Handing Jeremy Corbyn The Keys To Downing Street?

Since Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party, one phrase that had been uttered every now and again, but which now features more frequently in the speech of hyperventilating Tory MPs on their tour of the nation’s TV and radio studios, is “Handing Jeremy Corbyn the keys to Downing Street”, or variations thereof. But what does that phrase really tell us about the Conservative Party?

First, it shows the Tories are scared of Corbyn’s Labour. This is in marked contrast to the language they first used when he became leader. Then, he was painted as a ‘disaster’, who would make it easy for them to rule with a massive majority for all eternity. How wrong they were, but even when they claimed Corbyn would consign their enemy – his party – to oblivion, they did so knowing that he posed a threat to their control of mainstream political discourse, but they lacked the self-awareness to realize it. Now, they have been rudely exposed as being weak, utterly devoid of ideas and bereft of all meaning. What do the Tories stand for? Smears? Lies? They don’t have any policies to speak of… well, not ones they didn’t steal from Labour first, and then dilute them according to taste.

Second, and more perhaps more importantly, their shrill repetition of the phrase reveals their over-riding sense of entitlement. Remember, the Tories see themselves as the ‘natural party of government’, a claim they wholly crafted from their own self-importance and sense of self-righteousness. The Tories are not and will never be democrats, and for all their talk of wanting a “strong opposition” these last couple of years, it’s actually the last thing they really wanted. In Corbyn they claimed to see weakness. They dismissed the massive influx of members to the Labour Party as unimportant. “After all” they opined, “members aren’t the electorate”. There was an obvious flaw in that line of thinking, but who were they kidding? Themselves. It turns out that members really do matter, because members  are out there in  the pubs, clubs, workplaces and on the street, talking to people and putting forward the party’s case. Tory activists, by contrast, are thin on the ground and efforts to attract younger members have gone from the embarrassing to the downright laughable.

When one looks back at the Tory conference just gone, one couldn’t help but notice that it had the appearance of a mausoleum and the overpowering smell of embalming fluid. What sort of person would be attracted to something like that? A cadaver?

This is a dead party walking.

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Filed under Conservative Party, Government & politics, Political parties, Tory Party conference

Read The Independent? Don’t Look At The Comments Threads.

Most online versions of British newspapers moderate their comments or will close threads if they know they’re likely to attract bigots. Not so with The Independent, which has now overtaken the old Telegraph blogs comments threads as a magnet for racists, xenophobes and neo-fascists. Only comments that use words like ‘shit’, ‘cunt’ or ‘fuck’ are flagged for moderation and deleted; anything else is ignored and the bigots know this, hence the reason why they flock to The Independent. Therefore, it would seem that comments are not moderated in any meaningful sense and the website uses algorithms to weed out comments that use the aforementioned swear words. If you flag a comment for moderation for its racist content, it is always ignored. This tells me the website doesn’t employ moderators and if it does, they’re not doing their job.

A year ago, I wrote to The Independent to complain at the lack of moderation. I have received no reply and no action has ever been taken.

This article written by Biba Kang about Diane Abbott is typical.  In fact, any article that mentions either her, black people and Muslims attracts swarms of bigots. The article opens with these two short paragraphs.

After today’s Good Morning Britain aired, viewers have been criticising Diane Abbott for her use of the N-word, live on TV.

On Twitter, many have decided it’s their right to chastise the MP, berating her for using such “foul language” on air at 7.20am.

Some viewers were apparently offended by Abbott’s use of the word ‘nigger’ on Good Morning Britain, which was entirely in context with her description of the abuse she has been subjected to on Twitter. Many, if not most, of the comments on this article are from racists, who demand to know why they can’t say the word themselves. It’s a stupid question posed with a sly grin and a knowing wink.

This one couldn’t resist the old “you’re making it up” line that was a favourite of bigots in the 60s and 70s.

