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Suited and Jackbooted: Behind the Hype, the BNP are Still a Fascist Party

Ben Drake

FIRST OFF, thanks to Andrew McKibben (‘Is the BNP Nazi? No, it’s Worse: It Isn’t’) for a clearly sincere contribution to the debate on combating the BNP, and for expressing doubts which I know are shared by quite a few genuine anti-racists and anti-fascists. One of the virtues of sites like SUN is to have the chance to make explicit and respond to arguments like this.

And well done too for reiterating the violent and thuggish nature of the party. It never gets reported enough that Nick Griffin’s right-hand man Tony Lecomber has convictions for assaulting a Jewish schoolteacher and for – I kid you not – bomb-making. (Check the public record!) On this anniversary of 7/7 you’d think that’d be mentioned occasionally when the media decide to do one of their sporadic BNP publicity-fests.

But also, for all their shiny-suited entry into the wonderful world of spin-doctoring, the leadership and core membership of the BNP remain hardcore Fascists in the full sense.

I wholeheartedly agree terms like Fascist and Nazi shouldn’t be thrown about with abandon. They need to be used carefully and specifically, to describe only those movements driven by the principles and forces that drove Mussolini’s and Hitler’s parties – and with the potential of leading us into the same hell-on-earth if ever allowed into power. For that reason I have no truck with abusing groups like UKIP or Kilroy’s erstwhile mob as Fascist – right-wing populists for sure but that’s many leagues short of Fascism. Nor on the other hand is it accurate to lump in Al-Qaeda or their ilk with Fascism, though I acknowledge some (Searchlight, notably) might dispute this.

But the BNP are Fascist. First, because the dark heart of their politics remains "Race and Nation" with the latter absolutely defined in terms of the former. They continue to operate as part of an international network of White Supremacist groups, and their stated mission is still to "save" the (ill-defined) "white race" from multiculturalism. Of course they make strenuous efforts to disguise this – they’ve finally twigged how absurd and paranoid it seems to sane people. But scratch the surface and it’s still there, in many cases semi-publicly in their publications and on their websites and bulletin boards.

It’s true that Muslims have replaced Jews as their preferred number one hate group for the new century. But that’s not fundamental. Fascists are shamelessly opportunistic – they absolutely need scapegoats but it doesn’t matter really who they are, as long as they can be defined as "Other" (non-White) and a threat. Hence Jews in the 1930s, Muslims now. (Once in power the Nazis killed Jew and Muslim alike – as well as other non-Whites, Slavs, Travellers, gay people, socialists, trade unionists, feminists, disabled people. It’s never been a good idea to ignore the lessons of history – in this case, that Fascism is everyone’s enemy.)

And second the BNP are Fascist in their methods and strategy. What sets Fascism apart from "bourgeois" right-wing ideologies – and what makes it such a menace – is their unvarying strategy to use violence (initially street-level and then state violence wherever they get power) to physically smash all opposition, especially workers’ organisations. This is a step beyond normal politics of any stripe.

The Merseyside Trades Council activist and anti-fascist who recently had his face slashed is only their latest target. Anti-racists and anti-fascists can report a catalogue of such attacks and abuse. As reported in Parliament recently, BNP supporters even maintain a website recording names, addresses and photos of "Reds", with fairly self-evident intent.

And the final culmination and destination of such political violence was played out in what remains the greatest horror of the 20th century – the Holocaust, where some fifteen million, including at least six million Jews, died in the Nazi death camps.

If the BNP have really put such an aim behind them, then ask yourself why they continue so insistently to deny and downplay the Holocaust. They’re fools but (alas) not idiots – they know they’ll get nowhere if they admit their ideological link to the Nazi regime. But their Holocaust denial gives the game away.

Behind the shiny suits lurks the same hatred, the same rotten ideology. We must expose them for who they are, and stand together to stop them. Never forget, never again.

This article first appeared on the SUN website (www.socialistunitynetwork.co.uk)