Fighting fascism

Fighting fascism

By Ken Livingstone

Morning Star, 28 April 2007

THE local elections next month provide an opportunity to reject the racist politics of the fascist British National Party.

The BNP is a fascist organisation.

At the general election, the fascists stood convicted criminals as candidates in some seats, only removing them when they were exposed as such.

The BNP is racist. The BNP stands for an all-white Britain, which could only be achieved by using violence.

David Copeland, who carried out the London nail bombings in Brixton, Brick Lane and Soho, said: “My aim was political. It was to cause a racial war … then all the white people would go and vote BNP.”

Six million Jewish people were murdered in the nazi Holocaust, but BNP leader Nick Griffin was convicted for inciting racial hatred after a magazine that he published denied the reality of the Holocaust.

The BNP has scored more electoral success than any other British fascist party in history and it is essential that the anti-fascist vote is mobilised.

The BNP wishes to present itself as a respectable party but, in fact, this is just a lie – it is engaged in a deception of the public and the media.

Writing in 1999, Griffin revealed his strategy for the BNP, which was to cloak the party in respectability in order to take the fascists closer to their ultimate objectives.

“Politics is the art of the possible, so we must judge every policy by one simple criterion – is it realistically possible that a decisive proportion of the British people will support it?

“If not, then to scale down our short-term ambitions to a point at which the answer becomes ‘yes’ is not a sellout, but the only possible step closer to our eventual goal.”

Griffin sees short-term fake respectability as a tactic towards ultimate goals that have not changed.

Fascist parties in Britain have always used the presence of minority communities to promote fear and hatred.

Jewish people, black people, Asian people, asylum-seekers, the Irish – all of these and others have been made the focus of the campaigns of the far-right.

The targets have often changed, but the method of hatred and prejudice has not.

At present, the main battering ram of the fascists is Islamophobia. Relentless attacks on Muslim Asians have now become their stock in trade.

They sought to exploit the July 7 2005 bombings by producing leaflets with pictures of the bombed bus. They whip up hostility to the building of mosques, such as their recent campaign to dupe people into believing that my office is planning to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds building a “mega mosque” in east London.

In March 2007, Griffin made remarks on his blog during his speaking tour of East Anglia about “the English civil war – in due course, it will of course have to be called the first English civil war in order to differentiate it from the one to come.”

A report in The Times this month saw the BNP leader expand on this idea of a war, which would be with Islam.

“In public, Griffin appears personable and plausible. Talking in his car, he verges on the paranoid. Many British Muslims subscribe to a form of Islam that preaches a ‘ruthless, aggressive imperialism,’ he says. Its goal is a worldwide caliphate. ‘It’s a takeover attempt,’ he says and it will end – literally – in civil war. Wherever an Islamic population establishes itself, ‘you get all sorts of bloodshed and horrors and there’s no reason to think that this little part of the world will buck the trends of world history’.”

This is why mainstream parties must not, in any way, give legitimacy either to the BNP or its campaign of hate towards the Muslim population in Britain.

For example, following the publication of a document in January prepared for the Conservative Party by Pauline Neville-Jones, combined with a speech by David Cameron, there was a maelstrom aimed at the Muslim Council of Britain, among others.

Cameron’s speech equated the British National Party with British Muslim organisations which, he claimed, want to separate Muslims from the mainstream.

On BBC news on the eve of the publication of the report, for instance, Mark Easton told viewers: “Tonight, the author of the report confirmed to me that they are likening the Muslim council and the British National Party.”

Such comparisons merely legitimise and prettify the BNP.

A division of labour, in which more mainstream figures attack the Muslim community and their organisations through the media, while the BNP hammers away on the streets on exactly the same issues, is dangerous and has to be fought. Allowed to go unchecked, it will give the BNP more arguments on the doorstep, not fewer.

Next week’s elections give us the chance to deliver a blow against the BNP, but our task over the next few months is to combat the legitimisation of their views from all quarters.