State jails Welling anti-fascists

NINE YOUNG men received prison sentences of between 16 months and three years at Maidstone Crown Court on September 13 for opposing police violence at the Welling demonstration against the British National Party ‘bookshop’ on October 16 1993.

If the jury members had been on the march then all the defendants would have been acquitted. Juries tend to be led as much by their prejudices as the facts. The verdicts reflect the present low level of class consciousness.

The state is not threatened by BNP violence against individuals. On the contrary such acts enable it to build up its repressive organs. Judge John Rodgers’ sentencing reflects the ruling class’s arrogant intolerance of any challenge to its order in the absence of any serious opposition.

The demonstration in Welling against chauvinist violence was totally justified, but to portray the BNP as the main fascist menace, as most of the left does, is self-defeating. Most BNP members are simple-minded thugs, only interested in having an excuse to beat somebody up. Fascism can come in many forms: army coup, wrapped in the union jack, and even - since it has to represent the essential interests of capitalism against working class demands - waving a European flag.

The state is the main enemy and all it has to ‘fear’ at the moment is Tony Blair becoming prime minister. From the bosses’ point of view he is the guy best able to control the working class for them. Yet the Socialist Workers Party, one of the main organisers of the demonstration, persists in advising workers that the main enemy is the Tories.

We now need to mount an aggressive campaign to release those sentenced. If we are to be successful in the long term, this must be an anti-capitalist campaign, whether Labour or the Tories are at the head of its oppressive state.

Arthur Lawrence