Socialist Worker

French Führer is not welcome here

Issue No. 1898

THE FRENCH Nazi leader Le Pen was due to come to Birmingham on Sunday. The leader of the National Front organisation announced on his website this week that he was planning an "official visit" in England on Sunday. He was likely to be speaking at an £80 a head fundraising dinner for the British National Party (BNP) in the West Midlands.

The BNP have been trying to appear as an ordinary political party. But their "guest of honour" dismisses the murder of six million Jews in the holocaust as "a mere detail of history". Le Pen believes in the "inequality of races". He is a thug who was convicted of a violent assault on a candidate for France's Socialist Party, the equivalent to Labour, in the 1997 election.

The West Midlands TUC and West Midlands Region of Unison are supporting a protest called by Unite Against Fascism to stop Le Pen. The chair of Unite, London mayor Ken Livingstone, said, "We should also learn the lesson of France, that it is possible for fascists to gain a hearing by seeking to appear as legitimate politicians.

"The vast majority of people in Britain abhor fascism and racism and everything Le Pen stands for. That opinion must be mobilised wherever fascism raises its head. Le Pen is a fascist and not welcome here."

John Rees, who heads the Respect coalition West Midlands list in the forthcoming European elections, said, "The poisonous ideas of the far right have no place in democratic politics. We are proud to join with the wider labour movement in opposing the BNP and their European Nazi allies. In the June elections we are the party of hope, the BNP is the party of hatred and despair."

  • Stop the Nazi Le Pen, Sunday 25 April, 2pm, Victoria Square, Birmingham city centre.

    'A show of strength for anti-racists'

    SUPPORTERS OF Unite Against Fascism are ensuring that Nazis in Britain are hounded whenever they try to mobilise. Some 150 delegates from the TUC's Northern Region left their conference in Newcastle last Saturday to join local people protesting against 50 members of the National Front.

    Like the British National Party they hope to con voters in the 10 June elections into thinking they are a "respectable" party. But the Nazis were routed by a 350-strong protest organised at just 36 hours notice.

    The leader of the GMB union, Kevin Curran, TUC deputy general secretary Frances O'Grady and Unison union president Dave Anderson gathered alongside local trade unionists and campaigners.

    They were shocked and disgusted that the police responded to the protest by corralling the demonstrators behind barricades using police dogs and horses. Kevin Curran told Socialist Worker, "The BNP are clearly trying to target working class communities suffering deprivation with their message of racism. "I was an Anti Nazi League activist in the 1970s and have fought fascism throughout my career. It's time for the trade unions to take the fight back to the fascists and explain the facts about migrants."

    Frances O'Grady told Socialist Worker, "It was an impressive and important show of strength against racism in the north east."

  • Sunderland Respect carnival, Monday 3 May, organised by the TUC Northern Region in association with Love Music Hate Racism. At Festival Park from 12 noon.

    Remember Blair Peach

    BLAIR PEACH was a teacher who was killed by the police while he was on an anti-Nazi demo in Southall, west London, 25 years ago this week. The day was marked by extreme police brutality against the 3,000 demonstrators. Events commemorating his death on 23 April 1979 have been organised, backed by Unite Against Fascism.

  • Meeting Friday 23 April, 7.30pm, Montague Hall, Montague Road, off High Street, Hounslow. Sponsored by Ealing and Hounslow NUT, and supported by London District CWU. Speakers include: Harsev Bains, Indian Workers Association and Southall Youth Movement (1979); Kevin Williams, who led strike at Ford's Langley plant on the day of anti-NF protest 25 years ago; and Billy Hayes, general secretary of the CWU.

  • Fundraiser Saturday 24 April, 8pm, St Mathias Old Church Community Centre, 113 Poplar High Street. With Mike Rosen, DJ Martin Smith and jazz-dance act MOTIV. £4 on the door.

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    Sat 24 Apr 2004, 00:00 BST
    Issue No. 1898
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