They Shall Not Pass

November 18, 2008

For the first time in Haringey’s history, the British National Party (BNP) stood a candidate in a by-election (see related article). Gaining confidence from the seat won earlier this year on the Greater London Assembly, and aided by the increasing inability of traditional parties to tackle social issues locally, the BNP are now trying to stand candidates in Central London.


In response to the party’s new strategy, an ad hoc anti-fascist coalition was set up in Haringey, with a strong input from residents’ associations and local groups such as Haringey Solidarity Group. It organised a successful public meeting and, thanks to the mobilization of residents, managed to leaflet the entire ward. The aim was to raise awareness by exposing the BNP as a fascist organisation and suggesting alternative ways of organising.


In the light of the election results, in which the BNP got a derisory 27 votes, the anti-fascist coalition can rightfully boast a collective and inspiring success. However, mobilizing people only at election time is a short-term strategy that has limited scope. It wrongly suggests that voting could on its own stop the growth of racism whereas it may actually encourage people’s apathy in the long run.


More than just the BNP it is fascism and what lies at its root that need to be fought against. This can only be done by everyone rejecting the capitalist politics put forward by all traditional parties and by organizing on a class basis against social injustice.


As important as warding off the BNP may be, it will not do away with oppression, exploitation or discrimination.


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