2 hours ago
DebG9999
when things go badly for Diane Abbott she always raises the subject of racial discrimination – funny that …..
The contributor below thought if the word was used as the name of Guy Gibson’s dog in The Dambusters, then it’s fine. What’s good for Guy is good for us. Worse still is his claim that it’s only a shade of black. Such notions are disconnected from the reality of history when it was coined by whites to denigrate black people. It acts, therefore, as a linguistic means of oppression.
6 hours ago
dingdong
Restricting the uses of certain words to specific races is in itself racist. I don’t have a problem with the word, or it being used by anyone. It was the name of Guy Gibson’s dog, an Agatha Christie novel and a “shade” of black. A word is a word, you can only be offended by it if you choose to do so !
The Oxford English Dictionary says that it began to be used as a hostile pejorative in the 18th century. To those white bigots who say “well, black people say it to each other, so why can’t I use it?”, I have this to say to you: “why do you want to use it”? Furthermore, not all black people use it. Richard Pryor, for example, used it in his comedy routine, but after a trip to Africa, he stopped using it, because he could see the corrosive effect the word had on others. The white bigots who ask why they can’t say it themselves are most likely already using it.
Like many others, this contributor thought it was all about free speech, which has become the battle cry for racist, sexists and homophobes. I mean, why can’t I just go around insulting people if I feel like it?
10 hours ago
Aykarralyu

Any point of view that states a group of people have no right to their own opinion is inherently wrong.

No one may deny any other person the right to think or the right to speak.

Yes, but “Aykarralyu”, this isn’t about “opinions, this is about ethnic slurs.Perhaps this contributor should go up to a black person and say it, just to see what happens. 
This comment, expressing more faux outrage got 14 up ticks.
SilentScream
Another black writer displaying her contempt for white people and the Indy laps it up

18 hours ago
Traffyman
No one is free in the uk. We are constantly meddled with. Being told you cant say that, kids are not aloud to sing barbar black sheep anymore. How pathetic. It has nothing to do with skin colour. We are constantly being kept in line so we have no fun, just work, sleep eat repeat. That is what they want from us. Oh yeah and die young so we never see our pensions. That is why no one has any respect for the government or takes no notice of them. Politics in the uk is a complete joke now.

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Filed under Media, Racism, Society & culture

Young Britons For Liberty?

Whatever happened to the Young Britons Foundation? That’s the question I was hoping to answer when I entered the words into the search engine yesterday. By chance, I discovered a group calling itself ‘Young Britons for Liberty’, but who are now calling themselves the Young Chartists (yeah, I know). Readers will know that any group that either claims to be for ‘liberty’ or ‘freedom’ is, more often than not, a group of like-minded right-wingers, who believe they have a natural monopoly on those concepts. Libertarians, as they like to call themselves, tend to fall into two camps: the hardline free-market cultists (anything can be sold) and the libertines (anything can be fucked). Right-wing libertarians will usually fall into the former camp, while the LM Network, which pretends to be Marxist or even left-wing, occupies both.  The Young Chartists, who, while not being a successor organization to the YBF, share the same libertarian ideals and certainly tread the same ground.

Two years ago, I called for a 21st Century People’s Charter, the Young Chartists have done the same thing, but although they have adopted the name, the demands they make aren’t too dissimilar to the usual shopping lists knocked out by the spoilt rich brats of the British bourgeoisie.

In the ‘About’ section on their website, we find this under the heading ‘Our Struggle’ (Unser Kampf?). Forgive me for not linking directly to the site. Here is a broken link, feel free to copy and paste it into your browser’s search field.  http://peoplescharter.org/about/

The People’s Charter Foundation is a non-partisan British identitarian campaign group run by a diverse group of passionate Tory, UKIP, and other patriots. We demand for proper Brexit, and for Britain to ban Sharia law. We work closely with the Bruges Group, Gays Against Sharia, the Campaign for Independent Britain, UK Against Hate, the Bow Group, MBGA News, and Better Off Out.

Any group that goes out of its way to call itself “non-partisan” is usually the opposite. Here, without much pause for thought, the writer of this page then tells us that the Young Chartists are comprised of Tories, Kippers and “patriots”. But the list of groups they work with is informative, for here we find a real ragbag of free speech warriors, whose far-right, anti-immigration, anti-Muslim, Little Englander discourses masquerade as ‘common sense’. You’ll also notice that they describe themselves as “British identitarians”. Identity politics on the right? Really? Isn’t that the very thing, along with ‘political correctness’, the far-right most frequently tilts against? What British identitarianism is, in essence, is British nationalism that pretends to be more inclusive than its neo-fascist cousins.

