Tuesday, May 12, 2009

How not to stop the BNP

The editorial in is yesterday's Times argued:
The British National Party is both an ideological disgrace and hopeless in practice. The main parties must do more to encourage voting in the European elections.
We can agree that the BNP is an ideological disgrace and is hopeless in practice (though the ideology of the main parties is not up to much and they're pretty hopeless too). But we can't agree that voting for one or other of "the main parties" would be a way of discouraging the growth of the BNP.

That would be to ignore the lessons of history, particularly of Germany in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Then, the failure of the democratic, reformist parties to make capitalism work in the interest of the wage and salary working class (an inevitable failure given that capitalism can't be reformed in this way), in particular to prevent a deepening economic crisis, opened the way for anti-democratic parties advocating dictatorship and racial discrimination to blame political democracy, not capitalism, for their problems, with, in Germany, some ssuccess but disastrous results.

There is of course no prospect of the BNP coming to power in Britain but it can certainly grow stronger than it currently is. Naturally, people are concerned about this, but what the Times and others are urging is that the answer is to vote for one or other of "the main parties" (apparently, it doesn't matter which). But since it is the failure (and, at the moment, the blatant corruption) of these parties that allows BNP propaganda to make some headway, more of the same is not going to stop the BNP. It is more likely to encourage it.

In the end the only effective way to counter the BNP is to confront its arguments directly by pointing out that it is capitalism -- not immigration or immigrants or Muslims or Poles -- that is the cause of the problems workers face. That's what we do all the time and why we say a vote for any of the main parties, as a vote for capitalism, is worse than a wasted vote.

No comments: