Two fascists currently sit in the European parliament representing constituencies in Britain.
Nick Griffin of the British National Party (BNP) is MEP for the North West. Andrew Brons of the British Democratic Party is MEP for Yorkshire and Humberside.
Both Nazis were elected in 2009 on a ticket of Islamophobia and migrant bashing.
Soon after taking his seat, Griffin called for the European Union to kill migrants coming from Africa, saying “Frankly they need to sink several of those boats.”
Brons and Griffin may strive toward appearances of respectability, but both are rooted in a tradition of white supremacy and Holocaust denial.
Before they were in the BNP, both were prominent in the National Front (NF). They spoke side by side at rallies calling for “rights for whites”.
The first party Brons joined was the National Socialist Movement, founded in 1962 on Adolf Hitler’s birthday.
The group set fire to synagogues and plotted to bomb them. Later, in the NF, Brons wrote that Britain was being “swamped” by “racially incompatible Afro-Asians”.
Griffin was a leading NF member by the time it tried to march through Lewisham, an area of London with a large black population, in 1977.
Anti-racists in their thousands confronted the march. This led to the establishment of the Anti Nazi League and a long campaign that exposed the NF as the Nazis they were.
The campaign cost them their electoral success and pushed them off the streets. After this serious setback the Nazis squabbled and split.
The dominant current was the British National Party. Its leader, John Tyndall, was a former NF chairman and Hitler admirer who had called for the fascists to arm themselves with machine guns.
Griffin became BNP leader in 1999. Brons had stayed with the NF, but joined the BNP in 2005.
Griffin developed a strategy of trying to seem respectable. Yet in 2006 he was secretly recorded addressing a BNP rally in Keighley, West Yorkshire, where he claimed that the Quran allows the rape of non-Muslims and condones paedophilia.
The BNP made a series of electoral breakthroughs as the economic crisis hit, helped by the climate of racism whipped up by mainstream parties.
One such breakthrough was the election of Brons and Griffin to European parliament.
Brons has since split from the BNP. But he continues to peddle fascism through the British Democratic Party (BDP) which was founded last year.
Brons’ and Griffins’ politics is steeped in a long history of race hate and a desire to smash working class organisation.
How we’re campaigning to get the Nazis out
The BNP has been effectively wiped from the political map in the period since Andrew Brons and Nick Griffin were elected to the European parliament.
In 2009 the party had 55 councillors. Now it is down to two.
Its failure to hold on to its gains is largely down to campaigning by Unite Against Fascism (UAF).
UAF has launched the Nick Griffin Must Go campaign in the North West and the Brons Must Go campaign in Yorkshire and Humberside.
Paul Jenkins of the Griffin Must Go campaign told Socialist Worker, “We’ve been doing mass leafleting, campaign stalls and going door to door. A lot of people haven’t realised that Nick Griffin is their MEP, and are horrified when told.”
“We’ve had support from trade unions such as the CWU and Unite. MPs including Labour shadow health secretary Andy Burnham are helping, as is Labour MEP Arlene McCarthy.”
Because of the way votes are counted in the European elections, the threat of Griffin getting re-elected is still high.
In 2009 he was elected with 8 percent of the vote, and only needs about 7 percent to get in again.
Paul said, “We can’t be complacent. It is important to vote and to get other people to vote to ensure we kick him out.
Sam Kirk, UAF joint secretary for Yorkshire and Humber, also said that people are shocked when they are told they are represented by a Nazi in Europe.
She said, “People we’ve been speaking to are disgusted that a fascist like Brons represents them.
“Sadly we have seen a mainstreaming of the racism that the likes of Brons spouts by the main political parties.”
Paul said, “When Brons and Griffin got elected it was the biggest post-war gain for British fascism.
“May is the opportunity to put an end to that.”
A reception well-deserved
Anti-fascists pelted Andrew Brons and Nick Griffin with eggs when they were elected to the European parliament in 2009.
However some were less hostile to the fascists.
In 2010 Griffin was invited to the queen’s Buckingham Palace garden party. The invite was later revoked.
New party, same fascists
Brons resigned from the BNP having lost a bitterly fought leadership contest to Griffin.
He launched the British Democratic Party (BDP) in 2013.
One prominent member is veteran fascist John Bean who once described himself as “the British Joseph Goebbels”.
Bean was active in Oswald Mosley’s Union Movement and co?founded the National Front.
Shared values with Jobbik
Griffin has sought to link up with other fascists in the European parliament.
He has said he wants to make connections with the fascist Jobbik party in Hungary, which is notorious for its brutal attacks on Roma and Jews.
In December last year Griffin said he looked forward to meeting Jobbik leaders as they shared common values.