Stop the media giving a platform to Nazi party
I agree with Jim Wolfreys that we should have a militant and clear position when it comes to no platform and the Nazis (» Letters, 30 May). The small foothold the British National Party (BNP) have in the mainstream media should not be allowed to grow or be given credibility through debating them.
No platform means we should not share airtime or public spaces with fascists. However, representatives from anti-fascist groups should actively seek to comment on the presence of the BNP on the ballot paper and their growing confidence on the streets.
We should also seek to comment on the stupidity of news outlets that give the BNP airtime, immediately if possible. Our position should be to make it clear to journalists and producers that we don’t think they should be engaging with fascists or giving them publicity. We should not appear in the studio with them or in conversation with them. We should use our time on air and in newspaper columns to expose them as fascists and express our disgust that they have been given publicity. And sometimes this will mean being included in the same article or broadcast. This is not a contradictory position.
Tom Woodcock, Cambridge
Nick Grant is picking the wrong but easier fight when he calls for an end to the position of no platform for Nazis. We do have to fight for our views but that would best be done by campaigning within the media unions and picketing those media stations which allow airtime to the BNP. In the Anti Nazi League (ANL) we had groups such as Media Workers Against the Nazis and badges demanding “No plugs for NF thugs”. To win the argument for no platform, as opposed to “freedom of speech”, can be long and hard. But by having, and winning, that argument we built the ANL into a mass organisation with strong union links which, regrettably, UAF can’t yet match. No short cuts – organise!
John Davies, Leeds
I am as disgusted as anyone else by the greed and hypocrisy exposed by the MPs’ expenses claims, most of all because the so-called “honourable members” have handed the BNP a gift wrapped package for the elections on 4 June.
This wholly justified anger, added to widespread disillusion with mainstream politics, increases the danger that people will stay at home and not bother to vote at all. If they do that, the European voting system means that they could let the Nazi BNP into the European parliament.
From now until 4 June, the threat of the BNP must be our priority concern.
Of course Socialist Worker had to tap into the anger at the MPs’ greed. At the same time, we have found that petitions attacking greedy MPs get signatures from left and right.
The fact that the archbishops have spoken out and even the Daily Mail newspaper described Nick Griffin as a fascist shows that the “don’t talk about the fascists and they’ll go away” merchants have lost the argument. But we cannot be complacent. We have to do everything we can to make people aware that if they stay at home in disgust at the corruption of parliamentary politics, it could benefit the BNP.
Sarah Cox, North west London
Is Nick Grant naive? (» Letters, 23 May) Does he really believe that anti-fascists can “control the agenda” of the BBC and the mass media? We need to fight to gain influence over those who do control the agenda – the workers who operate the microphones, the cameras and technical support and the public who pay the licence fee.
Like Nick, I too am fed up of hearing Nazis in the media. I want to protest about it – not join in the debate! It was the political weakness of the anti-fascist left in Europe that led them into TV studios with Nazis. It was detrimental to the left and a boost for the far-right, further legitimising them.
Our ideological space is with those with whom we work and campaign with and it is here that we need to fight to expose the BNP and the media’s coverage of them. Who wants to sulk? It’s time to complain and campaign – not time to talk to Nazis.
Julie Waterson, East London
Sixteen years ago the Nazi BNP got their first councillor elected, on the Isle of Dogs, East London. A huge campaign kicked him out the following year, and staff at George Green’s School, which most students on the island attend, are organising again in this vein. Our local NUT teaching union group has paid for thousands of Unite Against Fascism leaflets though our new political fund. We approached the head who agreed to distribute them to all parents with our school newsletter. We have also arranged, alongside support staff, a mass leafleting of the local supermarket in June.
Andrew Stone, East London
Socialist Worker has brilliantly highlighted the theft and robbery committed by our politicians – which is just one of the illnesses of the capitalist system for which the working class will be made to pay.
The expenses scandal also exposes the very limits of so-called “democracy” in the system where these thieves are elected and are not held accountable. That is not my idea of democracy.
