Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Are the BNP Nazis?

After the local government elections, I wrote an article assessing the current state of the BNP threat. I was hoping this would contribute to the debate about how the BNP need to be combated, and so I was happy that a couple of weeks ago this was reproduced in the AWL’s paper “Solidarity”.

At the
Socialist Unity Network web-site we recently had submitted to us another contribution to the debate, from Andrew McKibben that argues that it is a mistake to describe the BNP as either Nazi or Fascist. As McKibbin describes them, the BNP are “a right-wing populist racist and xenophobic party, of no stable ideological substance beyond that.”

I think that McKibben is correct up to a point. It is certainly possible for people who used to be fascists, like Gianfranco Fini to move into conventional politics. If you actually read the BNP’s publications it is clear that they present themselves as a nationalist and racist party, but not as a Fascist or Nazi party.

However I am not fully convinced by McKibben’s argument, because as I wrote before: “
The programme of the BNP could only be achieved by a huge level of repressive state violence. What is more, the BNP could only gain state power by first removing the obstacles that stand in its way – which would mean physically confronting the trade unions, and BME communities. So the objective direction that the BNP follow is fascist, irrespective of the ideological make up of its membership.”

What is more “any sustained organisation requires a cadre of activists that are motivated by an ideology. The current leadership and cadre of the BNP come from fascist backgrounds, and have the criminal records to prove it. This creates a complex difficulty for Griffin. To turn out the existing cadre to work in elections requires sufficient concessions to them that the BNP is not just a racist, but an active race-hate organisation, which is an obstacle to gaining greater respectability. What is more, the party is unable to have a truly candid debate about the need for a shift without revealing the Nazi ideology of many of its supporters, and even exposing them to prosecutions for incitement to racial hatred.”

In this sense there is still a very clear difference between the BNP and right wing populists like UKIP.


A soft socialist said...

The BNP does not have actual racist policies as such well in public anyway. However they definitely have a Nazi wing.

However this whole thing about keeping manufacturing in Britain has been pioneered by the Gen Sec of AMICUS Derek Simpson, so the BNP can do populist as well.

AN said...

Hi Adele, nice to hear from you, but i'm not sure i agree with you.

Well I have a BNP leafelt in front of me: "Freedom and Security, not diversity and danger", that calls for the police to "START ethnic profiling" and drop the policy of the police stopping and searchig any suspects who are "clearly native British".

The election material in barking and Dagenham calling for whites to be given prefernece in housing; and the myths they have told elsewhere about stopping the fictional "Adricans for Essex" scheme are clearly racist policies.

The BNP constitution also outlaws members from mixed race relationships, which is also clearly racist.

And surely Simpson hasn't "pioeered" the idea of defending British manufacturing - it has been a theme in the movement for donkey's years. even harold wilson promoted the "I'm backing Britain" campiagn to promote buying Britsh manufactured goods.

AN said...

And Adele,

Do you think the balirites have some complicity in the rise of the BNP.

as Jon Cruddas has pointed out, labouur in fact promotes immigration. For example 5000 Polish migrant workers have come to Swindon since Poland joined the EU, which is both a treaty obligation for Britain, and also fits in with New labour's view of a flexible Noerth ASmerican style labour market (two teir?)

But no-where do we hear labour ministaers defending immigration, and rarely do you hear anyone in the Labour party defending asylum seekers, who we have both a humanitarian and treaty obligation to help.

Instead we have labour ministers talkig tough on immigration with an eye to swing voters in Abingdon and Witney.

A soft socialist said...

An - ok the BNP aren't meant to have explicitly racist policies. They are meant to have changed their image.

I just meant its Simpson and Woodley who have brought the idea into the public domain with their adverts.

A soft socialist said...

In response to your other comment:

Yes, I do think the lack of any real social housing policy has allowed the BNP to come to the forefront.

Labour's policies at the last election on immigration were partly in response to what the tories did.

AN said...

I agree that Labour's immigration policies are partly in response to the Tories, but it comes back to this key issue of triangulation on swing voters.
As one compoent of an electoral strategy I have no problem with it, but it shouldn't drive policy, or lead to principles being abandoned.

The government's resonsbilities extend beyond winning elections, and what is lacking from Labour is an a vision of how society can be improved. It has become reactive to events and obssessed with image rather than service delivery.

A soft socialist said...

Hmm, I do agree. But on the doorstep from people that vote labour, often trade unionists, people that I'm not sure we can brand as racist will say the following.

There is a lack of social housing. Why are we giving it to immigrants?

Now I find that kind of comment deplorable but its often people in poor areas not swing voters that may vbote BNP.

AN said...

I am not so sure about the arguent that BNP voters are "often trade unionists" since the very authorative report by the Joseph Rowntree foundation found, on thr bais of some quite good research, that trade unionsists were the section of the population most resistent to the BNP.

However, generally your point fiots in with mine. An obsession with swing voters means that new Labour fails its own core voters in terms of service delivery. today it is housing, next year it could be over wages being undercut by East European migrant workers.

To really undercut the BNP requires policies from new labour that provide houses, reverse the decline in the NHS, and enable the trade unions to tackle the rogue employers. It is becasue those polices are perceiived by the Millbank suits as too left to play well in Nether wallop, that Labour is leaving the door open for the BNP in core working class areas.

AN said...


have you read Jon Cruddas's essay as an epilogue to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation Reporton the far right in London.
It is on page 21 onwards in this document.
It deserves a wider readership, particularly in the labour party. (hint, hint, pass it round your mates)And Cruddas himself has learnt the hard way, having originallly been parachuited into that constiteuncy as reward for being an ultra Blairite. Colleagues in the GMB say he is a very good MP to work with particularly over this issue.

A soft socialist said...

Yes, totally agree with what you say about we are leaving the way open for the BNP in working class areas.

Have read much of what Cruddas has written for searchlight. He is very good but is deffo no longer a blairite. I always saw him as a critical friend but at the mo he is working with save the labour party.

Will do a blog abt this soon as it seems to have been swept under the carpet since the local elections.

AN said...

There is another contribution to this debate on the main Socialist unity web page;