Far right gains

// 8 June 2009

As you all probably know by now, the BNP won two seats in the European Parliament last night – including vile party leader Nick Griffin and Andrew Brons, formerly chairman of the National Front:

He and another NF member were heard shouting slogans such as “Death to Jews”, “White Power” and “National Front”. When approached by PC John Raj, Brons stated: “inferior beings like yourself probably do not understand the principle of free speech”.

It’s a desperately sad, and frankly – terrifying – result. Although the seats were won despite the BNP gaining less votes overall, thousands and thousands of people across the country – 6.5% of voters excluding Scotland – backed a party which is openly racist, which only ‘allows’ white people to join the party, and advocates for ‘voluntary repatriation’ of all ethnic minorities. See Louise’s post for a full discussion of some of the many reasons the BNP are dangerous shits.

One thing we can do is sign the Hope Not Hate petition, which will be presented at the European Parliament on its first day in session, to demonstrate that the BNP do not represent Britain.

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Meanwhile, anti-immigration, anti-women, anti-Europe UKIP finished second. And the Tories have split with the mainstream centre-right, and will either fade into pointless obscurity, says the New Statesman, or form a grouping with the only MEPs on the right floating around: “Allies like these would put Cameron only a goose step or two away from the extreme right.”

And, in total, the far right are up 8 seats in the Parliament making gains in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands and Romania, as well as the UK (although there’s good news in France, and the far right were “completely wiped out” in Poland).

Comments From You

Octavia // Posted 8 June 2009 at 11:31 am

Are you sure that the BNP only allow white members?

Also, while I do not support the BNP in any way, if you want a fair and democratic society, then it has to be accepted that people will vote for right-wing parties if they so choose. True, it is fine to oppose the policies of such parties, but it is not right to try and ban them (I know this isn’t mentioned in your post, but there are people who want them wiped out completely).

Just my opinion!

Jess McCabe // Posted 8 June 2009 at 11:42 am

Octavia – Nick Griffin was interviewed on the BBC defending the policy last night.

I’m sad this is the first comment on this post.

magic_at_mungos // Posted 8 June 2009 at 12:11 pm

@ Octavia – The BNP have got affliated groups for people that are non-Cacausian but only lets in white people.

This statement is 2nd in their manifesto/party statements and isn’t actually a secret.

Grace // Posted 8 June 2009 at 12:22 pm

Two seats? I think we can all agree that that’s two too many. On the brighter(er) side, at least UKIP didn’t get any.

@Octavia: Agreed. I also stand in firm opposition to the BNP, but I don’t believe that banning them is the way to go about it. Censorship makes us no better than them.

What we really need is for someone to seriously interview them. On the one hand, it gives them publicity, but on the other- their policies won’t stand up to even five minutes of questioning, simply because (due to various political/legislative factors) it would be impossible to implement the changes that they propose. Plus, their policies sound frankly ridiculous when examined in the ‘cold light of day’.

Amy Clare // Posted 8 June 2009 at 12:26 pm

Jess – I think that perhaps the reason why not many people have commented yet is that they have, like me, been on BBC News trying to find out what the hell happened. :o/

It’s a terrible result and I’m a bit speechless at the moment! How easily people’s anger is diverted from MP’s expenses to ‘immigrants’. They can’t possibly think that the BNP are the answer to the recession, etc – it’s just lashing out. Same goes for UKIP.

Octavia – incitement to racial hatred is a crime. As this is what the BNP do (of course they would say that they are ‘not racist’), that’s enough grounds for banning the party imo. Although not everyone would agree with me, of course.

Jess McCabe // Posted 8 June 2009 at 12:35 pm

@Grace UKIP won 13 seats.

There’s been plenty of work done to expose just who the BNP are and what they stand for already. Check the Hope not Hate site.

Also, who here has actually suggested banning them? Let’s not construct straw woman arguments.

Butterflywings // Posted 8 June 2009 at 12:40 pm

Depressing (that BNP and UKIP won seats). Ugh.

‘I don’t like x’ does not = ‘let’s ban x’.

Caitlin // Posted 8 June 2009 at 12:43 pm

I’m sad that the BNP is attracting so much support as well. I understand the urge to make a protest vote but there are plenty of non-racist parties to support.

I’m heartened though by the rise in support for the Greens. Sadly it didn’t translate to extra seats, but the Greens saw a 2.4% rise in their vote, a bigger increase than any other party (BNP’s vote rose 1.3%). Overall, the Greens attracted 8.6% nationally, compared with 6.2% for the BNP. I think this bodes well for the future, if they can build on this in the general election. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/elections/euro/09/html/ukregion_999999.stm

@Octavia, I hear what you are saying about not banning parties, though I think it’s a complex issue. But I question the fact that you felt the need to make that argument when, as you admit, Jess hadn’t argued otherwise. She was merely talking about the fact that the BNP had won so much support and what that means. You say you don’t support the BNP but it’s interesting that you felt strongly enough to jump in in defence of the BNP’s right to exist when no one had questioned the BNP’s right to exist. I don’t necessarily disagree with your argument but the fact that you made it in this context sets alarm bells ringing for me. Just something to keep in mind.

Troika21 // Posted 8 June 2009 at 12:45 pm

I have to say I think that you’re over-reacting, the far-right many have gained some seats, but they are not in a position of power.

I mean, 8 seats, out of 785?

And they only reason they got thoese seats anyway is beacuse of the odd way the european parliament distriubtes seats, making sure that any group with more than 5% of the vote gets a seat.

The BNP and the other far-righters will have no say in the EP.

Cassandra // Posted 8 June 2009 at 12:56 pm

Octavia, you’re right, this is a democracy, and unfortunately people are entitled to vote BNP if they wish. The point however, is not to ban them but to launch sustained criticism of their facist ways, and counteract their attempts to present themselves as a mainstream party. Those who support the ‘democratic’ right to vote BNP purposefully overlook the inherent anti-democracy of the party. This is why people, irrespective of whether they vote Labour, Conservative, Green, Lib Dem or any other party should join together to prevent such a heinous group of extreme individuals ever having an effect on politics.

Jess McCabe // Posted 8 June 2009 at 1:01 pm

@Troika21 As I said in the post, they gained eight seats – in fact there are now 72 ‘no group’ MEPs, and although there’s not a full breakdown, a lot of them are from far-right parties.

JenniferRuth // Posted 8 June 2009 at 1:15 pm

I won’t link to this, but you can google the rest yourself.

