In the wake of the BNP's list-leak disaster, Labour MP Hazel Blears is quite right to lay the belt into the BNP by describing them as 'playing on people's apprehensions and peddling "pernicious but plausible lies"' (BBC News: Blears sounds warning about BNP). She also rightly claims that the BNP has been successful because working-class people feel 'ignored by mainstream politicians'. At the same time, however, she seems very vague about how we should deal with this problem.
Why is this important? Because there is also a pernicious argument within the mainstream parties, Labour included, that we should try to undercut the BNP's support by pandering to some of its demands. This has seen Blears' own New Labour government bring in ever tougher rules on immigration and ever more draconian crackdowns on asylum seekers, while harping on about 'Britishness' and the need for ethnic minorities to become more assimilated into 'British society'. Yet far from undercutting the BNP, such measures have boosted them by legitimising their racist beliefs, and allowing them to set the political agenda.
At the same time, the New Labour government is introducing measures, such as further attacks on benefits at a time when unemployment is increasing (BBC News: Welfare plan 'may cause poverty'). Such actions not only increase people's alienation from mainstream politics, they also fuel the misery and despair on which the fascists feed.
In order to attack the fascists and their racist ideas - which handicap our ability to unite against reactionary measures such as welfare cuts - we need to take on their myths, not pander to them. However much British people's living standards have been attacked, they are - contrary to the right-wing myths peddled by the capitalist media and Establishment - still better than those suffered by asylum seekers. Asylum seekers do not get council houses, they are housed in spartan accommodation reserved for asylum seekers, forced to live on benefits (increasingly in the form of vouchers) of less money than that given to British nationals, and are subject to constant surveillance - even having their possessions checked to make sure they don't own 'luxuries'. For the truth about asylum in the UK, check out the Refugee Council website, which has a section devoted to refuting myths about asylum seekers. And the theatre show "They get free mobiles, don't they?" by the Banner Theatre Company, gives an excellent insight into the real lives of asylum seekers.
Speaking of unappealing 'safe havens', the BNP certainly ain't a safe haven for people - white people included - who are disillusioned with the Establishment parties. Even leaving aside their racist, oppressive and violent politics and behaviour, let us not forget how the BNP's membership list ended up online. It is widely believed to have been caused by an internal dispute within the BNP, in which one member who was forced out decided to execute a 'scorched earth policy' on the BNP. This is not an aberration, the BNP have had a simmering feud since last year (Searchlight Hope Not Hate: Internal splits threaten BNP's chances in London Assembly poll). Indeed, the anti-democratic nature of fascist parties, internally as well as externally, tends to create splits and splinters; the BNP itself formed in the early 1980s from a split within the National Front. And the intolerant nature of fascism tends to make such disagreements erupt pyroclastically - the epitome of such loose-cannon behaviour was the Night of the Long Knives purge, back in Nazi Germany, when Hitler murdered his own SA storm troopers!
So what can we do when we become bitter and disillusioned with our government and its Establishment rivals? What we need to do is build a left wing alternative, which can unite workers, regardless of colour, sex, sexuality or disability, into a movement which can challenge the capitalist Establishment and its puppet politicians from below. Then we can effectively challenge cuts in benefits, job losses etc without blaming the most marginalised within society. What's more, by creating unity against the such acts of the capitalist system, we can sow the seeds of a movement which can eventually destroy the capitaist system itself. And create a socialist society which is free of racism, prejudice, poverty, unemployment and misery.
Black and white, gay and straight, able bodied and disabled - UNITE AND FIGHT!!!