Further down the page, we come to their “People’s Charter”. You will notice there is no mention of electoral reform, voting rights or the structure of Britain’s governance.

  • 1. Leave the globalist EU: a points-based migration policy, and leave the ‘single market’. Merkel’s open border experiment with fake refugees is simply intolerable;

  • 2. Government to interfere in our lives as little as possible, to be downsized: the national budget must be balanced and taxes lower;

  • 3. Stop multiculturalism: To regain our British identity, rather than be ashamed of British national flags. Ban Sharia law;

  • 4. A strong military is essential, including a tough approach on Islamism;

  • 5. Migrants to integrate into British nation-state, i.e. to require English as our core language, ban Sharia law, resist multiculturalism, and oppose political correctness;

  • 6. In the spirit of the 1838 Charter’s sixth point that was never realised, for the right to recall bad MPs;

Only once does this ‘charter’ mention the original People’s charter but only in relation to its demand to” recall bad MPs”. The rest of it is shot through with Islamophobic claptrap, libertarian mumbo-jumbo, militaristic machismo and the kind of paranoia that comes with a deep-seated suspicion of the Other.

On their ‘Beliefs’ page, we find some questions posed by themselves to themselves.

What do you think of Nazism?

We are opposed to Nazism – it is a horrid, racist ideology, which promoted radical socialism. We are capitalists. We respect the right for Israel to exist.

You’ll notice how this paragraph repeats the by now familiar ‘Nazis were really socialists (or vicariously left-wing)” slur.  This passage exists as a form of disclaimer, but it’s the way Israel is tacked onto the end of this that puzzles me. It’s almost as if it was written during a late night coke binge. Like other right-wing libertarians, they rail against figments and phantoms: cultural Marxism©, ‘political correctness’, feminism, they’re all there.

Do you support women’s rights?

We support human rights for all, including women. As an organisation opposed to cultural Marxists, we do not support feminists who push concepts such as “patriarchy theory”, because all they want is destruction of the family unit. We work closely with Liberty Belles to oppose feminism.

A picture is beginning to emerge of a group of right-wing white men, who blame feminazis (sic) for their inability to get laid. I think Wilhelm Reich wrote about this kind of thing. The Liberty Belles are an “anti-feminist” group of women, who organized a campaign, called L4PD, to support Philip Davies, the misogynist filibusterer and MP for Shipley. Hope Not Hate says:

Davies first met with members of ‘The Liberty Belles’, an anti-feminst group consisting of Elizabeth Hobson, Natoya Raymond, Paula Wright, Catherine Kitsis and Belinda Brown, at the International Conference on Men’s Issues in London in July 2016. Davies gave a talk at the event, which was organised the men’s rights activist (MRA) group, Justice for Men and Boys, and promoted by now-disgraced former Breitbart figurehead, Milo Yiannopolous.

In March 2017 the Liberty Belles launched the sub-campaign L4PD, which describes itself as “a group of ladies who support Philip’s campaign to infiltrate the Women and Equalities Committee, change the name and make it truly work for equality for all as well as his championing of men’s issues.”

Human rights? Who needs those? It’s men’s rights we want! Women who hate feminists? What next? Black people who want to be re-enslaved? Libertarians don’t mind slavery. Just ask any ‘scholar’ from the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

hqdefault

The director of the Young Chartists is Luke Nash-Jones (pictured), who was recently one of the subjects of this Vice article, which tells us he’s the chair of the Birkbeck Conservative Association. So not at all “non-partisan”, then. Nash-Jones, like the rest of those interviewed, lays the victimhood on with a shovel JCB .  He’s also involved in a group calling itself Make Britain Great Again. Here he repeats the usual canards of the right in relation to a perceived leftist indoctrination in Higher Education.

Research shows that most university professors are left-wing, and their lectures reflect that. Moreover, student unions are basically Marxist madrasas which use Orwellian “no platforming” policies to silence original thought, because their emotion-driven positions cannot stand up to fact-based, logic-driven argument. The manager of our student union is actually on the Labour Party payroll, and non-student trade union staff dominate freshers entrance with stalls.

