Last weekend saw many communities across Britain take to the streets in protest against the fascist BNP and its allies. The BNP have found a fertile breeding ground in the current climate of racism generated as part of Bush and Blair's war drive, combined with mainstream press and politicians making asylum seekers into society's scapegoats. They are now launching the biggest ever fascist electoral offensive in postwar Britain, in the run up to the Euro-elections. However, more and more people are waking up and responding to this danger.
In Altrincham, near Manchester protesters ambushed the car of Le Pen
, while in Wickford, Essex, a protest by local villagers stopped the BNP from assembling outside their rail station
. There were also protests against fascist activities in South London, Birmingham and North Wales, amongst others. These may mark the opening skirmishes of one of the greatest battles for a generation in the long struggle to keep Britain free from fascism.
Research by the Independent Race and Refugee News Network which was based on on exit polls of 539 voters and focus groups, was carried out during local government elections in autumn 2003 in Burnley, Oldham and Calderdale indicates that, "the younger one is the more likely one is to vote BNP. Around one in three of 18-25 year-olds said that they voted for the BNP... hardly anyone in the 18-25 category voted Labour. In this age group, large numbers of young men have been attracted to the BNP's message - making it the only party whose support is predominantly male." See the Who votes BNP? article on their site for more about their research (conducted by the Searchlight Educational Trust and Vision 21) which concludes that "The bad news for those opposed to the BNP is that support for the party is not based on apathy and general disgruntlement but positive endorsement for their policies among a core of young men."
Actions: [Le Pen Ambushed] [Wickford Action] [Birmingham Rally] [Southall] [Leeds and Bradford]
Links: [United Against Fascism] [CARF] [Antifa Britain] [Other Links]
Most spectacular was Sunday morning's popular ambush of Le Pen, the notorious leader of French fascism. This veteran bigoted thug had been flown in by the BNP for a Euro-election press stunt to appear alongside Nick Griffin, the BNP's own wannabe Furher at a "secret" location. However, the carefully polished camera friendly smiles of the fascist leaders suddenly vanished as it became clear that they had been rumbled by the local anti-fascists.
At extremely short notice, a crowd of well over 150 had turned up, a reflection of the strong anti-fascist traditions of the Manchester area. They surged forward and surrounded the fascist leaders' getaway cars, many sitting down blockading them. Le Pen was jeered at and jostled by the crowd as he struggled to get to his car. People then decorated his car with the contents of rubbish bins, eggs and rotten fruit! Chants of: "Hitler, Griffin, and Le Pen; - Nazi Scum! Never Again!" made it clear what the crowd thought about these men and what they stand for.
After spluttering about how "outraged" they were at the locals' behaviour, the fascist leaders then drove to the borders of North Wales, near the Griffins' private estate. Der Furhers next venue was a tent in an isolated field. Even here Anti-fascist protest also erupted, and a large police operation was required to seal off the area to protect the fascists from about 50 protesters a quarter of a mile away in the small village of Llandrinio. Many hundreds more had also gathered in Birmingham, hoping to confront Griffin and Le Pen. However, this event was turned by its organisers into a conventional anti-racist rally with music and speeches
The weekend also saw another attempt by Britain's fascists and white supremacists to attempt to exploit and manufacture a mythology about ‘St. George's day', despite St George being, by today's categories, a black man born in the Middle East some 1,700 years ago. The BNP held two secretive and drab little festivals marking this day, one for its northern supporters in Rochdale, one for its southern supporters in Essex
. Other protesters in Bermondsey confronted the National Front's sordid little St George's day march. The NF rabble then sneaked away from their publicised South London charade to try to stir up a drunken anti-Muslim riot that night in Luton. The weekend also saw numerous other anti-fascist events including: A march through Southall commemorating the 25th anniversary of the murder by the police of anti-Nazi protester Blair Peach
on a demo to stop the NF back in 1979: and a weekend of anti-fascist activities and mass distribution of a popular anti-BNP information sheet throughout Leeds and Bradford.
The next few weeks will see, amongst other things, launch rallies of new anti-fascist campaigns in most towns and cities, and nationwide days of mass leafleting
. New generations of protesters are now getting involved, bringing many new ideas and tactics from the anti-capitalist and anti-war movements to this struggle.