Friday, 27 July 2007

BNP claims responsibility for drop in race hate crimes

The British National Party opposition on Barking and Dagenham Borough Council are claiming responsibility for a FALL in racially motivated crime in the area. At the full council meeting in June, Councillor Richard Barnbrook quoted a Metropolitan Police report claiming that race crimes in the borough had fallen by 15% between March 2006 and March 2007.

In her response to the leader of the BNP contingent, Councillor Rush said that while a drop in race crime was something to be welcomed, she said that people in minority communities lack the confidence to report racially-motivated crime. She said the whole council and its partners (the police and social services) should work towards encouraging people to report race crimes. She did not take Barnbrook's bait by agreeing that the BNP presence had caused a reduction in race hate crime.

In its efforts to appear a 'respectable' political party, the BNP will always take the opportunity to take the credit for a reduction in race hate crimes (which it is more often accused of increasing). The Left should be very careful not to allow the BNP to take the credit in this way: the BNP's policies are racially divisive and would actually create more social tension and resentment within working class communities.

Councillor Rush is correct to point out that many victims of race hate crime fail to report it, but the roots of race hate crime need to be understood before communities can deal with it effectively. If the police devote too many resources towards certain crimes at the expense of others, then this can create fertile ground for the idea that the police do not want to help the white working class community. A better approach would be to concentrate resources on preventing crime in working class areas without racialising the problem: a violent attack on a black man is as much an attack on the whole community as it is on the black community.

BNP Councillor Bailey criticised the Labour Party's attitude towards housing and pointed out that Barking's Labour MP, Margaret Hodge, now agreed that 'indigenous' communities should have priority in council housing. He asked Councillor Liam Smith why he continued to deny that what the BNP claim is correct. Smith said that the problem was about building council homes, not about the type of people who live in them. There should be more homes to accommodate everyone who needs them. It is good to see that Labour councils are starting to wake up to the housing crisis and putting forward a left-wing alternative to the racism of the BNP. It remains for the present administration on Barking and Dagenham borough council to deliver on its housing promises, and more importantly for the Labour Party leadership can support a more Socialist housing policy.

In sincerely hope that Labour Party members in Barking constituency do the sensible thing and de-select Margaret Hodge as their parliamentary candidate. Racialising social problems will only justify the policies of the BNP and I am afraid the present MP for Barking is a liability. We need a class-based solution to a class-based problem.

Friday, 20 July 2007

What the media didn't tell you about the results in Sedgefield...

The British National Party came fourth in the Sedgefield by-election and took nearly 9% of the votes cast. Andrew Spence took 2,494 votes against 12,528 for Labour, 5,572 for the Liberal Democrats and 4,082 for the Conservatives.

Spence was one of the leaders of the Fuel Protests in 2000 and was a member of UKIP. He joined the BNP after hearing a speech by Nick Griffin and because he considers UKIP to be a single issue party (according to a local newspaper).

The BBC and the Guardian failed to report the fact while the Telegraph and the Independent devoted at least one sentence to the far right result. In spite of the media blackout on the BNP, Nick Griffin will gain confidence from this result and may well work towards pushing the Tories into fourth place come the next general election.

In Ealing Southall, the Respect Coalition were claiming "the implosion of main party enthusiasm" and that "Our leaflets, speaker-cars, stickers and window posters are everywhere because our message of peace, justice and equality chimes with voters’ mood." If this is the case, then why did the Respect candidate come in fifth place with just 1.61% of the vote (gaining 588 votes)? The reason is that Respect have ditched class-based politics in favour of identity politics - something which is not very likely to appeal to disaffected working class voters in Ealing Southall. Neither does the SWP's bad record for canvassing prior to elections put them in a good situation - even though voters like candidates and activists to make the effort to knock on their doors throughout the year "rather than just at election time".

The Labour Party are safe for the moment in Sedgefield and West London. However, it is time to re-engage with working class people on the doorstep and confront the disillusionment which makes people vote for the BNP.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Media censorship will not stop the BNP

According to the BNP website, the Northern Echo refused to print an election address for the party's candidate in the Sedgefield by-election. The BNP claimed that four-year-old children are being taught about homosexual relationships as part of the national curriculum.

The decision of the Northern Echo is symptomatic of many sections of the media who try to 'quarantine' the BNP. The philosophy seems to go something like "if we don't give them a platform and pretend they don't exist they will go away". Unfortunately, the BNP are not going away and they merely use the actions of newspapers like the Northern Echo to their advantage.

The article describes the action as "an example of the gulf which exists between normal, decent British voters and the out-of touch leftist establishment". If the BNP can depict themselves as the persecuted victims of state-sponsored censorship then they can gain significant levels of support from voters who may have read leaflets from the 'respectable' nationalist party and consider voting for them.

I despise the views of the BNP - particularly the idea that children can be 'taught' homosexuality (which I consider to be something genetic rather than learned). However, when newspapers censor the BNP then it simply adds credence to their argument that they are a persecuted minority.

October the Fourth, 1936

Mural on a wall on Cable Street in East London commemorating the demonstration

On 4th October 1936 a coalition of trade unionists, left-wing groups and Jews prevented the British Union of Fascists from marching down a street in the East End of London. This event will be known forever as the Battle of Cable Street.

The British National Party has 53 councillors in various local authorities across the country.

The BNP is a far right party which has neo-Nazi sympathisers. Their main policies are the voluntary repatriation of ethnic minorities and the repeal of any laws aimed at dealing with racial discrimination. Fascism is a middle-class ideology which is based on a fundamental belief in private property, social inequality, deference and snobbery. It is the antithesis of Enlightenment values.

Racism and discrimination are not a necessary component of fascism. Mussolini's fascist government was nationalist but not racist in the same way as Hitler's National Socialists. Mussolini did not embrace anti-Semitism until the mid 1930s. However, Mussolini attempted to crush the left by imprisoning or murdering his political opponents.

This website is anti-fascist. I aim to discuss the progress of the BNP in my country and what the political Left can do to stop its rise. I am not aligned to any anti-fascist group and I reserve the right to criticise the policies and tactics of the established anti-fascist organisations. I have two main reasons for opposing fascism:

1. I am working class and I am a Socialist. Fascism represents everything I despise about the current political and economic system. I believe in social equality and the redistribution of national wealth.

2. I am gay. Gay men were victimised and persecuted in Hitler's Germany, Franco's Spain and Mussolini's Italy. The BNP may well have 'softened' their policies on gay rights, but they would make life very difficult for men who happen to feel sexually attracted to other men. If they want to send me to the gas chambers, they will have to catch me first!