Just so everyone can see it first hand, from the BNP constitution:

Section 2: Membership

1) …Membership of the BNP is strictly defined within the terms of, and our members also self define themselves within, the legal ambit of a defined ‘racial group’ this being ‘Indigenous Caucasian’…

2)The indigenous British ethnic groups deriving from the class of ‘Indigenous

Caucasian’consist of members of: i) The Anglo-Saxon Folk Community; ii) The Celtic

Scottish Folk Community; iii) The Scots-Northern Irish Folk Community; iv) The

Celtic Welsh Folk Community; v) The Celtic Irish Folk Community; vi) The Celtic

Cornish Folk Community; vii) The Anglo-Saxon-Celtic Folk Community; viii) The

Celtic-Norse Folk Community; ix) The Anglo-Saxon-Norse Folk Community; x) The

Anglo-Saxon-Indigenous European Folk Community; xi) Members of these ethnic

groups who reside either within or outside Europe but ethnically derive from them.

Now, couple this with their policy on immigration:

IMMIGRATION – time to say ENOUGH!

On current demographic trends, we, the native British people, will be an ethnic minority in our own country within sixty years.

To ensure that this does not happen, and that the British people retain their homeland and identity, we call for an immediate halt to all further immigration, the immediate deportation of criminal and illegal immigrants, and the introduction of a system of voluntary resettlement whereby those immigrants who are legally here will be afforded the opportunity to return to their lands of ethnic origin assisted by a generous financial incentives both for individuals and for the countries in question.

We will abolish the ‘positive discrimination’ schemes that have made white Britons second-class citizens. We will also clamp down on the flood of ‘asylum seekers’, all of whom are either bogus or can find refuge much nearer their home countries.

They might talk about “voluntary resettlement” and “financial incentives” but ultimately they are talking about removing people who were BORN HERE because of the colour of their skin.

I call bullshit on free speech here. It’s racial hatred and the BNP exploit the fears of people in order to garner their vote.

Grace // Posted 8 June 2009 at 1:19 pm

I didn’t intend it to be a straw woman- I was responding to a more general feeling (not here) that these people should be banned, although I know that it wasn’t referenced in the article- I’m afraid I got rather ahead of myself.

The ‘Hope Not Hate’ site is an invaluable resource, but I still believe that an actual interview with a BNP party member would be extremely beneficial, mainly because I would like to have someone addressing the fact that, on a purely practical level, the BNP cannot implement their desired policies. Saying ‘But they’re EEEEVIL!’ and going on to cite their numerous unpleasant deeds is all well and good, but I’d be interested to see how the party dealt with the basic fact of ‘Sorry, you can’t do what you want because that’s not how the system works’.

Ledh // Posted 8 June 2009 at 1:31 pm

Belgium has a far-right party too. they score about 15% (as opposed to 23% in 2004, WHEW. a real relief and a reason to celebrate) and they will be represented in the European Parliament as well. this saddens me too.

Laura // Posted 8 June 2009 at 1:40 pm

I’m sickened by the results across Europe, and especially the BNP wins.

We need to do something about voter apathy in this country; I’m hoping that now that children actually learn something about politics and how Parliament works at school (unlike when I was at school, and that’s not long ago) the new generations will begin to take more of an interest in and care more about politics, as it will actually mean something to them. Many of my peers happily breeze through life without giving politics a second thought, and being able to go through primary and secondary school without ever being taught the basics of how our political system works cannot have helped.

Julia Tubman // Posted 8 June 2009 at 1:51 pm

I watched the broadcast last night till about half past one- I stopped because it got just too depressing.

The Greens did amazingly well in the cities! I would advise everyone to check out the breakdown of votes per city and area- also to look at the change in voting between years.

Jess McCabe // Posted 8 June 2009 at 1:56 pm

Grace, I’m much rather they never got the chance.

maggie // Posted 8 June 2009 at 2:10 pm

I joined the Labour Party today. It best represents my political viewpoint. I joined because they need me more than ever and I’m going to work hard to drum up support in the next election. Basically I want people to vote.

BNP will only succeed in a low turn out election. The higher the turn out the more likely they are to be beaten.

This is my part in stamping out fascism. I urge others to do the same whether it’s green, libdem, conservative (at a stretch better than BNP), labour.

I live in the North West and I will work hard to prevent the BNP from winning again.

One thing I don’t understand. Why in the case of UKIP and BNP would you stand in an election to a Parliament you are fundamentally opposed to?

Jess McCabe // Posted 8 June 2009 at 2:11 pm

@JenniferRuth Thanks for clearing up any possible confusion. It’s interesting to see Anglo-Saxon listed as an ‘indigenous’ ethnic group, given that obviously the Angels and Saxons were also ‘immigrants’ originally, invading from what’s now Germany.

Rose // Posted 8 June 2009 at 2:18 pm

I voted for greens – and they got in in my area – so I get represented by who I want.

My father didn’t – but he’s not about to petition europe saying that greens don’t represent him. Everyone knows that not everybody here feels represented by greens, not everybody here likes them – this is understood in the statistics.

6.5% (excluding Scotland) voted BNP, so, 6.5% feel represented by the BNP. Who am I to claim that they are incapable to casting their own vote? Can I really sign a petition asking that their voices be ignored?

I think not.

Okay, so they’re racist, woman-hating, homophobic scum….. a lot of British people are. They have a right to be bastards – just as we have a right to try and inspire a more compassionate manifesto. We can’t achieve that by fighting and repressing the BNP, that’ll just argrivate the situation. We need to find better, more convincing, solutions to problems, (crime, economics, etc), to give the BNP voters a better alternative.

‘Hope not hate’ has to work both ways round!

Caitlin // Posted 8 June 2009 at 2:18 pm

Jess, are you counting UKIP as far right? I thought their main shtick was that they were against the UK being in the EU. I don’t agree with that policy but I’m not sure that makes it far right.

I had a girl tell me she was going to vote for UKIP because she was fed up with the MP expenses. I told her I was going to vote Green and she said “yeah they’re good too but I think UKIP has more chance where I live”. Clearly the policies of the two parties are miles apart but I don’t think voters are necessarily voting for UKIP because of a racist, right-wing agenda. Those people probably voted for the BNP.

Qubit // Posted 8 June 2009 at 2:29 pm

When I look at my group of friends very few fall into the category of

– white

– straight

– above 3rd generation completely British, in either being English, Scottish or Welsh (I believe it was up to 3rd generation the BNP were talking about making repatriation open to)

– from either a Christian or non-religious background

– male

I think the BNP would suffer most from a quiz which determined what would happen to you if they implemented all the policies they wanted, I believe most people have good friends who would suffer under the BNP rule but don’t realise this. This doesn’t even need to point out the non-official behaviour and their past associations since it would only need to work on their publicly available manifesto.

