Archive for the ‘BNP’ Category

Opposing hatred and bigotry in Leicester

May 29, 2016

Leicester has been in the news a lot recently, because of the unprecedented success of its football team. However, we have seen the far-right attempt to jump on this bandwagon, oblivious to the multicultural nature of both Leicester and its footballing heroes. This was the scene last weekend:

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photo – Leicester Socialist Party – see more details

For two weekends in a row, the people of Leicester have successfully defended the city centre from Britain First, a far-right splinter-group which crawled out of the wreckage of Nick Griffin’s BNP. They claimed to be campaigning for the EU referendum, but their literature is full of lies and hatred, targeted at Muslims in particular. The Another Angry Voice blog has posted a useful guide to their brand of hatred.

Leicester is one of the most diverse cities in Britain and has a proud record of standing up against racism. Dividing people in terms of their race is a convenient smokescreen for the ruling class. If working-class people are made to view each other as the enemy, then they are not blaming the real causes of their problems. These include attacks on services and jobs which the Conservatives are carrying through nationally, but unfortunately the local Labour council are passing these on to the people of Leicester and the shortage of council housing due to a lack of investment in public housing over decades.

People are at the mercy of private landlords, on zero-hour contracts, in insecure employment or are unable to get a job. It is not surprising if the ruling class try to divert their anger on to scapegoats, such as “terrorists” or “immigrants”, rather than admit that the situation we find ourselves in is because of the system of capitalism. This results in an increase in racial attacks and discrimination against minorities.

The Socialist Party in Leicester have a long tradition of holding street stalls in the city centre, every Saturday. When confronted with the bullying tactics of the far-right, we refused to go away. Instead, we called on the public to oppose and surround their stall. We reminded people of the nature of Britain First, and why they do not stand for modern Britain. We pointed out that we need to unite as a community in order to defeat the Tories’ attacks and it is still vitally important to oppose the far-right, just as the people of Leicester saw off the National Front in 1979 and opposed the EDL when they marched through the city in 2012.

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A similar unwelcome reception for Britain First this weekend – picture Midlands Antifascist Network

If they are left unopposed, racist thugs can get away with attacks on Muslims. Britain First has invaded mosques, and its leader Paul Golding has been convicted of harassment. He was arrested again this weekend, after breaking bail conditions by failing to show up to a scheduled appointment in a probation office in Luton, as he was 50 miles north of that city, in Leicester.

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Golding being escorted by members of the local constabulary – picture East Midlands Anti Fascist Network

The far-right have form in this city. In 2010, the EDL broke out of police lines and attacked Big Johns, a local fast-food restaurant, because it was selling Halal produce. In 2013, I wrote about a Leicester pub, “The Globe”, which was attacked on a neo-Nazi website for allegedly refusing to serve members of the armed forces, in case this offended Muslims. As a result, staff of the pub received threats, although the report was clearly completely fake. Britain First share the racist views of the EDL and BNP and have no place in a modern, democratic society.

The principle of freedom of speech extends only to those who will allow freedom of speech to others. In destroying a stall table and megaphone of socialist groups, Britain First showed themselves to be no respecters of the right of free speech. They brought a loud sound system, blaring out patriotic music, in an attempt to drown out the public’s opposition.

Fortunately, they were again sent packing, behind police lines and carrying armfuls of their racist publicity, which they were unable to give out due to being surrounded and outnumbered. The public of Leicester will need to be watchful and ready to mobilise to counter their threat.

The Socialist Party stands for unity of the working class and against any attempts to divide us. We stand against racism, bigotry and intolerance. We are a democratic party and are happy to debate with our political opponents, but we will organise against far-right bullies, who resort to abuse, threats and violence.

The Socialist Party campaigns for a LEAVE vote in the forthcoming EU referendum, but not on the basis of racism and xenophobia. We are for a united, socialist Europe, not the bosses’ undemocratic EU, whose treaties have imposed privatisation and austerity across the continent.

 

 

Patiently explain . . . thoughts on the local election results

May 5, 2013

If you want to see what Britain will be like in a few years’ time, if the trend of the Con-Dem’s planned spending cuts, continued wholesale privatisation of our NHS and further erosion of our living standards is not overthrown by mass strike action on the part of the labour movement, then look at Greece.

With wages stagnating, and workers simply not being given the money to enable us to buy back what we make, the economy will continue to bottom-out, or go into another nose-dive into recession. Without any jobs being created for young people, without the prospect of a decent, free education, then it is not surprising if people look to blame each other for their situation, rather than the real culprits – the super-rich who made money speculating on loans which people could not afford to pay back (the reason for the financial crisis in 2008), and tax avoidance by large companies to the tune of £120 billion a year. Combined with the constant coverage of UKIP in the media, and the usual barrage of anti-immigrant propaganda in the right wing press, the rise in vote for UKIP in the local elections last Thursday is not surprising, as this was an easy way for voters to voice their discontent with the government. Labour hardly benefited at all, and the Lib Dems face political oblivion.

However, when the 147 newly-elected UKIP councillors are actually put to the test, voters will inevitably find an odious, corrupt party of the establishment, with racist undertones. This will hopefully in turn be rejected, just as the BNP have been wiped out in these elections. The question then is, where are protest votes going to be channelled? Without a mass, left-wing opposition, this could develop into far-right, neo-fascist sympathies, as has happened to some extent in Greece with a rise in support for Golden Dawn, an openly neo-Nazi party.

A major difference between Greece and the UK, apart from the savage depth of the cuts – leading to malnutrition amongst children, for example – there is a party called Syriza, which has opposed austerity measures. It has been the vessel into which much of the intense anger against the main parties has poured (particularly PASOK, their equivalent of New Labour). Syriza is now jointly in the lead with New Democracy, the Conservative party of government (both on 20% in the opinion polls). Rewind back a few years, before the cuts impacted on Greek society, when PASOK was the main opposition – then Syriza’s vote could be counted in terms of 5-6%.

I support TUSC, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition. Like Syriza, it is the beginning, I think, of something much bigger, as the cuts continue to bite. What direction and character such a mass party of the working class will have is yet to be determined. One thing is clear – all the other parties, from the Greens on the soft-left, to New Labour on the centre-right, to Tories on the right wing, to UKIP on the far-right – they all stand for cuts. Only TUSC is opposed to all cuts in services, for a decent, living minimum wage for all, to investing in and renationalising our NHS and rebuilding a comprehensive, publicly funded education system, free for all, from nursery to University. Another similar vision is Ken Loach’s Left Unity project, and I hope that the two can work together to provide an alternative to cuts.

Visit TUSC’s website for the election results.
TUSC’s election results 2013
These elections were held under difficult circumstances for the hard-left. There has been the usual lack of coverage of our campaign, and Labour were much more visible in opposition to the Tories. However, our 120 candidates achieved some remarkable results in this context. As cuts start to bite even further, the need for a co-ordinated, left-wing challenge to the austerity agenda is ever greater.

Having completed writing this, I am just off now to canvass for TUSC in a by-election in Abbey Ward, Leicester, where the political landscape is somewhat different, with 52 Labour councillors and just two others – 1 Lib Dem and 1 Tory in the council. Yet the lack of opposition to cuts is still overwhelming. Labour are carrying through the bedroom tax, axing homeless places and council-funded care homes. If a TUSC councillor were to be elected, this would be a massive step forward for the people of the city. We are standing to provide, in a small way at this stage, opposition to the mantra that the poor, the disabled, those on benefits must pay for the economic crisis.

Just as has happened in Greece and throughout Southern Europe, opposition to cuts will definitely grow. We urgently need a mass party of the left to be there for ordinary people. The choice is between socialism or barbarism.

Update – Election results Abbey Ward by-election 9th May
Labour (Vijay Riyait) 1190 elected 47.9% (+0.9%)
Conservatives (Dipak Joshi) 562 22.6% (+9%)
Independent (Terry McGreal) 352 14.8% – this was a NIMBYist campaign against traveller sites
Lib Dem Focus Team (John Taylor) 212 8.6% (In 2011, the Lib Dems and Liberals got a combined total of 602 votes)
TUSC (Tessa Warrington) 165 6.65%

This result gives us a good base, in an area of Leicester where we have not stood before, to build real opposition to cuts and to the bedroom tax.

The BNP sink to a new low

April 15, 2010

Two days ago, Hope Not Hate used the image and words of Normandy Tank veteran Kenneth Riley to encourage people to combat the danger of the far right, by voting against them wherever possible.

Dear Friend,

When I enlisted in the army 66 years ago, I did it for Britain.

Now I need you to do something for me.

