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No platform for the BNP ballerina

This article is over 17 years, 2 months old
Simone Clarke is a principal dancer with the English National Ballet – and also a card carrying member of the fascist British National Party (BNP).
Issue 2034

Simone Clarke is a principal dancer with the English National Ballet – and also a card carrying member of the fascist British National Party (BNP).

Unite Against Fascism protested last week outside her first performance since her support for the BNP was revealed.

Many liberal commentators have jumped to Clarke’s defence, claiming that her membership of a fascist organisation is a “personal view”.

But Clarke is not quietly keeping her opinions to herself – she gave a lengthy and unrepentant interview with the Mail on Sunday just before the new year where she showered praise on the BNP and its anti-immigration agenda.

The BNP’s entire purpose is to spread race hatred and violence. Despite recent attempts to appear “respectable”, it remains committed to removing all non-whites from Britain.

It is not a legitimate political organisation and its activities should not be tolerated or normalised. That is why there is a longstanding principle of rigorously excluding fascists from public platforms.

Clarke’s active membership of the BNP is incompatible with her high profile role in a publicly funded arts institution that has a responsibility to oppose racism.

She has chosen to join the BNP – and so her involvement in the English National Ballet has to be terminated.

For a full report on the Unite protest go to Protest puts pressure on the BNP ballerina Simone Clarke

World Social Forum

African resistance

The World Social Forum (WSF) begins this Saturday in Nairobi, Kenya. Across the border in Somalia the latest bloody phase of George Bush’s “war on terror” is being played out.

Tens of thousands of activists are travelling from around Africa and the rest of the world to debate alternatives to war and neoliberalism.

Africa has been devastated by neoliberal policies – through debt, “structural adjustment”, and privatisation.

While more than half of Kenya’s population lives on less than $1 a day, 22 percent of last year’s budget – nearly £1 billion – went on debt repayment.

This time last year the WSF met in Venezuela, where there was a palpable sense of a mass movement of resistance growing across Latin America. The Nairobi WSF can be central in developing networks of resistance to build such a movement in Africa.

The environment

Corporate care?

Marks & Spencer’s latest public relations stunt was the unveiling this week of its green five-year plan – to be “carbon neutral” by 2012.

It says it will dedicate £200 million over five years to this plan – which is less than 0.5 percent of its current annual turnover.

It wants to cash in on the genuine growing concern for the environment and draw in the “ethical” consumer.

Carbon reduction relies in part on “offsetting” emissions through projects like tree planting, paying people to use low energy lightbulbs, or buying emissions quotas from poor countries.

Gordon Brown is keen to promote more market solutions to climate change. But big business is the cause and not the solution.

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