The spectre of fascism continues to haunt Britain as the recession and crises of capitalism worsen. In the past year the British National Party (BNP) have been following the electoral strategy of their leader Nick Griffin in a bid to make fascism appear more “appealing” and “legitimate”. In spite of their Euro election successes last year the BNP have recently suffered some setbacks in council elections and failed to build on their previous wins.The storm troopers of the English Defence League (EDL) have tried to engage in the battle of the streets, initiating demonstrations against “Islamification” and linking up with the openly Islamaphobic group Stop Islamisation of Europe (SIOE). However, across the country they have been effectively challenged by anti-fascists, led by Unite Against Fascism.
Today, in opposition to Griffin’s approach, the re-emergence of the National Front reflects disaffection and splits within the ranks of the modern day Nazis. Groups such as the British Patriot Party, New National Front and Column 88 are lashing at the bit to challenge for leadership of the British far right.
While the BNP and EDL wave the Israeli flag in an attempt to show that they are no longer anti-semitic, and have adopted a so-called non racist, inclusive approach for electoral and legal reasons, other Nazi groups openly reveal their true colours.
According to the National Front website the NF is to hold what it calls a keynote rally in central London in February plus other events elsewhere over the coming months. One of the main speakers at the meeting is Dr Tom Sunic, a former US professor in political science, translator, author and former Croat diplomat who warns of the “threat” posed by “Jewish influence” and “crucial role of Jews” in opinion-making in Western societies. Norman Lowell, a Malta-based banker and author of Imperium Europa, is the other keynote speaker. He longs for some reborn Aryan master race ruling on a world scale, which he claims can be achieved by 2012!
Unlike the BNP, which claims to be changing its constitution in order to accept non whites, the NF declares on its website, ‘We are fighting on behalf of the White people of this country every hour of every day!’ The group advocates “reclamation” of Britain’s towns, streets and estates through “mass political street action” which it predicts is set to increase.
In countering those fascists who try to deny their anti-semitism by waving the Israeli flag, the NF leaders refuse to recognise the “bandit state” of Israel. Their opposition to the Zionist state should be seen for what it is – a cover for crude anti-semitism. They are not the friends of oppressed Palestinians, far from it.
None of the opportunistic tactics of different far right groups are fooling anti-fascist campaigners. Last December in Harrow, West London, for example, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, gays, women, young and old, black and white, stood together in opposing all fascism and will continue to do so.
Campaigners agree that the rise of the extreme right along with growing Islamophobia and recent homophobic attacks represent a threat that must be challenged at every opportunity. Unite Against Fascism must continue to be vigilant and active in leading the fight against the BNP, EDL and any other fascist group. As SR went to press UAF was preparing its national conference to debate how to take this fight forward in the run-up to the general election and beyond.
UAF National Conference 2010, Saturday 13 February, 9.30am-5pm, TUC Congress Centre London WC1B 3LS. More information www.uaf.org.uk
Fighting Fascism – the next steps
The following model resolution for the Unite Against Fascism national conference offers proposals for discussion by the anti-fascist movement as a whole.
‘We note that the rise of various fascist and racist groups in the UK over the past few years has become an increasingly growing concern, especially given the electoral wins of the BNP in the Euro and council elections.
The increase in racist, Islamaphobic and homophobic attacks, along with the attempts by groups such as the EDL, SIOE and others to demonstrate on the streets has raised new challenges to the anti-fascist movement.
The impact of the worsening economic crises, rising unemployment and cuts in public services has provided a breeding ground for the racists and fascists to use scapegoats to blame the crises on. We put the blame squarely on those who pursue profits at the expense of working people.
We further note that over the past year, thousands of anti-fascists have been mobilised across the country to successfully oppose the BNP and their allies. The support of the organised labour movement, trade union branches, student organisations, women’s organisations, faith based organisations, ethnic based groups, gay groups and many others have come together to say, “they shall not pass”. We remember Cable Street and Lewisham, where the fascists were sent packing. There is no place for these Nazis.
The UAF has played a key role in providing support, resources and leadership in the various anti-fascist campaigns. In ensuring that the BNP and others are defeated in the General Election and challenged effectively where ever they raise their message of hatred, we call on the UAF to:
a. To continue to mobilise mass action on the streets and elsewhere in denying the fascists and racists any opportunity to spread their message of hatred and division.
b Organise a representative delegate based conference open to all who are actively supporting the struggle against fascism and racism.
c. Adopt a democratic national and regional structure which is made up of elected delegates and representatives from the whole of the movement.
d. Encourage UAF groups to be established within unions, workplaces, campuses and community groups.
e. To arrange regional and national conferences with workshops to discuss wider issues related to the fight against fascism and racism.
f. To jointly sponsor an international conference uniting the wider international struggles against fascism both in the UK and elsewhere. ‘