By Joan Trevor
Jean-Marie Le Pen, leader of the French fascist party the Front National, is due to be guest of honour at a dinner hosted by Nick Griffin, leader of the fascist British National Party (BNP) in Birmingham on Sunday 25 April.
If the visit goes ahead, there will be a demonstration against the visit in Victoria Square at 3pm on Sunday afternoon.
Respect in Birmingham have called on the Chief Constable of the West Midlands to ban Le Pen's visit. Salma Yaqoob said:
"Le Pen is not welcome in Birmingham, the West Midlands or indeed anywhere in Britain by more than a tiny handful of fascistic white separatists. If there are powers to ban black separatists from visiting Britain then why not use them against white separatists?" This was a reference to the 2002 ban on a visit to Britain by Louis Farrahkhan, leader of the black-nationalist Nation of Islam.
The Alliance for Workers' Liberty did not support that ban, and does not support state bans on fascists. Banning powers "justified" against fascists always end up being used against the left and the labour movement. After a protracted debate in the Socialist Alliance, the SWP finally agreed that socialists should not call for such bans. But now the SWP's John Rees joins with his Respect co-candidate Salma Yaqoob to say:
"We call on the Home Secretary to ban the visit but David Blunkett's record on race relations has been abysmal... So our only resort is to appeal to the discretion of Chief Constable Scott-Lee not to let the fascists get away with this visit."
Support the anti-Le Pen demonstrations, not state bans!