While their success does scare me, to the point I feel like packing up and leaving the UK I try to remember that they didn’t come first. I don’t know if UKIP came first in any areas but they were picking up seats because of their proportional representation. In a first past the post scheme they will achieve less.

Is it possible to be an MP and an MEP at the same time? If not at least it means the prominent BNP members have no chance of becoming MPs and having more power on direct policy.

Jess McCabe // Posted 8 June 2009 at 2:39 pm

@Caitlin I think there’s a question of degree – as in, the BNP are openly and proudly racist, and I question whether it’s possible to get confused over whether they’re a racist party standing on a racist platform.

But yes, I’d describe UKIP as far right – their party is not as openly racist, and I don’t assume everyone who voted for them is a nazi sympathiser, but they are on the far right of the political spectrum none the less. But, yes, a UKIP peer invited Dutch fascist Geert Wilders to the UK, who is extreme enough to be barred from entry. I’d just recommend taking a look at the UKIPwatch site for wider examples.

Rosa // Posted 8 June 2009 at 3:47 pm

God that’s depressing. And embarrassing.

Madeleine // Posted 8 June 2009 at 4:12 pm

I think that’s a brilliant idea of Qubit’s, a quiz in which people could see what would happen to them under BNP rule. That would get the point across instantly! I’ve always thought when the BNP were going on about immigrants that yeah, women’ll be next. Just like with the ‘kinder, kuche, kirche’ attitude of the Nazis. Racism and sexism always go together. Does anyone know what that poem is, it goes something like one person stayed silent then “they” came for the next person and then there’s only you left and they’re coming for you…?

My Mum joined the Labour Party a few years back. She went to several meetings and was just ignored. She phoned and wrote to them about policies and was ignored. So she gave up her membership. Now she’s just received a letter asking her to rejoin! She lives in the north west and was horrified to get a BNP leaflet through her letter box. That’s never happened before.

SnowdropExplodes // Posted 8 June 2009 at 4:35 pm

@Troika: For anyone who thinks that parties like the BNP gaining support is “not a big deal”, it’s worth considering that your “5%” measure means that the BNP won hundreds of thousands of votes nationwide – in my own region (where they didn’t win a seat) they won over 100,000 votes.

I cannot believe that the general public are completely ignorant of what the BNP are like – it’s been in the national news often enough – so that’s over 100,000 people who live in my region who either support their racist policies, or else were willing to overlook that vile hate-speech in favour of making some “protest vote”.

Multiply that across the UK, and that is a scary, scary prospect. It’s nearly a million voters* who will turn a blind eye to racism.

I am NOT okay with that.

On the “should they be banned” question, I believe that the best way to kill a bad idea is with a better one, and I am opposed in general to curtailing freedom of speech. However, the BNP does seek (when not putting on its “pleasant face” for election time) to encourage hatred and even violence towards ethnic minorities and I do not believe that we can condone that as “freedom of speech”.

*943,598 to be precise.

maggie // Posted 8 June 2009 at 5:00 pm

Madeleine,

Although I wasn’t a member of the Labour Party up till now, I’ve always helped out at election time (Parliamentary elections only though much to my shame). I rang up and asked how I could help with the door to door leafleting etc, and always put a poster up in the window and in my car. I’m in a constituency that is Conservative – Ann Winterton – but Labour is gaining and I’m proud of my political leanings and not afraid to show them.

I’m sorry to learn that your mum was ignored. Sometimes, though, you’ve got to put yourself out there to get results, but I’ll keep her experience in mind when I go to my first meeting.

I hope she won’t give up.

Jo // Posted 8 June 2009 at 5:18 pm

@SnowdropExplodes

Sadly and scarily I suspect that many were not just turning a blind eye. I think that there are misunderstandings of what constitutes racism- take the people who would argue (as talking heads on channel 4 did about the Big Brother race row) that there has to be intent for a comment or action to be racist… no there doesn’t. Many people do not consider their own views to be racist when in fact they are. The BNP’s attempted veiling of their true nature with lines like “it’s not racist to oppose immigration and political correctness” would have fooled or appealed to many of them.

Madeleine // Posted 8 June 2009 at 5:34 pm

Thanks, Maggie. I (and my Mum & whole family) would normally vote for/support Labour and will never vote Tory, LibDem or anything else. It’s just that we are, like so many people, completely disillusioned with the mess they’ve made of government. In 1997 they had such an overwhelming mandate and huge public support to reverse at least some of the damage the Tories did. They didn’t do anything like what they could have done, and it was especially sickening to see them kowtowing to ‘big business’ the way they did. At the moment it’s extremely difficult to feel at all positive about Labour. They’re behaving exactly like the Tories did before they were forced out of office. I think Gordon Brown is contemptible, and don’t get me started on Peter Mandelson!

I feel parties like the BNP and UKIP have gained a lot of support as a result of Labour’s behaviour. Unlike Snowdrop Explodes, I am really afraid that a big section of the public ARE ignorant of all the BNP stands for. I do actually think the BNP should be banned because they are blatently breaking the law against promoting racial hatred. History (not that history’s lessons ever seem to be learned) isn’t a big deal in schools any more and a lot of people are too busy numbing their brains with tabloids, Big Brother and Britain’s Got Talent (if only!)

End of rant. I sound about 100.

Chris // Posted 8 June 2009 at 6:30 pm

Disconcerting that this discussion should begin with ‘Octavia’ asking: “Are you sure the BNP only allow white members?”

A quick look at the BNP constitution will confirm this policy.

The BNP are people who will not make judgement according to your actions, your personality, your skills or talents. Their judgement rest wholely on the colour of your skin.

No matter what you do, no matter how nice or clever you are, if your skin is the wrong colour, you will not win with these people.

To find out more about the BNP check the Hope not Hate link above. Also use google, youtube and wikipedia – the truth is out there.

The BNP claim that there has been a campaign of misinformation and smears against them. You will find that the truth is far more chilling than any misinformation.

Three small examples:

1. BNP founder John Tyndall was an associate of London nail bomber / terrorist David Copeland (who was a member of the BNP).

2. BNP leader Nick Griffin has recently met with leaders of the Ku Klux Klan in the U.S.A.

3. BNP deputy leader was recently greeted with nazi salutes at a rally in Milan, Italy.

The BNP is not an ordinary political party. Given the opportunity the BNP will use freedom and democracy to destroy and democracy and freedom.

Chris.

maggie o' // Posted 8 June 2009 at 6:45 pm

I find it very scary that such racist parties and views are gaining so much support and popularity. Whats going on. Its insane.

Shea // Posted 8 June 2009 at 7:18 pm

So sad, so utterly depressing.

@Madeleine – Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)

In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;

And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;

And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;

And then… they came for me… And by that time there was no one left to speak up.”

I think its worth pointing out that the Nazi’s were democratically elected, during a period following the worst economic meltdown in history. Parallels? I’m hearing the words “those who don’t remember the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them…. ” rolling around my head.

I have no problem banning the BNP (not what this thread was about, anyhow). Why not? A party that is fundamentally opposed to democracy and freedom of speech, should derive no benefit from either!

@ Rose — the Green party are not talking about forcible repatriating people born here. I know the BNP says “voluntary” repatriation, but this has been on the statute books for a long time and I don’t see many people who were born in this country, grew up here, paid taxes, fought in the armed forces etc would willingly go back to a “mother country” with which they have no connection. So forcing them is really the only option. This is exactly what the Nazi’s originally said. “Voluntary repatriation quickly becomes forcible.

What were are seeing in in the policies of the BNP and the rhetoric of the far right is a social process which occurs prior to every holocaust or act of genocide, from the Nazis to Rwanda. It is the casting of immigrants/ Jews/Tutsis/ whoever and “non-natives” as different or “other” and dehumanising this group slowly and pervasively, to isolate and alienate them.

The BNP are stirring up hate, through peddling fears not grounded in reality, this has direct implications for “non-indigenous Caucasians” (I would fall into that group), in terms of everyday casual racism.

This is miles away from simply disagreeing on a political issue, or having a political party in power that don’t represent you. This is the most vile racial hatred you can imagine, being directed at all the people you love and care about, for simply existing.

Anne Onne // Posted 8 June 2009 at 9:23 pm

I love how the ‘Let’s not ban X’ argument is immediately raised. Because discussing why the BNP are dangerous, or trying to prevent the BNP from gaining enough power so that they can achieve their aim of ‘voluntarily’ kicking everyone they see as second class citizens out of Britain translates to being just as bad as them and preventing their precious hate-filled ‘free speech’. I’m sick of having opposing parties who want to curtail the rights of others as being framed as taking someone’s precious rights away. It’s NOBODY’S right to force British citizens or immigrants out of the country just because they’re not like you. It’s NOBODY’S right to incite racial hatred or acts of ethnic cleansing. Opposition to their politics is NOT oppression, nor does it make anyone as bad as them. Anyone who confuses the two needs to check their bloody privilege, because it is probably off the charts. Sorry I can’t be less blunt, but this has so affected me that I just can’t summon the reserves to be more eloquent when replying to people who seem to think that the BNP’s rights to freely oppressing others are equally (or more) important than the rights of women and minorities to live without ethnic cleansing and oppression and ‘voluntary’ deportation hanging over their heads.

This is NOT about wiping them off the face of the Earth, it’s about calling their shit out for what it is, and reminding people that these fascists are NOT entitled to take other people’s rights away, or indeed to a podium to spread their views.

I’m glad that there are still some people out there with enough privilege to see this as some sort of academic issue. Must be nice to have that kind of security. Unfortunately some people don’t have that luxury of casually wondering what went a bit wrong.

Can we please take into account that support for the BNP and its racist, misogynist politics is a very, very real threat to many people in the UK? It means that people feel more comfortable to espouse bigoted views and blame minorities for their problems, and see oppressing minorities as the key to solving them. This is NOT a small issue.

As she does so often, JenniferRuth has summarised what these people want very well.

They want anyone who is not Anglo-Saxon out of the country. Many people are voting for a party that wants to kick out immigrants and people who are by rights British citizens based on where their genes come from. This is NOT in any fucking way acceptable or OK or not a big deal. People you know, far too many people in this country, are voting for a party that would kick many people you know out of the country. If they had their way, most of the people I know, maybe even myself, would be out of the country in a heartbeat. If the BNP came to power, I or my friends and colleagues wouldn’t have the luxury of leaving the country in protest. We might be fucking forced out.

If you have ANY sense of compassion, of fairness, of human decency, how can this not appal you?

Anyone who thinks this is no big deal should actually think for a second, because THIS is precisely what support for the Nazi party started off like. Many of us don’t have the privilege of far-right hatred being aimed at someone else.

Thanks everyone who gets why this is so depressing, who believes this isn’t something we should stand for.

I know UKIP are almost as bad,and frankly I just don’t have the energy to deal with it all at the moment. This is a fucking nightmare. I think that will be all for now.

Jaime // Posted 8 June 2009 at 9:36 pm

Voter apathy is the main reason the BNP won 2 seats but the one good thing to come from their win is that it seems to have shocked people who hopefully will become more interested in politics. I think the main parties need to capitalise on this interest and actually start representing the people and then maybe the BNP party will slowly die out from lack of interest.

I agree that they need to be interviewed, when Griffin was doing interviews on Sunday night he was faltering so much, especially when asked how he could determine whether or not someone was truly ‘indigenous’.

@Rose – I was with you for a brief moment but then I recalled California and Prop 8 and realised that I can sign a petition asking for the BNP voters to be ignored. I’m perfectly happy in the knowledge that an elected party might not fully represent me but I draw the line at a party that hatefully discriminates minorities.

@Madeleine Poem – First they came – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came

polly styrene // Posted 8 June 2009 at 10:17 pm

Octavia if you watch any interview with Griffin he defends the BNP’s policy of only allowing white members with the complete non sequitur that white people aren’t allowed to join the black police officers association. And if you want to know why it’s a complete non sequitur, black police officers a) tend to suffer discrimination which is why they need an association and b)don’t want to rule the country.

Other reasons to not like the BNP, too numerous to mention, but for starters their homophobia, views on women, and their views on/convictions for rape.

Hitler was democratically elected….

Anne Onne // Posted 8 June 2009 at 11:10 pm

I agree they need to be interviewed: bluntly, by experienced interviewers. To have people see what they really represent (despite all the oily rhetoric of their website or spokespeople) and have their every weedy ‘we’re not racist’ argument torn to shreds publicly to expose what they really are. I don’t think public condemnation is enough, it just makes them look forbidden without explaining why: we need more light on this (and that Hope not Hate website is a great start!)

On ‘voluntart repatriation’, I second Shea. If someone were to truly ‘voluntarily’ want to repatriate, they wouldn’t need the BNP to make them to do this. Whilst people might be fooled by the idea of ‘voluntary repatriation of ‘undesirables’ solving all their ills, the reality is that this is a fantasy. It sounds to some people like an easy solution. After all, it’s not ‘racist’ if it’s voluntary, right?

But then think about it. How do you make someone ‘voluntarily’ leave when they want to stay here? There is nothing you could do to make people leave without outright forcing them or pressuring so much they leave because they feel they have to. I really don’t want to see the day that British citizens feel forced to leave and claim asylum on the grounds of being persecuted in the UK.

That poem sent chills down my spine. I know that often enough people say ‘my grandfather/father/etc didn’t fight in the War so [unrelated event] could happen, and I normally think that the motives for fighting the war were complex and far from perfect.

But this time around, I think it bears saying: our forebears didn’t fight in the war so that their descendants would support a party that the Nazis would be proud of.

Nicole // Posted 9 June 2009 at 2:54 am

Sunny Hundal of the Guardian has a good take on this, and is available online

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jun/08/europe-bnp-nick-griffin

Coming from Scotlad, I have to question as to whether the lack of BNP success here is attributable to the alternate options to a vote for Labour (i.e. SNP) – something not available to English voters. It makes me question our normally two party system as well as the politics of extremist parties – I wonder if tactical voting due to the nature of PR in EU elections is more prevalent than that seen in Westminster elections.

polly styrene // Posted 9 June 2009 at 9:25 am

I think you’ve got a really good point Nicole, a lot of the BNP votes were (I hope) protest votes. Having said that the Manchester Evening News ran a massive campaign here urging people NOT to vote BNP as a protest vote and many still did.

There’s an analysis of who voted BNP and why here.

http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/politics/domestic_politics/who+voted+bnp+and+why/3200557

Lorna West // Posted 9 June 2009 at 10:32 am

I think the decidedly left wing, Guardian reading bias of this website is alienating to feminists like me who support The Conservatives. I also think its absurd to mention UKIP and Conservative in the same sentence as BNP. BNP are, ironically, quite left wing, ie they believe in (albeit white only) socialism and nationalisation. But they are, of course, also completely mad. Anyone who believes in a ‘superior race’ is mad. So I encourage people to dislike BNP, but like I said, across the board, I find this site, which I take interest in, and would love to write some features for, is very biased to the left. For example, one poster once berated the fact that Boris Johnson had come into power, calling him racist, homophobic, etc. Yes, Boris may be gaffe prone, but may I remind you that prior to his re-election in 2004, Ken Livingstone was pictured shaking hands with a Muslim Iman who has gone on record saying gay people should ‘be burnt’. Next day, Ken was in G-A-Y bar, trying to get the ‘gay’ vote. What a fucking hypocrite. I hate Ken. And not just because I’m gay. Oh, and he’s also an IRA sympathiser. So let me know if you’d like to balance out some of the political stuff with my more conservative libertarian views. I assure you it will make interesting reading, even if you don’t agree with it…

SnowdropExplodes // Posted 9 June 2009 at 10:34 am

It’s not strictly accurate that Hitler was democratically elected. In the 1932 General Election in Germany, the Nazis polled 37% and became the largest single party in the Reichstag, but at the time the country was under Emergency Powers imposed by President Paul von Hindenberg; however, in negotiations to form a coalition government that could resume power and end the emergency powers situation, the Nazis used their block support to press for several key cabinet positions, including Chancellor. When the previous ruling party and Hindenberg’s representative, were reluctant to concede to these demands, Hitler threatened to unleash the paramilitary wings of the Nazi party and tear Germany apart. It was under these threats, and with that much reluctance, that Hitler was allowed to become Chancellor of Germany.

But the Nazis did begin by winning just one or two seats at a time in elections, and as their following grew and they won more and more attention from the people as a result of these successes, they became much more dangerous. I do believe that this is where we are at with the BNP – this is, perhaps, our version of the 1930 election…

Kez // Posted 9 June 2009 at 10:47 am

Caitlin – it’s ironic that your friend said she was voting UKIP because she was “fed up with MP expenses” when UKIP have an appalling record on exactly that.

In fact, financial irregularities seem to be rather a theme among their members, at least one of whom (MEP Ashley Mote) was convicted of benefit fraud.

JenniferRuth // Posted 9 June 2009 at 10:59 am

@ Lorna West

Why don’t you pitch an article to The F-Word team about conservative feminism? I, for one, would be interested to read it!

Jess McCabe // Posted 9 June 2009 at 11:07 am

@Lorna West I think to dismiss Johnson’s vile homophobic, sexist and racist statements as “gaffes” is a gigantic understatement. Describing the BNP as ‘left wing’ is deeply inaccurate, and they certainly wouldn’t want the label. The right spectrum of politics isn’t just about economics – it’s also ‘social conservativism’, of which, yes, I’m afraid that the BNP is but the most extreme manifestation of. UKIP, as I already mentioned, sponsored a hard-right, BNP-like Dutch politican to come to the UK. Their rhetoric plays into the same strain of xenophobia as the BNP, albiet their policies are less Nazi-esque.

I think it’s a mistake to say that the BNP supporters are “mad” (mental illness isn’t synonymous with bigotry) – they are at the most extreme end of the spectrum, but it’s important to remember that, although theirs is an open policy of white supremacy, our wider society still has massive problems of structural and engrained racism and white privilege.

Jess McCabe // Posted 9 June 2009 at 11:09 am

Yes, sorry Lorna, I should also have said that TFW takes submissions. If anyone wants to contribute guidelines can be found here.

Kez // Posted 9 June 2009 at 11:26 am

I do agree that, while the BNP success has been horrible, disturbing and upsetting, they have benefited from a protest vote from people who feel disillusioned with the major parties. (So thanks a lot, Daily Telegraph, for turning the whole thing into an issue about MPs’ expenses.)

Also, don’t forget that the turnout has generally been low – many people have stayed away from the polls. Hopefully (and this may be foolishly over-optimistic of me) some of those non-BNP-supporting people, in areas where the BNP have done well, will be sufficiently alarmed by that success to be motivated to turn out and vote against them next time.

Lara // Posted 9 June 2009 at 11:27 am

I recently moved to a new development and was not allowed to vote as my address didn’t exist on the electoral roll. Very very annoying. I live in Brighton and would have voted Green.

