Campaign to stop BNP festival

// 12 March 2008

With Jess’s most recent post on racist anti-immigration politics in mind, I thought readers might be interested to know that a network has been set up to protest against the British National Party’s annual festival, Red, White and Blue (RWB), which is set to take place in Derbyshire this summer. The festival serves to attract new recruits and celebrate the party’s sickeningly racist politics.

The ‘Stop the Red, White and Blue’ campaign will:

* draw together the thousands of people across the region who oppose the BNP into protest against the festival

* demand that local councils block permission for the event in recognition of this feeling

* calls on trade unions to, as far as possible, refuse to do any work that might facilitate the BNP event

If the event does go ahead we will call on local people, along with anti-fascists throughout the country, to join us in mass action against the festival.

Check out the campaign’s blog or email nobnpfestival[at] for more information.

Comments From You

Tazia // Posted 13 March 2008 at 2:42 am

I think on reflection, with the experience of the ANL, RAR, and the re-unification of Germany etc.

It is important not to do anything, which assists rather than hinders the opponent organizations.

So if one os going to make race-identity politics alcohol free by local authority mandate, be prepared for gay parades to absorb the collateral damage.

important criterion. Do not ask for legal peedents one doesn’t want. The ACLU learned this bitter lesson the hard way in the United State.

When people broke into NF houses in the 1970s, the distraught Nazis brought in the local media to loook at the kids toys all over the front garden.

I put away the baseball bat in Germany, it only offered the skinheads the opportunity to bring theirs, it felt good, to be fighting them, but it was a mistake.

Let them have their liquor, let the police arrest a few thugs after they’ve partaken of it.

Deborah McAlister // Posted 13 March 2008 at 9:51 pm

“I don’t agree with what you say but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it”

Laura // Posted 14 March 2008 at 10:02 am

Yeah – I personally don’t agree with trying to stop it going ahead, but would def protest while it was taking place. Just posted this up so people are aware of what’s happening.

vibracobra // Posted 14 March 2008 at 11:57 am

Just curious – do groups of right-wing people (BNP, pro-life, etc.) ever show up at feminist events to counter-demonstrate? Because I’ve never heard it mentioned, but I don’t know for sure.

On the whole they just seem to get on with their thing separately from us, even though our ideas must be just as abhorrent to them as theirs are to us. I just don’t see the point of demonstrating against these events. I can see the point of having a presence, to show the opposing point of view, but then again there’s another problem right there: why should our position be defined as opposed to theirs?

I’m also trying to think of how I’d feel if a bunch of them picketed Mind The Gap meetings. I think I’d feel pissed off and maybe a little threatened, and it certainly wouldn’t turn me off feminism, in fact quite the opposite. Wouldn’t protesting just strengthen their political beliefs?

I also agree that it’s important not to protest against the event going ahead at all, in support of their right to free speech and not to create a legal precedent, as Tazia said.

vibracobra // Posted 14 March 2008 at 12:27 pm

Oh yes and all that holds quadrupply true if recruitment is taking place at the event. If people are undecided whether they want to join, we don’t want to convince them to by being pricks to them at their festival.

In fact I think it’s incredibly important, before we have any shouting and demonstrating, to have dialogue or at least an attempt to establish why people join the BNP.

Laura // Posted 14 March 2008 at 1:44 pm

Interesting points, vibracobra. My thinking was that the protest would serve to say ‘we don’t like racism being celebrated in the UK’ and get media publicity to highlight what the BNP are really about. I think that can be done without being ‘pricks’. However, I’ve been reading your thoughts on the pro-choice protests, and I now agree that the tactics of intimidation are unproductive. At the Liverpool protest my friend had to force protesters to move aside so a disabled woman could enter the meeting.

I think we need to get into the latino spirit with our protests – make them positive and celebratory of what we stand for – and hand out leaflets etc in a friendly way to put our points across. I tried to do this at the meeting, and a lot of Abortion Rights literature got into the hotel as a result – giving people the facts is certainly better than shouting at them, though I must admit I engaged in that later on. It’s hard not to voice your anger when you see a male priest going to a pro-life meeting, representing everything you are fighting against, though I know that doesn’t make it right. I do think there’s a place for voicing anger, though, but maybe towards the leaders rather than those going to listen.

antifascist // Posted 14 March 2008 at 3:27 pm

Thanks a lot to Laura and the F-word for publicising this. It would be fantastic to have a massive feminist presence protesting the festival, given the BNP’s notorious sexism and homophobia: their anti-abortion stance, insistence on traditional family values, members bombing gay bars in Soho, etc.

