Monday, 21 September 2009

No platform for BNP

I agree entirely with the case for 'no platform' put recently at Lenin's Tomb. The opposing arguments - for allowing fascists space to espouse their views in the media - remain very weak and unconvincing. Such opportunities for airtime or press coverage automatically confer a degree of legitimacy, making the BNP seem more mainstream and respectable than any fascist organisation deserves.

Copmromising on 'no platform' in the media can lead, even if not intended, to compromises in other areas, such as the Nazis' access to platforms in trade unions, student unions etc. If it's seen as reasonable for them to appear on TV and radio, why not in any other arena? It is therefore essential that anti-racists maintain a principled stand and campaign to prevent BNP access to the airwaves.

There should be no exceptions to this. Occasionally there will be a situation that seems tricky - what if anti-racist representatives are invited to take part in, say, a discussion segment in Newsnight alongside a BNP spokesperson? But accepting an invitation like that means implicitly accepting the BNP's 'right' to express its vile opinions and stir up hatred in the media, however strenuously you may condemn them. It immediately makes it seem respectable to debate or discuss with fascists.

We should therefore be re-doubling efforts to prevent the BNP getting the oxygen of publicity they so desperately crave. This means combining viewers' and listeners' protests - which should be co-ordinated and promoted as much as possible - with the potential of media workers to organise against those allowing the Nazis a platform. Whether it is pickets of studios, mass complaints through email, or campaigns by broadcasting unions, activities to marginalise the BNP's presence and push them out of the limelight are vital.

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