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No Pasaran Youth against Racism in Europe magazine: Issue 11, Summer 2003
Campaigning against the far-right today
The immediate aims of the campaign:
1. Halt the growth of the BNP and prevent them from building new bases.
2. Answer the lies spread by the BNP & help to reduce the influence of the racist ideas and prejudices that the BNP reinforce.
3. Expose the cynical betrayals of New Labour (Tory policies of cuts and privatisation), as well as the divide & rule tactics New Labour and the rest of the establishment use.
4. Build positive community and trade union campaigns for better resources and local services for all, in a way that can help unite local communities.
5. Encourage trade unions, the left, & genuine local community campaigns to stand credible candidates in elections, providing a positive alternative to the pro-big business policies of the main parties & the lies of the BNP.
Methods of campaigning:
A mass campaign of education
This should aim to expose the BNP's real nature and convince the majority of people in each local area that:
It is important to expose the neo-Nazi ideas and history of the BNP. However, it would be a real mistake to stop there. Anti-BNP material, if it is to be effective, must concentrate on the threat that the BNP pose today rather than constant repetitions of (for example) Nazi atrocities carried out in Germany over 50 years ago.
Today the BNP present themselves as anti-cuts, anti-privatisation, anti-war, as for workers' rights and against trade union bureaucrats on huge salaries. More than ever before, the BNP are trying to steal the arguments of the left in order to attract support.
The BNP's attempt to sell themselves as radicals, and their lack of any real alternative to the policies of the main parties, must be exposed. Their criticisms of mainstream politicians, job losses, cuts, privatisation and corruption often strike a chord with many people. But they are incapable of really fighting to change anything for the better. This must be exposed with local examples of how the BNP have failed to live up to even their own rhetoric on issues like privatisation, cuts and workers' rights.
Campaign for a positive alternative
Just attacking the BNP and their actions won't stop people from voting for them or supporting them. We have to show that the campaign against the BNP has a better alternative to the dead-end of hatred and despair that they offer.
We must link opposition to the BNP to positive campaigns for 'jobs, homes & services, not racism', including taking up local issues like campaigns for more and better youth clubs etc. This will help to build credibility for the campaign against the BNP at the same time as providing a positive pole of attraction to pull the BNP's loosest supporters away from their influence.
Protests and demonstrations are an essential way of isolating and marginalising the BNP, demoralising their activists and supporters, and of giving confidence to people to publicly oppose them.
Any demonstrations must be well-organised and -stewarded to ensure that people can be confident that the organisers take protecting their safety seriously. This is particularly important in areas where the police have consistently attacked anti-racist events while protecting the far-right, and/or where the BNP has a relatively large base.
Where there is a need, local community defence campaigns against racist and neo-Nazi violence should be built. These must be democratically run so that they involve the maximum number of people and are genuinely accountable to the local community.
All protests and demonstrations must also be organised and built for in the local communities where they are to take place. Bringing in large numbers of supporters from outside the area where the protest is happening, without building a solid base of support and a turn-out from the local area, is counter-productive - in the long run this tactic tends to push a section of people in the area towards the BNP rather than win them away from it.