from Hackney Solidarity
For years, Britain's fascists were a marginal, street-fighting rump. Now suited and booted, they present themselves as 'respectable politicians', their racist and reactionary views feeding off the betrayals of Blair's Government. They now stand a serious chance of winning seats from the votes of disillusioned working-class people.
When the fascists traded in thuggery, the answer was to mobilise the labour movement and local communities against that thuggery. Now they are swimming with the tide of the Express, the Sun, the Mail and the rest of racist press, the answers have to be different.
What Should Our Answer Be?
Simply saying that the BNP are fascists, that they are racist, and that racism is wrong, is not enough. What will isolate the racists, what will swing around those who look to the illusory answers of the BNP, is a different kind of struggle.
The fascists win where voters see them more often than they see the labour movement and the socialists. The sad truth is that while the BNP has been putting in the work in local communities, our side has neglected this.
The fascists pretend to care about communities left to rot by local councils and national government. When the BNP tells people that immigrants and lefties are to blame, we need to knock on the same doors explaining that there is plenty enough wealth in society to provide a decent standard of living for everyone: it is the rich parasites who are hoarding it, not ethnic minorities. Where the BNP gives racist answers, we have to give working-class answers.
We have to build campaigns in the communities where the fascists seek a toe-hold - for better housing for all, better schools for all and decent jobs for all. Only when we win those arguments by building campaigns that offer real hope will the fascists be driven back into their sewers.
No-One Is Illegal
The BNP is buoyed up by the anti-immigrant poison of Blunkett and Howard. BNP leader Nick Griffin has acknowledged the debt that his party owes to the mainstream anti-asylum-seeker consensus.
We have to confront this head-on. Racism lies behind every paragraph of immigration law. Fighting against it is essential to fighting the fascists: the issues can not be separated.
As trade unionists, we have a responsibility towards migrant workers. The appalling conditions they work under are coming under public scrutiny. When the press and politicians say the solution is to kick them out or stop them coming, our answer should instead be to make their jobs legal, with decent pay and safety standards. We should help them get unionised.
Vote for Anyone But The BNP? No.
The Tory Party has no place in the kind of campaign we need. It may look superficially 'broad' to include Tories in a campaign against the fascists. But in fact, it would be counter-productive - it would alienate the working-class victims of the Tories. People who consider voting BNP have given up on establishment politics, because it has given them nothing but grief. Is our job to persuade them to return to the fold of political respectability? No, it is to offer them a better form of rebellion: fighting for their communities and their class effectively, as part of a multi-racial working-class movement.
Do we want people to vote for 'anyone but the BNP'? No. We will not beat the fascists by helping the Conservative Party to turn out its voters! That would simply re-sow the seeds from which the BNP grows.
Yes, we want unity against the fascists. Unity of the working class in all its diversity, unity of the labour movement both inside and outside the Labour Party. Not unity with parties who serve the capitalist class and who want to keep the respectable racist votes for themselves.
The campaign against fascism can be nothing but the campaign to build a fighting and campaigning labour movement. Without that focus of genuine hope, the politics of poison and hate will grow.