Socialist Worker

Anti-fascists beat back the BNP in Barking

Issue No. 2200

Anti-fascists are celebrating the humiliation of the British National Party (BNP) at the hands of voters in Barking, east London.

BNP fuhrer Nick Griffin stood in

Barking. The BNP made it the centrepiece of its electoral campaign, believing that Griffin could win.

But he was beaten into third place by Labour and the Conservatives and received 14.6 percent of the vote. This compared with 16.9 percent in 2005.

After the count ended, Griffin was forced to leave via a side entrance to avoid jubilant protesters.

Unite Against Fascism joint secretary Weyman Bennett said, “The BNP were defeated by mass anti-Nazi activity.

“We built a coalition of black, white and Asian people, trade unionists, LGBT people and members of different faith groups to oppose them.

“We systematically visited every ward, every major workplace and council estate, exposing the BNP as Nazis.”

Majority

Margaret Hodge, who was returned as the Labour MP, said that, “the overwhelming majority supported democratic politics” , not “fascist politics, division, prejudice and hatred.”

The message from the people of Barking to the BNP is “get out and stay out!” she said.

A tireless campaign by anti-fascists across Barking and London defeated the BNP.

It was run over months involving a broad range of forces putting forward a central message that the BNP is a Nazi party – trying to hide behind a façade of electoral respectability.

The mask slipped the day before the

election when BNP candidate Bob Bailey was filmed viciously lashing out at an Asian man in Barking.

Not a day went by in Barking without anti-BNP activity.

Campaigners leafleted every part of the constituency, organised Love Music Hate Racism gigs with local bands and visited community groups, religious institutions, schools and workplaces.

Trade unions sponsored numerous days of action, involving students, Labour Party members, pensioners and local residents.

And there were London-wide days of action.

The continuous presence of the campaign meant that local people felt confident to stand up to the BNP.

But the campaign wasn’t all easy. The widespread media coverage for the BNP and the constant myths pumped out almost daily about immigration played into the fascists’ hands.

The BNP were also beaten in Stoke-on-Trent, their second target area. In each of the city’s three seats BNP candidates came in fourth.

Simon Darby, BNP deputy leader, got 7.7 percent of the vote in Stoke Central – polling a lower vote than when the BNP stood in 2005.


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