NorthernJess // Posted 9 June 2009 at 11:58 am

My boss voted BNP ‘because of MPs expenses’ and ‘too many illegals’ ‘taking her jobs’ (this is a woman who has worked the same desk for 12 years and is in no danger of being made redundent). I have ignored and ignored her racist jibes for the past six months of working with her, not wanting to stir up a fuss, shamefully putting my need for a peaceful working environment before correcting someone’s ignorance. I hate living in Yorkshire now, it makes me feel sick. Being white, quite a lot of other white people automatically assume that I am racist too. Every day I hear people make sly little comments, every day I ignore them. I am disgusted with myself for this-look where it has ended. I am represented in Europe by a man who associates happily with holocaust denyers.

So yesterday I was talking to my boss about and she was chuffed they had a seat and all that and I said to her ‘so you would rather your taxes pay for people whose grandmothers came from Bangladesh to be moved there en masse even though they have never been to that country in their lives, bearing in mind that to do that would cost more than all the expenses back together’, and she of course said no! She didn’t even know that was a BNP policy! This is the problem-that people like me don’t confront the seeds of racism when they sprout and that people like her don’t get when they are being taken by a ride with people exploiting their ignorance.

sianmarie // Posted 9 June 2009 at 1:12 pm

well said anne one. i agreed with every word, and you have put it so eloquently i won’t add that much.

if you saw c4 news last night Krishnan interviewed a BNP member and it just showed so clearly show appalling they are. when asked about not letting non whites in the party he said that there aren’t thousands of immigrants wanting to join the bnp so what’s the problem – SUPREMELY missing the point!!

when i lived in london during hte last general election Time Out interviewed Nick Griffin to the same effect, the man is an idiot, talking about mammoths and cavemen. they have NO policies beyond racism. they are racist, sexist, homophobic…

i only hope that the exposure they are receiving will show them up as the true racists they are, and show them up as having no clear policies and no political ability beyond racist hectoring.

sorry – rage clouding eloquence!

Hazel // Posted 9 June 2009 at 1:57 pm

This diagram from The Political Compass puts the BNP on the left.

Madeleine // Posted 9 June 2009 at 2:02 pm

Northern Jess, I am white too and have often been ashamed of myself for not having the guts to speak up when other white people have assumed I would agree with their racist views. Usually, like with you, it was a boss or colleague. I tried to justify it to myself by thinking well, I can’t change the world on my own, and in the meantime I’ve got to earn a living. True, but not an excuse. I am steeling myself to speak up the next time this happens.

Your boss’s words and her reaction to what you pointed out to her also bears out what I said in my previous post, that I fear many people are unaware of exactly what the BNP is all about.

Shea and Jaime, thanks for letting me know about the poem.

Sabre // Posted 9 June 2009 at 2:08 pm

As usual Anne Onne said what I was thinking but didn’t know how to say. I would like the BNP to be banned. I feel afraid of them, their policies and everyone who supports them. I know no matter how much tax I pay, how well I ‘integrate’ or what I contribute to society it will not be good enough because of my skin colour. I wasn’t born here so I’m an immigrant too. I’m British but that’s not ever going to be enough for them. I feel that allowing the BNP to exist legitimises them in peoples’ eyes. I understand the democratic argument, i.e. everyone’s entitled to free speech but free speech is one thing and political power is another. I absolutely hate and fear the BNP and I think that those who can debate their right to exist in a cool academic manner do have a privilege that I don’t have. I know my position is technically irrational and rather kneejerk but so is theirs. I’m not going to be fair and tolerant of a party who would not do the same for me and my family.

Saranga // Posted 9 June 2009 at 2:11 pm

@LornaWest: I’d read an article on Tory feminism. Can’t promise I’d agree with any of it but it would be nice to have the viewpoint out there – I see very few Conservative feminist writings, but that’s probably because I inhabit left wing spaces. I’d def be interested in your thoughts.

Kristel // Posted 9 June 2009 at 2:35 pm

Sabre, to hate and fear the BNP might be a kneejerk response, but it’s also a completely rational one! Anyone who doesn’t hate and fear them is being dangerously naive. They are no way an ordinary political party.

We can only hope that the public platform they’re getting to air their disgusting views will eventually backfire on them.

Jess McCabe // Posted 9 June 2009 at 2:39 pm

@Sabre @Kristel I agree…

Lorna West // Posted 9 June 2009 at 3:58 pm

Jess – I would be delighted to write some pieces. Thanks for the info.

Ok, so you’re not a Boris fan. But what do you make of what I said about Livingstone? I mean, I find that horrendous. Don’t you agree?

With regard to the whole left wing / right wing issue, one could argue that they meet around the back (ie Stalin – Communism, Hitler – Fascism).

With regards to Geert Wilders, I agree he is very hard line, but surely he should not be denied a platform. A Muslim commentator on Question Time said as much. After all, the more you hide from an issue, the more dangerous it becomes. I remember in the news, when many Oxford University students were protesting Nick Griffin’s visit, I felt glad that, despite my natural aversion to his party, he wasn’t stopped from going. After all, does not the old phrase ‘I may not agree with you but I defend your right to say it’ come into play?

My ‘mad’ comment came from my belief that anybody who believes in a ‘master race’ is mad. Whether you are a white or black supremacist, if you believe in an Aryan race, etc, it is nonsense. We are all equal, regardless of sex, age, race, etc.

Going back to Islam for a second, whilst by no means am I condoning Geert Wilders, Islamic countries are probably the most needy of feminism in the world. The atrocities committed in Islamic countries towards women and gay people are amongst the worst in the world. As a gay woman, I would be viewed as a moral abhorration. Whilst there are plenty of British and International Muslims who do not share such hard line views, I have unfortunately met one or two who do. And I can’t talk to them. Because they hate what I believe in.

And we do have a massive gobal problem with Islamic fundamentalism. And it is growing. I don’t know why people on the left refuse to acknowledge this, because it is simply obvious.

Of course, the downside comes when you get the BNP etc., wanting to dole out the punishment for atrocities committed by a few on an entire race of people. That’s clearly wrong. But there is an issue here. And I welcome responses, because it’s an issue that concerns us all.

claren // Posted 9 June 2009 at 4:13 pm

@ NotthernJess and Medeleine – I had exactly the same problem, people assumed that because I am white I would agree with their racist views, which they voiced to me frequently and without a lot of shame, especially since the 9/11 and 7/7 attacks. I started off pretending not to have heard for the sake of keeping the peace, then arguing, and have recently purged my address book of everyone with this type of view, and feel a lot better for having done it. (Obviously not possible with your boss/colleagues.)

