Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/205/8493
Leicester, Oldham, Bermondsey...
Get Tough On The Nazis
NEW LABOUR and the Tories are competing with each other to be 'tough on crime' and 'tough on asylum-seekers'. New Labour have continued the Tory policies on asylum and immigration, law and order and attacks on jobs and living standards.
Some Tories have crawled out of the racist woodwork in the run-up to the general election, giving fascist organisations like the National Front and the British National Party encouragement to venture out into the streets.
SIMON, from south London, explains how the fascists are being countered as they attempt to organise another march in Bermondsey:
EXCELLENT WORK is being carried out in Bermondsey and Surrey Quays by the Socialist Party and Youth Against Racism in Europe (YRE).
The National Front (NF) are planning to march for a third time in this part of south London on 12 May, despite widespread and growing opposition from the local community.
A former racist housing policy has meant that Bermondsey is a predominantly white working-class area. The collapse of the thriving dock industry, high unemployment and decades of under-investment has led to poor housing and other facilities.
People are also worried about crime and the development of other social problems. Against this background, the NF hope to find a sympathetic ear amongst the disillusioned working-class.
But the Socialist Party and YRE have been campaigning, talking to local people and putting forward a socialist solution to the neglect of the area and an alternative to the fascists' ideas.
The vast majority of people are opposed to the NF and its planned march.
Many people understandably thought the march should be banned, so we explained that any ban by the police or the council could also be used against working-class people campaigning on other important issues like job losses, privatisation, school closures and cuts in services.
We argued that only organising and mobilising the local community onto the streets to confront the fascists would prevent them from marching.
We pointed to the success in Welling in 1993, when the mobilisation of 50,000 people led to the closure of the BNP headquarters.
The people of Bermondsey are clearly open to socialist ideas. This was shown when, on one afternoon recently, four Socialist Party members set up a stall, sold 39 papers and collected over £30 in fighting fund in just 1 1/2 hours.
We also collected many names of people interested in joining the Socialist Party.
- Don't rely on police bans - only mass action will stop the Nazis from marching.
- Scrap the Asylum and Immigration Act and all other racist laws.
- End discrimination on the grounds of race, sex, sexuality, disability and all forms of prejudice.
- For a socialist society and economy run to meet the needs of all.
In The Socialist 11 May 2001: