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“The world is a dangerous place to live in; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”
Albert Einstein – refugee from Nazi Germany
As a matter of the greatest urgency, we are calling for the broadest unity against the alarming rise in racism and fascism in Britain today.
Over the last decade, racism and Islamophobia in society have grown. As a result, we have seen an increase in racist violence and attacks on multiculturalism. This has culminated in the rise of far right and fascist organisations, in particular the British National Party (BNP).
The BNP is trying to present itself as a ‘respectable’ political party. In fact it is a fascist party. As history shows, fascism stands for the total annihilation of whole communities, freedoms and democratic rights.
The BNP is seeking to attract votes on the basis of racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, homophobia and the vilification of refugees and asylum seekers. The BNP stands for the expulsion of Black and Asian people from this country, the destruction of the trade unions, the promotion of violence and hatred and the elimination of basic democratic rights.
The BNP now has 19 councillors across Britain. In May 2008, the party gained a seat on the London Assembly, polling 130,174 votes — 5.33%. And in the 2009 Euro elections, the BNP succeeded in gaining two MEPs, including party leader Nick Griffin.
This represented a major electoral breakthrough for the BNP, giving them access to huge resources, influence, greater respectability, and the ability to work with other far right and fascist parties in Europe.
Successful campaigning by UAF and antifascist activists in the 2010 general and local elections dealt the BNP a heavy electoral blow. It lost more than half its council seats and was humiliated in its key target area of Barking and Dagenham, in east London, where it lost all 12 of its council seats and Griffin was pushed into third place in the Barking parliamentary seat.
But there is no room for complacency. The BNP still got a worrying 563,743 votes across the country, and increased its vote in some areas. The continuing economic crisis also gives the party opportunities to spread its racist poison.
In addition, the English Defence League – an organisation of racist thugs with links to the BNP – appears to be stepping up its activity. It has targeted Muslims and mosques, whipping up hatred, division and violence where it has been allowed to march. EDL supporters stabbed a man in the evening after the EDL demonstration in Bolton in March 2010. EDL supporters ran riot in Stoke-on-Trent earlier in the year, attacking the local Asian community and police.
EDL supporters have paraded their violence on YouTube and have been caught on camera giving Nazi salutes during their rallies and marches.
We believe that these dangers require a strong and united response from all those dedicated to freedom and democracy. We must combine our forces and unite in a broad and common front against this common threat.