Editorial from the October 1993 issue of the Socialist Standard
What is it about the BNP that makes most of us so sick to the stomach to think of it winning even a single council seat?
The BNP stands for the politics of hate and division. They hate blacks. They admire the Nazis’ attempt to wipe out the Jews. They despise homosexuals. They are unthinking, prejudiced bigots. They are only ever going to appear attractive to the embittered and the frustrated.
But they are a symptom, not a cause. It is all too easy to condemn the BNP, the NF and the assorted rag-bag of fascistic know-nothing nationalists and assume that enough has been said. The fascists are merely the flies which congregate upon the dung heap. Swat them and the stench of what gave rise to them still remains.
The BNP are not the only nationalists. All parties which tell voters that The Nation must be safeguarded are nationalists. The BNP encourages thugs who stab workers because of the colour of their skin. The Conservative government has an army filled with thugs who kill workers because of the flag they march under. Every government of the profit system condones the slaughter of workers by workers in the name of nationalism in time of war. Who are they to condemn the BNP?
The so-called anti-Nazis of the SWP give their support to fascistic nationalists in the IRA. They oppose giving a platform to the BNP but cheer "freedom fighters" who would blow up children in the name of "national liberation". Give all of these nationalists, however vile their talk and their deeds, the freedom to expose their obnoxious views in public. Do those who seek to ban them believe that workers are so stupid as to fall for fascist nonsense when it is countered in public by clear and logical opposition?
The few hundred deluded wage-slaves from the East End of London who gave the BNP their moment of victory last month are the products of a hope-crushing system of society called capitalism. Under this system profits always come before needs. So, houses which could be built to the highest standard for all the people are in short supply. The workers of the Isle of Dogs compete around the trough of poverty, blaming each other for getting too large a share of the squalid housing on offer.
In a sane society, where production is for use and not profit, people would not experience the falling out over who is to live in the impoverished environment of the slums - these would no longer exist.
The BNP is a product of the utter failure of all of the reformist parties - Tory, Liberal and Labour (backed up at election time by the SWP) - to make capitalism tolerable for workers to live in. Hopes have been frustrated to the point that the poison of cynicism has been imbibed. The same reformist failure has led to the same result, on a much wider scale, in France, and it is happening now in Germany. When capitalism not only fails to deliver the goods (as it inevitably does), but fails even to deliver the expectation that its promises will be met, nobody should be surprised that fascism is in the air.
The colour of workers’ skins is of no importance. Workers arc exploited because that is the only way for profits to be made - we are not exploited because of the colour of our skin or the colour of our eyes.
Workers have no country. We have a world to win. Only by rejecting the myths of national and racial identity can the world be won by and for all of its inhabitants. As knowledge of the real cause of our problems (capitalism) and the real basis of our strength (class unity) develop, the wretched appeal of the fascists will evaporate and the air will once and for all be cleared of the stench which has given rise to it.