Barry Kade, Monday 8 june 09 (pictures by Lancaster Unity).
As people finished work on Monday evening a crowd began to gather in Lancaster’s Dalton Square, where they soon began to line the edge of the city’s busy one-way traffic system. Hastily-made placards were passed around and held aloft. By 6pm, a headcount revealed that over one hundred local people were now gathered. What was happening was a sudden and spontaneous outpouring of popular anger, sparked by that morning’s news – a notorious Nazi extremist had taken a Euro MP’s seat for our region. A megaphone arrived and rousing anti-fascist speeches filled the air, invoking the memory of our ancestors who sacrificed themselves in the battles to stop fascist rule in Europe. As the numbers swelled people stood on traffic islands and roadsides holding aloft signs that said ‘Stop the BNP’ and ‘Unite Against Fascism’.
What was amazing about this gathering was that it had been announced only a few hours before. Word got out via SMS text messages, facebook and email, spreading rapidly around networks of families and friends. People had woken up that morning to hear the dismal news of Nick Griffins elevation to the EU gravy train. You can tell when people are really angry when sizeable protests seem to come out of nowhere, and take a only few hours instead of weeks to organise. It was like this with the poll tax and the build up to the Iraq war. People seem to be desperately seeking an outlet for their opposition, concern and rage, and take to the streets almost instantly. The same was also happening at the same time across the North West and Yorkshire, with reports of 2,000 gathering in Manchester, and many other hastily called protests each growing hundreds strong in Preston, Liverpool, Leeds and Sheffield.
For there is a rising level of anger in this country. It is more than anger against the sick politics of the BNP. It is also anger against the degeneration and corruption of our political life that has lead to this humiliating spectacle – of Britain sending two Holocaust-denying, Hitler loving Nazis as our representatives to the European Parliament – on the very 65th anniversary of our victory over the Nazi war machine!
Yet the BNP still only have support from a small minority of the population. They only received 6.2% of the Euro-election vote across Britain and the actual number of votes they got went down this year. The BNP have experienced no great surge of support, even though Britain is in such a deep economic and political crisis, for while the majority of people have heard their siren calls, they have firmly rejected them. The real shift in this election is the collapse of the Labour Party and its vote, paying the price of years of betraying its grassroots voters, of putting profit before people and selling its soul to big business, war, and greed. Yet still people retch and recoil from the BNP, choosing either UKIP for an anti EU protest because of its lack of Nazi background, or the Greens for a leftish alternative to Labour.
It is worth noting that in the total vote for these Euro elections across Britain, the Green Party polled more than the BNP, receiving 8.6%. It also saw a bigger increase in its vote than the Nazis. It achieved this while standing on its most left-wing yet ‘green new deal’ platform, which proposes to create a million new green jobs. However, in the North West region, the vote panned out at 8% for the BNP, which due to the proportion of parties and seats, let them scrape in by the tiny margin of just a few thousand votes, only narrowly beating the Greens.
Now the fear is that Griffin and fellow ex-National front leader Andrew Brons can leap on the EU gravy train. By linking up with dodgy Nazi groups from Hungary, France, Italy and elsewhere, Griffin can now get millions of Euros of taxpayers money to spend on spreading his poisonous gospel of race war into our communities. As the ordinary people of Britain we face enough problems – we live in fear of job losses, home repossessions, attacks on our rights to pensions, we face being ripped off by greedy bankers and corrupt politicians. Yet now we face another threat, an additional problem – Nazi politicians like Griffin trying to elbow their way into the scene.
But today’s protests revealed another side to the situation. Thousands of people are willing to stand up and fight, to oppose the BNP and drive it back. Every advance made by the BNP will generate increased resistance: the more serious a threat it appears to be, the more the anti-fascist majority will want to fight it back. The fascists shall not pass. We shall never surrender; we will never let their jackboot settle upon our necks.