Lancaster students lead the way in fight against fascism

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Organisers of the Unite Against Fascism movement praised the “brilliant” turn-out of students at a protest against the British National Party last weekend.

The UAF had organised the protest to coincide with the BNP’s annual party conference, which took place on the weekend of the 14, 15, and 16 November at the New Kimberley Hotel, Blackpool.

Hundreds turned out to voice their opposition to the far right party, taking part in a two-and-a-half mile march from the Winter Gardens to the Kimberly Hotel.

Representing Lancaster University were members of the Lancaster University Labour Club and the Lancaster Student Assembly Against Racism. They were joined by representatives from the UAF Northwest branch, local trade unions, residents and local councillors, all of whom banded together to tell the BNP that they are not welcome in Blackpool or anywhere else in the North West.

Weyman Bennet is the national joint secretary of the UAF. He told SCAN:  “I think it’s brilliant that people turned out. Also to turn out three times, three years on the trot and still have that feeling that something should be done is really, really good.”

This year is the third year the BNP have held their annual conference in Blackpool. Despite this a large number of locals did not appear to know that the fascist party were in their home town. This could be down to the BNP’s reluctance to publicise the conference, in an attempt to deter protestors.

After being informed by SCAN of the BNP’s presence in Blackpool, one local resident said: “I don’t agree with the BNP. Definitely don’t.  But I think they should just be ignored. If you ignore them they’ll go away.”

The BNP are arguably the most infamous political party in the UK. Their reputation is based not only on their ties with fascist parties across Europe, but also on their racist and divisive polices.

In 2005, the party called for white British people to be given preference in the job and housing market, as well as in schools. They are also against mixed-raced relationships, as this would in their view lead to the “dilution of the white race”.

The leader of the BNP, Nick Griffin, is also a convicted Holocaust denier.

The anti-fascism movement’s big fear is that the BNP will try and win a seat in the European Elections. Not only would this significantly increase their influence but it would also give them greater contact with other fascist parties across the continent.

“The danger now is that the BNP will exploit the situation with the recession,” Fleetwood councillor Clive Grunshaw explained. “They will try and appeal to people who have concerns about the financial situation, who have concerns about their job and they will offer an alternative and offer someone to blame.”

Beau Bulman, a Lancaster University student who took part in the protest, agreed with this view. He said: “The problem now with the BNP is that they’ve tried to become respectable and give the illusion they’re respectable, which we think they’re not. It’s up to us to get out here and fight them.”

Speaking at the end of the protest Richard Bennett added: “We have to mobilise effectively with other people. Get more people out there because we’re going to face a struggle. Students are crucial to this. I think if large numbers of students do vote at the next election we can stop the BNP.”

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5 Comments

  1. Weyman Bennett is the national joint secretary of the UAF, Richard Bennett has two ts at the end and it says something about the BNP that they’re bricking it at people knowing who their members are. Some of the comments they make about their own members are pretty scary, and it is a disgrace that one of the members on that list is responsible for grading work at Lancaster University.

  2. I find it quite amusing that there are so many sad little individuals out there that are willing to protest against a party such as the BNP. Do you have nothing better to do with your time?

    With regards to the comments on fascism, I advise you to go out and buy a dictionary. Maybe then you will see what hypocrites you are. The definition of fascism includes, “forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism”, take a moment to think on what you are doing to the BNP, not to mention the prison sentence that is now handed out for referring to a person by their race.

    As for dictatorships, I believe our lack of the right to freedom of speech covers this.

    “A political theory advocating an authoritarian hierarchical government” – what sort of system do you believe you have in place now!? If any of you had bothered to read the BNP’s policies then you would realise that, under a BNP “government”, all power will be devolved to the lowest common denominator.

    As for racism, well, I would be here all day so I’ll keep it short and sweet. Thanks to mindless minority groups such as yourselves, anti-white male discrimination is now legal. Are you going to tell me that that isn’t racism?

