The BNP has recently made an electoral breakthrough by winning two seats in the recent European elections in England. In recent years the BNP have relied on using far-right populism, and have tried to disguise their fascist past. It would be a mistake to confuse the protest vote the BNP are receiving (as a result of the lack of a genuine mass socialist alternative) with a shift in support for fascism. But it would also be a mistake not to recognise the BNP have been strengthened by these electoral victories.
A threat to workers
At the BNP’s ‘Red, White and Blue’ festival in Codnor, Derbyshire during 14th -16th August, they played 1930’s Nazi marching songs and gave Nazi salutes. Their presence dangerously legitimises far right lunatics like the Burnley 2 who met at BNP meetings and were convicted in 2007 of stockpiling bomb-making equipment to prepare for a ‘race war’. One half of the Burnley 2, Robert Cottage, stood 3 times as a BNP candidate.
The BNP sometimes claims to be campaigning for the interests of the working class. This is a lie. Last year, they proposed over £1 million in job cuts in Kirklees council in Yorkshire. They also campaign for the introduction of ‘workfare not welfare’ which means forcing the unemployed (which is now increasing at an alarming rate) into dead-end jobs in order to receive benefits – in other words slave labour! As if it is not difficult enough to survive on what scarce benefits that are available the BNP want the unemployed to feel like criminals too.
In contrast to the BNP rhetoric against political corruption, 6 out of 12 of their councillors in Barking turned up to less than half of the meetings they were supposed to attend and still they claimed over £60,000 between them.
Where the BNP grow, it also leads to an increase in racist attacks. They deliberately try to whip up divisions between working class people. This only plays into the hands of the bosses and government. It is clear then that the BNP should be opposed at every turn. They are anti-working class and despite their glossy ‘respectable’ veneer they are closely linked to neo-nazi thugs and fascists. This cannot be ignored.
Trade union & community action needed
There is an onus on the trade union movement to campaign together with genuine community groups against the BNP using Belfast as a hub to organise their recruitment and distribute their racist propaganda. The BNP should be kicked out of Northern Ireland.
The BNP must also be challenged politically. Because there is no mass fighting political opposition on offer in Westminster and the Assembly, the BNP can grow if there is no alternative. It is not enough to simply say “Don’t vote BNP”. The trade unions should stop propping up New Labour and the sectarian parties in the Assembly and support the formation of a new socialist working class party which can unite people to stop cuts and job losses.