Saturday, 5 July 2008

Anti-BNP Leaflet

As the world and its uncle know we have a big problem with the BNP in Stoke. They have nine council seats and are the second largest party on the council after the increasingly hapless Labour Party. Next year they're convinced they can make the sort of breakthrough that puts Richard Barnbrook's London Assembly seat firmly in the shade. In 2009 Stoke's elected mayor will be up for re-election, and Mark Meredith, the incumbent, is every inch the model New Labour mayor. It will take nothing short of a miracle to get the local party to go out and campaign for him, let alone win Meredith a second term. The BNP are very well placed to snatch the mayoralty, which will give them a solid platform for the European elections the month after should they win. Needless to say a BNP mayor for Stoke would be a disaster on a scale greater than anything Labour or the Tories could come up with. It is in no ones interests except those who want to divide our class and keep us down for the BNP to succeed. It would be a tragedy if they become a permanent if minor fixture of the British political system, especially at a time when their opportunities could start drying up under an incoming Conservative government.

This Sunday marks a year since the death of Keith Brown. Brown was a BNP activist involved in a long-running dispute with his neighbour, Habib Khan, ostensibly about the latter's building plans. On July 6th last year the tensions boiled over and Khan stabbed Brown to death as Brown was in the process of attacking his son. Khan was charged with murder but was cleared by a jury at Stafford Crown Court at the end of May. Instead they found Khan guilty of Brown's manslaughter and of wounding Brown's son. Khan is now waiting to be sentenced.

In an attempt to capitalise on this affair the BNP have been trying to portray the killing as a racist murder, as something that fits into the narrative of white Britons under siege by Muslim fanatics. To mark Brown's death the BNP planned to have a national demonstration in Stoke. Unfortunately for the fascists, all isn't well in the BNP at the moment. It was more likely a lack of interest from members outside of Stoke that prevented the demo from taking place instead of Griffin's feeble excuse that it would be better after Khan had been sentenced. But they were planning on leafleting around the Normacot area tomorrow to squeeze as much capital from the occasion as possible. However, Stoke Socialist Party beat them to it. We had comrades out today countering the poison they want to pour through peoples' letter boxes. The text of our leaflet is below. Any comments about its content are welcome.

NO to the BNP's attempt to divide our communities!
In Britain this year at least 17 young people have lost their lives through knife crime. Recently 400 mainly young people marched through North London to protest against the stabbing of 16-year-old Ben Kinsella demanding, "Stop Knife Violence". This expressed the view of millions across the country who want an end to ALL knife crime.

On the other hand, the BNP are planning to hold a national rally in Stoke-on-Trent not to campaign against knife crime but to exploit the tragic death of Keith Brown from Normacot for their own vile purposes.

By highlighting the tragic death of one person the BNP are trying to sow division among the community in Normacot and beyond. Creating division will do nothing to stop knife crime or solve any other problems faced by ordinary working class people and will make things even worse.

The BNP's aim is to promote disunity in our communities by setting one section of the community against another so that they can then pose as the defenders of the "whites" in Britain. But this is a con!

More BNP councillors - Worse for working class people!
The BNP are now the second largest group on Stoke-on-Trent city council with nine councillors but this has done nothing to defend ANY working class people.

In fact as the number of BNP councillors has increased our council had got worse! 1,000 much needed council jobs disappeared in the last year alone as week as an increase in closures and privatisation of services. Scapegoating sections of our communities will do nothing to stop this onslaught.

ALL working class people need to stick together and fight to defend our jobs, services and communities. The BNP's divisive policies make us weaker and create a smokescreen to make it easier for the government and local councils to close and privatise our care homes, schools, NHS, postal services etc.

NO! TO ALL RACISM
YES! TO DECENT JOBS, HOMES AND PUBLIC SERVICES

Time for a New Workers' Party!
Big business and the bosses now have three parties to represent them - New Labour, Tories and the Lib Dems. The BNP offer no solution to the problems we face.

A new mass party that fights for the interests of ALL ordinary working people is crucial in the struggle against the blind alley of racism and division. In a situation where all three main parties act in the interests of big business, the BNP have been able to make some gains falsely posing as a party of the white working class.

