bnp humiliated in dalkeith

Our comrade in the Republican Communist Network saw the BNP fail to infiltrate an anti-rapist demonstration in Midlothian

Nick Griffin and 5 others i.e. his driver and minders turned up outside Dalkeith Country Park after cancelling their planned rally in Glasgow earlier that day. Their stated aim was to support an intended rally against the presence of, convicted rapist, Robert Greens in our community. It was good that there was little spontaneous support for the BNP despite a lot of media coverage e.g. in The Sun newspaper. There was little visible presence from BNP supporters, one demonstrator counted 17, I thought there were less, but it was hard to tell, all were driven in by car. The BNP website promised 50 Nationalists would turn up and they urged other British nationalists to join them.

The BNP presence was opposed by the majority of the anti-rapist protesters plus about 30-40 local anti-fascists who had been alerted via Midlothian Trades Council. There were groups from Palestinian Solidarity, Unite Against Fascism, current and ex SSP members, trade unionists representing, Unison, EIS, UCATT, and UCU, the local FE college, independent socialists, two members of Socialist Appeal and at least one other Labour Party member. There was no identifiable SNP presence but, we did receive a message from local SNP MSP Colin Beattie supporting Midlothian Trades Council stance, saying there was no place for BNP in Midlothian and that he would have liked to have been there to show his support but had a previous appointment. In the event no councillors, MSPs or our MP were present. Continue reading “bnp humiliated in dalkeith”

who votes for the BNP?

by Oisín Mac Giollamóir

The standard media portrayal of a BNP voter is of a poor, unskilled to semi-skilled white worker, who used to vote Labour, is worried about rising crime, unemployment and the rise in immigration. But is this really who votes BNP? Two recent studies suggest otherwise.

According to the BNP itself, the primary reason for its growing support is that the political elite is out of touch with working class people’s real concerns about immigration. A report by the Institute for Public Policy Research published last month finds little evidence for this. Indeed the report finds that higher immigration lowers the vote for the BNP. Likewise, the higher the number of non-white people in an area, the less likely people were to vote BNP. (The one and only exception to this was in Barking and Dagenham.) Intuitively, we can understand why this is the case. The more interaction people have with migrant groups the less concerned about immigration they are. Continue reading “who votes for the BNP?”

anti-fascism and the BNP in barking and dagenham

by Glyn Harries

At the May 2010 Barking and Dagenham council elections, the BNP lost all their 12 Councillors, all previously elected in 2006. And their national party leader Nick Griffin, who it was suggested would take the Parliamentary seat, only came 3rd, and petulantly walked away declaring Barking and London ‘finished’.

But away from the headlines the actual results in Barking and Dagenham show the BNP nearly doubled their vote from 2006 to 2010, though where they had stood previously their vote did decline slightly. I have used their highest votes in each ward. While it is good news to see the Councillor parasites of the BNP wiped out, the Hope not Hate victory claims are as ever deeply flawed. Continue reading “anti-fascism and the BNP in barking and dagenham”

the rise of the far right and anti-fascism: february 16th, sheffield

The next communist forum in Sheffield will be a discussion on the rise of the far right in Britain today, the character of fascism, and how we should organise against this threat.

The meeting takes place from 7pm on  Tuesday 16th February at The Rutland Arms, 86 Brown Street, Sheffield S1 2BS. Email to express your interest or ask for more info – see below for some background reading for the meeting. Continue reading “the rise of the far right and anti-fascism: february 16th, sheffield”

a thousand eyes turn to swp no platform debate

by David Broder

The evenings are getting darker, the leaves are falling off the trees, and oppositional texts are appearing in the Socialist Workers Party “discussion bulletin”. Yes, it’s that time of year again: the “pre-conference discussion period”, the three months of the year allotted by the SWP to limited discussion of party strategy, the only time when factions are allowed to exist and express themselves.


Former SWP leader John Rees and his followers have taken the opportunity to declare a ‘Left Faction’ and submitted a motion to the last Party Council advocating ‘No Platform to fascists’ – a resolution remarkably similar in tone to the rival motion submitted by the existing leadership. So is the revolutionary party opening up, or not? Continue reading “a thousand eyes turn to swp no platform debate”

question time: did the straw man really slay the griffin?

by Adam Ford

Viewers of the BBC’s Question Time were confronted by many truly repellent outbursts from the platform on 22nd October. The screening – which had generated massive controversy due to the debut appearance of British National Party chairman Nick Griffin – often broke out into shouting and boos as the audience expressed their disgust with Griffin’s barely disguised racism and homophobia. But a significant early comment by another panellist went almost unnoticed amidst all the fury: Jack Straw claimed that Labour and the other ‘mainstream’ parties’ have a “moral compass”. In this article I will examine that claim, look at the ideological role of Question Time, and criticise the tactics of Unite Against Fascism and the Socialist Workers Party.


