Socialist Worker

Campaign kicks off against BNP Nazis in local elections

by THERESA BENNETT
Issue No. 1795

THE NAZI British National Party is standing 50 candidates in the local elections on 2 May. This is double the number of candidates it has ever stood before in a local election.

The BNP is standing 13 candidates in Burnley, five in Oldham, three in Tipton, seven in Bexley and one in Bradford. It is also standing five in Leeds and Dewsbury, eight across London, and nine in Sunderland and Gateshead. The BNP Nazis think they can make a breakthrough into mainstream politics in the elections. For the first time in a decade they believe they can win a council seat.

That makes the campaign to urge people not to vote Nazi even more urgent. In Oldham anti-Nazis were out in force last weekend, with around 100 people joining the 'Don't Vote Nazi' campaign. Trade unionists, community workers, tenant activists and anti-racists joined with local residents in mass leafleting against the Nazis.

Oldham is a mill town that has suffered generations of decline. The BNP hopes to exploit this by putting up candidates in some of the poorest wards. Manchester Health Unison branch secretary and Oldham resident Caroline Bedale told Socialist Worker, 'Housing estates in Oldham are run down, and levels of segregation are very depressing. These are the places the BNP is targeting. There are just no jobs here and lots of people with no income, and things have got worse. I'm out today with my fellow Unison members because I believe you cannot bury your head in the sand. We have to openly discuss the threat of the BNP.'

In an attempt to gain votes the BNP is cold calling young and first time voters. It is trying to stir up racism by telling voters in Fitton Hill that the Liberal and Labour candidates are Asian.

The BNP is also skulking around the streets putting leaflets through doors at the crack of dawn. The filthy Nazi material angered two local women so much when they received it on Sunday morning that they joined that afternoon's 'Don't Vote Nazi' leafleting. Many people joined the leafleting for the first time.

Adam, a member of the college lecturers' Natfhe union, said, 'I have lived here all my life. The Oldham I know is mixed with different cultures and races. But Oldham is also an area of deep divisions and segregation. I've joined the campaign today because action is needed to educate people and break down racial segregation.'

'Don't Vote Nazi' leaflets have been well received in the predominately white areas of the city where the BNP hopes to make gains.

Saima Suleman from Women Against Racism explained, 'I do feel the work we have done in the predominately white areas of the city has made a real difference. 'It's been great going out campaigning. We need to get more people involved by putting up posters, giving talks in every community centre, and at schools and on estates.'

Anti-Nazi campaigners were also out leafleting in Bexley, Burnley, Bradford, Tipton Green and Merseyside last weekend.


What you can do

WHEREVER you live or work you can help to oppose the Nazis.

  • Ask your trade union branch or workplace, pensioners, tenants or other community group to financially support and join in the 'Don't Vote Nazi' campaign.
  • Take a collection sheet for the Anti Nazi League's £100,000 election appeal around your workplace, college or estate.
  • Phone the Anti Nazi League for details of campaigns on 020 7924 0333 or go to www.anl.org.uk

Stop the National Front Hitler anniversary march

Saturday 20 April Assemble 11am, South Bermondsey station, Ilderton Road, London SE16


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Article information

News
Sat 13 Apr 2002, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1795
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