Remember if you argue for tolerance, in the mind of the libertarian, that’s being “emotional”. This is an idea that has come from the American right, who will dismiss any argument coming from the left (or liberals) as “emotional”. I saw it a lot in 2001 – 3 on Delphi Forums where hard right types would routinely dismiss any argument they couldn’t handle as ’emotional’. But what this specious claim to moral and intellectual superiority demonstrates is the lack of humanity on the libertarian side. Perhaps Nash-Jones is telling us something about his own character? What he seems to be forgetting is that one has a right to their opinions, but not the facts. If his “fact-based logic-driven arguments” are like the quote above, then he needs to construct better arguments (the YBF used to organise workshops in debating skills that would teach trainees how to talk over their interlocutors and use character assassination instead of arguments). Indeed, the “research” he talks about comes from the Adam Smith Institute, which is hardly a source of peer-reviewed evidence. Most of the student unions I’ve been to are full of undergraduates getting tanked up. Madrasas, my arse. But what qualifies as “original thought”? A visceral hatred of the left? Misogyny expressed as an irrational hatred of feminism? Mistrust of foreigners? Hatred of Islam? Those are hardly the products of original thinking.

He adds:

As President of the Conservative Association, after I requested a debate with the Labour Society president, in the style of the mayoral hustings, I received threats of violence from student union officers, including in writing, a threat to “destroy” the office I work at and verbal threats to kill me. The officer who made this threat resigned after I threatened legal action against the student union. I was marched off campus by university staff for “threatening the safe space” after I set up the pre-approved Conservative stand, with a Union Jack backdrop. Labour students, who clearly display no appreciation of free speech promoted by J.S. Mill, tore up posters and burst the Conservative Party branded balloons.

I just wonder what kind of language Nash-Jones used in his request? I get the feeling there’s more to this story than meets the eye.  You will also note how he drags the name of John Stuart Mill into his diatribe. “Free speech? That’s where I say what I want and you shut the fuck up”. I’m sure that isn’t what Mill had in mind.

When you go to Nash-Jones’s Twitter page, you’re greeted with the following message.

This account’s Tweets are protected.

Only confirmed followers have access to @lukenashjones‘s Tweets and complete profile. Click the “Follow” button to send a follow request.

Free speech, eh?

Back to the website and at the bottom of ‘The Team’ page, we find a list of patrons. Do you recognize anyone?

  • Donal Blaney, Chief Executive of Margaret Thatcher Centre

  • Anthony Vander Elst, Founder of the Selsdon Group

  • Vít Jedlička, President of Liberland

  • Ian Geldard, Former Researcher for Institute for the Study of Terrorism

  • Peter Whittle AM, Founder of the New Culture Future, UKIP Deputy Leader

There’s our old friend, Donal Blaney, late of the YBF and now apparently ensconced as Chief Executive of the Margaret Thatcher Centre, even though he isn’t listed on the site. Regular readers will know that the Selsdon Group is a hard right free market cult that was formed in 1973. Their honourable president is John Redwood.  But who is Vít Jedlička and what and where is “Liberland”? The Independent says:

Vit Jedlicka, a member of the Conservative Party of Free Citizens, is the self-appointed president of “Liberland,” a 7sq km “country” (only the Vatican and Monaco are smaller) where taxes are optional and there is no military.

Okay, so where is it?

It is situated on the banks of the Danube between Serbia and Croatia in an unclaimed no-man’s land, or terra nullius territory, meaning that neither country has ever held full sovereignty over the area.

So it’s some kind of libertarian utopia? Attempts at creating libertarian paradises – nightwatchman states or whatever you want to call them – have ended badly- though not for the oligarchs who benefit from the chaos. Honduras anyone? Of course, the libertarians themselves, when presented with the evidence, deny Honduras was run as a nightwatchman state.  A libertarian experiment in Chile ended in acrimonious failure. Indeed, not being the kind of people to accept responsibility, they’re more likely to claim these experiments have failed because of ‘socialism’ or even ‘feminism’.

In fact, things aren’t going too well for Liberland. A year after its founding, it has no citizens.

Thanks to the efforts of the Croatian border police, Liberland has still technically not got a single inhabitant, and its 7 sq km of boggy wetlands boast just one dilapidated building, an abandoned hunting lodge.

GQ magazine gleefully mocked them as “Just a bunch of white guys on a tiny island”.

The Young Chartists, YBFL or whatever they’re calling themselves, has planned a “Last Day of Silence” for 23 September, which will be…

…a silent and powerful march through the London streets by all those who oppose terrorist extremism, the implementation of Sharia (FGM), and Islamist grooming gangs and terrorism. (Genuine racists NOT welcome.)

Their Facebook events page tells us that they want to “stand up to grooming gangs and Islamic terror” (sic).  So far, only 45 are going and 128 are “interested”.  Such is their ignorance and bigotry that Sharia (Law) is deliberately conflated with female genital mutilation (FGM),  despite the fact that the practice crosses religious and ethnic boundaries, and is still practised by white fundamentalist Christians in the United States (yes). In Britain, it was seen as a remedy for female masturbation during the late 19th century and early 20th century. In the United States, the practice is more widespread than first thought with more women coming forward to tell their story. Naturally, the far-right and their libertarian buddies will have their fingers in their ears.

In the below the line comments, there’s a message of support from someone claiming to represent Britain First.

Birds of a feather, so to speak. It should surprise no one that, in spite of their protestations, there has always been a close relationship between right-wing libertarians and fascism/right-wing authoritarianism. For example, Marinetti’s Futurist Party merged with Mussolini’s fascists and, more recently, libertarians have praised Pinochet’s so-called ‘Chilean Miracle’. The weeping Nazi, Christopher Cantwell was a libertarian before he became a neo-Nazi.

I almost forgot: the YBF is no more. The site link is dead. Sadly, the same cannot be said for the YBFL or any of its fellow travellers.

Reference

Reich, W., & Carfagno, V. R. (1970). The mass psychology of fascism (p. 1520). New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Continue reading

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Filed under Ideologies, right-wing libertarians

Crap Cycle Lanes #7

The Great West Road or A4 has a cycle lane either side of it. Unfortunately, these are some of the most neglected and poorly designed cycle lanes in London.  The cycle lane along the westbound carriageway is often obstructed by overhanging tree branches that the council has seen fit to ignore, and each cycle lane either side of the A4 dual carriageway will typically end suddenly, confusing cyclists and motorists alike.

This is an image taken yesterday on the eastbound side at the junction of the Great West Road and Ealing Road. On the left you can see the elevated section of the M4. To the right is Ealing Road.

Jcn of Great West Rd and Ealing Rd

Here, you can be thrown into oncoming traffic if you’re heading west or, if you’re travelling east, you can take your chances on the carriageway. The cycle lane itself actually ends just past the Esso service station and although this is a signalized junction, there is nothing to inform cyclists when it’s safe to cross.  Anyone travelling east… well, it’s not clear if they’re supposed to use the carriageway with the rest of the traffic or ride along the pavement and wait for a gap in the traversing traffic. At what point does one join the carriageway? Not even that is clear.

This is one of the worst examples of cycling infrastructure I’ve seen. In fact, the London Borough of Hounslow is one of the least cycle friendly parts of London. Whoever designed this travesty should be arrested for wasting council money on such a pointless cycle lane and putting cyclists’ lives in danger.

The cycle lanes along the A4 Great West Road are the responsibility of Transport for London (TfL), who thus far, have neglected cycling facilities in West London  and have, instead, focussed their attentions on routes to and from South and East London.

Hounslow Cycling Campaign has been asking for improvements to other junctions, which appear to have fallen on deaf ears.

TfL, sort it out!

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Manic Street Preachers – ‘Freedom of Speech Won’t Feed My Children’

Here’s some music to go with the last blog article. This is from the Manics’ 2001 album Know Your Enemy. When the track ends, it’s worth scrolling forward to 3.40 for their rendition of McCarthy’s ‘We Are All Bourgeois Now’.

 

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Free Speech Warriors And The Free Speech Illusion

I call them ‘free speech warriors’ but you may know them as the ‘alt-right’ and/or as neo-Nazis and neo-fascists. Whenever they’re challenged on their racist and sexist views, free speech warriors will complain long and hard that their right to free speech is being limited. They may even whine about ‘political correctness gone mad’. What they refuse to understand is that if they should utter ill-informed opinions or hate speech, then people have a right to challenge them. That’s not closing down free speech, that is free speech. It’s the right to reply. For the free speech warriors, freedom of speech means “I say what I like and you shut up” and if you challenge them, they may even utter the juvenile “you hate free speech”. The free speech warrior’s concept of ‘free speech’ is nothing more a form of bullying, and by being over-sensitive to criticism, they are little better than the authoritarians they claim to hate.

What British free speech warriors have consistently failed to understand is that free speech is an illusion. Why? Because there is nothing on the statute books that enshrines the right to free speech. Even a first year ‘A’ Level Media Studies student knows that. Let’s just take a look at three ways in which free speech is limited in Britain.

  1. The Official Secrets Act: Everything the state does is subject to the OSA and when I say ‘everything’, I mean everything. Even the brand of toilet paper that’s used in government departments is covered by the act. Breaching the OSA can land you with a massive fine, a prison sentence or both.

This section provides the penalties and mode of trial for offences under the Act.

Section 10(2) provides that a person guilty of an offence under section 8(1) or 8(4) or 8(5) is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months, or to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or to both.

Section 10(1) provides that a person guilty of any other offence under the Act is liable, on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or to a fine, or to both, or, on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or to both.

The words “51 weeks” are prospectively substituted for the words “three months” in section 10(2) by paragraph 39 of Schedule 26 to the Criminal Justice Act 2003.

  1. DSMA-Notices (Defence and Security Media Advisory Notices), formerly called D-Notices are official requests from the Ministry of Defence to media editors advising them to not to publish or broadcast certain items for reasons of national security. The committee that oversees the DSMA Notices is always chaired by a retired senior military officer (a general, admiral or air marshal).
  2. Defamation Laws are used by the rich and powerful to silence dissent. Private Eye magazine has been subject to more libel suits than any other British publication, because it dares to ask serious questions about the powerful people that govern this country. Yet, defamation laws, when properly used, protect people whose reputations have been traduced in the public domain. Sadly, for the ordinary person on an average income, they don’t have the financial means to make use of the High Court to challenge the defamatory allegations printed about them in the tabloid press, which routinely makes up its ‘news’ from lies and smears. The LM network, being the contrarians they are, want to abolish defamation laws altogether. That’s not a surprise, given the fact that ITN successfully sued LM Magazine for libel in 2000.

If you go around thinking that free speech means having the freedom to racially or sexually harass people online, or saying the first thing that comes into your head, then you have a lot of growing up to do. But do these people actually go out of their way to insult their friends, family and work colleagues? Probably. They would claim that they don’t want to be censored and yet, we censor ourselves all the time. How many people tell white lies in order to spare the feelings of a partner, spouse, child or parent? Plenty. Do free speech warriors tell their boss how much they hate them? If they want to keep their job, then they’ll keep schtum until they’ve found another job. However, it is unlikely that the likes of Brendan O’Neill would ever find himself in that position but would he tell his paymaster, Rupert Murdoch, to fuck off? Unlikely. He loves the money he pays him to recycle the same old articles he’s been writing for the last 10 years.

In Excitable Speech (1997), Judith Butler argues:

Language is thought of “mostly as agency-an act with consequences;’ an extended doing, a performance with effects.

Free speech warriors aren’t cognizant of causality; they think they can say what they like, when they like and without consequences, but actions – including verbal actions –  always have consequences. Those who believe that certain kinds of speech don’t hurt people should be locked in a room and subjected to hours of insults and taunts. Let’s see how they deal with it. The chances are they will suffer same kind of psychological trauma they’ve inflicted on their victims on social media and elsewhere.

The free speech warrior is a person that has refused to grow up and accept the fact that they have responsibilities. Free speech has, therefore, become the last refuge of the bully, the racist and the misogynist. Personally, I blame the parents.

References/further reading

Bourdieu, P. (2011). Language and Symbolic Power. Cambridge: Polity Press

Butler, J. (1997). Excitable speech: A politics of the performative. Psychology Press.

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Militant Anti-Fascism. Why I Support It.

In the aftermath of Charlottesville, I’ve lost count of the number of liberals , who have decried the tactics of Antifa. Even some on the left, most notably Noam Chomsky, have complained that Antifa has “handed a propaganda coup the the neo-Nazis”.   First, I need to put something to bed right away: Antifa is not an organization or a political party, it’s a position. If you oppose fascism in all its colours, then you are Antifa. Militant anti-fascism is an expression of Antifa that has a long history in Europe but not in the United States, where neo-fascists, neo-Nazis and assorted racists have been permitted to express their ‘right to free speech’ largely unhindered; often aided and abetted by local law enforcement and, more recently, supported by a variety of self-styled ‘libertarian’ organizations, which have questionable objectives. If you don’t believe me, have a look at the Ludwig von Mises Institute website or the confused position of Spiked Online, which seeks to normalize and even excuse neo-Nazis, neo-fascists and assorted racist groups by deflecting attention from them onto militant anti-fascists. Instead, the likes of Brendan O’Neill (himself a nouveau bourgeois) would like you to believe that militant anti-fascism is a creature of the ‘middle class metropolitan elitist left’ or some such nonsense. The truth could hardly be more different: the greatest resistance to fascism and Nazism in Britain has traditionally come from the working class, not from the middle class.

What really annoys me are the muddle-headed claims that “Antifa are the real fascists” and “militant anti-fascists are as bad as the fascists”. Those who utter those statements are most likely to be white, middle class and liberal; the very people who are unlikely to suffer random attacks from roaming gangs of neo-Nazis.  Why? Because fascists usually march through working class and immigrant neighbourhoods to stir up hatred and to engage in displays of triumphalism. Militant anti-fascists neither march through working class neighbourhoods nor engage in random attacks on minorities.  Middle class neighbourhoods are usually left untouched. For a good example closer to home, why not have a look at the Orange parades that go through Catholic/Nationalist communities in Northern Ireland?

After World War 2, the Jewish men and women of the 43 Group had come home from fighting fascists, only to discover fascists were still marching and organizing in London’s East End. Here’s their story.

The 43 Group didn’t shrink from using their feet and their fists to counter the violence of the fascists. So here’s are a couple of questions for all those white middle class liberals agonizing over Antifa: what would you have done? Allow the fascists to continue to march through your community? If you answered “yes” to the last question, then you’re too comfortable. When I say “comfortable”, you are comfortable because you know these racist thugs aren’t going to stir up hatred where you live and, given your ambivalent attitude, you’re more likely to shrug when they claim that “immigrants are stealing your jobs”. You may even grudgingly agree with them.

Here’s a video about Anti-Fascist Action (AFA) which was set up in 1985 by Red Action and other anti-fascist groups. The documentary is narrated by Mensi Mensforth of the Angelic Upstarts and appeared on BBC2 in the 90s.

If you think ignoring fascists will make them go away, it won’t. If you turn the other cheek to a fascist, don’t be surprised if it’s slashed with a razor. Neo-fascists and neo-Nazis want to divide the working class along the lines of skin colour. If you look at the leaders of any of the far-right parties, you will see that, more often than not, they’re drawn from the middle class and the aristocracy; well-supported by the petite bourgeoisie and propped up by certain sections of the nominally free press. Indeed, when right-wing authoritarian regimes (fascist, military, far-right nationalist) have come to power, the self-styled free world allows them to continue unimpeded, but should a left-wing government come to power, there is an intense disinformation campaign in the media and every possible effort is made to destabilize it.

Neo-Nazis and neo-fascists are capitalism’s shock troops. Whenever there’s a crisis in capitalism, the fascists appear – almost as if by magic. The language of today’s fascists may have altered superficially, but the underlying discourses of white supremacy and ethnic hatred are just below the surface. Listening to them will achieve precisely nothing. In fact, they will take that as a sign of your approval.

I support the activities of militant anti-fascists because I think their use of force is a necessary tactic to counter the violence of the far-right on the streets. If you think allowing neo-fascists a platform to say whatever they like is necessary because you believe everyone has a right to free speech, just imagine what would happen if the far-right ever came to power. The free speech, that you cherish so dearly, would be taken away and you’d be carted off to prison or worse.  Now you can accuse me of histrionics if you like, but you’ll have to name a country in which the far-right have gained power and have allowed people to criticize them. I can’t think of one.

Edited to add:

This article from Alternet appeared on the Salon site and is worth a read.

If you’re reading this and you’re a member of the ‘alt-right’ or any of the groups mentioned in this article and wish to leave an abusive comment, then don’t bother because I will delete it. 

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Filed under Ideologies, Neoliberalism