Socialist Worker

Building local groups against the BNP

by Anindya Bhattacharyya
Issue No. 2106

This Saturday’s anti-Nazi demonstration in London is only the start of the battle to stop the fascist British National Party (BNP).

Unite Against Fascism (UAF) is calling on its supporters set up rallies and local anti-fascist groups in every part of the country.

“In every locality there are musicians, artists and community leaders that thoroughly oppose the fascists and what they stand for,” said Weyman Bennett, joint secretary of UAF.

“When these forces are organised, they can expose and weaken the fascists.”

The BNP poses a particular problem in Stoke-on-Trent, where it is aiming to win the post of elected mayor next year.

This post would give the fascists access to millions of pounds of public money.

Simon Halstead from Stoke Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR) told Socialist Worker about some of the anti-fascist activity going on locally.

“Our coaches to the demo are being organised by the Fire Brigades Union,” he said. “We are hoping to get at least two from Stoke.

“We are working with LMHR and local organisations such as the North Staffordshire Campaign Against Racism and Fascism.

“We plan a summer of activity in Stoke around the theme of anti-racism and diversity.”

The BNP grabbed three extra council seats in Stoke last May taking their total bloc to nine councillors.

“The result has woken people up to the threat of the BNP,” said Simon.

“We’ve been out on the streets every Saturday petitioning against the BNP, getting names and numbers, and phoning people back to get them involved and give them information.”

The 2009 elections to the European parliament are another chance for the Nazis to extend their electoral base.

These elections work on a proportional representation system that could aid the BNP.

The London elections in May- where the BNP grabbed its first London assembly member- were a shock to many.

Anti-fascists need to mobilise now to make sure Stoke and the European parliament elections aren’t worse shocks next year.

If the BNP gets hold of public money, it will use the funds to hire organisers on the ground. And wherever fascists start organising, racist attacks and murders start to rise.

We need to build the framework for an active and accessible anti-fascist movement. That’s the key to stopping the BNP’s rise and sending them back into the gutter where they belong.

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