There have been reports that Ben Stevenson, Croydon Communist candidate for Bensham Manor in the May 2014 local elections would be appearing on today’s Croydon Radio ‘In The Loop’ Election Special.
We were pleased to accept the original invitation but dropped out of the show immediately we learnt that a National Front (NF) candidate would be appearing. This follows our ‘no platform to racists or fascists’ policy, which is a matter of principle held not only by communists but also by trade unions and vast sections of the labour and progressive movement. In Croydon and the rest of the country we have and will continue to work with legitimate political parties, groups and individuals on any issue of common concern – including anti-racist work- but groups like the NF, BNP, the EDL and other offshoots have nothing to offer the people of Croydon other than hatred, vitriol and bile. Their goal is to divide people and communities to such an extent that they can incite a race war.
Mr Stevenson said, “Providing a platform for racists and fascists does nothing but further legitimise them. You can’t drown them in the oxygen of publicity. The only reason why these groups have not been consigned to the dustbin of history, where they belong, is the daily dose of anti-immigration hysteria presented in right wing tabloid newspaper and tacitly encouraged by mainstream political parties as an easy vote winner in the short term.”
We understand the NF was subsequently removed from the show but received confirmation of the position too late to change our decision.
Croydon Communists continue to look forward to the election campaign, where we are fielding three candidates. Mr Stevenson said, “Croydon residents need a genuine alternative to the relentless austerity, public service cuts and total lack of accountability offered by the Tories. They also need more than the platitudes presented by Labour about more transparency in council meetings, more effective working with the voluntary sector and cleaner streets in Croydon. This election is an opportunity to take the fight to the Tories and explain to local people that there is a future worth fighting for based on a socialist political and economic strategy.”
Notes to editors:
1. For enquiries phone 0208 686 1659 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Ben Stevenson is 29 years old and National Secretary of the Communist Party. Since moving to Croydon from his native Birmingham in 2005, he has been heavily involved in local labour movement politics through the Croydon Save Our Schools Campaign, the campaign against the Beddington Lane Incinerator and the Croydon Trades Union Council’s Executive Committee. He stood as a Communist Party candidate in the 2012 Croydon North by-election.
3. John Eden is the Communist Party candidate for Selhurst. He is 64 years old and a carpenter and joiner. He is a member of Croydon Trades Union Council’s Executive Committee and has lived in Selhurst for 27 years.
4. Dr Peter Latham is the Communist Party candidate for Broad Green. A former lecturer, he has lived in the area for many years. He is the author of ‘The State and Local Government: Towards a new basis for local democracy and the defeat of big business control’ and a longstanding member of Croydon Trades Union Council’s Executive Committee.
5. The Communist Party’s longstanding No Platform policy asserts that no person or organisation holding racist or fascist beliefs should be given a platform to speak at a party-organised event, nor should an officer of the party share a platform with them. Reflecting the development of web-based communications and social media and the significant shift in the way information is promoted or made accessible, No Platform also means that we deny fascists and racists the freedom to spread their poison within communities unchallenged.
6. Croydon Communists recently published a well-received pamphlet on housing issues in the borough, ‘Decent Homes for All – End Croydon’s Housing Crisis Now’, which is available on the website or by contacting us direct.
7. The Communist Party was founded in 1920 and is part of an international movement involving millions of people in more than 100 countries across the globe.