SnowdropExplodes // Posted 9 June 2009 at 4:38 pm

@Hazel

That one source is not very reliable, because it does not define what it means by “leftwing”. It claims that “The truth is that on issues like health, transport, housing, protectionism and globalisation, [the BNPs] economics are left of Labour, let alone the Conservatives.” But we don’t know how they make that determination, or what they define as “left wing” economics in those categories. For example, if it is arguing that the BNP supports protectionist policies versus free-trade policies, then that is more a product of racist attitudes than of any other measure – it is not an *economic* policy. Similar arguments can be made about housing, globalisation and so on.

Therefore, I disagree with that source’s assessment of BNP policies.

George // Posted 9 June 2009 at 5:34 pm

To everyone that pointed out that the ability to ‘debate’ this in an uninvolved (I won’t say academic or irrational) fashion is a direct result of privilege – exactly.

I am always astonished that people still don’t get the fact that “freedom of speech” doesn’t entail the right to say violent, racist or misogynist things – surely a very familiar point to all regular readers of this blog.

aimee // Posted 9 June 2009 at 5:41 pm

I agree with most of your comments. I find the BNP incredibly scary, and I think they SHOULD be band, because they are criminals. Inciting racial hatred is a crime. Discrimination is a crime. Opression is a crime. Democracy is about free speech, for everyone. It’s not about allowing people to opress others if they want to.

I think that one good thing to come out of all this is that it has frightened people, and I think we’ll see a renewed interest in politics and I think there will be much less voter apathy now. I think this will be a wake up call for a lot of people who never thought it could happen.

Anna // Posted 9 June 2009 at 5:49 pm

Economic left != social left. That is all.

Qubit // Posted 9 June 2009 at 6:13 pm

Anne Onne, the BNP thrive because they make out people don’t want them to exist. Without establishing their right to exist you are leaving yourself open to challenges about how you are restricting free speech and are therefore fascist. In fact even criticising the BNP results in challenges over criticising free speech and democracy.

I am personally scared of the BNP but we do live in a democracy and if that is what people want then the rest of us have to accept that. I think the only way to oppose the BNP without making them out to be victims is by making it obvious to people how their policies will effect individuals. Even pointing out the previous crimes of members allows the BNP to play the victim.

When people say the situation is not too bad I think it refers to the fact the BNP lost votes in both areas where they got seats and completely failed to win. At the moment in a first past the post scheme such as the one in the general election they stand little chance. Sadly there is a possibility this will change.

Fran // Posted 9 June 2009 at 6:20 pm

Hazel: the “left” and “right” meant by the political compass are the economic left and right, not the social left and right — hence they put “liberals” on the right, as they generally support right-wing free-market policies. However, “left-wing” generally means a bit more than a commitment to the welfare state or other typically leftist economic ideas — it generally means a commitment to progressivism or change. Like Jess said, the BNP are extremely socially conservative and really shouldn’t be called “left-wing” for that reason.

Laura // Posted 9 June 2009 at 9:32 pm

I’d also be interesting in hearing your perspective, Lorna, as I personally can’t see how one could reconcile being a feminist with supporting a party who has little to no respect for a woman’s right to choose, portrays single mothers as the scourge of society and generally exists to further the interests of those who already have power and wealth.

Cassandra // Posted 9 June 2009 at 10:12 pm

At Laura

I think that’s quite a stereotypical view of conservatives- I’m not denying that there are Tory MPs who share that view, but it is certainly not unanimous throughout the party. I think Lorna’s trying to show how hypocritical certain Left Wing politicians can be in regards to promoting women and minorites – Ken Livingstone’s comment about a Jewish reporter being in a concentration camp was hardly politically correct! It is possible to reconcile Conservatism with the desire to have equality between the sexes- I consider myself the equal to my male peers, but I still vote Tory, mainly as I find the Labour state far too intrusive. I do expect criticism from fellow left wing feminists, and would welcome the chance to be challenged- I will try to answer any questions you pose to me! But I think the desire for society to recognise men and women as social equals rather than disparate is something which transcends political boundaries. Interestingly, in life many people befriend those on other sides of the political spectrum – I know within my own group of friends there are both strong conservatives and strong liberals, and there is no reason why this reconciliation of different social and political values cannot occur within the internet.

Laura // Posted 9 June 2009 at 10:30 pm

Meant to add this, a couple of results from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill last year:

Fertility treatment requires father and mother:

Conservatives: no: 12 aye: 144

Reduce abortion time limit to 20 weeks:

Conservatives: no: 35 aye: 118

( http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2008-05-20&number=203&display=similardivisionsparl )

That’s enough for me not to vote Tory.

Hazel // Posted 10 June 2009 at 12:07 am

I have no position regarding that diagram. I was just noting that to some people the BNP could be defined as left-wing. I’m personally wary of labels particularly if it isn’t clear that there is a difference between economic left/right and social left/right (thanks for that information, btw).

Maybe we could let Nick Griffin speak for himself since he described those who threw eggs at him today as “silly left wing students, lecturers and probably civil service parasites”.

I feel a bit queasy even writing his name.

Juliet // Posted 10 June 2009 at 11:50 am

A “Tory feminist”?

That has to be a great example of an oxymoron.

Cassandra // Posted 10 June 2009 at 12:37 pm

Why is it an oxymoron, Juliet?

Jess McCabe // Posted 10 June 2009 at 1:01 pm

@Lorna West I would ask if you really think it’s appropriate, in a thread clearly about the fascist BNP, to write in a comment “Going back to Islam for a second”. I deeply disagree with your reading of the situation, but what does it say about our feminisms that this thread has been continually sent on tangents, from the very first comment, when we’re discussing outright racists with ties to the National Front and KKK?

I’d challenge you on whether that’s really a good moment to say, “going back to Islam for a second”? Not to mention conflating “Islam” and “Islamic countries” with the extremes of “Islamic fundamentalism”. And why particularly bring this up in a thread about the BNP, at a time and place where Islamophobia is rife, and strongly tied to, if not a simple manifestation of, racism.

With regards to Geert Wilders, I agree he is very hard line, but surely he should not be denied a platform. A Muslim commentator on Question Time said as much. After all, the more you hide from an issue, the more dangerous it becomes.

I would strongly disagree that extremists like Wilders should be invited to spew hatred in the House of Lords. However, this is yet another tangent – the point of mentioning Wilders was to demonstrate that UKIP do indeed have far right ties.

My ‘mad’ comment came from my belief that anybody who believes in a ‘master race’ is mad. Whether you are a white or black supremacist, if you believe in an Aryan race, etc, it is nonsense.

