“I could never understand why all those people were calling the BNP fascists. Well, I do now.” Those were the words of Maureen Stowe, who was elected as a British National Party (BNP) councillor in Burnley in 2003 – but left the party a few months later after discovering the ugly truth about it.
The BNP is Britain’s Nazi party. Its members are fascists in the political tradition of Hitler and Mussolini – people who pose as “respectable” and “democratic” but who are in truth dedicated to smashing democracy, and spreading terror, hatred and bigotry.
Nick Griffin, leader of the BNP, has a conviction for Holocaust denial.
Everywhere the BNP organises, racist attacks soon follow. In the early 1990s the BNP set up its national headquarters in the south east London suburb of Welling.
Soon the area was plagued with racist thuggery. Three black or Asian teenagers were murdered – Rolan Adams in 1991, Rohit Duggal in 1992 and Stephen Lawrence in 1993.
In 1999 former BNP member David Copeland terrorised London with a series of nailbombs targeting the black, Asian and gay communities.
His third bomb, left in the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho, killed three people. Copeland told police that he wanted to ignite a race war to encourage white people to vote BNP.
Today the BNP tries to hide its brutal character and pretends to have put its Nazi past behind it.
Its racist bile is directed mainly against Muslims and immigrants, rather than against Jewish, Irish or black people as it was in the past.
Its members wear suits and ties rather than bomber jackets. They try to sneak in through the ballot box rather than marching through the streets.
But don’t be fooled – it remains a fascist organisation at heart.
Last month’s local elections saw the BNP make a net gain of ten council seats across the country.
The fascists picked up a further three council seats in Stoke-on-Trent, raising worries that the BNP could win next year’s mayoral elections in the city.
The Nazis also polled just over 5 percent in the London elections, allowing them to grab their first seat on the London assembly.
Their assembly member is Richard Barnbrook, who is also leader of the BNP’s 12-strong group of councillors in Barking & Dagenham. He keeps a copy of Adolf Hitler’s book Mein Kampf under his bed.
But there is nothing unstoppable about the BNP advance. When people unite and campaign against them in their local areas, the fascists can be held back and driven out.
That is why the national demonstration against the fascists on Saturday 21 June is so important.
It will bring together anti-Nazi activists, trade unionists, anti-racists and young people involved in the Love Music Hate Racism campaign in a show of defiance against the BNP.
The national protest will boost the confidence of campaigners and act as a springboard for anti-BNP campaigns up and down the country.
Mass movements have defeated fascism in Britain in the past – now it’s time to do it again.
Sat 21 June Assemble: 12 noon, Tooley Street, London SE1
For details contact Unite Against Fascism Tel: 020 7833 4916 or 020 7837 4522 » www.uaf.org.uk
Love Music Hate Racism Tel: 020 7801 2781 » www.lovemusichateracism.com
Coaches and transport have been organised from Barrow & south Cumbria, Birmingham, Black Country & Sandwell, Burnley, Cambridge, Cardiff, Chesterfield, Coventry, Derby, Kent, Glasgow, Lancaster, Leeds, Leicester, Luton, Nuneaton, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, Oxford, Preston, Rotherham & Sheffield, Southend, Stoke-on-Trent, Swansea, Telford & Shrewsbury.
Two inspiring strikes show the way forward
We shouldn’t let them hide from the truth