The fascist British National Party (BNP) is fundamentally an
anti-working-class, anti-democratic party. It is also racist,
anti-semitic, sexist and homophobic. Everything that the BNP stands
for is against the interests of working-class people and the labour
Fascism is distinguished from other right-wing groups by the fact
that, instead of relying on the ordinary, official, repressive
mechanisms of capitalist democracy, it mobilises people on the
streets - impoverished middle-class people, the unemployed and
demoralised, and sometimes even a few workers - to directly batter
minorities and the labour movement. That is its essence even if
sometimes fascist groups put on a "legal", "parliamentary" front in
order to gather support.
Fascist groups in Britain have risen and declined since the 1970s,
but following the June 2004 elections, the BNP had 21 councillors in
Britain. The strength of groups like the Front National in France and
the Vlaams Blok in Belgium suggests we should be worried about the
BNP's potential for further growth.
What has enabled the BNP to grow? Firstly, the Labour government's
betrayal of working-class people and communities. The BNP has won
council seats where poorer white people think the BNP is the only
party that gives a damn about them. Secondly, attacks on immigrants
and asylum-seekers from all mainstream parties, and the media. BNP
leader Nick Griffin has acknowledged the leg-up his party has been
given by the anti-immigrant consensus of New Labour and the Tories.
There are at least ten things we need to do. But, in effect, they
amount to one thing: to isolate and drive out the fascists through
assertive working-class socialist politics.
To effectively oppose the BNP, we need to:
1. Fight for demands that will benefit and unite workers of all races;
2. Do consistent political work in working-class communities;
3. Resolutely oppose all forms of racism, including the demonisation
4. Support self-defence by communities targeted by the fascists;
5. Support direct action by workers against the fascists eg. postal
workers refusing to deliver BNP election material;
6. In elections, ensure that there are socialist,
7. Oppose policies that divide and segregate people - including
those, such as expansion of 'faith schools', that claim to promote
8. Educate ourselves about the threat of fascism, and the history of
9. Unite the working class and the labour movement against the fascist threat;
10. Organise against the fascists, politically, ideologically, and -
where necessary - physically.
We think that this strategy would be much more effective than recent
mainstream anti-fascism in Britain. Unfortunately, this has
effectively concentrated on urging people to vote "anyone but the
BNP". We can not agree that a vote for the Tories - or even the UK
Independence Party! - is an effective "anti-fascist" vote.