Tag Archives: neo-Nazism

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

Telegraph blogs and the normalization of anti-Ziganism

The Roma Holocaust Memorial in Berlin

The Roma & Sinti Holocaust Memorial in Berlin. Pic courtesy of the BBC

A couple of years ago, I wrote how anti-Ziganism (racism against Roma, Sinti and other travellers) is still socially acceptable in Europe, while anti-Semitism is now seen as unacceptable (with certain exceptions – Hungary, for example). Since then, we’ve had the trashy Channel 4 series, My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, where viewers were invited to gawp and poke fun at travellers. We’ve also had the mass eviction of travellers from the Dale farm site outside Basildon. This prompted a rash of anti-Ziganist comments from the usual quarters. “If they’re travellers, then why aren’t they travelling?”, was just one of the many bigoted comments made.

So today as I’m reading one of Damian Thompson’s blogs, I came across these two comments.

Anti-Ziganist comment on Torygraph

“Palfreman” talks about “real Romanians”. I wonder if he knows anything about Romania other than the drivel he’s read in the Tory-supporting press?  He/she/it talks about “repatriation to India”. Does that sound familiar? People said the same thing in the 1970s.  It’s the language of the National Front and the Monday Club. But “Dalek_1963’s” comment uses the same language as the Nazis used about the Jews and Roma in the 1930s and talks about them as a form of contamination. He/she/it describes them as “third world savages”. The real “savages” are the knuckle-draggers who want to create a “pure” British nation; a limited gene pool in which they can cling onto their congenital defects.

I reported both of these comments and wasn’t surprised to see that both of them were still there. This is free speech, Torygraph-style.

But here’s what prompted those comments.

How much of our anxiety about Romanians flooding into Britain is actually about Roma gipsies? It’s a sensitive topic, as I discovered at a seminar devoted to it at the LSE. The lecturer deplored the obstacles faced by illiterate Roma in Britain. I suggested they should learn to read. It was one of those “I’ll get my coat” moments. Luckily the Government agrees with me and is taking radical steps to address the problem. Roma are now exempt from library fines for overdue books. And if they borrow a book from one library they can return it to another. Which, when you think about it, definitely makes sense.

You will notice how Thompson universalizes illiteracy with the Roma. There are plenty of Britons who cannot read and many of them are in our prisons.  Does Thompson know this? If he does, he won’t let on. This fear of a “flood” of immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria is not about those people per se, it’s about a disgust of the Roma; a people who have been persecuted for centuries.  Many perished in the Nazi death camps during WWII but there’s little mention of that in the Torygraph or elsewhere.

Last year, the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, opened a memorial in Berlin to the Roma and Sinti victims of the Holocaust.  It has taken over 70 years for some kind of memorial to be built.

Meanwhile the abuse and persecution continues.

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Filed under Anti-Ziganism, Bullying, Society & culture

This is a disturbing report on the rise of Greek neo-Nazis Golden Dawn from Reports From The Edge Of Borderline Democracy. Although there are echoes of the rise of Nazism, this isn’t Weimar Germany. It’s something else but it’s just as corrosive.

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Filed under Europe, Greece