Socialist Worker

Activists out on the knocker to stop fascists gaining in Barking

by Mark L Thomas
Issue No. 2197

Campaigners were out on the streets of Barking, east London, last Sunday to wreck Nazi BNP leader Nick Griffin’s chances of getting elected.

Unite Against Fascism (UAF) is also out to ruin the BNP’s plans to grab enough councillors to get control of their first council.

Gerald and Yvonne, two young black people from Dagenham, joined the day of action.

Gerald said, “We want to stop the Nazis. It’s good to see lots of young people getting involved.

“The majority of people in Barking are not racist. You see a lot of mixed couples.”

Yvonne added, “If the BNP win we will be going backwards. Racism and hatred will come back.”

Hugh Lanning, the deputy general secretary of the PCS union which sponsored the day, told campaigners, “We have to ensure that people see the lies that the BNP tell—they are fascists and share the politics of Adolf Hitler.”

The support they received while out campaigning made activists feel more confident.

Some were also able to argue with people tempted to vote for the BNP.

“I talked to a white woman with a disability who was thinking about voting for the BNP,” said Helen Davies, a Unison union member from Barnet.

“She said the other parties don’t care about people like her.

“I pointed to who the BNP are and what they say.

“The woman then said that she would think again after hearing what they really stand for.”

The BNP have only been able to find 34 candidates to stand for the local elections in Barking & Dagenham, even though there are 51 seats.

However, in 2006 the BNP stood just 13 candidates and 12 were elected.

The RMT transport union also held a Stop the BNP outdoor meeting last Sunday. One hundred people listened to a range of speakers on the concourse outside Barking Broadway theatre.

Bob Crow, the RMT general secretary, said “The people of Barking are being misled by the BNP.

“Scapegoats have been offered to people around here for the last hundred years.

“The real enemies are the bankers and bosses.”

Darren Rodwell, a tenants’ leader and a Labour candidate in the local elections, also spoke to the rally.

He said, “Labour forgot what it was to represent a community. Back in 2005, myself and others told Labour we had a problem with the BNP.

“They didn’t listen and we got a nightmare—12 BNP councillors elected.

“If the BNP win 170,000 lives will be blighted. But the majority of people are not BNP.”

Alys Zaerin from UAF also spoke, urging people to get involved in the campaign.

Next Unite Against Fascism Barking day of action is on Sunday 25 April.Barking Love Music Hate Racism gig with King Blues, Jerry Dammers, Lauren Mason, Ghetts, Griminal and many more, 7.30pm, this Saturday 17 April, Barking Broadway Theatre


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