WHO WILL be the Nazis' next target? That is the question on many people's lips this week after the horrific nail bombing in east London's Brick Lane just one week after Brixton was targeted. The police claim it is hard to track the Nazis down and bring them to justice for the black and white people they have maimed. Yet the police have always put vast amounts of time and energy into harassing anti-Nazis, while allowing Nazis to operate unopposed.
AROUND 1,500 marched last Saturday in Southall on the anniversary of anti-Nazi Blair Peachs death
THE HEAD of the new Scotland Yard racial crimes unit is anti-terrorist specialist John Grieve, yet he has failed to round up the Nazis. It is clear the Nazis have been gearing up for a violent campaign for some months now, frustrated at the wave of black and white solidarity that has swept Britain in the wake of the Stephen Lawrence inquiry.
A number of politicians, prominent black figures and anti-racist campaigners have been receiving hate mail threatening violence in the past few months. Southall MP Piara Khabra stood up in the House of Commons debate about Stephen Lawrence and read out the hate mail he has been getting. Suresh Grover from the National Civil Rights Campaign received a sickening letter last week straight after the Brixton nail bombing purporting to be from Combat 18, one offshoot from the disintegrating British National Party (BNP).
"The letter reads, 'Dear Black Bastards. We have bombed Brixton. Next we will bomb Bradford, Slough, Tower Hamlets, Southall, Tottenham, Birmingham, and Dublin'." Suresh told Socialist Worker. The message then reads, "We will exterminate all Jews, blacks, Muslims, gays and Catholics."
Suresh passed the warning on to Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist squad along with a death threat against himself well before Saturday's bombing. Yet the police gave little or no thought to informing these communities that they might be the next target, let alone protecting them.
Demonstrate 1 May
Assemble 1pm at Brixton Oval (opp Lambeth Town Hall)
March to Trafalgar Square
OVER 50 anti-Nazis united with local people the day after the Brick Lane bombing. Although the mass stickering and petitioning, organised by the Anti Nazi League, was hassled by the police, it got a great reception from the public. People were really pleased to see a quick response to the bombing outrage. Local people, market goers and even Joey Goldberg, Jewish anti-Nazi veteran from the 1950s 43 Group, came up and gave their support.
There was an impressive turnout from local teachers who bought their National Union of Teachers banner. Teacher Sarah Byrne addressed a rally at the end, saying, "We attended a united mixed demo for Blair Peach only to arrive home and find the Nazis had nail bombed Brick Lane. Teachers in this borough have a proud tradition of standing up against the Nazis. We are not having the Nazis trying to divide up our community."
COMBAT 18 is a small but violent Nazi group. Its members are Hitler worshippers. The 1 and 8 stand for the first and eighth letters of the alphabetA and H. For some reason the media have not made the link between the British National Party and Combat 18. BNP leader John Tyndall was even allowed on Radio 4 on Monday "denouncing" Combat 18.
Yet Combat 18 was originally formed to provide "security" for BNP meetings. Many BNP members shared membership with Combat 18. Tyndall and Combat 18's leadership fell out after their fortunes took a turn for the worse in the early 1990s when they crumbled under sustained campaigning by anti-Nazis. Combat 18 was behind the riot at the England-Ireland football match at Lansdowne Road, Dublin, in 1995.
Combat 18 was led by violent thug Charlie Sargent. Sargent is now serving life for murdering fellow Nazi Chris Castle. After Sargent was jailed it surfaced that he was an informant for the Special Branch. Combat 18 has links with the Northern Ireland Loyalist terror group, the UDA. Combat 18 members have been involved in gun running and drug smuggling. It was Combat 18 which was behind letter bombs sent to prominent mixed race couples by Danish fascists.
ANTI-NAZIS were celebrating a victory in Worcester last Saturday after their determined opposition forced the Nazi National Front to abandon its planned march. From 8am on Saturday morning the anti-Nazi mobilisation built until around 200 people were gathered in the quiet rural town. The group was a mix of black and white people which included local trade unionists, students, campaigners and Anti Nazi League supporters.
Dave Mitchell, a local teacher, said, "I'm really pleased with the turnout and how successful today's event has been. The Nazis thought this town would be a soft spot for them. Well, they underestimated us." Dave talked about how activists had built the protest over the previous week: "We mailed all the local trades unions to tell them about the mobilisation and contactedlocal colleges and schools."
After having stopped the Nazis' march, the protesters forced the police to agree to let the anti-Nazis march through Worcester shopping centre to hold a planned rally outside the guildhall. Ibrar is a member of the mainly Asian taxi drivers' association in Worcester who had agreed to back the anti- Nazi protest. He said, "We had a meeting, about 100 of us. We decided to support this because everybody agrees we don't want racists in our town." The rally, scheduled to take place later that morning, saw around 250 people gather to hear speakers including Margaret Wills, the city council's leader. A Worcester Anti Nazi League branch has now been set up and is planning stalls over the next few Saturdays to keep up the anti-Nazi profile.
THE BRITISH National Party came to public attention after its candidate, Derek Beackon, was elected as a councillor on the Isle of Dogs, east London, in September 1993. Racist attacks soared in east London as a consequence. Beackon was kicked off the island only after a mass campaign by anti-Nazis and socialists in the area. The BNP opened up its HQ in Welling, south east London, in 1989. Despite protests, the local Tory controlled council refused to shut it down. Young black men, including Stephen Lawrence, paid the price after racist attacks rocketed in the area. After Rolan Adams was murdered in 1991 the BNP was given permission by the police to march past the spot where he was knifed.
WHY HAVEN'T the police arrested these people?
BARNSLEY NATFHE is calling on the town's three Labour MPs to launch an appeal to help rebuild the recently destroyed Al Quba Muslim community centre. ANL members out petitioning in Barnsley received overwhelming support in condemning the arson attack. Barnsley ANL and the local trades council are calling for financial contributions to help rebuild the centre.
TRADE UNIONISTS, teachers, school students and ANL members were out in force on Saturday in Halifax leafleting against the Nazi BNP. The BNP is standing five candidates in local elections in Calderdale.
THE BOMB attacks in Brixton and Brick Lane show Britain's Nazis are weak. They cannot even attempt to march anywhere in Britain without coming up against mass resistance, as Worcester last Saturday shows. So, cowards that they are, they resort to planting bombs with the aim of maiming and killing innocent passers by.
Britain's Nazis are splintered and generally too busy warring among themselves to build a mass movement at the moment They are following the same pattern as the early 1980s, after the Anti Nazi League mobilised hundreds of thousands of people, black and white, to oppose them wherever they reared their heads. As NF leader Martin Webster said later, "The sheer presence of the ANL had made it impossible to get NF members on the streets, had dashed recruitment and cut away at their vote."
Today we need the same response. Wherever the Nazis rear their heads they must be beaten back. Pressure must be put on the authorities to make sure they do not harm anyone else. Individual acts of retaliation against the Nazis are not the solution. It is mass action, mobilising as many people as possible, that can demoralise and defeat them.
AFFILIATE TO THE ANL: PHONE 0171 924 0333