As the President and Vice President University of London Union (ULU), we applaud the successful anti-fascist mobilisation against the British National Party (BNP) on 1 June in London, and send our full solidarity to those who were arrested having successfully prevented the fascists from marching through Whitehall. We are proud to have taken an active part in the demonstration.
For the student and labour movement, freedom of speech and assembly are of paramount importance, both as rights in themselves and for our ability to organise freely and collectively.
The BNP is a fascist organisation which aspires to take power and enact the total destruction of our movement. It poses a physical threat to student and workers’ organisations, to oppressed groups in our society, and to democracy itself.
Anti-fascist do not take their stand against the BNP on the basis of their speech but because their actions and activities (marching, propagandising, physical attacks) work towards their final aim of taking power.
Physically disrupting the BNP from functioning effectively, as happened last Saturday, is therefore not a question of ‘free speech’ but of taking sides in a social conflict.
This is why fascism and fascist organisations are qualitatively distinct from more general reactionary opinions, such as racism, sexism and homophobia- abhorrent views which unfortunately can be found within our own movement and which need to be combated ideologically, through vigorous argument and the self-organisation of autonomous liberation groups.
In preventing the BNP from marching through central London on Saturday, despite the police attempts to facilitate the fascists, the demonstration stands in the best traditions of the anti-fascist movement, from Cable Street in 1936 to Lewisham in 1977.
If you have been arrested or wish to give support, contact the Green and Black Cross Legal Hotline/Arrestee Support on 07946 541511.
Michael Chessum (ULU President)
Daniel Lemberger Cooper (ULU Vice President)