    Finally a word to Mr. Rat. It is no disgrace that a member of the BNP is responsible for grading work at Lancaster University. His political views are not going to affect his ability to do his job. We are supposed (used very loosely) to live in a liberated society, isn’t a man entitled to his opinion?

  3. I find Caroline’s views absolutely atrocious. The British National Party were formed after a split within the National Front. Their leader, Nick Griffin, has stated views such as taking power through ‘well-directed boots and fists’, creating a monoethnic society and calling the holocaust a piece of allied wartime propaganda. Senior officer, Mark Collett, stated that he has a nostalgia for Nazi Germany. Add to this the vast catalogue of violent, (normally racially or politically motivated) crime associated with the membership of the BNP (e.g. Soho bomber, David Copeland), it is wholly accurate to call them fascist. If anything, it is implausible not to.

    Caroline calls the protesters sad but they are willing to stand up to people who want to spread hate and divide our society. I think they should be applauded, particularly since in a previous year Lancaster students got assaulted by skinheads for attending the same protest. I think that by your definition Caroline, that makes the BNP the Nazis and the peaceful protesters simply people exercising their own freedom of speech.

    Reading the BNP’s manifesto without knowing anything about the BNP, hardly tells you anything. It doesn’t tell you who John Tyndall is and what he said, it doesn’t tell you who Nick Griffin is and what his views are, it doesn’t tell you who Combat 18 are, it doesn’t tell you about the political and racial violence and it doesn’t tell you that if you express your disagreement then you are a potential target for that violence.

    How is anti-white male discrimination legal? If you are turned down for a job (unless it is sensitive sectors) and you have been discriminated against because of your race or gender then you can take legal action.

    Finally, it is obvious that having a racist marking students work is quite problematic. Not only that but the University has a legal responsibility to have an active equality policy. If they are allowing this to happen then it is criminally irresponsible as well as unfair on students concerned.

  4. In response to Paul’s comment:

    Again it would seem that the only rubbish you can talk of is this “racist” and “violent” tosh. Have you actually tried picking holes in their policies? You probably have if your intelligent enough, but I hear nothing so I’ll assume you can’t.

    Anti-white and anti-male discrimination IS LEGAL, as stated in the Queen’s speech. Even if it wasn’t, how is it right that the Police can advertise for “ethnic minorities” only?

    “the University has a legal responsibility to have an active equality policy”, I suppose this would include not discriminating against a person for their political views?

    Finally, how is that anyone that’s a member of the BNP is branded a racist? What proof of this do you have?

  5. Is there no end to some people’s idiocy?

    Someone has given you specific examples of leading BNP members coming out with racist and violent views with a specific relation to Hitler’s Germany and you still question whether that makes them racist, violent or fascist? How many other party’s leaders have argued that the holocaust didn’t happen? How many other party’s leaders have argued for an all-white Britain? It doesn’t take a genius to realise that there is something problematic with defending a party led by such a nutter. Not that the policy is relevant given the above context, but don’t you think their policy of repatriation is racist? You don’t think the policy of kicking non-white people out of the country might be a move towards an all-white Britain do you?

    Also, calling the violence ‘tosh’ (speaking of which who, apart from the Daily Mail, has even used that word this side of the 1950s?) is offensive to Lancaster students who Paul correctly mentioned were attacked by BNP members simply for expressing their views, on the first year of the BNP holding their conference in Blackpool. SCAN even did an article on it, why not read it?

    ‘As stated in the Queen’s speech’ – where?

    The police has a history of institutional racism. Look up the Steven Lawrence case. The point is that an all-white police force cannot be seen to be a fair instrument of law enforcement. The quotas may be a clumsy method of ensuring there is a fair balance but it is preferable to having a racist police force.

    Are you seriously arguing that it is ok to have a racist marking the work of students from different ethnic backgrounds? Racism fundamentally gets in the way of operating in any front-line public service role. Racism in this respect is a form of incompetence.

    Who said every BNP member is a racist? I’m perfectly willing to accept there may be people who have joined the BNP unaware of the overall nature of the organisation. In fact it is from such people who have subsequently left that some of the best accounts about what a bunch of nutcases most of the active members are.

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