BLACK, WHITE and Asian people took to the streets against the Nazis in Burnley town centre last Saturday. Up to 1,500 people joined the protest called by the Anti Nazi League. Burnley residents, young and old, joined with trade union members and anti-racists from across Britain.
The carnival-like march marked a sea change in the Lancashire town, where three Nazi BNP candidates conned voters to elect them in the recent council elections. Muriam Rathore, who lives in Burnley, was wearing a home-made T-shirt with the slogan ‘Mixed race and proud’.
She says, ‘A lot of people haven’t realised the consequences of voting BNP. ‘I’m one of the invisible people in Burnley. I’m Asian and white, and I am hoping today will draw attention to the fact that the BNP can’t just blame ethnic minorities.’
Neil Akrigg is a Labour councillor in Clover Hill in nearby Pendle. He says, ‘I work on the buses, and we watched the election result in horror. A few people at work voted for the BNP. Some were former Tory voters. They say it was a protest vote. I think some BNP voters can be won away from it. They aren’t all racists, and today’s demonstration can make a difference.’
Nazreem works in a nursery in Burnley. She says, ‘Asian people get accused of not mixing. But I work with all white people, and where I live everyone is white. I take my children to a football club, Beavers, Guides and Cubs. They are the only Asian children there, yet Asian people get the blame for the divisions.’
Muhammad Sher Ali Miah says, ‘I blame the rise of the BNP on the main political parties. I also blame local media and politicians. They haven’t explained to the people of Burnley that Daneshouse, the main Asian area, is one of the poorest wards in Burnley. More resources are needed. We have a severe housing problem and 5,000 empty properties, poor health and overcrowding.’
Saturday’s demo also struck a chord with trade unionists across Britain. John Wearty brought the Liverpool teachers’ NUT union banner. He says, ‘The day after we heard the news about the BNP getting three councillors we had an immediate protest-a march through Liverpool.
‘Quite a few teachers were on the protest. With Blunkett’s speech about refugee children, teachers are especially aware of what is going on.’ A delegation from York to the demo included Labour Party members, RMT rail workers’ union members, charity workers, civil servants and students. Lucy and Leonie are students at York St John College.
They told Socialist Worker, ‘We were disgusted when we heard that the BNP had got elected. People have to make a stand and stop it happening anywhere else.’ Simon Midgely had brought the postal workers’ CWU union banner from Huddersfield.
He says, ‘This march is a great beginning to the campaign. We have to make sure that this is the beginning of the end for the three BNP councillors and the BNP’s campaign to gain respectability. Trade unionists must take the campaign into their union branches, not just in the north west but everywhere. We must take up the social issues the BNP are hijacking.’
There were many trade union banners on the march, including Wiltshire Health Unison, North West Region Natfhe, Leicester MSF, Blackburn Nathfe, Hackney NUT, Hackney College Natfhe and Rotherham NUJ Demonstrators are determined to keep up the protests.
As Jason Hunter from Burnley Trades Council says, ‘From this demonstration we have to keep up the pressure on the BNP and convince people the BNP are Nazis. ‘We also have to do something about the state of people’s lives in Burnley.’
GRIFFIN, would-be Führer of the Nazi British National Party, has let his mask slip. He admitted on BBC’s Radio 4 last week that the BNP wants a white-only Britain. After months of pretending to be respectable, the BNP’s aims are out in public for all to see.
Its problem is not just with asylum seekers or ‘fanatical Muslims’-it is with all black people living in England. On its poisonous website the BNP explains what it means by ‘British’. It says that it means people who can trace their families back to before the Stone Age.
Also included in this concept of ‘Britishness’ are ‘small numbers of almost identical stock’ such as Saxons, Vikings, Normans and the Irish. On this basis the only British people living here are a handful of the aristocracy. Not many official records were kept in the Stone Age. The BNP Nazis want to uproot people whose families have lived in Britain for generations.
They would get rid of black and Asian people from all walks of life. That means driving out MPs like Diane Abbott, campaigners like Doreen Lawrence, and writers like Meera Syal.
They would also drive out those black and Asian people who make a massive contribution to keeping public services running. The Nazis want a Britain without many of its top sports stars or entertainers. Under a BNP-run Britain the English football team would be decimated. Gone would be Sol Campbell, Emile Heskey, Ashley Cole, Darius Vassell and Rio Ferdinand.
David Beckham would also be out-he is a quarter Jewish. The same is true of other sports. England cricket captain Nasser Hussain would be a victim of Griffin’s policies because he was born in India. Cricketer Mark Ramprakash would be another BNP target. He was born in Hertfordshire, but his parents came from Guyana.
In boxing, Prince Naseem would be out if the BNP got in. So would singers like Gabrielle, Craig David and Nitin Sawhney, and TV personalities Trevor MacDonald, Lenny Henry and Frank Bruno. Much of the food, music and festivals that are enjoyed every year by thousands of people in Britain, both black and white, would be finished.
The Nazis have to be exposed for the scum they are. The BNP cannot be allowed to pose as an ordinary organisation voicing genuine concerns. It wants to whip up race hatred.
We also have to point out its utter failure to fight against hospital and school closures, or against job losses and low pay. If the BNP grows then all of us will suffer.
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