(Photo by Mike Fleming)

Since it began in 1979, Question Time has been a centrepiece of the BBC’s political coverage. During that time, it has played a significant role in framing the national policy debate, in determining which views are (and which are not) acceptable as ‘mainstream’. When the programme began, in the early days of Margaret Thatcher’s first Conservative government, there were four panellists – one each from Conservatives, Labour and the Liberals (as the third party were known at the time). The fourth panellist would be a prominent ‘talking head’, often from the fields of academia, the media or religion. In 1999, the panel was expanded to five guests, and the show experimented with ‘outsider’ figures, such as comedians, but this was quickly ditched. Continue reading “question time: did the straw man really slay the griffin?”

‘get this racist jack straw off the bbc’…?

Leaflet for tonight’s demo against Nick Griffin appearing on Question Time

– Labour and Tory anti-fascism is a con
– Support migrant-worker organising: no borders
– For workers’ action against racist propaganda


The recent row over the British National Party’s appearance on BBC Question Time displays the level of anger at the rise of the far-right party. All of us have turned out today because we oppose Nick Griffin’s racist effort to blame immigrants for all of society’s ills, including the economic crisis, and do not want his rubbish to gain more of an audience. But given the level of establishment racism, a campaign to defend immigrants must not stop at mere anti-BNPism, nor can the growth of the far-right be stopped by appealing to the existing authorities to silence them. Continue reading “‘get this racist jack straw off the bbc’…?”

british nationalism and the rise of fascism

For all the left’s talk of German-style Nazis, fascism has very British roots. In a shortened version of an article he wrote while in the Republican Workers’ Tendency, Chris Ford shows the link between loyalism and fascism


In an exercise in deception, British Left and Right historians have placed an Italian label on this movement. It better deserves a British one. The first movement of 20th century fascism emerged in 1910 to enforce the unity of the United Kingdom. It was a time of militant workers’ struggles and resurgent Irish nationalism. The crisis over the national question split the British ruling class. The liberal wing advocated devolution within the Union, then called Home Rule. The most reactionary wing, without a parliamentary majority, set its frontline on the Irish question. The Tory Unionist Sir Edward Carson raised the 80,000 strong UVF in defence of empire and against unpatriotic socialists and papist nationalists. Two decades before German generals moved behind National Socialism, British generals were backing the British nationalist UVF as a rallying force for counter-revolution in the UK. Orange reaction set about the sectarian division of the working class. It was the shape of things to come in Europe as a whole. Continue reading “british nationalism and the rise of fascism”

the rising threat of the bnp: the underlying causes, its present nature and prospects

by Dan Jakopovich

In this paper, I will try to provide an integrated analysis of the British National Party as a political organisation and a political movement. I will begin by analysing its political evolution after the split from National Front, through the long period of John Tyndall’s neo-Nazi leadership of the party, to its current modernising phase under the leadership of Nick Griffin. This second part of my analysis will deal with the causes of the BNP’s relative success (which I will examine through the perspective of “demand side” and “supply side” factors), and a basic assessment of the space that exists for its growth. I posit that – while Europe-wide statistical research of far Right development remains in many ways inconclusive – there are some indications (such as the convergence of main parties, the relative “crisis of legitimation“, and its possible augmentation in the course of the economic crisis) which seem to indicate there is considerable space for far Right growth.


This inquiry into the BNP’s modern trajectories will also entail an analysis of its present ideological nature. Here I will (among other things) show that, despite certain adjustments, BNP nonetheless remains informed by various fascist motifs, and can be defined as racist and “nativist” (I will explain this concept later). Finally, I will broadly indicate what a successful progressive response to the rising far Right challenge might have to look like.

Continue reading “the rising threat of the bnp: the underlying causes, its present nature and prospects”

should “we” ban the bnp?

by Kofi Kyerewaa

Despite the repetitive Nazi name-calling, the British National Party achieved their hope of getting elected into the European Parliament, and the British hard left once again finds itself at the margins of electoral politics and unable to match the BNP in votes even across its fractured political front. The landscape has changed: the British National Party can command 900,000 votes, while a hotch-pot of Stalinist bureaucrats, Impossibilists (SPGB) and Scottish Socialists garnered less than half at 350,000.

