Council elections: Using the BNP to strengthen democracy

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The BNP’s gains in the recent council elections showed the relationship between the neo-Nazis and their more mainstream political buddies.

The BNP said in some of its local literature that it was just like "the Labour Party your grandfathers voted for" and that it was "people just like you making a difference". It even had a "totally assimilated Greek-Armenian" as one of its candidates.

But while presenting itself as a respectable organisation it insisted that it was the “foremost patriotic political party” that isdaring to break the stranglehold of the old parties on our dying democracy”. Accordingly the other parties return the compliment. Tory leader David Cameron said that "I would rather people voted for any party other than the BNP." Weyman Bennett, joint secretary of Unite Against Fascism, said that “There is a great danger that the BNP's election gains give a veneer of respectability to racist ideas, and could pull mainstream politics into the gutter."

In reality all bourgeois politicians are in the gutter and none of them are looking at the stars. While the BNP say provocatively that they’re prepared to be thrown out of the council chamber in their patriotic crusade, their ‘opponents’ talk up the ‘fascist threat’. In a notorious interview Margaret Hodge claimed that many white working class people might vote BNP because "They can't get a home for their children, they see black and ethnic minority communities moving in and they are angry". Looking at her own constituency she said that “When I arrived in 1994, it was a predominantly white, working class area. Now, go through the middle of Barking and you could be in Camden or Brixton.”

This is obviously shocking to Hodge, the rich, privately educated wife of a High Court Judge who once employed Cherie Blair. Her argument is simple, the BNP is responding to genuine concerns and the other parties must confront them. This ‘confrontation’ takes place through the ballot box and in the whole process of capitalist democracy. The BNP defends democracy; all the rest of them defend democracy; and whatever their differences they all know it means the dictatorship of a minority exploiting class.

Hodge, leader of Islington Council for ten years, once had a bust of Lenin installed in the town hall and still claims Rosa Luxemburg as a political role model. Yet the Lenin who wrote State and Revolution showed that the state exists when there are irreconcilable class interests. The Luxemburg who wrote The Mass Strike showed all the different creative forces within the working class in struggle. Hodge stands for the same capitalist state as the Tories and the BNP. They compliment each other perfectly. The BNP makes some electoral gains. The fascist menace is made to seem a little more tangible. People must no longer be ‘apathetic’, they must take up their civic responsibilities, they must vote for anyone but the BNP.

It is in this process the ruling class tries to persuade workers to forget their own class interests and fall in behind the parties of their exploiters. The democratic lie is that we have something in common with the class that dominates every aspect of our lives, above all with the state that invades every corner of social life in its defence of rotting capitalism.   Car 6/5/6




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