“Economic meltdowns are one of the drivers of political revolutions – and the BNP must be ready to take advantage of the mess all of the other parties have made of the economy.”
That was the boast of a senior member of the fascist British National Party (BNP) recently as he outlined plans to build the organisation by scapegoating immigrants for recession and unemployment.
The Nazis were confident that they could capitalise on the unpopularity of the Labour government.
They hoped to build on this year’s local election results, where they made a net gain of ten council seats and grabbed a seat on the London Assembly.
But these plans were spectacularly derailed last week when a list of BNP members and supporters was posted online. BNP leader Nick Griffin has admitted that the leak came from inside his organisation.
A disgruntled former senior BNP employee was to blame, he said.
This leak has sent the BNP into disarray. Simon Darby, one of its leading members, said, “If we find out the name of the person who published this list it will turn out to be one of the most foolish things they have done in their life.”
The anti-fascist left must seize this opportunity to cripple the BNP’s ability to organise. The party depends on a periphery of passive racists to fund its Nazi activist core.
This leak means they will find it a lot harder to persuade people to join, and a lot harder to raise funds for next year’s European elections – where they still hope to gain seats.
We cannot afford to be complacent about this threat. The working class in Britain has already been battered by 30 years of neoliberalism – and now it faces being hit by the worst global recession since the 1930s.
Fascists have won support among the demoralised and downtrodden in these circumstances before. There is no reason to think they cannot do so again.
But nor is there anything inevitable about this dynamic. The majority of people in Britain are thoroughly opposed to the BNP and have no sympathy for those who join such an organisation.
A mass campaign against the Nazis can help mobilise this majority, demoralise the racists attracted to the BNP and isolate the hardcore fascists at the centre of the organisation.
We should campaign to get the Nazis out of public service jobs such as teaching and health. Police officers should be fired on the spot.
But we should also demand that the Labour government backs attempts by trade unions to strengthen their powers to campaign against fascism in the workplace.
Earlier this month the government shamefully threw out legislation that would have helped the struggle against the BNP.
Unions were calling for the right to expel BNP members without penalty – but only 15 Labour MPs supported them.