Anti-fascism

Stand up to the Nazis

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Elections next month may see the Nazi BNP win their first MEPs. But, argues Weyman Bennett, the threat of fascism can, and must, be challenged

The elections for the European parliament on 4 June this year will be a watershed for British politics. As things stand presently, there is a serious danger that the fascist British National Party (BNP) will gain their first seats in the European parliament. Some people will react to this news by dismissing it. Others will be paralysed by fear. But the important thing is not to laugh or cry, but to understand what is fuelling the BNP's electoral rise - and what we can do to stop them.

New challenges for anti-fascism

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Along with every great success come new challenges. That will be the case for Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR).

By any measure, the 2008 LMHR carnival was a great success. It celebrated London's multicultural spirit. Around 100,000 mainly young people soaked up its political message of opposing racism and the Nazi BNP. And that message got out far and wide.

Don Letts' documentary on the carnival was shown on Channel 4. Every major newspaper and magazine gave it glowing reviews, except for the New Statesman. Its journalist, Daniel Trilling, argued that the festival was too corporate.

The resistible rise of the BNP

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The recent local elections saw the BNP gain ten councillors and a London Assembly member. Judith Orr puts these results in context, and argues that the fascists can, and must, be stopped once more.

One of the most shocking results last month was the election of Nazi British National Party (BNP) member Richard Barnbrook to London's assembly. This was on top of 13 seats the fascist organisation won in councils in England. It also lost three seats, so its net gain was ten, bringing a total of 57 seats.

Is Britain moving to the right?

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Labour's crushing election defeats and the increase in the vote for the Nazi BNP has led some to believe the country is drifting rightwards. Lindsey German opens our analysis of the situation by challenging that assumption and argues that election results don't tell the whole story.

It's hard to remember that only nine months ago 1 May was projected as a likely general election day. Then, the theory went, Gordon Brown would be able to take Labour to a fourth election victory, strengthen his position as elected prime minister and continue for another four or five years. Brown was at that time - again hard to remember - enjoying a honeymoon following the unlamented departure of Tony Blair.

Workers' unity in the face of Enoch Powell's racism

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Socialists watched in despair when dockers and building workers marched in support of Enoch Powell's "rivers of blood" speech. But the tide turned and a few years later dockers were marching for Grunwick strikers.

This year the left will be commemorating the events of May 1968, when students and workers rose up in Paris.

But those events were preceded in Britain by a dismal affair. The gutter press and right wing politicians launched a huge campaign against Asian families fleeing persecution in East Africa. The Labour government and nearly all the Labour MPs joined in. They pushed a bill through parliament in just one day, removing the right of Asians to enter this country even through they held British passports.

Sulphuric Publicity

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Margaret Hodge's claim that eight out of ten voters in Barking have considered voting BNP has given a massive boost to the far right.

I never had much time for Margaret Hodge when she was the leader of Islington council back in the 1980s, and I never knew what wrong the people of Barking, one of London's poorest areas, had done to deserve this millionaire as their MP.

But her behaviour in recent weeks has really put her beyond the pale. I simply don't believe her claim that eight out of ten white families she canvassed in her constituency were "tempted to vote BNP". Even the BNP don't believe that, or they would have put up a full slate of candidates across all the wards in the constituency.

Racism: 14 Years Can be a Long Time in Politics

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One of the most striking aspects of The New East End is the picture it paints of virulent racism. The authors note, "of the white respondents, a majority expressed an often bitterly negative attitude towards foreign immigrants, and particularly towards Bangladeshis".

If true, this is a very divided society on the verge of turmoil. But many of the interviews have a dated feel. One example, which immediately stands out, is an interview with a white respondent who complains of allegedly preferential service offered to Asians, "last Saturday at the children's hospital in Hackney Road". This hospital, a few hundred metres from where I live, closed in 1998.

Anti-Fascism: That Was Then, This is Now

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Music Against the Nazis - Rock against Racism in the 1970s and Love Music Hate Racism today.

Rock Against Racism - 1970s
by Roger Huddle

It is very important that we consider the establishment of Rock Against Racism in the wider political and historical context. 1976 was a year of major social upheavals, with the introduction by a Labour government of the Social Contract. It was also the year that saw a real rise of the Nazi National Front.

Anti-Fascism: Guess Who's Not Coming to Dinner?

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French fascist Jean-Marie Le Pen's visit to England was not the success hoped for by his BNP hosts.

The National Front's leader was chased away from Manchester, scared off from visiting Birmingham, and ended up in BNP Führer Nick Griffin's ample backyard. The reason was determined and organised resistance from Unite Against Fascism.

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