Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Driving them underground

I support tougher race hate laws, and using them to prosecute racists.

I don't think that this is an alternative to campaigning in local communities against the BNP, which is essential, but I don't see why we can't do both.

I don't see how it helps the BNP if some of their leaders are put in prison.

I think that many people who might vote BNP think crime is an important issue and I note that campaigns which point out how many convicted criminals are active BNP members are often successful.

I think we should build lots more affordable housing, do more to protect workers on low income jobs rather than letting bosses drive wages and working conditions down and close the gap between rich and poor but the Labour government should do these things because they are the right thing to do, not because some fascists are trying to exploit these issues.

I know for a fact that it is not the case that the BNP just gets its votes from former Labour supporters, or that it only does well in the most deprived areas. A majority of BNP voters have never voted Labour, and beating them is about motivating our supporters and persuading them to go out to vote as it is about trying to win over people who vote BNP.

I think it is a good thing when other, democratic parties campaign to offer an alternative for anti-Labour votes, but I think it is a bad thing when people tell me that they are voting Lib Dem because 'Labour is just on the side of the blacks'.

And I think that this, from a friend who is a long time anti-fascist organiser, is a good point:

"Some people say that if you don't give fascists a platform for their views it just drives them underground.


Six feet underground, preferably."


At 11:46 pm , Blogger Bloggers4Labour said...

One slight concern: are we saying that the existing legislation is bad or wrong, or (in general) doesn't go far enough - or that the litmus test of whether the law goes far enough is whether or not it convicts Griffin?

Convicting him should the happy consequence of a good law, not the goal of a bad one, especially not one that restricts our ability to criticise religions.

At 12:27 am , Anonymous politicalcorrespondent said...

I think the law should afford equal protection to the Muslim as it does to the Jew.

It isn't about protecting the faith, it's about protecting the faithful regardless of what they happen to believe.

I think either we overturn the existing laws on incitement to racial hatred or you extend those protections to the people who are currently oppressed without recourse to the law.

At 1:49 am , Blogger Bloggers4Labour said...

There shouldn't be special favours/different treatment for any racial or religious groups, and nither for the faithful or the 'faithless'. If there are, we should be removing them, not making additional 'exceptions' and special cases.

I don't think the laws on racial hatred are in question here: what seems to be happening is that some people want to conflate race and religion so as to be able to use laws designed to tackle never-justifiable racial criticisms/attacks to clamp down on criticisms/attacks against religion/non-religion, which is - to us rational secularists - a totally different matter, and a legitimate avenue for the exercise of free speech.

At 8:41 am , Blogger Elephunt said...

The BNP find it very difficult to get a foothold when there is already a local 'engaged' Labour Party up and working and in touch with the community.If there's a vacuum, the BNP attempt to exploit it...

Griffin was told by many people in Oldham that they would vote for him but they really appreciated their local Labour councillor, John Sutcliffe...that's the way to beat them..

At 12:38 pm , Anonymous timf said...

I think we should ban the bnp. Not only is it the right thing to do, but the tories and the lib dems would probably oppose it. People say that would drive them underground, but that's exactly what I want to do - it would stop them from campaigning, standing in elections etc. Plus it would allow us to seize membership rolls.


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