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(en) DA 26 - Solidarity Federation magazine - Whipping it up

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Mon, 14 Apr 2003 09:08:20 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E

> Across the country, the far right are whipping up racist
feelings and fuelling populist campaigns against immigrants
and asylum seekers. They are aided and abetted by
Tories clutching at any straws to regain some popularity,
and the Labour Government who do not want to appear
'soft' on immigration. This extends right down to local level,
where Labour MPs and councillors are pandering to the
BNP and other fascists and racists. Having abandoned the
white working class in their thirst for power, and with the
Conservative Party and the BNP positioning themselves to
capitalise on this burgeoning resentment, they no longer are
capable of any meaningful resistance, as they have no
idea how to challenge the threat.
In Burnley, the Labour council chose to commemorate
this year's Holocaust Memorial Day by inviting along to the
official ceremony the town's three BNP councillors.
Thankfully, not everyone in Burnley Labour Party follows
the strategy of appeasement pursued by local officialdom
and, when the BNP attempted to lay a wreath accompanied
a press release which insultingly equated the Holocaust
with the crimes of Stalin and the recent violence against
whites in Zimbabwe, the offending item was quickly
and set aside by Labour councillors Paul Moore and Alice
When the Lancashire Evening Telegraph quoted
Burnley BNP councillor Terry Grogan accusing Paul and
Alice of theft, the pair faced a torrent of abusive telephone
from BNP supporters, and, disgracefully, received no
backing from the Labour Party at any level. The key point
here is that it is shameful and hurtful to Jewish people and
to all Holocaust survivors that Burnley council chose to
invite the BNP in the first place. Have they forgotten how
party leader Nick Griffin compared those who accept the
historical fact of the Holocaust to those who claim the
earth is flat?
Meanwhile, in neighbouring Blackburn, the recently
elected BNP councillor Robin Evans today said he would
stand against Foreign Secretary Jack Straw at the next
General Election. Evans caused controversy among the
mainstream political parties at a full council meeting of
Blackburn with Darwen Council, when he refused to
denounce comments made by the BNP national leader
Nick Griffin that the Holocaust was nothing more than
'Allied propaganda.' Labour's reaction has been typically
limp, as
Straw's agent commented: "This is a democracy. People are
entitled to stand for election if they want. It's a choice for
the people of Blackburn.''
Elsewhere, the government's plans to house asylum
seekers outside major cities are being challenged by a wave
of protests in Kent, Sussex, Oxfordshire, Dorset and
Lincolnshire. This mood of anger is being encouraged by
national newspapers, which are linking immigration to fears
over terrorism, disease and crime. Derek Wyatt, Labour
MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey has called for all asylum
seekers to be barred from Britain. The BNP has announced
that, due to 'massive interest', they will be standing
three candidates in the Medway area at the May council
elections. In Portland, Dorset protestors hung a banner
declaring 'No asylum here'. The anti-asylum campaign is
supported by Jim Knight, the Labour MP, as well as the
South Dorset Conservative Party.
This scenario is being repeated across the country with
Conservative and Labour MPs supporting anti-asylum
groups. The BNP and the NF are also moving in trying to
support on the back of local campaigns. There are
increasing reports of fascist activity in Lincolnshire,
Caythorpe in Nottinghamshire, Carlisle, Lancaster,
Bicester in
Oxfordshire and elsewhere. In Throckmorton,
Worcestershire local celebs, Stella McCartney, who has a
£1.3 million farmhouse in the village, as well as her father,
Paul, and
Songs of Praise presenter Toyah Wilcox joined local Tory
MP, Peter Luff, in protests against asylum seekers.
David Blunkett, and other government ministers,
making wild statements about immigration in general and
asylum seekers, are fuelling all this anxiety in particular.
Asylum seekers are also being made the scapegoats for an
NHS in crisis. Firstly, there was the trend of viewing
immigrants as carriers of infectious diseases. Now, there
are signs in Britain that ill-informed health scares are
becoming central to public fears about immigration.
Shadow Health Secretary Liam Fox has wrote to all
Primary Care Trusts and Hospital Trusts suggesting that
UK citizens were being denied access to treatment on the
because of 'preferential access' given to asylum seekers. He
also claimed that the NHS was becoming a 'health tourism
The media has fanned disease fears. Trevor Kavanagh,
political editor of the Sun newspaper, wrote on 27 January
2003 that immigrants had brought 'alarming levels of
infectious TB, Hepatitis B [and] incurable Aids' to Britain.
The Sun newspaper is currently running a petition calling
on Tony Blair to 'stop Britain becoming a soft touch
for illegal asylum seekers'. With over 300,000 signatories, it
is claimed to be the biggest newspaper petition in history.
The Mail on Sunday of 26 January announced that
disease is 'the new asylum peril that we cannot ignore'.
Under a heading speaking of 'imported plagues', Anthony
Browne wrote: 'We live in fear of foreigners bringing death
to our land... It is not by allowing in terrorists that the
Government's policy of mass immigration, especially from
the Third World, will claim most lives; it is through
letting in too many germs.'
Across the country, Local Election will be held on May
1st. There is a real fear that the BNP will build on these
campaigns; especially in the areas they already have
councillors, to make gains. The Labour Party has no idea
what to do. The left runs around chanting 'asylum seekers
welcome here' to pissed-off residents in run-down
estates. They launch 'Don't vote BNP' campaigns that only
encourage people to vote for anyone, preferably Socialist
Alliance, next best Labour, or even Tory at a pinch!
Anarchists find this all a bit duplicitous and are
naturally reluctant to take part in any campaign that
encourages people to get out and vote in capitalist
elections. The best way of providing meaningful opposition
to fascism in those areas where the BNP are operating and
gaining ground is to continue to attack the Labour
Party and its policies, campaign against racism and fascism,
and expose the falsehoods peddled by the government, the
right, and the media. Countering hypocrisy and
outright lies is still the best hope we have of persuading
people in our own communities to turn away from the
sinister 'quick fixes' of group blame being offered by the

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