Yes it’s nonsense. But it doesn’t come out of no-where and the problem with saying that bigots are just “mad” is that it ignores the fact that these extremists exist and are fed by a society which is still at its core racist. Your reference to the idea of “black supremacists” for example – this is not a real problem in society, being elected to office, or whatever – I wonder why? Could it be that white supremicists are not a random manifestation of mental illness, but the manifestation of a history of hundreds of years of colonialism and state-sponsored white supremacy.

the downside comes when you get the BNP etc., wanting to dole out the punishment for atrocities committed by a few on an entire race of people.

I don’t think and would strongly question why anyone would assume that the BNP exist in response to “Islamic fundamentalism”.

Lorna West // Posted 10 June 2009 at 1:31 pm

Jess, thanks for your feedback.

I wasn’t attacking the Islamic faith, clearly – yet I find it interesting that you haven’t commented on the awful conditions that women have to endure in Islamic countries. Have I offended your politically correct sensibilities there? (I don’t mean that to sound inflammatory. I apologise if it reads that way)

Would you be so eager to protect the image of Christianity, and all the jokes about Nazi popes and paedophile priests?

Black supremacy is an issue in USA – Louis Farrakhan for example, granted, not such an issue here.

Its hugely naive though, to blame all the world’s problems on ‘the white man’, as so many people seem to love to do, and I regard it as immeasurably offensive. Sections of society are not responsible for the acts of individuals. No group of peiople ie men, white people, etc should be made to feel guilty for merely existing.

I’m gonna go and have a heart attack. Getting pretty het up here :/

Jess McCabe // Posted 10 June 2009 at 2:06 pm

Moderation notice: I’m not going to be posting any more derailing comments in this thread.

Cara // Posted 10 June 2009 at 3:35 pm

Shea – ‘I think its worth pointing out that the Nazi’s were democratically elected, during a period following the worst economic meltdown in history. Parallels? I’m hearing the words “those who don’t remember the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them…. ” rolling around my head.’

Yes, you’re not the only one.

Deeply worrying.

Cara // Posted 10 June 2009 at 3:40 pm

Too right, Anne Onne (and Qubit). This is. actually. real. people. we are talking about.

People I care about, my friends and colleagues, include (not to sound like a Benetton ad) people who are gay, Jewish, black, Asian, disabled…all of whom would suffer under the BNP.

And ANY feminist should be deeply concerned about the BNP – as someone posted above, racism and sexism go together. Fascists are hardly pro-women.

Cassandra // Posted 10 June 2009 at 3:41 pm

What does derailing mean? I’m confused …

Sabre // Posted 10 June 2009 at 5:44 pm

@ Lorna West

Agreeing with Jess McCabe here, what does Islam have to do with it? It’s not the great stick against which all evils must be measured!

Lizzie // Posted 10 June 2009 at 6:17 pm

Well I for one am terrified by the gains of the BNP. Not only because it suggests an increasing amount of support for them within the country, but also because those two seats on the European Parliament will provide the British National party with an extra £159,000 funding a year to spread their lies and hatred from their MEP salaries.

The BNP are a hard right wing party. Their policies are fascist policies, and that includes the ‘national socialism’ that would offer some left of centre economic policies (a form of economic socialism) but only for those deemed ‘indigenous’ to the country (extreme nationalism). The slightly leftist economic policies of this party DO NOT make them left wing. Their extreme rightist social policies, however, do make them a party of the hard right.

One thing that puzzles me is why, if British islamic fundamentalists can be branded as internal terrorists by the government for inciting religious and racial hatred and violence, the most prominent members of the BNP, who have been captured time and again on film doing exactly the same, are allowed to continue as a supposedly respectable ‘democratic’ party without any repercussions.

The Britain’s Terrorism Act 2000 defines terrorism as an act or threat “designed to influence the government or to intimidate the public or a section of the public”; and which involves (a) involves serious violence against a person, serious damage to property, endangering a person’s life, creating a serious risk to public health and safety, or is designed to seriously interfere with or disrupt an electronic system.

The BNP threaten a section of the public every time they incite racial hatred or violence. BNP members have admitted to repeatedly committing serious violence against those whom they dislike (mostly Muslims, in recent years), damaging their property and threatening their lives both through plots to intentionally murder those whom they hate and the stirring up of hatred and violence, inciting others to act on their words.

I was re-watching a BBC undercover documentary made a few years ago on the BNP, ‘The Secret Agent’, on youtube earlier and some of the things that they discuss and admit to give me chills (see, all the things I list above):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__DdFiV7aT8&feature=related

It’s worth a watch if you can stomach it.

If this is the work of a party that we should allow to continue under the misnomer of ‘free speech,’ then I worry where, if ever, we will draw the line.

Sure, fighting censorship is all well and good, but it’s all too easy to argue for free speech at all when your more prominent civil liberties – those which allow you to live without fear of violence and murder – aren’t being directly threatened by those you are discussing.

Jess McCabe // Posted 10 June 2009 at 7:53 pm

@Cassandra derailing refers to introducing tangents and side issues in an unhelpful way, and generally changing the subject in a way which ‘derails’ and refocuses the discussion. You might want to click the link in my last comment for some examples…

Lorna West // Posted 10 June 2009 at 8:09 pm

@Sabre – that was part of a bigger discussion, my last post has not been posted. By the way, my mother is French Algerian and was raised Muslim

Anna // Posted 10 June 2009 at 8:12 pm

‘Islamic countries are probably the most needy of feminism in the world’

Whilst I don’t doubt for a second human rights atrocities are regularly perpetrated against women in these countries, I don’t think it right to say they ‘need feminism’ as in our own, presumably white, Western feminism – to do so ignores the work of feminists working within Islam.

The BNP terrify me, to be honest. I absolutely loathe them, from cheap-shot value judgements per Griffin’s loathsome slimy-toad face to a deconstruction of all their racist, misogynist, hideous policies. They are Nazis, using the word regarding them *is* appropriate; they are Holocaust deniers, Hitler sympathisers, with links to the National Front, Combat 88 and similar unpleasant organisations. I don’t think they should be given freedom of speech – freedom of speech does not constitute freedom to incite hatred – and I’m growing progressively more sympathetic to actions such as this despite my pacifist principles. I’m not sure if the only way to fight fascism is with words any more.

@Laura: wasn’t sure if this was derailing or not, feel free to publish all, part, or none of it as you see fit. :)

Jess McCabe // Posted 10 June 2009 at 8:24 pm

@Lorna West Yet again, this is a complete derailment of the conversation, that’s why I’m not responding, I’m trying to keep the thread on topic and not distract from the main point, which is to address the growing threat of far right groups gaining political power. Also, saying society is underpinned by white privilege is absolutely not the same thing as “blaming all the world’s problems on ‘the white man'”.

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