020 8558 7947
Mass protest against BNP camp
Sat 16 Aug in Derbyshire
Mass protest @ 9am
12.30pm rally in Codnor, Derbyshire
see the campaign website for up-to-the-minute details of where to go:
The campaign against the far-right, racist British National Party's 'Red, White and Blue festival' in Derbyshire is gaining support. Many local residents are unhappy about the BNP trying to use their area as a recruiting ground and have objected to the ‘Festival’
Support for the campaign is also growing in the trade unions. The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) is the latest to back the campaign, voting at their 2008 conference to support the mobilisation against it on Saturday 16 August, organised by the Notts Stop the BNP campaign. The campaign is calling for a mass protest in the area at 9am on Saturday 16 August and has advertised a rally nearby in Codnor, Derbyshire at 12:30pm on the same day.
The RMT general secretary, Bob Crow, said the protest against the festival was a "tremendous initiative" and the union agreed to donate to, advertise and encourage the arranging of transport for the protest. ISR and YRE have had a positive response when campaigning across the country for a turnout to this protest.
Like last year, the BNP want to use their camp to look like a respectable, family-friendly political party to encourage people to support them. However the leaders of the BNP are convinced neo-Nazis who use racism and many other kinds of prejudice to try to divide working people. It is vital that a movement is built to expose the BNP's divisive, anti-working-class politics and the mobilisation against their camp is an important part of that movement.
The Midlands TUC council has also passed a motion to build for the protest and rally. Speakers at a regional TUC meeting praised the campaign, led by Nottinghamshire Stop the BNP and Nottinghamshire, Mansfield and Nottingham Trades Council, as instrumental in building the pressure that led the local authority and police to oppose the granting of a license for selling alcohol and live music at the BNP event unless the BNP built a Glastonbury-style fence around the entire venue and had major security.
This was a significant reversal in the attitude of the police, who had previously said they would not oppose the application for a licence, and a setback for the BNP, who withdrew their application. However, as the camp is on private land the lack of a license won't stop it going ahead – we need to build the maximum opposition possible to make it clear the BNP aren't welcome in Derbyshire (or anywhere else they try to hold their camp).
Notts Stop the BNP campaign is a united campaign of trade unionists, socialists, anarchists and anti-fascists which has been campaigning to stop the BNP's RWB ‘festival’ for nearly a year, many of whom have a long history of successfully working together.
Unfortunately not everyone involved in campaigning against the BNP is working to unite this movement. Despite repeated attempts by Notts Stop the BNP to contact United Against Fascism nationally (a campaign formed several years ago by a merger between the Anti-Nazi League and National Assembly Against Racism) to try to ensure that there were not two separate demonstrations on 16 August, UAF have now announced a rally and demonstration in Codnor at 11am, an hour and a half before the rally organised by Notts Stop the BNP.
While it is good news that UAF are not planning a rally in a different place, it is worrying that they are trying to change the timing and possibly the nature of the protest without any consultation or discussion with the local campaign.
To add insult to injury Notts Stop the BNP campaign is listed on the leaflet the UAF have printed as being one of the groups that called the rally, along with various regional trade union bodies that have passed resolutions and given donations to support Notts Stop the BNP campaign and the original protest. This high-handed, undemocratic approach risks splitting the movement against the BNP just when it is gaining ground and the BNP are in difficulties with their camp.
The best way to make sure that the movement to stop the BNP's 'festival' is as strong and successful as possible is to continue to mobilise people and support for the protests called by Notts Stop the BNP and at the same time as putting as much pressure as possible on UAF not to split or take over the protest.
For further info – email: firstname.lastname@example.org or access the website http://nobnpfestival.wordpress.com/