I was interested in the comments, but I’m afraid I do not accept that this is an issue of free speech, or that the festival is not a threat. The BNP is a political organisation that speaks for and represents people intent on violent racism and homophobia, and intimidation of its political opponents. Allowing the organisation freedom to organise and spread its views is the real threat to free speech, of those whom the party targets. The links between the rise of the BNP and violence against its opponents on the streets are well documented. There have been several cases recently demonstrating evidence that BNP members are stockpiling weaponry for a future ‘race war’, including the arrest of members found with the largest haul of illegal explosives in British history. No prizes for guessing what would have happened if these guys were Muslim! To simply sit back and allow the party to grow and consolidate the fascist movement in the UK is not an option for those of us who choose to resist them. It is because we value free speech that we choose to make that resistance!

Past RWB festivals have featured Nazis walking around in full regalia, entertained by SS marching music and racist jokes. Last year members were expelled for glassing one another at the festival. This all goes on at a ‘family festival’, where kids are encouraged to get involved. Personally, I think this indoctrination is tantamount to child abuse and has to be halted.

The mobilisation is not about being violent or intimidatory towards the festival, but is about taking direct action to stop it, in defence of our communities.

I do accept the points being made about trying to influence the opinions of people rather than shut them out. However, I think this will be rather difficult to do at an event where police will do their best to keep fascists and antifascists as far apart as possible. It is a tactic campaigners have been focusing on locally, with regular leafletting of areas where the BNP are strong, trying to offer positive alternatives to the party’s regressive politics.

I’m sorry if this has sounded like a bit of a rant, but I have heard some of these arguments before coming from the mouths of those who use it as an easy excuse for not taking any action. The sooner we all face up to the fact that this is an issue we are involved in the better!

Looking forward to seeing you there in August :)

vibracobra // Posted 14 March 2008 at 7:54 pm

I think we need to get into the latino spirit with our protests – make them positive and celebratory of what we stand for – and hand out leaflets etc in a friendly way to put our points across.

Exactly, that would be much better.

I think as feminists we should at least accept that ‘one is not born, but becomes a fascist bastard’. That’s the least we can do, really.

Tazia // Posted 14 March 2008 at 9:23 pm

How many BNP people have actually went to jail for crime?

I wouldn’t be surprised if the membership of at least one of the other parties was not statistically a little ahead of them.

Race identity politics are icky and ultimately self-defeating.

The people who vote for the BNP, are voting for a reason, they don’t want to be indoctrinated out of a state of dissatisfaction.

The short explanation for WWII was that the Germans wanted to properly finish WWI. The NSDAP, went out and collected the votes to go along with the popular need for psychic revenge.

BNP voters are not happy with Britain, there is a lot wrong with it, they want it fixed, and they are fed up with being ignored, being the trash-whites.

BNP voters feel victimized by a state which doesn’t have any values they undrstand. They know immigration is a mess, that the UK is a country which money can’t fix.

The proof of that is self-evident, if Britain runs out of money it will be terrible. Things are bad enough with a surplus of cash.

One if the reasons for the BNP, is the popular view in non-voting circles that voting is a waste of time, which is why they don’t vote.

The BNP is (for many) the same as not voting but with a spokesperson.

Nino // Posted 15 March 2008 at 11:06 am

As a member of Socialist Worker and Love Music Hate Racism…I have confidence that many people are willing to make a change

But living in Bradford…where the heavily mediacised antiBNP riots resulted in the ethnic minorities suffering the most. the most integration i see is within the youth and hip hop communities…

those higher up are racist, prejidice and discriminating

i was born in Germany and it sickens me to hear people saying al germans are racist Nazis

the BNP would not be able to do half the shit they do here over there

because the people and the government are working so hard to kill their racist image

yes certain individuals always targeted me and my family

but they were honest and upfront

either they wanted something to do with us…or they didnt

over here people have been more two faced…using me and yet still dicriminating a judging me due to the colour of my skin

honesty is the only way we can overcome such a pathetically illogic state of mind

when will people get recognised for the individuals they are?

