The anti-fascist campaign to halt a Nazi festival of hate in a Derbyshire village is gathering momentum.
Unite Against Fascism (UAF) supporters intend to “kettle” the British National Party’s (BNP) annual “Red, White and Blue” festival by surrounding the event.
The BNP wants to pretend that the event is a harmless and family-orientated “patriotic” festival.
In reality BNP leader Nick Griffin wants to use the hate-fest to promote the party’s fascist agenda to its hardcore followers and softer supporters.
The BNP also wants to use its rally to celebrate its gains in the June European elections.
UAF has called a demonstration against the hate-fest in the Derbyshire village of Codnor on 15 August. It wants to show that the vast majority of people in Britain reject the BNP’s Nazi politics.
In a small victory for anti-fascists, the local council has banned mobile homes and caravans from the site following “complaints from residents after last year’s event”.
The festival is still set to take place on land owned by BNP supporter Alan Warner.
Weyman Bennett, the joint national secretary of UAF, welcomed the council’s decision. But he questioned why it is allowing the “festival” to go ahead at all.
He told Socialist Worker, “If it takes place it will mean more race hatred and racist attacks on our streets in the months to come.”
The BNP has instructed its student supporters to attend a lecture on “ethno-nationalist theories”—BNP speak for Nazi race theories—as part of the hardening up of its members.
Weyman said, “The BNP’s ‘Red, White and Blue’ is a nothing more than a festival of race hatred. The fascists will use the rally to harden up its supporters and build its army of thugs.
“Wherever the BNP organises, racist violence follows.”
He added, “The presence of two BNP Nazis in the European parliament also poses challenges for anti-fascists.
“We need to build the broadest possible movement against the BNP with roots in communities across the country.”
Previous years have seen SS marching songs played as “entertainment” at the “festival”. Fascists from across Europe will attend the event as “guest speakers”.
Last year the guests included Czech neo-Nazi Petra Edelmannova, who has called for a “final solution to the Gypsy issue”, and Sweden’s Marc Abramsson, who campaigns for “racially pure kindergartens”.
This year’s guests are likely to include representatives of Jobbik, a violently racist Hungarian party that has organised pogroms against Roma Gypsy people.
Campaigners have been out across the country building support for the demonstration against the event.
Some 50 coaches have been booked so far (see right), well over the five coaches that took people to last year’s protest against the BNP. This means that thousands of people will be attending the demonstration.
The campaign has gained union backing across the region.
Alan Weaver, the TUC’s policy and campaigns officer in the East Midlands, told a local newsapaper, “We’d like the people in the festival to know they are not welcome in Derbyshire and we reject their politics.”
The mobilisation has rattled the Nazis. Fascists have sent death threats to local campaigners and prominent anti-Nazis, including Jon McClure of Sheffield band Reverend and the Makers.
McClure has been outspoken in his opposition to fascism, fronting several music events for Love Music Hate Racism.
He warns, “You think how music has changed in the last
50 years and we would have none of that mixture of music and culture if the likes of the BNP had their way.”
In a message to the BNP, he said, “We don’t want you here. We don’t want your fascist shit.”
Weyman concluded, “It is very important for anti-fascists to come to Codnor in huge numbers to surround the BNP’s rally.”
Musicians representing Love Music Hate Racism are opening Budapest’s gigantic Sziget music festival to launch a new Hungarian campaign.
“Zene a Rasszizmus Ellen” (Music Against Racism) is being set up to bring people together in a campaign to counter the rise of fascist parties in Hungary. Go to » www.lovemusichateracism.com