28 January 2008

Jan Kucera - Another victim of neo-nazis

(From Antifa.cz.)

About one thousand people gathered on 19 January, 2008 in Pilsen, Czech Republic, to commemorate the victims of nazi terror: 66 years ago, Jews from Pilsen were deported to concentration camps, but nobody knew that another victim of current neo-nazi violence is at the very same time fighting for his life in a hospital.

On 18 January in Pribram, a town 50 km south-west of Prague, 20-year-old neo-nazi Jiri Fous stabbed 18-year-old Jan Kucera in the groin and back about an hour to midnight. Before this attack, young local neo-nazis were provoking with nazi salutes and offending a group of young punks and antifascist skinheads, to which Jan belonged. Jan’s friends were trying to stop the bleeding from his femoral artery and called for an ambulance. Neither the paramedics nor Jan’s friends realized that Jan had also been stabbed in the back before it was too late. Jan lost massive amounts of blood and fell unconscious. He was rushed to a nearby hospital, but even though he was in the hands of professional doctors, he died on Sunday morning.

Jan Kucera was an antifascist skinhead from Pribram, and he was never afraid to express his opinions. In his Internet profile, he wrote: "I’m a normal boy and I consider myself a SHARP skinhead. I don’t care who my friends are - I don’t judge people because of their musical taste, their clothes or the colour of their skin. I judge people by what they do. Anybody can write to me. I hate nazis, the bourgeoisie, communists and similar scum! Antifascista Oi!"

He stood by his opinions until the very end. He will stay forever in the hearts of his family, friends, and all people with an antifascist attitude. Honour to his memory.

Sickening security camera footage of Jan's stabbing


With the permission of Jan Kucera’s family, we bring their statement on the tragedy:

Jan’s family agreed with his attitude, even though they were understandably worried about him, because he wasn’t afraid to express openly his antifascist opinions.

Jan’s family would like to appeal to everyone who feels anger and need for vengeance against the neo-nazi aggressors: don’t debase yourself to their level of hate.

Everyone is welcome at the funeral, but strictly without any public speeches and without media attention.

They also thank everyone who shares their sorrow.

27 January 2008

Response to the attendance of BNP mayoral candidate at Police Federation march

(Police Federation statement.)

The Police Federation of England and Wales did not invite the BNP London mayoral candidate to our march on 23 January 2008.

In fact we did not even recognise him or realise he was there until it was brought to our attention.

However, as the march was in a public place it would have been inappropriate to have asked him to leave, especially as one of the other London mayoral candidates was present.

At the conclusion of the march we held a rally at Central Methodist Hall. This was by invitation only and the BNP mayoral candidate was not invited and therefore could not attend.

Police officers are prohibited from being members of the BNP and we have gone on record numerous times saying that many of the policies and statements BNP promote are incompatible with the execution of duty by the independent Office of Constable.

BNP promises heads on spikes

(From Hope not Hate.)

A BNP government would reopen Traitors Gate at the Tower of London and display the heads of executed government members on spikes according to Simon Darby, the party's deputy leader and press officer. He was speaking at a BNP rally in Dagenham on the Saturday evening of the party’s first "national weekend of action" in support of its London election campaign.

There was confusion over how many activists actually turned out from all over the country to distribute leaflets over the weekend of 19-20 January. Eddy Butler, the party’s Eastern regional organiser, claimed just over 100 people came, Darby claimed 200 and the BNP website claimed 250, though a photo revealed fewer than 70.

The BNP claims that Richard Barnbrook, the party’s candidate for mayor, is holding “national weekends of action” every month in the run-up to 1 May and promises that leafleting teams will be out every weekend in different parts of London. Barnbrook, who strangely was not listed as a speaker at the rally, knows he has no prospect of election as mayor but has his eye on one or more seats on the London Assembly.

Under the proportional representation electoral system, the BNP would get one seat with 5% of the vote across London, a realistic prospect, and 8% would produce two seats. Success would bring a salary of £50,582, office space at City Hall, an mobile phone for use on Assembly business and reimbursement of travel and incidental expenses. It is not the vast fortune the BNP seems to think it will be, though the salary is much more than the party can afford to pay its full-timers – and unlike with many BNP salaries, tax and national insurance are properly accounted for under PAYE.

Above all, success in London would provide a big boost for next year’s elections to the European Parliament, in which the election of MEPs would give the party much more influence and money.
Searchlight is running a Hope not Hate campaign to persuade Londoners to reject the divisive and hate-filled message of the BNP and pledge to vote. Our aim is simple. The more Londoners vote for other parties, the harder it will be for the BNP to get 5% of the total. You can give your support to our campaign in various ways on this website. Please do so now.

Yarmouth T&G actively recruiting migrant workers

Great Yarmouth 1426 Branch of the TGWU (Unite) is actively recruiting among migrant workers in the town following concerns that local industry and unscrupulous landlords have been systematically exploiting the workers, who have little knowledge of their employment rights or of housing law.

The Branch is also concerned that in some situations employers are using non-unionised migrant labour to keep wages at the minimum wage for all new employees. The Branch heard reports of instances where employers have redeployed long serving employees to mininum wage tasks, cutting wages back to the minimum wage following notice of change of contract, and deploying migrant minimum waged labour to the previously higher paid tasks.

It was felt that these retrograde practices could only fuel resentment against migrant workers, whereas in reality both indiginous and migrant workers were victims.

1426 Branch has secured the services of a Polish translator and urgently requires the services of a fluent Portuguese speaker. Recruitment leaflets in several languages have been printed.

