Socialist Worker

3 seats is 3 too many

Issue No. 1799

THE NAZI British National Party has conned its way into three council seats in Burnley. This is a terrible warning. It demands an urgent reaction from the anti-Nazi majority across Britain.

The BNP stood 68 candidates in last week's council elections across England, concentrating on the north west towns of Burnley and Oldham. It wants to use its success in Burnley as a launchpad to break through elsewhere. It got very worrying votes in Oldham, Tipton Green, Sunderland, Gateshead, Dewsbury and Dudley last week.

The BNP seeks to tap the bitterness people feel after 23 years of Tory and New Labour governments. It hid its Hitler-loving ideology in the elections. The vast majority of people in Burnley are not Nazis.

In the three wards where the BNP was elected-Cliviger, Gannow and Rosegrove-the majority of people did not vote for the Nazis. Stopping the BNP means mobilising against it.

The Nazis will grow if they are ignored or treated as respectable politicians. The Labour Party, which controls Burnley council, says it will not work with the BNP councillors. Labour councillors must be held to this.

Campaigners determined to push back BNP Nazis

ANTI-NAZI campaigners in Burnley are organising. They are determined to follow the example of the movement against Nazi councillor Derek Beackon in east London in 1993-4. A vibrant campaign forced him out of office after eight months.

The BNP has since collapsed in east London, its former stronghold. Around 60 people rallied in Burnley town centre against the BNP on Friday of last week. Two hundred trade unionists, students and campaigners-white, Asian and black-marched through the town centre the following day.

There are plans to lobby the first meeting of the new council on Wednesday of next week. A national demonstration has also been called for this Saturday in Burnley (for full details see page 1).

'All anti-fascists need to take the BNP head on,' Paul Reynolds, a Burnley Labour Party member, told Socialist Worker. 'I don't think it was a completely racist vote. It was a protest against politicians in general. Problems in the town need redressing. I don't think the media has helped. The BNP have come across as the people next door, not the thugs they really are. This is a wake-up call. We're going to have to campaign against them.'

'Trade unionists need to continue to spread the word and educate people,' said Peter Jones, a lecturer at Burnley College and member of the national executive of the Natfhe union. We need to keep up the pressure for this time next year when two BNP councillors face re-election.'

The Anti Nazi League organised hundreds of people to oppose the BNP during the elections. The campaign involved trade unionists, Labour Party members, community activists, councillors and MEPs, soap stars, and others.

Millions of people are shocked that the BNP has won council seats, and understand the urgent need to build a mass movement to stop the Nazis. Trade union leaders should call the anti-Nazi march and carnival in the north west that they have been talking about for 12 months. We can create a powerful mass movement against the BNP in every town and city in Britain.

That can feed the confidence of the anti-Nazi majority in Burnley, and stop the BNP trying to build elsewhere.

Join the Anti Nazi League. Phone 020 7924 0333 or go to

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Article information

Sat 11 May 2002, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1799
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