Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Griffin: Egg him until he drops

Like many, maybe even most, people in this country I've been a bit down, a bit frustrated, a bit cheesed off frankly for the last few days. To think that the BNP, a far right party, has gained an electoral toe hold in this country is sickening. No doubt we'll see many, many articles on how we stop the rot over the next weeks, months and years. That's a discussion we need to have.

Today, when standing outside the House of Commons for a press conference Nick Griffin and some attendant goons were driven off the streets (clip) by members of Unite Against Fascism, determined to show that the majority do not find fascism acceptable. Organiser Donna Guthrie explains why to the BBC here.

Griffin tried to claim this was a 'militia' organised by the main three parties but at least half the people I saw on the TV were SWP members so although he claims this was funded by tax payers' money I suspect he was a little shy of the truth on this one.

Personally I thought it was marvellous to see the little toad scuttling about all frightened and I commend the UAF members who took part in this action. One of my concerns is that anti-fascists will be paralysed by the limited success the BNP have made and actions that build confidence are to be welcomed with open arms. This helped.

However, whilst it's good to see this week in particular, our tactics over the next period will have to be far more nuanced than a diet of direct confrontation alone. Partly because in the media interviews I've heard so far Griffin has given a far better account of himself than the organisers of the action. Partly because confronting the BNP organisation does not deal with why people voted for them. Partly because hooliganism is a minority sport and we need social forces on our side, not squads of tasty sorts.

For me the key is to provide a positive alternative. The biggest recruiter to the far right has been this failed Labour government and if we want to see an end to the threat we need to address the stinking inequalities and frustrations from which they breed. That's an omelet you can't make by breaking eggs.


weggis said...

In adversity there is opportunity.

Let the full glare of the spotlight shine upon them.

The slightest slip will be on YouTube before you can blink.

ModernityBlog said...

Agreed the more eggs (or green custard) the better.

Moreover, antifascists need to work on the media skills and make a more persuasive case against the BNP, simply repeating that they are Nazis won't work, in the long run.

Aaron said...

I agree with you ModernityBlog - what happened to our good speakers?! Martin Smith was terrible. I heart Donna Guthrie though.

ModernityBlog said...

aaron, not sure

I think many are still stuck in the 1970s shouting thru microphones.

People need training on how to make a point, politely but firmly and how to argue quickly about the failings of the BNP when faced with a camera crew.

Jim Jay said...

I thought Donna Guthrie was head and shoulders above Martin Smith and the woman on Radio Four I heard, both of whom were an utter embarressment.

Whilst some of this could be put down to training (and choice of spokesperson) some of it was clearly down to the fact that they didn't understand the politics of what they were arguing.

Simply put they've hung out with people who agree with them too much so they thought simply asserting their case would be enough to convince but then fell apart entirely when perfectly normal, mainstream questions were put to them.

If you can't prepare for a simple question like 'but he's been elected and you haven't so why are you more entitled to speak than him?' then you haven't prepared at all.

Aaron said...

Could you post a socialist/left(I dunno) defence of such actions? That would be interesting. A model answer to accusations of being undemocratic.

A funny thing from the Martin Smith interview is Simon Hughes talking about Burnley and how he said that you can defeat the BNP in the 'liberal' way of delivering leaflets and talking on the doorstep. It doesn't appear to be doing too good as the BNP gained council seats, and the vote % for the BNP in Burnley is one of the highest across the country.