The Times reports:
When Nick Griffin was pelted with eggs outside Parliament this week, the protest divided public opinion over whether it was a legitimate expression of anger or a foolhardy stunt that handed unwarranted publicity to the British National Party.
It has also widened a rift in the anti-fascist movement over how to combat the rise of the far-right party.
United Against Fascism (UAF) is planning a series of physical demonstrations over the coming months based on Tuesday’s confrontation, which forced Mr Griffin, the BNP leader and newly elected MEP, to abandon his victory press conference. The approach has frustrated seasoned anti-BNP campaigners, who believe that the stunt allowed Mr Griffin to portray himself as a martyr.
There were violent tussles between the protesters and supporters of Mr Griffin and Andrew Brons, who won the BNP’s second European seat in Yorkshire and the Humber region, and police are investigating two allegations of common assault.
UAF, which was set up five years ago as an umbrella organisation for anti-racism groups and trade unions, says that it will picket Mr Griffin wherever he goes. It accepts that there is potential for further violence but insists that the action is necessary to combat the BNP.
Searchlight, a separate organisation that has campaigned against the BNP and its predecessors since the 1960s, is cautious about such protests and says that a more “constructive” approach is needed. Searchlight initially joined UAF when it was created but broke away following policy differences. This week it launched a widespread digital media initiative called Not In My Name. The organisation is being advised by Blue State Digital, the internet strategy firm responsible for President Obama’s winning US campaign, and plans a variety of online initiatives to raise awareness and funds.
This weekend an appeal video featuring various celebrities will be posted online to urge the public to donate. More than 84,500 people have already signed up to its database, making it bigger than those of any of the mainstream political parties.
Searchlight is proposing a clever campaign that is focused on imaginative ways to build public support against this small and vicious fascist party.
The Socialist Worker/Socialist Action led Unite Against Fascism, by contrast, is a squaddist outfit that intends to commit criminal assaults against the BNP, with which it enjoys as symbiotic relationship. It exists merely to recruit members to the tiny sects that run it, and its actions are callibrated to turn Nick Griffin and Andrew Glans into martyrs
It is very clear what needs to be done.
We should be joining Hope Not Hate.
And at the first sign of violence from Unite Against Fascism, the police must start to make arrests.