaign submitted a statement linking incitement to racial hatred with planning law. This was accepted as relevant and became the findings of the inquiry. Local politicians, embarrassed by their disgraceful failure to act and feeling the pressure, joined the chorus of those calling for the HQ to be shut down.

After a long hard struggle, built over seven years, finally the order was given from the authorities that the HQ had to close. But it was the mass campaign, the thousands who marched, that forced the closure and pushed the BNP back from organising in south London at that time.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 2 December 2009:

Climate change 'gigantic market failure'

Copenhagen climate change talks


Socialist Party NHS campaign

National Health Service: Patient safety not private profit


Youth fight for jobs

Youth march for jobs: "A fantastic experience"


Credit crunch

Dubai's house of sand crumbles


War and occupation

Chilcot inquiry: Put the warmongers on trial!


Socialist Party news and analysis

Fast news

Yorkshire strikes - the lessons

BA management get tough

Fighting university cuts

Fighting council cuts in Greenwich

Stoke Axiom action continues

Defend the Four!

NUS plans mean students pay


Anti-racism

Rally to oppose racist EDL

How mass campaigning closed BNP HQ


International socialist news and analysis

Irish Republic: Huge public sector workers' strike against cutbacks

Indonesia: Eyewitness report from Tamil refugee boat


Socialist Party election campaign

Politics 'illegal' in Lewisham council

Help give a socialist answer to cuts and privatisation


Marxist analysis: history

Liverpool council's budget 'black hole': Establishment parties only offer swingeing cuts


 

Facebook   Twitter

Home   |   The Socialist 2 December 2009   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Bookshop






Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Related links:

BNP:

triangleLabour councillor smears TUSC policy as 'BNP'

triangleWhy I joined

triangleShallow look at racist far right

triangleAnti-cuts rally defies council ban and BNP

triangleRobinson drops EDL but not his bigotry

London:

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Report back from CWI school

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: The campaign for Corbyn's re-election

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: Spain Today

Racist:

trianglePolice racism still lethal in Britain

triangleMajority support migrants staying - fight hate crime

triangleFight racism: for jobs, homes and services for all

Black:

triangleBlack Lives Matter demo shakes Leeds

triangleUnited working class resistance can cut across racism

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

21/7/16

Tolpuddle

Mood at Tolpuddle to defeat the Blairites

21/7/16

Labour Party

The SDP split from Labour

21/7/16

Wirral

Wallasey Labour Party suspension

19/7/16

Trident

Trident debate shows again, Labour is two parties

19/7/16

Labour

Petition - For a labour movement conference to defend Corbyn

18/7/16

France

France: Nice terror attack

18/7/16

Turkey

Turkey: Attempted coup failed

18/7/16

Fawley

Fawley refinery contractors strike against 'race to bottom'

18/7/16

Newport

Brookes workers continue the fight against 2Sisters

15/7/16

Leeds

Black Lives Matter demo shakes Leeds

14/7/16

Labour leadership election

Reports and comments on the campaigning to defend Jeremy Corbyn

13/7/16

Jeremy Corbyn

Thousands mobilising to #KeepCorbyn

13/7/16

Prison officers

Angry walk out over reforms

13/7/16

Unions

Workplace news in brief

13/7/16

Unite

Unite policy conference 2016: Blairite coup, Trident and cuts dominate opening days

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

triangle21 Jul Mood at Tolpuddle to defeat the Blairites

Anti-Trident demo, photo Paul Mattsson

triangle19 Jul Trident debate shows again, Labour is two parties

triangle18 Jul Brookes workers continue the fight against 2Sisters

triangle15 Jul Black Lives Matter demo shakes Leeds

triangle14 Jul Reports and comments on the campaigning to defend Jeremy Corbyn

triangle13 Jul Thousands mobilising to #KeepCorbyn

triangle13 Jul Angry walk out over reforms

More ...

triangle25 Jul Leeds Socialist Party: #BeyondBernie

triangle25 Jul Wirral Socialist Party: Bernie Sanders & socialism rises in the US

triangle26 Jul Manchester Socialist Party: The fight for socialism around the world

triangle26 Jul Liverpool Socialist Party: Bernie Sanders & socialism - is America turning left?

More ...

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Find us on Facebook

Archive

Categories

1-9 

1-9 


Archives:

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice