Youth Against Racism in Europe

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No More Racist Murders: YRE demonstration against BNP HQ
   

 

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Stop the Nazi BNP!

Bin the swastikaA brief history of the BNP

The BNP was founded in 1982 by ex-members of the National Front led by John Tyndall with the aim of building an openly neo-Nazi party. 

John Tyndall, the leader of the BNP, said: 

"Mein Kampf [Hitler's autobiography] is my bible," 

and described his idea of a BNP dictatorship in Britain: 

"Racial laws will be enacted forbidding marriage between Britons and non-Aryans: medical measures will be taken to prevent procreation on the part of all those who have hereditary defects either racial, mental or physical."

In 1989 the BNP set up its national headquarters in Welling, Kent. As a result of their activities and presence in the area, the level of racist attacks rose dramatically. Four young Black and Asian men - Rolan Adams, Orville Blair, Rohit Duggal and Stephen Lawrence - were murdered in racist attacks in the area around the BNP's HQ between February 1991 and April 1993.

During the early 1990s the BNP was gaining support. In 1992 the BNP formed Combat 18, a paramilitary organisation designed to protect BNP events and attack their enemies. C18's neo-Nazi ideology was expressed in its name, where the 1 and the 8 stand for A and H: Adolf Hitler's initials. 

C18 and BNP members carried out attacks on Mansfield National Union of Mineworkers’ offices and Tower Hamlets Nalgo (now UNISON)'s offices in 1992, as well as numerous attacks on gay pubs, anti-racist and socialist organisations and Black, Asian and Jewish people.

In September 1993 the BNP won a council seat in Millwall ward on the Isle of Dogs in Tower Hamlets (East London), their only councillor until 2002. Derek Beackon, the BNP's candidate, won on an openly racist "rights for whites" platform, blaming local Bangladeshis for housing shortages and lack of services. Some of his public comments were: "I don't care what the Bengalis think. We are here for the white people. They are the ones being racially attacked," and: "I am only going to represent the white people [in Millwall ward]. I will not represent Asians. I will not do anything for them. They have no right to be in my great country."

As a result of big movements against the BNP led by YRE and others they lost their council seat in May 1994, their headquarters in 1995 and were driven out of public activity in most parts of Britain by local communities.

In September 1999 Nick Griffin won the leadership of the BNP from John Tyndall. Previously Griffin had been a fierce opponent of any attempt to water down the BNP's neo-Nazi programme or gain a more "respectable" image by trying to reduce the BNP's street-thug element. However over the last three years, Griffin and the rest of the BNP leadership have made a lot of changes to the BNP's public programme, aiming to "re-brand" the BNP as a respectable and credible party.

In 2001 the BNP dropped their policy of compulsory repatriation of "immigrants" - ie non-white people - and replaced it with one of "voluntary" repatriation. In their local election manifesto for 2002 the BNP said they opposed privatisation of council housing and would work to reverse any privatisations of council housing stock carried out previously. On their website they claim that they support workers’ co-operatives and trade unions but oppose the union leaders.

Many of the BNP's key activists are hardened neo-Nazis, many of whom are still actively linked to organisations like C18. Despite this, they are making serious attempts to broaden their appeal and become a credible far-right party rather than a small, isolated neo-Nazi group. However this will be very difficult for them to achieve, particularly if the movement built against them is strong.


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Stopping the BNP in Tower Hamlets

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