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:

triangleAnti-cuts rally defies council ban and BNP

triangleRobinson drops EDL but not his bigotry

triangleWorkers and youth: Unite against the far right

triangleTower Hamlets Socialist Party: 20 years since the BNP were driven out

triangle1993: BNP racists forced off Brick Lane

London:

triangleInternational day of action for abortion rights in Ireland

triangle100,000 march against cuts and for a wage rise

triangleWest London Socialist Party: How the Socialist Party is organised

triangleSt Mungo's Broadway strikers stage 19 pickets

Racist:

triangleAnti-racist day of action: 18 September

triangleChallenging Ukip's lies

triangleStevenage: March against the far-right, racist EDL

Black:

triangleSouthwark Socialist Party: The Black Panthers

triangleLondon Socialist Party: Ebola and Racism

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

22/10/14

Wales

Local services suffer under Welsh Labour

22/10/14

Salford

Socialist Party "part of political landscape"

22/10/14

Kent

Reckless Ukip circus

22/10/14

Southampton

Save Bitterne walk-in centre!

22/10/14

Waltham Forest

Anti-eviction success!

22/10/14

London

100,000 march against cuts and for a wage rise

22/10/14

Leicester

Leicester council hits homeless hostel

21/10/14

Russell Brand

Russell Brand strikes a chord

20/10/14

Liverpool

Kevin Maguire's mistaken comparison

20/10/14

Doncaster

Care UK strikers lobby Miliband for public support

20/10/14

TUC

TUC 'Britain needs a pay rise' demo

20/10/14

London

St Mungo's Broadway strikers stage 19 pickets

20/10/14

Southampton

"No Raise - No Rays!" - say radiographers

20/10/14

Recycling

Sheffield green workers' unofficial walkout

17/10/14

Black

Black History Month - London socialist meetings

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Part of the 18 October 2014 'Britain needs a pay rise' TUC demo, photo Paul Mattsson

triangle22 Oct Priced out? Strike back!

Socialist Alternative members on the People's Climate March in New York, 21 September 2014, photo Socialist Alternative

triangle22 Oct Socialist change to halt climate change

Militant supporters march against the poll tax, photo Steve Gardner

triangle22 Oct 50 years of socialist ideas and workers' struggle

triangle22 Oct The unions' pay battle must continue

triangle20 Oct Care UK strikers lobby Miliband for public support

TUC demo, 18.10.14, photo by JB

triangle20 Oct TUC 'Britain needs a pay rise' demo

triangle20 Oct 'No Raise - No Rays!' - say radiographers

More ...

triangle23 Oct Lambeth and SW London Socialist Party: After the October strikes and TUC march

triangle23 Oct Lincoln Socialist Party: The case for a 10/hr minimum wage

triangle23 Oct Bristol Socialist Party: War in the Middle East

triangle23 Oct Southwark Socialist Party: 'Socialist Alternative' in the United States

More ...

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Find us on Facebook

Archive

Categories

1-9 

1-9 


Archives:

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice