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NUS stands firm behind ‘no platform’ policy

Searchlight calls on readers to support this National Union of Students antifascist initiative

 

Open letter: Remove fascist Nick Griffin’s platform in the Leeds Student

We are appalled by the decision of ‘Leeds Student’ – an official student society of Leeds University Union – to publish an interview with Nick Griffin, leader of the fascist British National Party (BNP), on their website.

We demand that the Editor of ‘Leeds Student’ remove this offensive interview that gives a platform to a fascist immediately.

In the interview itself Nick Griffin defends the fact that he has shared a platform with the Ku Klux Klan – a white supremacist organisation responsible for attacks on and lynching of Black people in the US.

In describing his views on gay people, Nick Griffin says in the interview: “gay people have complained for years that the rest of society hasn’t understood how they feel, and has had to make allowances, has to be tolerant. So why can’t you people simply get over it and tolerate the fact that a lot of heterosexual people – we don’t want to persecute you – but we find the sight of two men kissing creepy. That’s just a fact. What’s the problem?”

He goes on to tell the interviewer that civil partnerships will mean that, “children will die over the next few years” because it undermines the institution of heterosexual marriage.

These abhorrent and utterly offensive views are just a snapshot of what the BNP represents.

The BNP is a fascist organisation which stands for an “all white Britain”, a goal which can only be achieved by violence, the annihilation of entire groups of people and the ending of democracy. Nick Griffin, leader of the fascist BNP is a convicted Holocaust denier.

In justifying the publication of this interview, the ‘Leeds Student’ states that the “paper is proud that we live in a democratic society, and that we can openly challenge and debate all manner of opinion and ideas.”

The BNP stands for the elimination of the democracy and all freedoms that the Leeds Student claims to support. 

We should always remember that the millions of people who died at the hands of the Nazis’ slaughter – in the gas chambers and the concentration camps – did not die because their debating skills or arguments were not powerful enough.  They died because once fascism had abused the democratic system to get its grip on power it soon closed down any freedoms to prevent any resistance. That is why we must never give a platform to fascists anywhere in the student movement.

In publishing this interview the ‘Leeds Student’ risks giving legitimacy to a fascist organisation, and boosts the BNP’s attempts to join the political mainstream when we should be isolating them.

We the undersigned demand the editor of the ‘Leeds Student’ to reconsider this grave error and remove the interview with fascist Nick Griffin from their website and newspaper immediately.

Signed

* Aaron Kiely, NUS Black Students’ Officer

* Malia Bouattia, NUS NEC (Black Students’ Campaign)

* Jamie Woodcock, NUS NEC

* Mike Williamson, NUS NEC

Fiona Wood, NUS NEC

* Samayya Afzal, NUS Black Students' Committee & Black Students' Officer, University Bradford Union

Sacha Hassan, NUS Black Students' Committee and Black Students' Officer, University of Birmingham Guild of Students

* Yusuf Molade, NUS Black Students' Committee & University of Manchester Students' Union

Jess Bayliss, NUS LGBT Committee

Emma Kerry, NUS Women's Committee & Leeds University Union

Varinder Singh, Sikhs Against the EDL

Jen Izaakson, Editor, 'London Student' - University of London Union student Paper

Ben Jackson, News Editor, 'Roar!' King's College London SU student paper

* Hilary Aked, former editor, London Student, University of Bath Students' Union

Charlie Hore, Life member Leeds University Union (proposer of LUU 'No Platform for fascists policy 1977)

Steve Cedar, NUS NEC 1981/82

* Louise Bryant, President, Bournemouth University Students' Union

Harrison Lanigan-Coyte, Co-President Finance & Communications, SOAS SU

Carla Fyfe, President, Glasgow Caledonian University SU

James McAsh, President, Edinburgh University Students' Association

Alex Peters-Day, General Secretary, LSE SU

Vincent Sandro Yong Vetrhus, Writtle College

Callum Stanland, Leeds University Union

* Kristian Bruun, Academic Affairs Officer, SOAS SU

Maham Hashmi, International Student' Officer, SOAS SU

Georgia Emblen, Leeds University Union Alumni

David East, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Officer, SOAS SU

Elizabeth Sylvian, Leeds University Union Alumni

Lewis Cameron, Leeds University Union

Osama Zumam, Leeds Metropolitan Students' Union

John Ward,  Leeds University Union

Ibrahim Ali, BME Officer, Kingston University Students' Union

* Blackburne House, Women's Education Organisation

Mary Prescott, Equality and Diversity Officer, University of Sussex Students' Union

Fiona Edwards, Student Broad Left

Zita Holbourne, Black Activists Rising Against Cuts

* James Phillips, University of Birmingham Guild of Students

Nathan Akehurst, Oxford University Student Union

April Reilly, Women's Association, University of Birmingham Guild of Students

Kate Mayer, GMB member, Leeds

Sam Playle, Postgraduate Representative, Queen Mary Students' Union

Amberine Khan, Women's Representative, Queen Mary Students' Union

Shakira Akther, Black Students' Officer, University of East London SU

Conrad Landin, Youth and Student Officer, Labour Party Irish Society

Thomas Pinhorn, Birkbeck College SU

* Godfrey Atuahene Junior, President, University of Portsmouth Students' Union

Kester Richardson, Stop the War Society, Queen Mary Students' Union

Al-Hussein Abutaleb, Black Students' Councillor, Sheffield Students' Union

Shelly Asquith, Students' Union University of the Arts

* Pete Gillard, Leeds University Union Council (1973/75), former NUS NEC

Kashka Georgeson, Merseyside LGBT Students' Network & LGBT+ Society, Edge Hill University

* Kara Stubbs, LGBT Officer (Women's Place), Kent Union

* Luke Cooper, Leeds University Union Alumni

Luke Simpson, Leeds University Union Alumni

Jacob Mirzaian, Leeds University Union & contributor to 'Leeds Student'

Shohidur Rahman, University of Sheffield Students' Union

Elizabeth Kitching, Leeds University Union Alumni

Kd Tee, Leeds Metropolitan Students' Union

Alan Borgars, University of Hertfordshire SU

Matthew Smith, Ruskin College

Ayesha Brown, Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth I College Students' Union

Dominic Smith, University of Portsmouth Students' Union

Revolution - Socialist Youth

* Dan Edwards, Leeds University Alumni

Max Brophy, Education Activist Network, University of Sheffield Students' Union

* Stephanie Stevens, Kent Union

Charlie Hayes, Birmingham City University Students' Union

Samuel Nelson, King's College London

Adam Collins, University of Bristol Students' Union

* Alfie Meadows, Birkbeck College SU

Adriano Merole, University of Sussex SU

Christiana Makri, Maastricht University

Helen Lettison, University of Nottingham SU

Omer Sibbon, University of Sussex SU

Jamie Lewis, University of Manchester SU

* Sonja Coquelin, University of Manchester SU

Zekarias Haileselessie, University of Bradford Union

Arnie Joahill, University of East London SU

Fraser Anderson

Cate Inverso, SOAS Students' Union

Ozzy Amir, Queen Mary Students' Union

Amy Gilligan, Cambridge University SU

Harieke Mueller, Oxford University SU

Paris Thompson, Leeds University Union

Sheila Leatherdale, Kingston University

John McDermott, Leeds University Union

Candice Armah, BME Students' Campaigns Officer, University of Brighton Students' Union

Matt Williamson, Education Activist Network & NUS Delegate, King's College London SU

Tom Sainsbury, King's College London SU

Ross Speer, LSE SU

Bunny La Roche, King's College London SU

Natasha Brown, Ethnic Minorities Officer, Kent Union

To add your name or organisation as a signatory please email aaron.kiely@nus.org.uk.

© 2013 Searchlight Magazine Ltd, PO Box 1576, Ilford IG5 0NG

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