Nick Griffin, leader of the fascist British National Party (BNP), is due to appear on the BBC’s Question Time programme on Thursday 22 October—but he will face a mass protest by angry anti-Nazis.
Campaigners are planning a series of events culminating in a national demonstration at 5pm outside the BBC’s Shepherd’s Bush studio in west London, where Question Time is due to be filmed.
Thousands of people are horrified that the BBC is handing a platform to Griffin, a Nazi who wants an “all-white Britain” and has a conviction for denying the Holocaust.
Shamma, a student at the University of East London, told Socialist Worker that as a result Unite Against Fascism (UAF) is growing fast at her college.
“The BNP wants to use Question Time to get respectability—but it is a fascist group, not a legitimate party,” she said.
Simon from Sussex university agrees there is a growing anti-fascist mood among students.
“Over 60 people came to our first UAF meeting,” he said. “Most put their names down for the coach to the BBC.”
Trade unionists are also throwing their weight behind the campaign.
Tony Kearns, the assistant general secretary of the CWU union, is giving it his backing. He says it is a “disgrace” that the BBC is offering the BNP a seat on Question Time.
Local residents are planning to leaflet their neighbours to encourage them to join the protests.
Weyman Bennett, joint secretary of UAF, says that the idea of denying a platform to fascists came out of the experience of the Holocaust and the racist murders of the 1970s.
“We have to learn the lessons of the past. The protest at Question Time is part of the fight to stop that sort of terror becoming reality ever again.”
That feeling was reflected at Leeds university where a recent 120-strong debate on “no platform” for fascists showed that growing numbers understand the threat posed by the BNP.
“The meeting voted overwhelmingly in support of no platform,” says Ged.
“Lots of students spoke of their experience of BNP threats—and that helped to drive home to people what sort of party it is.
“People also pointed out the futility of debating with fascists—after all, did millions die in the Holocaust because they weren’t good at debates?”
Leaflets, model trade union motions and more information from » www.uaf.org.uk