Denise // Posted 15 March 2008 at 3:25 pm

When I was a student in London some years back I was walking along the street one afternoon when two thuggish men crossed the road and headed towards me. I thought, OMG! One of them handed me a leaflet printed in virulent red and said ‘ere y’ar darlin’, ‘ave a look at this!’ I saw that it was a BNP leaflet, but the two men were so horrible and I felt so frightened that I just didn’t dare throw it back at them and tell them to fuck off. I took the leaflet home and read it, and was horrified by what I read. My reaction of pure visceral fear at just being approached by these men made me try to imagine how it must have felt to be Jewish in Nazi Germany, or a non-Jewish citizen who witnessed their country being taken over by Hitler and his Brownshirt and Gestapo thugs.

vibracobra // Posted 15 March 2008 at 6:59 pm

Well, I definitely think wanting to be bad and evil and scary is a big part of the appeal of belonging to the BNP.

I’m actually slightly more worried by their more user-friendly side, I had a co-worked once who I suspect was BNP, on the basis that she used terminology like ‘bloody ethnics’ to refer to Asian and Black people, which is pure BNP ‘we’re not racist, just descriptive’ stuff.

But the scarier side that comes out at the festivals? All they want is for people to tell them they’re bad, I’ve known guys who came out with racist stuff all the time in a very ‘spank me now!’ kind of way. That’s why it’s important not to seem like we want to punish them or we think they’re evil. I mean, why would they dress the way they do and be all threatening if that wasn’t exactly what they want in the first place?

antifascist // Posted 17 March 2008 at 5:00 pm

Tazia said:

“How many BNP people have actually went to jail for crime?”

Just a few of the party’s more memorable convictions:

* In 1998, Nick Griffin was convicted of violating section 19 of the Public Order Act 1986, relating to incitement to racial hatred. He received a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and was fined £2,300.

* Kevin Scott, the BNP’s North East regional organiser, has two convictions for assault and using threatening words and behaviour.

* Joe Owens, now expelled but previously a BNP candidate in Merseyside and former bodyguard to Nick Griffin, has served eight months in prison for sending razor blades in the post to Jewish people and another term for carrying CS gas and knuckledusters.

* Tony Wentworth, former BNP student organiser, was convicted alongside Mr Owens for assaulting demonstrators at an anti-BNP event in 2003.

* Colin Smith, BNP South East London organiser has 17 convictions for burglary, theft, stealing cars, possession of drugs and assaulting a police officer.

Tony Lecomber was jailed for possessing explosives in 1985, after a nail bomb exploded while he was carrying it to the offices of the Workers’ Revolutionary Party; and again for three years in 1991, for assaulting a Jewish teacher who was removing a BNP sticker at a London Underground station.

Robert Cottage, a BNP candidate earlier in the year for election to represent Colne on Pendle Council, “was arrested under the Explosives Act on suspicion of possessing chemicals that may be capable of making an explosion.” Cottage was also reported as having possessed the largest quantity of explosives of its type ever found in this country.

Quotes from party leader Nick Griffin:

“The electors of Millwall did not back a postmodernist rightist party, but what they perceived to be a strong, disciplined organisation with the ability to back up its slogan ‘Defend Rights for Whites’ with well-directed boots and fists. When the crunch comes, power is the product of force and will, not of rational debate.”

In January 1986, when Griffin was Deputy Chair of the NF, he advised his audience at an anti-IRA rally to use the “traditional British methods of the brick, the boot and the fist.”

wotan // Posted 21 March 2008 at 11:50 am

Come and join us but only if your tidy. We don,t want any pipe-smoking, pit-boot wearing mingers thanks

Holly Combe // Posted 21 March 2008 at 5:05 pm

Well, I think you know as well as I do that we weren’t thinking of joining you anyway. However, I feel sure that such an egalitarian group as yourselves will apply the same stringent criteria for your male members! *lights pipe*

Eddie // Posted 7 May 2008 at 3:32 pm

Apart from wanting to ban abortion, does anyone know of any other way that the BNP is against women? I’ve heard that they’re extremely hostile towards them and that they would prefer it if women stayed at home with their kids and out of the workplace and HP. Does anyone know of anything else? Do they want to take away women’s voting right?

