Sink the BNP

Tonight the BNP leader told the BBC that we should sink boats with refugees coming from Africa. BBC Correspondent Shirin Wheeler replied: “I don’t think the EU is in the business of murdering people at sea.”

But Shirin need not have worried, Griffin still has a generous heart because once we’ve holed their craft we’re then to “Throw them a life raft and they can go back to Libya”. Ah, what a sweetie, he doesn’t even want to arbitrarily massacre them.

Forgive the nit picking if you will but I do think this plan to sink someone’s raft and then give them a raft – thus “preventing” them reaching Europe – may not be as watertight as Griffin believes, but that’s by the by.

Griffin would like to see us link up with the Italians (whose current government contains many of Griffin’s co-thinkers) and “set up a force which actually blocks the Mediterranean”. I think it’s fair to say I’m not in favour of this. Mainly because it’s petty minded knee jerk nonsense that wont solve a single social problem we face today whilst introducing a whole new swath of violent injustices making the world a more foul smelling place.

Anyway, we can expect Nick “I’m not a racist but” Griffin to be popping up in the news time and again over the next few years and there’s no doubt he will be attempting to convert the currently existing racism in society into support for his organisation.

Unite Against Fascism have produced an analysis document on how to combat the fascists in this new period. It’s a bit self serving in places but I think it’s worth reading. In general I think this is a useful piece much of which I’d agree with. I do think the left in general has some rethinking to do, the old truisms don’t fit anymore.

For instance at one point UAF say “Fascist parties such as the BNP stand in elections in order to gain a “respectable” cover for their street activity.” I just don’t think this fits right now.

BNP street activity is almost zero and they have been courting ‘respectability’ for many years now. We are not seeing is the resurgence of the kind of ‘street activity’ we saw with the National Front in the seventies.

That is not to say that the BNP’s presence does not stoke racist attacks, it does, but party organised street activities just aren’t part of the BNP’s current strategy, nor have they been for many years. They are unlikely to change that approach at the very time when they have seen their most successful national election ever.

It’s an important point because it determines the kind of response the anti-fascist movement has to prioritise. If the BNP is shifting its focus to demonstrations and the like then we might start making bulk orders of farm fresh, free range double yolkers. If that’s not how they are trying to build support then the tactics of physical confrontation can only be the smallest part of our response.

As the UAF state “The danger today is that the BNP breaks through the “cordon sanitaire” to become a regular fixture in our media.” That’s the danger we’re facing right now it seems to me. That the BNP are grasping for platforms and respectability for their vile opinions and after the disastrous elections the media will provide that.

How we shift tactics to deal with this new stage is a really important question and one that will be discussed at the UAF national conference on Saturday 18 July in Manchester: details (pdf). An alternative view worth reading on this subject is Nick Lowles of Searchlight here.