We now urgently need a new party that clearly puts the blame for crumbling public services and low pay where it belongs - at the feet of big business and the government. A party that leads a united struggle to improve the living conditions for all. This would have a tremendous effect in undermining all forms of racism and provide a real voice for millions.

Find out more about the Campaign for a New Workers' Party

* Unite and fight against low pay and cuts in jobs and services.
* No to war - No to racism - No to terrorism.
* End cheap labour. For a minimum wage of £8 an hour. No exemptions.
* A massive public spending programme to create more houses, schools, hospitals
and all the facilities we need. End privatisation.
* Campaign to form a new mass party of the working class.

Why not join the Socialist Party now!

19 comments:

Jim Jay said...

All power to your elbows on this.

I've been meaning to ask for a bit and this seems like a decent place to do it... what effect do you think having BNP councillors has had for stoke?

We're all aware that the BNP's electoral performance has improved since ten, fifteen years ago but I'm wondering if their bending over backwards to be respectable has come at a price - ie no real presence on the streets.

In otehr words whilst BNP councillors are clearly not a good thing I wonder if they've traded their more traditional and obnoxious far right organsation for a bunch of useless and ultimately ineffectual councillors.

just thinking aloud here...

Anonymous said...

Yet another workers' Party?

red cynic said...

I don't understand why the leaflet refers to the death of a vile racist and fascist as a "tragedy"?
Please explain, or is this pandering to potential BNP voters?

Phil BC said...

Red Cynic, I knew you would turn up with precisely that objection.

I put it like this. If you were to go leafleting in a BNP stronghold with a political project determined to win over sections of our class that support the fascists, I doubt you'd get very far calling Keith Brown a vile racist and fascist.

When was the last time you spoke to a BNP voter? Have you ever?

red cynic said...

Can't remember the last time, think it was during Mayoral/GLA election 4 years ago. Many more before then, both BNP and previously NF voters when they were the main fash in town.
So you agree that you're pandering to the BNP? What about those who don't and have never have any future intention of voting for them? The majority of dispossesed and opressed working class people of all races who don't vote. Surely better to concentrate efforts at them? After all they are the ones most likely to come our side.

Robert said...

I doubt it why should people who do not vote come over to new Labour, I suspect most like me do not vote anymore because of new Labour.

I've no interest in keeping Labour in power anymore, I've a disability so being stuffed by Labour or the Tories I'll take the Tories I expected it from them

Phil BC said...

Since when does a careful use of language constitute "pandering"? Unlike yourself we don't believe we can write off sections of our class who give the BNP their vote, many of whom do so because they see it as an effective protest vote against an establishment that (incredibly) still ignores their concerns and hopes.

Do you want to know what happens when passive BNP support comes into contact with clumsily-worded 'BNP=Nazis'-type leaflets?

About a month ago comrades active in the local anti-fascist group banged out the UAF's 'Stop the Fascist BNP' leaflets advertising the march on 21st June. They were not received very well by Satday morning shoppers. The leaflet banged on about Holocaust denial, threats to democracy and Hitler-worship. Some were no doubt pleased to see someone doing something against the BNP (and a couple of people signed up to the campaign), but most refused to take the leaflet, some threw it away in disgust, others boisterously voiced their support once they read it, etc. Not a very fruitful way of trying to break BNP supporters from the fash IMO.

Phil BC said...

Sorry Jim, I meant to answer your question earlier put it got lost in my brain somewhere.

For the effect it's had on Stoke much of the city elite see it as a stain on the Potteries' reputation and do seem genuinely scared that a BNP mayor and further advances will drive business away. This is particularly worrisome for them as Stoke is on the verge of major regeneration work being done to the city centre.

On political attitudes I can't say I've noticed any difference in the prevalence of anti-immigrant attitudes. Those kinds of remarks we get on stalls seem about the same as we got when I first started doing them a couple of years ago.