Lewis // Posted 19 May 2008 at 11:25 am

As a member of the BNP I’m very disappointed to read such mis-informed comments from what seems to be a very intelligent group of people.

To set the record straight, the BNP encourages women to be members and become councillors. We believe that whilst men and women are not the same that both groups have unique qualities that compliment each other. Without one or the other sex, we would not be able to assess and amend our policies in a fair way.

The BNP is maturing. We may not have hit the right balance yet but we’re trying to work up to that.

I do hope that we will be left alone to enjoy our festival but if people do decide to turn up and protest, that is your freedom to exercise.

Anna // Posted 19 May 2008 at 1:27 pm

This being the same BNP who’s London Assembly candidate claimed women ‘would be more inconvenienced by having their handbag snatched than being raped’, the same BNP that opposes ‘social abortion’ [whatever that is], the same BNP that thinks a woman having a career does ‘inestimable damage to the family’.. to be fair, I’ve got revision to do for my AS levels now so I shan’t waste more time pointing out what a pathetic, racist, misogynistic bigot you are.

On rereading your post… ‘Equal but different’ was exactly the line Hitler used. Go and emancipate those women from emancipation!

Anne Onne // Posted 19 May 2008 at 3:20 pm

Lewis, I doubt we’re ever going to agree, seeing as feminists believe that having or lacking a uterus (or a penis) doesn’t have anything to do with what rights you’re entitled to, or the work that you can do, or your ‘qualities’. Unfortunately, people only bring up gender differences when it’s convenient to pretend that women are less capable than men, and just can’t do something. So since feminism and the BNP are mutually exclusive, I have to wonder why you’re so surprised we can’t just be best buddies.

Maybe we’re disappointed that someone speaking on behalf of a party that does not have our interests, or the interests of those we love at heart, has the gall to patronise us with ‘it’s not twoo! don’t be a meanie’ tactics. Please point out how the BNP is feminist, supportive of immigrants and POC and LGBT-friendly. No party is entitled to a ‘everyone thinks i’m wicked!’ badge, and trust is something that has to be earned. And you know what? Every scrap of research I have done into the BNP makes me less and less likely to trust them.

To be honest, even if the BNP were explicitly feminist (which, you know, would kill them), they would still be incredibly problematic because they fuel racial and ethnic tensions, and are millimeters away from inciting violence against immigrants. That’s their white privilege. I doubt very much that if they were Muslim, and said the same things about Brits as they say against immigrants, that they wouldn’t be charged of inciting hate.

So they can say what they want about how they love women, but it’s clear whose interests they’ve got at heart. And it isn’t women’s. And it isn’t immigrants, or POC or LGBTQ people they care about.

Lewis // Posted 19 May 2008 at 3:51 pm

Dear Anna,

I think you mis-understood what I was trying to say. I was trying to say that the BNP has changed and is no longer anything like the common perception that is put out of us.

In answer to your comment, the LGA candidate you mention was not in line with BNP policy and was rightly dismissed. Also we certainly do not want to stop anyone who wishes to have a career from achieving their full potential and as I said, we encourage women to become councillors. There simply are not enough women in these roles to provide the balance society needs. So you see we do not hate women, nor are we racist or bigoted.

I cannot comment about Hitler. You obviously know more on this subject than I.

Cara // Posted 19 May 2008 at 5:20 pm

I don’t buy the “equal but different” thing, and Lewis didn’t even say equal. His phrasing “complement each other” betrays what he really thinks.

Complement how? Men go out to work and women stay home? Men are “rational” and women are “irrational”? Yawn.

This type of binary thinking only makes us feel that men and women are different species…the implication of which, is that men are the default humans and women are, well, not quite human.

The BNP are misogynist, racist morons and can go, um, “inconvenience” themselves.

