Youth Against Racism in Europe

PO Box 858, 
London E11 1YG

020 8558 7947

No More Racist Murders: YRE demonstration against BNP HQ
   
 

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May 2008

BNP gain some seats in elections

build the campaign to stop the far-right!

March against the BNP

Saturday 21st June 2008

Assemble: 12 noon, Tooley Street, London SE1 (behind Greater London Assembly building, nr Tower Bridge)

Stop the BNP summer camp!

The BNP’s annual 'Red, White and Blue' festival is planned for mid-August. We call on anti-BNP campaigners to join the protests against this on Sat 16 August in Derbyshire.

The far-right, racist British National Party (BNP) have recently won a seat on the London Assembly, and have a total of around 50 councillors.

However, the leadership of the BNP includes many with convictions for racism and xenophobia, who have openly supported Nazi Germany, and campaigned against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and women's rights. Increased BNP organisation leads to increased racist violence. For example, Stephen Lawrence was murdered a mile away from the former BNP HQ in South East London. Only by masking their real ideas have they been able to increase their electoral support.

The racism that the BNP spread is divisive, and affects us all. A division between groups of workers or young people stops us from building campaigns to defend and improve our rights and services. This is opposed by the vast majority in society.

Contrary to their false claim to stand up for 'ordinary British workers', the BNP have opposed every recent major strike, the actions taken by workers to fight for better conditions, and they try to wreck trade unions.

The majority who voted for the BNP would not agree with many of the BNPs leadership's ideas.

Why are people voting BNP?

New Labour, the Tories and the Liberal Democrats have carried out many cuts and closures nationally and locally. Hospitals, schools and colleges, youth facilities and community centres have been attacked. In London alone, 169 Post Offices and 16 out of 32 A & Es are threatened with closure. Affordable housing is almost non-existent for young people. Available jobs are often low-paid, casualised retail jobs with poor working conditions. Big business makes huge profits and gets tax cuts, whilst over five million workers have been hit hard by the abolition of the 10p tax rate.

At a time when there is anger at the main parties, there is no mass party that stands for working-class people – whether black, white or Asian. This has allowed the BNP to gain some electoral support, by claiming to be that alternative. However, the election results this May do not represent people becoming more reactionary. Instead, they represent a desire for change.

The BNP try to twist the genuine anger at the governments' big business, anti-working class policies. The BNP claims to oppose the main parties policies, but the facts tell a different story.

In Stoke they voted through big council tax rises in 2004, and opposed a socialist budget with no cuts in services and no increase in council tax. In Barking & Dagenham in 2008, they proposed massive job cuts with no redundancy pay, cuts in services for pensioners and in translation services. They have acted similarly in Huddersfield and elsewhere across the country.

The main parties and the right-wing media have opened the door for the BNP and their ideas. The demonisation of Muslims, linked to the war in Iraq and the 'war on terror', has seen an increase in racism in general. This has paved the way for the BNP to pose its vile ideas as acceptable and mainstream.

How can we stop the BNP?

The BNP rely on people not knowing what their real politics and actions in office are. Locally and nationally, exposing their role needs to be linked to campaigning for jobs, homes and services, and real improvements in people's lives.

We need to mobilise opposition to the BNP. Their annual festival, 'Red, White and Blue' is taking place in August. We call on anti-BNP campaigners to join the protests against this on August 16.

A genuine fight against attacks on our living standards is also needed.

April 24 2008 saw teachers in the NUT, civil servants in the PCS and several other trade unions take strike action. Altogether, 400,000 workers took action against the government's attacks, primarily against low pay, but also fighting against the driving down of public services in general. The BNP condemned striking teachers as 'greedy' and 'nutty'. They also opposed the firefighters' strike in 2002, and the over one million local government workers who took action over pensions in 2006.

But a united fight back is needed if we are to stop cuts. Rather than attacking those taking action, anyone who genuinely stands up for the working class and young people would demand better conditions for all.

A successful trade union fight in Greenwich against proposed pay cuts resulted in pay increases of up to £130 a week, and a reduction in hours. Students in Sussex University stopped the closure of the chemistry department in 2006 through a mass campaign.

Campaigns can win if they are organised correctly, around mobilising mass opposition. They can also show that it is though uniting workers and young people of all backgrounds that cuts can be fought, not through voting BNP. Where the BNP are standing in elections, trade unions, community campaigns, and others should stand against the far-right on an anti-cut, pro-working class programme, fighting for better public services. We support the call for a new mass workers' party, linking together these campaigns nationally (see www.cnwp.org.uk for more info).

Youth Against Racism is a campaign organised jointly between Youth against Racism in Europe (YRE) and International Socialist Resistance (ISR).

Youth against Racism in Europe

YRE has played a leading role in campaigning against the BNP.

YRE led a successful campaign to close the BNP's headquarters in Welling, including mass demonstrations of up to 50,000.

YRE also led a successful campaign, mobilising the local community, to stop the BNP's only regular public activity, a paper sale in Brick Lane in East London.

YRE organises across Europe against the far right, under the slogan "for jobs, homes and services, not racism!".

International Socialist Resistance

ISR was launched in 2001 as a socialist youth organisation. ISR is involved in many campaigns, calling for troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, building the Campaign to Defeat Fees, fighting for young people's rights at work, campaigning against the destruction of the environment and against cuts, closures and privatisation. We oppose capitalism, the current global system, where short term profit comes before the billions of workers and poor. We fight for a democratic socialist world, based on meeting the needs of the world's population. If you agree, join us!

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