The events in Birmingham on August 8th show how dangerous and inflammatory the politics of racism can be in today’s Britain and how important the protest is that is being held against the BNP ‘festival’ in Codnor/ Denby Derbyshire on August 15th.
We don’t have evidence that the BNP were directly involved in the riot in Birmingham but we do know that people sympathetic to them certainly were involved. The English and Welsh Defence League and Casuals United protesters use the pretence of campaigning against Islamic fundamentalism in the same way as the BNP. Just as for decades the BNP and their predecessors used ‘anti-Zionism’ as a cover for anti-Semitism so they now use a cover of campaigning against political Islam to disguise their intention to stir up violent racial and religious intolerance.
Griffin’s statement to Channel 4 in July that “Islam… is a cancer eating away at our freedoms and our democracy” and that there is “no place in Europe for Islam” makes clear that he doesn’t oppose extreme or political Islam but all Muslim individuals.
Griffin’s earlier 2000 briefing of US fascists, leaked to and broadcast by BBC’s Panorama in 2001, reveals the BNP’s dishonest method. In the programme Griffin says “Perhaps one day, by being rather more subtle, once we’re in a position where we control the British broadcasting media, then perhaps one day the British people might change their mind and say ‘yes, every last one must go’. Perhaps they will one day. But if you hold that out as your sole aim to start with, you’re not going to get anywhere. So instead of talking about racial purity, we talk about identity.”
Our campaign against the BNP rejects all attempts to pit white working class youth against Muslim youths or vice versa. We reject the pretence made by the BNP that they are campaigning against Islamic fundamentalism. Our protest has no truck with any communalism that attempts to divide people politically on the basis of colour or religion.
Our opposition to the BNP and the racists on the streets of Birmingham yesterday is because they intentionally promote racial conflict in an attempt to distract working class people, and particularly youth, away from dealing with the major problems that they face.
Our anti-fascist campaigns call for united action, regardless of race or religion, to affirm and defend the right to work at a living wage as well as campaign for the right to decent housing. That is why before and on August 15th we will march under slogans of ‘Jobs and Homes not racism’ and ‘Black and white unite and fight’ in addition to calling for opposition to the BNP.
Those mobilised by our campaigns for the TUC march on August 15th will not be drawn into counter-productive confrontations with any racist provocateurs mobilised against our protest. Along with the TUC we will organise a well-stewarded peaceful demonstration.
We will also strongly assert our right to peacefully protest against fascists going into the festival both from this country and overseas from 9am on the morning of 15th August.
We believe that the police restrictions on our protest, put again this year, deny the majority of anti-BNP views in the area being seen and communicated to those attending the BNP’s festival of hate. Racism and fascism is opposed as strongly by the people of the Amber Valley area as anywhere else in the country.
The protection zone put by the police around the BNP protects them from our peaceful protest. It is unlike the protection given to any other political party and wasteful of public money. It helps the BNP to continue to dupe British people that they are a genuine democratic party when the fascist nature of the BNP’s leaders, their international friends and contacts is well established.
That is why we will continue to demand from the police what we believe is our democratic right, to peacefully protest throughout the Codnor/ Denby area on August 15th from 9am onwards.
We call on all opponents of racism to join us there
Notts Stop the BNP, Amber Valley CARF (Campaign against Racism and Fascism), Derby CARF