March 23rd saw the BNP once again make another ugly appearance on the streets of Glasgow, the second time they have done so in three days. On this occasion they could only muster two supporters, seemingly their hardcore in the west of Scotland. As usual this pair carried out their Laurel and Hardy style act with the big intimidating one, complete with scary red bobble hat, remaining silent as the smaller overly confident character spewed out a range of contradictory positions and bigoted lies.
Thankfully the Glasgow left was once again able to mobilise against the far right. Through effective communication, a relatively large number of people were quickly gathered and surrounded the BNP members. They were embarrassingly unprepared for this, given it happens to them every time they attempt to organise! This led to a situation where by at one point the loudmouth turned onto the crowd analysing who apparently were and weren’t British, which went to the extent of labelling an Asian woman with a broad Glasgow accent as apparently not being British. The action against the BNP has attracted a wide range of people and not just those who are active on the left. A large number of passersby also stopped to show their disgust and make it clear that the BNP were not welcome in their city.
Strathclyde Police continued to play a pernicious role in the struggle against the BNP in Glasgow; as ever defending the apparent right of their members to dispense racist propaganda whilst infringing on those of the people who disagree with them. On this occasion the police turned up with cyclists, a van full of officers and a car to a non-violent protest and gave the protestors a telling off for apparently infringing on the freedom of speech of the BNP by shouting over them! This reached a new level of hilarity and seriousness when they tried to arrest one of the counter-protestors for racial hatred after he shouted that the BNP were ‘Nazi scum’. Apparently Nazis are synonymous with that great fiction, the white race, and as such to label that most tolerant of groups, the BNP, as Nazis is a crime. This weekend saw an anti-BNP protestor in court on breach of the peace charges following his arrest for opposing the BNP earlier this year. Thankfully it looks as if the charges will now be dropped, but it is an evident warning of the failures of relying on the state to combat the far right. On this occasion it was only the pressure of the demonstrators that prevented the arrest of another comrade. The state have been used to defend the far right since the battle of Cable Street in 1936 and before, this only underlines that only mass mobilisation of the workers and youth can be relied on to defeat the BNP.
The BNP were campaigning for the upcoming European elections and it is only too clear they will be out again and again. Only further mobilisations can defeat them and dispel their racist myths. On this occasion their members were sporting fashionable luminous yellow jackets, complete with a Union Jack insignia and ‘British jobs for British workers’ on the back. Fortunately there were trade unionists present to shout them down and make it clear that the BNP was not welcome in the labour movement and that they only served to divide the working class. This must continue, but in itself is not enough. At the recent dispute around the Lindsay refinery the BNP were thrown off the picket lines. But this is a wider battle and it is no accident that in spite of this the slogan ‘British jobs for British workers’ was used in all mass media coverage of the strike. Only by posing a clear bold socialist solution to the bosses’ offensive that is following the capitalist crisis as day follows night, and by fighting militant struggles in defence of our jobs and public services can the left prevent the cancerous growth of racism and the BNP.