Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/253/24747
Kick Out the BNP
THE GAIN of three Burnley council seats by the neo-Nazi British National Party (BNP) has sent shock-waves through Britain. The BNP is an anti-working class fascist party.
A Youth Against Racism in Europe (YRE) member
Their election will encourage racist attacks and give the BNP confidence to promote violence against their other targets like the gay community, trade unionists, disabled people, Jewish people and socialists.
But most people who voted for the BNP, in Burnley and other areas of England, are not convinced neo-Nazis. They voted in protest against the mainstream parties who are all the same.
In Blair's Britain, poverty and the gap between rich and poor have increased. Public services are being shut down and sold off for private profit. New Labour's Tory policies are a major reason why millions of people abstained or looked to smaller parties to represent them.
Socialist candidates did very well in many areas. However, sadly in some areas the neo-Nazi BNP was able to exploit this discontent.
Home secretary David Blunkett talking about schools in Britain being "swamped" by refugee children, only increased the BNP's support by making them and their racist policies look respectable.
The racist comments by Anne Winterton, now former Tory front-bench spokesperson, further underlines the racism that permeates mainstream parties. The establishment in Britain - the mainstream political parties, the media and big business - are part of the problem, not the solution to the threat of the BNP.
The BNP was defeated in the mid 1990s by a movement of tens of thousands of people. YRE and Militant Labour (the fore-runner of the Socialist Party) helped organise the demonstrations of up to 50,000 that shut down the BNP's headquarters in Welling, south east London.
We organised the campaign that put an end to the BNP's only regular public activity in Britain: their "paper sale" on Brick Lane in east London. We helped organise community defence campaigns so that local people could drive them off the streets.
We need to re-build a mass, active anti-racist movement that takes up the issues affecting working-class people and involves trade unions, community groups and socialists.
Rather than allow the BNP to divide us, we must fight together on the issues that unite us: Keep the care homes for the elderly in Burnley open. Full funding for public services for all. Free education. End poverty pay. Decent, affordable public transport. Fight privatisation and cuts.
We are campaigning for:
- The trade unions to immediately organise a national demonstration against the BNP in Burnley, calling for jobs, homes and services, not racism.
- Council workers to refuse to co-operate with BNP councillors, with full union support.
- Democratically organised and accountable community defence campaigns against racist attacks and violence.
Organise against the Nazis
In The Socialist 10 May 2002: