Posts Tagged ‘Fascism’

Memoirs of a wretched day in Dudley…

4 April, 2010

Okay, so it wasn’t totally wretched. The thugs and racists of the EDL got the bad press, and so far as I am aware, no-one taking part in the Unit Against Fascism demo were beaten up or arrested. An improvement on Bolton, then.

However, the anti-EDL demo was less than the “great success” that the speakers on the platform and UAF web site claims. The UAF was confined to a car park, away from the central market area, which had been the original gathering point. It had clearly been carefully chosen to make it easy to contain us. The main group of the EDL were in another car park, some miles away, close to the proposed site of the new mosque. At the peak there were around 1,000 people in the UAF demo, while estimates of EDL numbers varied between 750 and 3,000, and groups of their supporters turned up where we were, trying to taunt and provoke us.

The problem is, there was a lack of credible leadership from the platform. Many of the young people were angry, were wanting to do something. The response of the stewards and speakers on the platform only served to increase their frustration. They repeatedly tried to tell us what a brilliant time we were having, in a car park in the rain. One speaker was saying that, if the EDL came, we should “let the Police do their jobs” because we “pay them a lot of money,” while the stewards did the Police’s job for them. However, just as with the anti-NF protests in the 70s, events in Bolton recently show that the police are more than willing to protect fascists, while beating up and arresting those protesting against them.

It is clear that, at the moment we need to build a much bigger anti-fascist movement, and discourage false heroism. However, we need politics from the platform that go beyond liberalism. The strategy of opposing fascism needs to be articulated, and the anger channeled rather than attempting to diffuse it. In other words, the UAF needs to become a proper United Front.

A sad time for democracy

7 June, 2009

We have just had the news that the Nazi British National Party has won its first seat in Europe, in my home region (Yorkshire and the Humber). A party which, whatever their slick PR, stands for racism and homophobia, who wish to do in Britain what Hitler did in Germany. Their candidate, Andrew Brons, is a former member of the National Front. Meanwhile, a member of the “Nazi-lite” English Democrats was elected mayor of Doncaster.

It is true, I believe, as the mainstream parties say, that this does not mean that all (or possibly even the majority) of the people who voted for them are racist. That is not how the BNP are selling themselves these days, as anyone who has read one of their leaflets will know. However, they have gained by their lies about immigration, their lies about Muslims, and by the the failure of new Labour to challenge them on these issues. On the contrary, the government has been falling over itself to “look tough” on immigration and to spread Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt about Muslims. While doing this, they have also betrayed their core supporters, and thus been the most effective recruiters that the BNP could have wished for.

Meanwhile, the electoral left in Britain is weak, after the self-destruction of Respect, and the Greens are just too nice to steal the protest vote from the fascists. The far-right feed on people’s anger. To win voters away from them, there is a need to engage with that anger. By comparison, in France the Front de Gauche (Left Front) has come out in front of the Front Nationale (National Front).

Postscript: Of course, the news followed shortly afterwards that Nick Griffin had also been elected in the North West. I know things must be getting really bad when I find myself hoping for a UKIP victory to keep the Nazis out.

Demonstrate against the BNP

Saturday, 13th June, 2009 at 11am
Art Gallery, The Headrow, Leeds

“BNP members [being] targeted…” are they?

19 November, 2008

I am trying to feel some sympathy for the BNP members whose details were published online. Trying, but mainly failing. Along with many other socialists, trade unionists, teachers, journalists, my details and my photo have been on the despicable redwatch website for some time. Leading members of the BNP have links with this site, which tries to intimidate those who stand up to the peddlers of hate, fear and division in our society.

Unfortuantely, this story has gained them a fair amount of attention in the media, including most of the front page of today’s Metro free paper. They quote an unnamed person in the story as saying “God help anyone who is in the army, the prison service, health care, police officer [sic] or a teacher.” No. God help anyone who has to look to a BNP member for education, justice or care. Police and Prison Officers are banned from membership of the party. If this results in a few fascists being removed from positions of authority, then it will be a good thing.

If and when the BNP condemns redwatch, and makes a sincere effort to get it taken down, I might feel a little sympathy for their members. Doubtful, though.