The nazi British National Party (BNP) and National Front have been forced to cancel two planned events in the north west of England because of anti-Nazi opposition. The BNP had announced it was organising a march next Saturday in Burnley. It wanted to use the issue of threatened closures to elderly people's homes to try to con people in Burnley that it is a 'respectable' party that cares about the NHS.
But the Anti Nazi League (ANL), alongside the local Unison branch and Burnley Trades Council, began mobilising for a counter-protest. Steve O'Donnell, a lecturer at Burnley College and Natfhe delegate to the trades council, told Socialist Worker, 'When the BNP said they were having a march we knew they were trying to seize an opportunity. There is massive local feeling against the closures. The trades council and the Anti Nazi League called for a protest march that day against the BNP.
'Members of the trades council went to the TUC and handed out leaflets urging trade unionists to swamp Burnley to stop the BNP. Then the BNP said they were cancelling their march because they were worried about the protest. I think a combination of the trades council saying it would do something and a major mobilisation from the ANL really had a massive impact. I don't think they want a major confrontation when they are desperate to enter the mainstream of politics.
'We have to keep on making enormous efforts to stop the BNP every time they try something. We went ahead with our stall in town last Saturday because we are still going to march to save the homes. Loads of people came up and signed the petition. Now we hear rumours that the council might be rethinking about the homes closures.'
The National Front was also forced to retreat last weekend over its planned major fundraising gig in Morecambe, a seaside town near Lancaster. The ANL campaigned to get pubs and venues in the area to refuse to hold the gig. Local councillors also expressed their opposition to the Nazis. The Nazis were unable to gather anywhere in Morecambe.
March in Burnley to save the elderly people's homes, Saturday 21 September, 11am, Central Library, Peace Gardens, Burnley. Called by Burnley Trades Council.