Having a substantial number of councillors does mean they're in the local press a lot more. But in the council chamber they don't seem to have done much. They do emphasise their street-level record of getting things done like clearing the streets of rubbish, unblocking drains and that sort of thing (and have got councillors to do that stuff themselves if the council was unable - for instance Steve Batkin, their first cllr, was known for his litter picking activities and also occasionally helping people out with their DIY(!)). But there is a universal consensus that they're dire on the council. The impression is they can fix things but they cannot *represent*, which may help explain why so far they have been unable to retain any seat they've won previously.

red cynic said...

You still haven't addressed my point whether the lefts precious resources would be better used trying to get the majority of the working class of all races on side rather than dilute what we stand for in order to "be nice" to the few neanderthals and hillbillies who vote BNP?
Of course that people can and do genuinely change but there seems to be some denial on the left that there is a tiny minority of working class people who are just plain racist and now that in their eyes the BNP has become "respectable" thanks to the bourgouis media, they feel that they can openly support and vote for them.
In fact if you look at the social deprivation statistics of the areas where the fash do well, they on the whole aren't the most deprived wards. A lot if not most of their votes come from the petit bourguois and wannabee petit bourguois, hardly our natural constituency is it?

Gary Elsby stoke said...

IS THIS THE WORST LEAFLET EVER PUT OUT?

Meredith is up for re-election?

Huh!

There will be a referendum, and up to now,there are only two options available.

Mayor and Cabinet.
Leader and Cabinet.

When you suggested that my leaflet was the 'worst leaflet ever', you forgot to mention the hugely succsessful leaflet that went out a few days later champioing a THIRD option of Enhanced Committees.

This is the majority view of labour activists.(My vote went up 28% as the Country crumbled).

Labour is very active in Stoke but less so than 20 years ago, however, any suggestion that we are not in control of events or that the BNP is on a roll is plainly ridiculous.

A small pocket or two is within the influence of the non apathy public and the overwhelming rest are at odds with what they see as a 'Labour Council'.

You know and I know that we haven't had one of those for 5 years now but your request for (yet) another political party does nothing to disabuse the notion otherwise.

The first thing we need to do is to break the coalition of Labour and Conservatives in the City that has no legitimacy with the Labour Party membership.

I'm busily on that case.

Get a grip.

Gary

tim f said...

I think there are sections of this leaflet which are very good (I say sections because I'm a Labour Party member and don't agree with the CNWP, and because I don't know anything about local accuracy issues raised above). It clearly makes an effort to engage with BNP voters, not all of whom are irreparably racist.

I actually think we need both leaflets saying the BNP are Nazis AND leaflets taking a softer approach and trying to engage with their supporters.

Good luck with it!

Simon said...

Someone please help me? I may be a little slow, but surely if the BNP do win the Mayoral race, it would be because they were elected?

Surely there are BNP members in the council of Stoke-on-Trent because they were elected to be there?

If you put a leaflet through every door in Stoke and have anti-BNP rallies continually and they still win elections, surely you understand the process is legitimate?

Isn't the UK a democracy?

Isn't this the will of the people?

I would love to hear from one of you with a credible argument how it isn't?

Eddie Truman said...

The leaflet is very good but the use of the word 'tragic' really is a big mistake.
It would have taken nothing away from the rest of the text if you hadn't included it but you've handed your opponents on the left a gift, as seen on the ironically named 'Socialist Unity' site.

Scott said...

"Isn't the UK a democracy?"

The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. (Wikipedia)

And the "Will of the people" Simon is wrong IMHO so I'll campaign to change it.

BTW It could be argued that a first past the post system isn't "The will of the people" most of the time anyway, a PR system based on a better way of demonstrating the will of the people, and the BNP do poorly under PR (See the electoral reform's committey paper on Burnly)

Anonymous said...

Eddie is rught the word tragic should be taken out.

Also add the fact that there are issues of self-defence as the Habib Khan family were subjected to years of racist abuse and even physical attacks.

We do need political leaflets that engage with why fascism offers no solutions for the working class and how we need a united fight for services, housing and jobs under working class control.

Calling the BNP Nazis whilst necessary is not enough. We need to build a political alternative. But condemning a man who engaged in legitimate self-defence and conflating this with knife crime is not the way to do it.