The BNP is trying to strangle our great nation with the same extremist and fascist agenda that Hitler’s Nazis threatened us with decades ago. Today, the war isn’t being fought on the battlefield – but in the ballot box.

Hope Not Hate is on the front lines of our fight. They’re organising to make sure modern-day Nazis aren’t elected on 6 May and to preserve the Britain for which I fought so hard. If I had my health I would be out there with them. But I can’t – so I’m writing to ask you to volunteer for me.

Please join Hope Not Hate’s Day of Action this weekend – the campaign has laid on transport to help you get to the areas in which you are needed the most:

http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/fightthenazis
I was barely in my twenties when I went to fight for Britain. I left home with friends – all young lads like myself – and many never returned.

Today, the BNP salute and say “Heil Hitler” – and they support the same all-white Britain. They’re proud of what the Nazis did to my friends, and what they did to millions of innocent people throughout Europe.

We didn’t fight with our lives on the line years ago just to be right back here today.

We need to do everything we can to stop the BNP from being elected to local councils and to Parliament. Those boys lost to the war would proudly go door-to-door with Hope Not Hate to fight against the fascist BNP today.

There are no tanks and no guns in this fight – but we still need your courage to speak out.

Attend a Hope Not Hate event this weekend and join the fight against fascism:

http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/fightthenazis
The elections on 6 May are personal to me – and I hope they will be to you. I’d like to thank you in advance for your service.

Yours,

Kenneth Riley
Normandy Veteran – Tank Division

Amazingly, the BNP stole his words and used them in their own twisted version of his appeal:

Dear Fellow Patriot,

When I enlisted in the army in 1942, aged 18, I did it for Britain.

Now I need you to do something for me.

The old-gang parties and their fellow cohorts in the media are dismantling and destroying the Britain we fought so hard to defend and preserve. Today, the war isn’t being fought on the battlefield — but in the ballot box.

The British National Party is on the front lines of our fight. Our party and our courageous activists are working around the clock to save the country that our war heroes fought and died for. If I had my health I would be out there with them. But I can’t — so I’m writing to ask you to volunteer for me.

I was 18 when I went to fight for Britain. At just 20 years old I was involved in the Normandy invasion, and spent the last year of the war fighting with my fellow heroes through northern France, Belgium and into Germany.

I was attached to the 51st Highland Division under the command of the legendary General Bernard Montgomery (‘Monty’ as he was affectionately known). I also took part in the Battle of the Bulge in late 1944 and Operation Market Garden.

Today, look at the terrible state of our country! Many cities and towns resemble third-world slums; crime is out of control; pensioners are freezing to death in winter; we are ruled by the EU; our politicians are greedy and corrupt, and our British national identity is being dismantled and abolished!

We didn’t fight with our lives on the line years ago just to be right back here today. Our war heroes have been betrayed!

We need to do everything we can to help the BNP get elected to local councils and to Parliament. Those heroes lost to the war would proudly go door-to-door with the British National Party to fight against the destruction of our beloved Britain.

There are no tanks and no guns in this fight — but we still need your courage to propel the British National Party to its goals. Get active: leafleting, canvassing, speaking to people; get the word out!

Could you spare £20 towards our election campaign? £20 is not much, but it could be crucial to the BNP’s chances of winning:

If you are not a member, then don’t you think now is the time to join? We veterans fought for this country; now it’s your turn:

The elections on 6 May are personal to me — and I hope they will be to you. I’d like to thank you in advance for your service.

Yours sincerely,

Bob Head

Normandy Veteran

51st Highland Division

One thing which makes this unlikely is his surname “Head” which is common in Norfolk and Berkshire, but very uncommon in Scotland (he claims to have been with the 51st Highlanders Division). Also, search as you might on Normandy Veteran websites, there seems to be no mention of a “Bob Head”. Furthermore, the 51st Highlanders were stationed at Arnhem during the Normandy campaign (thanks to 1 million united’s blog for pointing this out).

I hope that this will backfire on the far right and that people will begin to see through their lies.

So how can we best fight against the lies and propaganda of the far-right BNP?

I think we need to support a new workers’ party – people have had enough of all three main parties and are looking for an alternative. A genuine alternative for ordinary workers is standing in 42 constituencies across the country – vote TUSC (Trade Union and Socialist Coalition). If they are not standing, then vote for any left candidate that is. In any case, it is important that we use our votes against the lies and racism of the BNP.