Members of the Branch have been visiting cafes and other venues where migrant workers are known to socialise and report a good response. The Branch already targets factories and other work places in the Great Yarmouth area for recruitment drives, usually held at work place entrances, and will in future ensure that Polish and Portuguese speakers are on hand to assist in the recruitment of workers from those communities.

Link: Transport and General Workers Union. You may join the T&G online here.

The dark spectre haunting West Sussex

(From The Observer. By Nick Cohen, January 27th.)

Once the far right was confined to the inner cities. Now they turn up in the most surprising places

Nothing happens in Upper Beeding, David Coldwell, editor of the village newsletter, used to complain. The ‘mooted bus shelter in the high street’ had been delayed by the planning process, along with the refurbishment of the village playground. As for his proposal to put up signs pointing visitors to the shops in Hyde Square, West Sussex County Council was so shocked by their radicalism it threw them out.

Until now, the most newsworthy event was the annual boat race in which well-lubricated contestants paddled down the River Adur to Shoreham-by-Sea in adapted baths, while being pelted from the banks with flour bombs, eggs and anything else that came to hand. Although it occasionally got out of hand, the jolly competition only reinforced Upper Beeding’s charming image.

‘The wheels turn slowly, but they do turn!’ Coldwell cried as he explained the sluggish pace of progress, but I wonder if he believed it. Upper Beeding seemed to fit a sentimental ideal of an English village where nothing changes.

Supplies of charm ran out just before Christmas when 23 villagers marched from the pub to the parish buildings to demand that a member of a neo-fascist party be put on the council.

‘I never realised the speed with which neighbours can turn,’ Simon Birnstingl, a gardener who sits on the council, told me. ‘One minute, we were discussing how to get the swings fixed, the next a crowd burst in calling for me to be barred from the meeting. I’ve learnt to toughen up. I look at politicians when they’re in trouble and feel sympathy now. Gordon Brown must go through the struggle I’m going through every day, so I am determined to see it through.’

However absurd it sounds to talk about an anti-fascist struggle in Upper Beeding, that is what he’s facing.

It began when he was talking to his wife about villagers who wanted to be co-opted into empty seats on the parish council. She heard the name Donna Bailey and thought something was wrong. She checked and found that Bailey had run twice for the British National Party in district elections.

Birnstingl assumed that once he told the rest of the council their task was to improve Upper Beeding, not divide it on racial lines, that would be the end of Bailey. Not so or, rather, not entirely. After her friends heard what Birnstingl was saying, they stormed into the meeting. Undeterred, the council twice voted not to co-opt Bailey as a member, but only by a majority of one on both occasions.

She has now forced a byelection on 7 February and although two candidates are standing against her, she may have many supporters in the village. Townies will say that they’ve always known that the countryside is full of dangerous fanatics. But it’s clear that not all Bailey’s friends think they are fanatics. They simply can’t see what is wrong with a member of BNP participating in village life.

Bailey put her case best when I tracked her down. She had helped raise funds for the local school for four years, she said. When the Round Table decided to stop supporting the Bath Tub Race because of the ubiquitous worries about health and safety legislation, she intervened to save it. The parish council didn’t make political decisions, but dealt with street lights and playgrounds. Why shouldn’t she be a member?

Many in Upper Beeding agree that being a member of the BNP is like being a member of the Liberal Democrats, a choice that has no effect on personal standing or moral worth. If she’s a help at the school, her politics don’t matter.

The same view can be found across the country, although how deeply it is held is impossible to determine. As I said a few weeks ago, the notion that the mass of people are racists, programmed by our imperial past to despise outsiders, has been shattered by the population movements of the past decade. The largest wave of immigration in British history wasn’t accompanied by riots, just grumbles.

But there has been a small but palpable electoral impact. Sean Fear of the politicalbetting.com website says that the BNP won an average 14.4 per cent of the vote in the 38 council byelections it fought between May and November and polled higher than 20 per cent in 10. This was a far better performance than the National Front managed in the Seventies and way above the average vote the Greens or Ukip win today. Like most other analysts, he expects that proportional representation will bring the BNP seats on the London Assembly in May.

The far right is as crippled by sectarian hatreds as the far left. The backstabbing of its leaders and rank incompetence of its councillors would make all but the most committed neo-Nazi despair. Nevertheless, significant minorities are prepared to vote BNP, even in districts with few or no immigrants. There are those, like Donna Bailey’s neighbours, who think there’s nothing wrong with being a BNP activist.

Gerry Gable, of the anti-fascist magazine Searchlight, told me theirs was a hard attitude to confront. The press and BNP rivals like to seize on the criminal convictions of BNP leaders or chronicle its splits and purges. Less easy to document is what happens when far right views become normal in a pub or social club. Are there more racial attacks by whites and blacks and Asians? Do blacks and Asians attack whites? No one can say for sure.

In Upper Beeding, Donna Bailey’s candidature is being opposed by Joyce Shaw, a former stalwart of the parish council, who’s come out of retirement, and Becki Davoudi, who has an Iranian father, and, like the Asian family who have revived the village shop, has good reason to oppose the far right. What they’re fighting is nothing as concrete as a political programme or the certainty of violence, but something vaguer: a chilling of the atmosphere, a potential for disgrace.

‘When I take my children to school, there are people who used to smile and say “hello”, who now give me hostile looks,’ said Simon Birnstingl. ‘They don’t realise that we’re trying to stop this village falling into disrepute.’