Socialist Worker

Anti-Nazis keep up the pressure

Issue No. 1863

BERNARD Manning, who has made his name out of telling racist 'jokes', says he will not play the British National Party's 'festival' in August. Manning was booked by his manager to play at the BNP's 'Red, White and Blue' annual event, to be held in a field on the edge of Sawley village, Lancashire. Manning's manager claims, 'it's just the same as playing at a Labour or Tory event.' But Manning claims he knew nothing of the booking.

Nazi BNP leader Nick Griffin promised, 'Bernard's style does include racist material. He's got carte blanche from us.' But even so anti-racists were able to launch a campaign that helped force Manning to declare his refusal to play for the BNP. Only 400 people turned up to the event on the same site last year, which is eight miles from Burnley.

'The BNP was trying to get some credibility in terms of numbers by inviting Manning this year,' said Chris Gathercole, spokesperson for Ribble Valley Against Racism. 'It was a bit humiliating for them last year. They've been selling tickets locally just for the night he is on. I'm sure the BNP would like to claim that attendance has shot up for this year.'

Now the BNP cannot use Manning to pretend they are a mainstream, 'respectable' organisation. And local people have already begun protesting against the Nazi BNP.

Chris Gathercole explained, 'People from Ribble Valley Against Racism, Blackburn and Darwen United Against Racism, Burnley and Pendle Anti Nazi League and Hyndburn Against Racism met together last week to plan what we will do. We have produced a leaflet which says we showed the BNP were not welcome here last year and we showed them the same thing during the election. It also has quotes from local people. We will be distributing that locally this week.'

Last year protesters broke the police's five-mile exclusion zone round the BNP's event. The BNP were rattled at the noisy demonstration anti-racists held opposite the entrance.

Protest against the BNP 'festival' in Sawley on 16 and 17 August. For more details phone the Anti Nazi League on 020 7924 0333 or go to www.anl.org.uk


Waltham Forest

NEARLY 70 people attended an anti-racism meeting in Walthamstow, east London, last Monday. The event was organised to express the horror and outrage of local people at the murder of Awais Alam on 22 June.

Speakers addressing the meeting included Harry Cohen MP, Shoaib Ali from the Commission for Racial Equality, Unjum Mirza, political officer for London Region RMT, and Melena Buyum, vice-chair for the National Assembly Against Racism. Everyone who attended wanted to demand justice for Awais

They also pledged to keep up the united campaign to combat the rise in racism and oppose any racist or fascist candidates in forthcoming elections.
JO CARDWELL


Oldham

OLDHAM TRADE Union Council commends the successful campaign to get a proposed public meeting called by Oldham BNP cancelled on Thursday 31 July. The BNP have turned their warped logic to exploiting people's fears about sex offenders in the community.

The BNP had received information that a sex offender had been housed in a hostel for vulnerable people, and leafleted the area. Predictably, this resulted in a vigilante attack on the hostel. The BNP had to issue a call for calm. Despite this embarrassment they called a public meeting on the issue at a local amateur rugby league club.

Once details of the meeting became known, plans were put in place for a protest. The rugby club was bombarded with complaints and threats to inform the brewery and the Rugby League authorities. The club immediately backed down and Oldham BNP organiser Mick Treacy had to tell the local press that the meeting was cancelled.

Oldham TUC wishes to thank Anti Nazi league, Oldham United Against Racism and Socialist Alliance members for their help in achieving this victory.
OLDHAM TRADES UNION COUNCIL


Feltham festival

A UNITY festival in Feltham, west London, saw some 200 local people gather on 2 August. The Nazi National Front have been mobilising in the area in recent months, so anti-racist, anti-war, Labour Party and Socialist Worker activists all came together to organise the festival.

The festival was sponsored by Brentford FC, Feltham & Heston Labour Party, Hounslow Unison, Hounslow NUT, the GMB at BA Hatton Cross, Socialist Alliance, Hounslow and Feltham Stop the War Coalitions, the National Civil Rights Movement, and the Southall Monitoring Group.

There was particularly warm welcome for the speech by a British Airways worker who had been involved in the recent victorious strike by check-in workers. People played cricket and Brentford FC held a football competition. All around the park there were stalls from unions, political and cultural groups.

Before the festival even began, people came together to paint over Nazi graffiti daubed at the park entrance. There was an overwhelming consensus that the festival should be the beginning of a campaign to drive the fascists out of Feltham.
SIMON BASKETTER


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Sat 9 Aug 2003, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1863
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