Jason

Simon said...

Scott....
Ok for arguments sake, let's call the UK a country that has a "democratic electoral process"....i.e. NOT Zimbabwe!

Can we at least agree that the process is not perfect...but better than most? It is however equally "flawed" for all parties?

I'm not sure why everyone avoided my question as to why an elected mayor from the BNP would not be the will of the people?
Still no one answered!

I am from Stoke. I moved a while back overseas.....when I go to visit Stoke; I see depression like never before. I used to work in a pottery related business. The pottery industry is basically gone. There is very little English manufacturing now. Stoke-on-Trent has turned into a warehouse/distribution centre for foreign products due its central geographical location.

There is no melting pot in Stoke. In an idealistic, utopian world, all the people would live together as one. So why do most of the immigrants live separately and stick to their own culture? Why do they not integrate into the community? What was the purpose of moving their whole family half way around the world just to take that world with them? Why does the UK government allow anyone to devalue English heritage at anytime and then paint the indigenous English people with a racist brush when they complain? I can see why the BNP does so well there.

Also, please don't use Wikipedia as a reference point...
"....The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. (Wikipedia)....."

That not only negates your argument but tells me that you are searching for the wrong answer.

John said...

Phil,

If you are the seasoned anti-fascist activist you seem to be claiming then you would know there is a huge and qualitative difference between some guy which votes BNP as a protest vote and a BNP activist - i.e. a fascist!

Perhaps I am wrong but the reports I have seen suggests that Brown was an activist and gave Khan racist abuse - probably threats.

The judge even said that Khan genuinely thought he was protecting his son - of course he would! So would any Asian living next door to a Nazi!!

So what message does the Socialist Party send to Asian and black workers who receive threats and are attacked by BNP fascists? None! There is no mention of their right to self-defence against racist attack anywhere in the leaflet!! Incredible.

That's not a coincidence, thats pandering. In fact the leaflet doesn't even tackle racism! Surely something fairly important! All it says is abstractly "no to racism". How many BNP voters call themselves racist? The BNP are always saying its not racist to 'defend british culture' or 'to recognise Britain is full'. No mention anywhere of immigration rights or islamophobia!!

Frankly you are totally pandering to racist voters because you are not willing to win the hard arguments - right-wing trash and a waste of time handing it out.

Hopefully you will take these criticisms on board for your next anti-fascist campaign.

Thanks :)

Anonymous said...

Hi guys,
I suppose I'm one of the "fash". I got to your amazing site through links on another (pretty Right of yours) where the entertainment revolves around a bunny, missing cash and a family feud.
We're working class, my husband and I are the product of mining families, he works very hard when he's not on "race awareness "days where some plank who couldn't lift a shovel lectures him and his team about how to treat people (who despise him) respectfully.
We're sick of it. We're sick of our kids being shoved to the back of the queue for everything and we're sick of the folk we voted for telling us how good it is for us.
Enter the BNP, started off as a protest vote, now we like the people we meet, not Nazi's just ordinary people who dont agree with you how wonderful it is to be surrounded by foreign faces.
We like our own tribe..the way they do.
There is no "Far" Right, get over it.
The BNP are the ONLY Right in Britain..ergo..we vote for them.
Not rocket science, or I wouldn't get it at all.
Kind Regards
Helena C

Anonymous said...

As a BNP member I find it interesting your fews of it , much of what you say, is faulse, it is sujective truth, not objective fact,objectivism is the fact that A is A BECAUSE IT IS A, SEE the fountain head, Ayr Rand,you have your faulse religion of multi what everism PC,you believe that all that is required is to sit around singing endlessly kum,by lar.
consider the logic of PLATO,
words are not works, their are two worlds of the being to plato,=1 world is the world of ideas mind consepts words, 2 world is the world of being as in to bring it into being vire genetic balance = goodness , biological form, what is because it is,I Newton
The war lord, Wellington had this to say to small French man, when he invaded Russia, quote, stupidity is the most desired quality in ones enemys mind, and should be en couraged at all times.

FROM A SO CALLED STUPID BNP MEMBER