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Oppose the BNP 'Festival of Hate'
Love Music Hate Racism demonstration 2008, ISR contingent, photo Paul Mattsson
"WHEN THE cameras weren't there, the mask came off... racist jokes, the fascist salutes... Then, late in the evening in the beer tent, they were playing SS marching songs on a cassette. Nick Griffin was there, as were other leaders." This was the scene described by a TV Panorama programme at a "Red White and Blue festival" organised by the far-right British National Party (BNP) a few years ago.
This year's festival of hate is being opposed by a protest organised by the "Notts Stop the BNP" campaign, with the support of anti-racist campaigns, trades unions and local people. Despite their attempts to make their image more respectable, the BNP leaders and many of the activists hold on to their Nazi views.
The BNP must be opposed. They prey on the fears people have about jobs, services, housing. But they have no answers. When they get elected as councillors they attack jobs and services just as the main parties do. But they are dangerous because by attempting to divide working-class people, they make a fightback harder. If we are to build a mass movement to defend our living standards, then we need unity of all sections of working-class people.
The betrayal that many working class people feel by the Labour Party, and the lack of a mass working class alternative, has raised the danger that the far right could gain some support. The election of a BNP member onto the London assembly shows this threat. The developing economic crisis will make anxieties about jobs and living standards even greater.
It isn't enough to point to their neo-Nazi roots to defeat them, we need to point to the real causes of the problems people face. These include the big business-supporting government and the profit system which creates poverty and demands cuts and privatisation whilst the rich keep on getting richer. We need to put forward socialist answers to those problems.
Yes, it is vital that we build broad alliances against the BNP, but not at the price of being bland and holding back our criticisms of the main parties like Labour. After all, it's their policies that have allowed the BNP to grow; much of the BNP vote is a protest against the government.
More than ever we need a political alternative, one that would fight to defend working-class people. We need a mass alternative party that could cut across the divisive lies of the BNP.
In The Socialist 13 August 2008:
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