South Yorkshire Stop the BNP was launched from a meeting of trade unionists, anti-fascists and residents of the city in July to mobilise working-class anti-fascism on the basis of “Real Problems, BNP Lies!”
We have chosen Firth Park, in the north of the city, as a target area where we can support local people to oppose the BNP on a positive basis of working-class unity and action to deal with real problems.
It is a council ward in which the BNP’s “paper candidate” last year, Michael Smith, won 19.5% of the vote coming second to Labour. It is in a newly-created parliamentary constituency, Sheffield Hillsborough and Brightside, which brings several of the higher polling wards for the BNP — 21.3% and 25% in two others — together into one constituency.
We have been talking and leafleting door to door, building for a local meeting on 21 November. Many have been interested, showing real opposition to the fascists. Some who agree with some of the BNP’s aims have been willing to discuss and to agree that bosses are exploiting both foreign-born and local-born workers.
After our first day of door-knocking, we were confronted by the BNP... on the picket lines of striking postal workers. In Woodseats, one striker was identified as a BNP council candidate for the area. He has been ejected from the CWU, but was still allowed to join the picket line. However, workers at the nearby Eccleshall Road office had responded to a BNP activist’s attempt to intervene in the strike by forcing him away from the picket line.
Our meeting is just the start of our efforts to find out what the priorities are for the community and looking at ongoing ways to assert workers’ interests in Sheffield. We believe that the fascists must also be combated in workplaces – the heart of exploitation and of the workers’ fight back.