Millions of people across Britain will be shocked and horrified by the news that the fascist British National Party (BNP) has managed to grab an assembly seat in London – one of the most multiracial and diverse cities of the world.
The BNP polled 5.3 percent of the London-wide assembly vote, as compared to 4.7 percent in 2004. Much of this vote came from suburban areas, especially the outer east London boroughs of Barking & Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge.
While anti-fascist campaigning and the high turnout helped hold the Nazis back, it was not enough to prevent them from breaking through the crucial 5 percent barrier that guarantees a London assembly seat.
Elsewhere in the country the picture was similar, with the BNP making small advances that were nevertheless large enough to see them break into new areas, such as Rotherham, Nuneaton and Tilbury in Essex.
Much of the blame for letting the Nazis in lies with the political and media establishment that has whipped up a storm of racism against Muslims and immigrants in recent years.
New Labour ministers have cloaked themselves in the Union Jack, parroted nationalist rhetoric about “Britishness” and joined in the chorus of right wing attacks on our multicultural society.
They have lashed out at Muslims to find a scapegoat for their disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and lashed out at Poles to deflect anger at the poor housing, decaying public services and dismal wages that blight the lives of so many.
The fascists feed off this climate of despair – and they will grow further if the anti-Nazi majority does not stand together and stand up to their politics of bigotry and race hatred.
The 100,000-strong anti-Nazi carnival organised in London by Love Music Hate Racism on the Sunday before the elections shows the potential for building such a movement. There is a proud anti-racist tradition in London and across the country – and that tradition needs to be activated in the coming months.
Protest against the Nazi BNP
Assemble 6pm, Tuesday 6 May
outside City Hall (near Tower Bridge), London
» Download as a leaflet [285kb PDF]