Thousands of anti-Nazi protesters will surround the BBC studios in west London on Thursday of next week, determined to stop Nick Griffin appearing on the flagship Question Time programme.
The BBC’s invite to Griffin, the leader of the British National Party (BNP), flies in the face of its responsibilities as a public service broadcaster.
The BNP is a Nazi organisation that stands in the tradition of Adolf Hitler. It is racist and homophobic.
And it doesn’t just spread nasty ideas – wherever the BNP gets a foothold racist attacks and violence increase.
The growth of the BNP gives confidence to racists. This has been clear at recent “protests” by the English Defence League (EDL), a bunch of violent, racist thugs with links to the BNP.
Hundreds of EDL supporters marched in Manchester last weekend, chanting racist slogans and making Nazi salutes.
Griffin and his Nazi cohorts know that the vast majority of people in Britain are repulsed by fascism. They have tried to remodel the BNP to hide its Nazi politics and appear as a “respectable” electoral party.
It is a disgrace that the BBC is helping them to do this by offering the BNP the legitimacy it craves.
But most people are not fooled by the BNP’s lies. Trade unionists, anti-racists and students are working hard to ensure the maximum turnout for next week’s protest.
Mark, a student from Essex University, told Socialist Worker, “In just three days we collected names of more than 400 people who are interested in coming to the protest.
“Lots of first year students have taken leaflets round the student flats and we are holding stalls to get the word out.
“We have won an argument in our student union about why there should be no platform for fascists.
“Some people say that Griffin should be allowed to debate because he might make a fool of himself.
“But we can’t beat the Nazis that way – we have to confront them every time they appear in a public space.”
Unite Against Fascism (UAF) members are campaigning to get people to the protest. Many trade unionists are organising to bring workmates and union banners to the protest.
Amanda Logan, a bus worker in North West London, told Socialist Worker that she is hoping to bring a group from her garage.
“I don’t want to see Nick Griffin on my TV,” she said. “The BNP should not be allowed onto the BBC. It is a fascist organisation and Griffin has a conviction for denying the Holocaust.
“How can the BBC think someone like that is worth listening to?”
Wednesday 21 October
Unite Against Fascism rally, 7pm at Conway Hall, central London. Speakers include Peter Hain, Ken Livingstone and a Bectu union representative.
Thursday 22 October
UAF picket of the BBC’s White City studios, Wood Lane, W12 7RJ from 9am. (Nearest tube stations are White City or Wood Lane.)
Student feeder marches are set to arrive from lunchtime onwards.
Main protest begins at 5pm.
For campaign materials and updates, go to » www.uaf.org.uk