What is Socialist Workers Party leader Martin Smith’s remedy to this tragic state of affairs? More of the same with added egg throwing, “No freedom of speech for fascists”, “we should ban the BNP” and, bizarrely on BBC’s Newsnight Smith exclaimed to the polite but patronising Jeremy Paxman and Lib Dem MP Simon Hughes that the BNP had to be stopped because “they are counter-revolutionaries [to a Socialist Revolution?]!” Continue reading “should “we” ban the bnp?”

social democrats routed in euro elections


by David Broder

The last week’s European elections saw huge losses for Europe’s mainstream labour and social-democrat parties, with the Party of European Socialists losing 54 seats to fall to 163 MEPs as it captured a lower-than-ever share of the vote.

Not only did governing parties like New Labour (15.7%, 13 seats, -5) and the Spanish PSOE (38.5%, 21 seats, -4) fare poorly in varying degrees, but also opposition parties like the French Parti Socialiste (16.5%, 14 seats, a woeful collapse compared to its 2004 tally of 31 MEPs). Continue reading “social democrats routed in euro elections”

the european elections, the left and anti-fascism

David Broder gives his (personal) view on the EU elections and the BNP

The Times has carried several articles in the last week predicting that the recent outcry at the “MPs’ expenses scandal” has boosted the chances of the British National Party winning at least one seat in the European Parliament in the June 4th elections. Most people can only be sickened by this prospect – and indeed the extra revenue and organising power this would afford the BNP –  but in a sense the election results will merely reflect the ‘already existing’ organising strength of the different parties. Of course, at election time we ought to be concerned not only by the growth of the BNP, which has expanded ten-fold in the last decade, but also by the much greater – continuing –  strength of the Tories and New Labour, who already have both the (state) power and determination to attack migrants.

Typically of the media (both corporate and leftist) The Times devotes great attention to all the activities of the BNP – wholly unwarranted by its size or power – much as the press swallowed the far-right group’s own ludicrous claims to have played a leading role in January’s Lindsey Oil Refinery wildcat strikes.  The paper fears the BNP playing on “anti-establishment” anger and widespread disaffection with the mainstream parties. Editorial pieces over the last week have extolled the virtues of Parliamentary democracy and pointed to the criminal records, violent past and sloppy attendance record of BNP councillors. A May 11th editorial piece encouraging voter turnout to stop the group securing an MEP commented:

“To alert voters to the reality of the BNP, the main parties need to make their own case and persuade people that, no matter what they think about the state of politics in general, the BNP is worse than just useless, it is bad. A vote for the BNP is a vote for extremism and intolerance.”

Of course, it is no surprise that The Times, the long-standing newspaper of record and ‘authoritative’, ‘serious’ voice of the elite, should defend the established order of ‘normal’ politics and ‘mainstream’ parties against ‘extremists’ (surely it would have the same attitude towards a sizeable communist alternative to the establishment). So why does the traditional left’s “anti-fascism” look so similar? Continue reading “the european elections, the left and anti-fascism”

don’t walk away from the oil refinery strikers!

by Steve Ryan

The wildcat strikes now spreading across Britain present a real challenge for the Left.

Firstly the strikes are wildcat, ignoring union bosses and to a degree the unions themselves . They are well organised and have spread very quickly.

They should not have come as a surprise. Tensions have been building for months around recession job cuts and attempts by employers to undercut terms and conditions, often through using foreign labour.

Many on the Left are arguing that we should not support the strikes. At face value this is understandable. The walkouts are being portrayed as nationalist, maybe racist. Certainly the slogans being used, whether ironic or not, are unfortunate. The BNP are undoubtedly  intervening. Continue reading “don’t walk away from the oil refinery strikers!”

unite picket: trotskyist snowmen’s protests melt away

by David Broder

Political confusion and London’s most severe snowfall for a decade conspired to undermine a picket of the Unite headquarters called by opponents of the oil refinery strikes. The two people who had organised to counter the picket were the strongest force at the union’s Holborn building throughout most of the evening.

The initiative for the picket came from a prominent member of the Trotskyist group Workers’ Liberty (AWL), who sent out a text and mass email on the evening of Sunday 1st: “Please let me know if you can come tomorrow for an urgent picket of the Unite union office to demand that this wave of nationalist protests stop. Theobalds Road, Holborn. Workers should fight the bosses not migrant workers and demand freedom of movement, equal rights and jobs for all… [details]… Nothing so seriously reactionary has happened in the movement while I’ve been alive…” Continue reading “unite picket: trotskyist snowmen’s protests melt away”