A cowardly attack on a well-known anti-fascist activist in the West Midlands has confirmed the thuggery of fascist British National Party (BNP) supporters.
Assailants attacked Gary McNally from behind as he walked to his home in Stafford on Thursday of last week.
He was knocked unconscious and taken to hospital where he was treated for head wounds.
Gary had been central to organising the successful 20,000-strong Love Music Hate Racism festival in Stoke-on-Trent in May.
The fascist “Redwatch” website, which targets left wing campaigners, had put up photographs of Gary just days before the attack.
Gary is very proud of the role he has played in countering the BNP. He is determined to continue to combat the threat of the Nazis.
He pointed out that this is “an attack not just on one person, but on our whole movement”.
The BNP wants us to believe that it is a “respectable” mainstream party.
But the wave of racist attacks in the north west of England in the wake of its gains there should be a stark reminder that the BNP is a fascist party that whips up race hatred and violence.
BNP leader Nick Griffin grabbed a European parliamentary seat in the area in the June election.
This has helped to create an atmosphere in which racists are more confident to attack black and Asian people.
In the same week that a 17-year old woman was racially assaulted in a park in Rochdale, an African man was left with a suspected broken jaw after a racist attack in Liverpool.
The same group of men who hurt this man also chased his friend, who escaped with minor injuries.
The two men were leaving a shop when a group got out of a taxi.
One of the group started racially abusing the pair, before assaulting both men.
In a separate racist attack in Preston, a group of between ten and 15 people assaulted an Asian taxi driver. They threw stones, kicked his vehicle and shouted racist abuse.
The driver, who is in his 50s, described the ordeal as “terrifying” – and said that this was the sixth time in a fortnight that he had been targeted.
Racist attacks have risen significantly over the last ten years, but this is particularly marked in areas where the BNP has a base of support.
The Mirror newspaper reported last week that the number of recorded race crimes in Yorkshire has risen from 338 ten years ago to 3,592 in 2007-8, the most recent year for which statistics are available.
According to a recent leaked membership list, the BNP has around 1,600 members in Yorkshire and the BNP won a European parliament seat in Yorkshire & the Humber last month.
Anti-fascist activists are determined to drive back the BNP.
Around 200 anti-fascists protested in Preston on Wednesday of last week outside the first full meeting of Lancashire county council since the election of BNP member Sharon Wilkinson to the council.
Paul Jenkins from Unite Against Fascism (UAF) reported that, “The fake smiles on the faces of the few fascists gathered outside the main entrance soon dropped, as the large UAF protest was joined by a contingent of students who marched down from nearby Cardinal Newman college chanting anti-Nazi slogans.”
The racist attacks should stand as a sharp rebuttal to all those who argue that the BNP should be treated as a mainstream party because it has been democratically elected.
Weyman Bennett, the joint secretary of UAF, told Socialist Worker, “We have always said the BNP is not a democratic party – but a Nazi organisation that whips up racism and violence.
“Most people hate what the BNP stands for and are horrified that it has won seats in the European elections.
“We are calling on everyone who opposes the BNP to come to our national conference in Manchester on 18 July.
“The Nazi BNP is holding its annual ‘Red, White and Blue’ hate-fest in Codnor, Derbyshire on Saturday 15 August.
“The BNP wants to make their rally this year a ‘victory celebration’.
“We need to be there in large numbers to represent the majority that hates their politics of bigotry, race hatred and fascism.”
Unite Against Fascism national conference, Central Hall, 4-5 Oldham Street, Manchester, 10am, Saturday 18 July. For more information go to » www.uaf.org.uk