I put these political thieves in the same league as employers. Whether they are multinational or petty bourgeoisie, they are totally unethical.
What they have been doing may be perfectly legal – which also goes to show that the legal system is a shambles that cannot and should not be relied on to defend workers.
I have lost count of the amount of times where people on so-called benefits have had to take up “moonlighting” jobs just in order to survive and have ended up being jailed.
Poor people have also been jailed for being unable to pay their TV licence, council tax and so forth.
I want to see this dangerous system abolished altogether and workers of the world unite to say that we will not pay the price for this system. Workers have the ultimate power – the Visteon workers proved that.
There should be a revolution to overthrow capitalism – there are certainly plenty of reasons for doing so.
Charlie Dowthwaite, Barrow-in-Furness
Fight for liberation
The California Supreme Court’s decision to uphold a ban on gay marriage shows to us all that the fight for sexual liberation is not over. In a year which has also seen the release of the film Milk, making its namesake a gay icon, we have to continue the struggle. The fact that nearly 50 percent of the east-coast state came out in support of same-sex relationships surely means the community has to be listened to. A question has also arisen this week following the ban – what happens to the 18,000 LGBT couples who married in the short time their liberation was granted?
The state has shown it hides in a time-warp where seven judges can decide the extent to which people can and can’t live. This is so backwards that one must question how democratic the US really is – especially as we enter the new Obama era.
We all stand to lose if people do not come out in support of gay marriage – even if they don’t believe in the institution of marriage. The ruling class use opportunities like this to divide us in our struggle for democracy and equality. We have to resist attacks against sexuality not only in every US state but in every country in the world.
Josh Hollands, Kent
New solution to jobs crisis?
Thousands of university and college students are set to finish their course this summer with no hope of a job to go to.
But not to worry, the government has finally come up with a solution to the problem – leave the country!
Universities minister David Lammy says that graduates should consider moving abroad to escape the worst impact of the recession.
I don’t know whether he’s noticed that this is a global recession. Sounds like another of the government’s fatuous attempts to avoid responsibility for its failings.
Sabiha Ghani, Manchester
Have-nots are hurting
Having been a single parent myself for many years, I still cannot understand the hypocrisy in Britain over this issue. The “haves” of society still cannot truly get how much the “have-nots” are hurting. Be positive we’re told – work harder! But for what? We can’t afford houses in this country, we can’t afford to look lovely like celebrities – no wonder we’re fed up with it all! I am just as deserving of a fantastic lifestyle as much as any celebrity, but instead have to face the disappointment of working hard for next to nothing.
Anji, By email
Recession boosts army
It seems that this recession has achieved something that months of expensive propaganda campaigns couldn’t – making the army an attractive career choice.
In recent years the army has suffered a recruitment crisis as people were put off by the long, bloody unjust wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Now figures show that army recruitment has shot up by 14 percent in the six months to April. The army has always targeted young people in poor areas and sent them to the frontline to die. It is appalling that people are being driven into the armed forces just to escape a future on the dole.
Sylvia Elgrib, Sidcup, Kent
MPs just want to get rich
Gordon Brown should sack any MP who has had to “return” money to the public. There is no excuse and no such thing as “an honest mistake”.
Most people would agree that MPs’ salaries and generous pensions are sufficient for the work they do.
It is supposed to be a public service, not a “get rich quick” scheme!
Zerine Tata, North London
We should get a TV channel
There was a report in the Independent newspaper about the horribly efficient way that the BNP is utilising Youtube video-sharing website to get its message across.
I have discovered that the Irish Socialist Workers Party does a very good TV channel on Youtube. It contained, among others, interviews with Visteon strikers in Belfast and coverage of the People Before Profit/Independent joint Budget press conference. It is, in my view, very good. Why doesn’t the Socialist Workers Party do something similar?
Is black and white right?
Your headline calls on black and white to unite (» Black and white unite – Stop the Nazi BNP, 30 May) – but is it really so black and white? Some of us are the living embodiment of both. We are already united, and often overlooked. The slogan already implies division where some can’t possibly see it that way.
Paul Murphy, Ireland