Anna // Posted 19 May 2008 at 8:54 pm

Food for thought;

“The role of women is to complement men and not to compete with them. Sadly, when men cease to be men, some women are apt to assume male roles, however inadequately … No man worthy of the name should accept a subordinate role to a woman in those occupations obviously better engaged in by men than women; for example, heavy industry, the police, the armed forces and top business management.

There will always be some women unsuited to marriage and motherhood for one reason or another, and these can of course seek fulfilment in other ways. But those women besotted with gender issues are driven not by concern for natural justice but by private resentments arising from childhood traumas or unhappy personal experiences with men (see RP Syndrome)”.

Written in 2003 by the founder of the BNP.

And, Lewis, I am not, will not, and most certainly won’t ever be your ‘dear’. Fuck you. :)

Lewis // Posted 20 May 2008 at 10:14 am

I see we are too different to agree on some things Anna, but thank you very much for listening to what I had say and considering my thoughts. You’ve brought some balance to my argument.

I think the appalling statement from 2003 just goes to show how far forward the BNP has come in a relatively short amount of time. The BNP of today might provide you with some good examples of how we can work for the greater good.

I’m glad that we can agree that we both have the equal right to differ. I hope that I have said enough here to deter some people from disrupting our annual get together at RWB.

Thank you for giving the time of day to debate with me in your forum.

Andrew Walton // Posted 16 June 2008 at 11:14 pm

Just to illustrate the BNP’s sexist attitude to women – here is an extract from an interview with Nick Griffin in the Lincolnshire Echo (2007), where he blames women having children for the shortage of dentists:

NG: The dental crisis is a slightly special case. A large part of the dental crisis, I’m afraid, is that, a generation or so, in dentist recruitment terms, it was opened up so that 50 per cent of the training was for women. Intelligent, young, middle class girls. Of course, the problem is that lots of women then go off and have children. And drop out of dentistry. And dentistry is left, mainly, as a male profession. If women want to become dentists, that’s fine. But by forcing dental college to take women as half their intake, it automatically meant that 10 or 15 years down the line, we are desperately short of practising dentists – because a lot of women are having kids and dropping out of dentistry. Political correct quotas have fouled up the dentistry system.

VK: So women choosing to have babies has caused a shortage in labour?

NG: No, that’s not it. It’s the Government forcing the dental profession to be politically correct, and to impose quotas on people becoming dentists, has meant that there is a shortage of labour because some of the people they have taken on as dentists, have gone off to have children. Which is all well and good. Fine and absolutely their right to be dentists or to have kids. But that shows how political correctness, and imposing quotas, has all sorts of unintended consequences. The unintended consequence in this case, is that there is not enough dentists.

VK: So you shouldn’t choose to become a dentist if you want to have a child in the future?

NG: No, that’s not what I said. I said that the Government shouldn’t go interfering, and imposing politically correct quotas, on professional bodies.

Wouldn’t a better solution be to train more dentists, of both sexes, and to ensure decent childcare provision for women who want to have children, so that they can then return to their career?

Andrew Walton // Posted 16 June 2008 at 11:23 pm

Or if that doesn’t convince you, here is a press release from Kirklees Unite Against Fascism of an attack on a student who was campaining against the BNP (May 2008):

On Friday morning a young female student was attacked on her way to work by three armed members of the far right. They pulled her to the ground, kicked her repeatedly in the ribs and slashed at her head with a knife. Whilst attacking her they called her “A Dirty red” and “Filthy lesbo”, the latter being a reference to the victims sexuality.

She suffered a fractured rib and severe bruising, but given the severity of the assault the injuries could have been far worse.

The attackers singled out this student because she campaigns on her campus to drive out the BNP. The victim is also a member of Unison and the NUS.

They knew her name and route to work, and deliberately targeted her to intimidate her and others campaigning against the far right.

The incident has been reported to West Yorkshire Police and they are currently investigating the attack.

The victim may be available for comment but will require anonymity in the media for fear of reprisal.

For further information regarding this press release you can contact Kirklees Unity at the following email address.

The local BNP councillor said that this was a “hoax”! The attack has been reported to the police. Instead of kicking whoever was responsible out of the party, the BNP lie to cover it up.

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