The time for complacency is well and truly over.
The extreme right are on the march across Europe, whether it’s Golden Dawn or Jobbik in Hungary.
But some “anti-fascists” continue to behave in ways and hold attitudes which are not only useless and counterproductive but they are not even worthy of being called anti-fascist or to be thought of as opposing the extreme right in any sense at all.
Let me be clear here I am not really talking about physical force anti-fascism, which, while attracting its own fair share of idiots, oddballs and chancers with dubious politics, is often the target of hand-wringing liberal outrage. “Oh using their methods makes you as bad as them!” Who do these tools think they are, Mother Theresa?
Missing the point, that it is not (only) about who is worse than who, it is because fascism is an anti-working class ideology which aims to destroy all opposition to it and divide and rule the working class, to completely destroy any forms of working class organisation and opposition through violence, to provide fake scapegoats as a target for people’s anger and to shore up support, and in this recession it is finding a fertile soil.
But the fight against fascism cannot be “apolitical”. If you are looking at it in isolation or treating the casualties of fascism as some sort of banal moral lesson about the dangers of “intolerance” while never examining your own prejudices, putting the appeal of fascism down to “stupidity” and blaming it on “Sun readers” and at worst, making anti-fascism into some sort of Churchill fetish or laughing at the state of people’s fucking teeth and gawping at the size of their tits as if misogyny and sneering at physical appearances should take pride of place in a campaign against racism, you are not an anti-fascist. You are not a comrade. And you will find that once you get past all the “beer-swilling lager louts” you so despise there will be those on the extreme right who you can relate to, who speak in your pseudo-sophisticated language and match your political views more closely.
Take for example the Tory “anti-fascist” campaign “Nothing British about the BNP” (which now seems to be defunct). The title is instantly problematic because it promotes reactionary nationalism in the name of opposing fascism – it implies that what is wrong with the BNP is that it is in some way “foreign” and “not British”, as though being British was equated with being good – and indeed one of the related videos is an ITN news story about “the BNP comparing UK generals to Nazi war criminals” – inaccurate yes, but fairly innocuous compared to the other stuff Nick Griffin and co have done and said over the years, and pandering to a sort of right-wing “our boys” jingoism which equates the interests of generals and those making war policy to that of ordinary soldiers. Perhaps if the BNP were seen as paragons of upper-class respectability like the Tories it would be all right?
Tory “opposition” to fascism is born out of naked opportunism. They will allow themselves to move ever rightwards and appeal to images of brave Churchill to do so. While they support a party and a system that keeps kids in detention centres and force people who have been in the country decades to leave they preach about the lumpen menace of the EDL. That brave defender of working-class interests, that hammer of the Mersey, that failed Boer War journo. But he wasn’t a Nazi, right?
The fash love the Tories and liberals who preach anti-racism and decry the “anti-social behaviour” their decomposing decaying system creates and their filthy divide and rule politics, who argue, in between racist innuendo Griffin would be proud of – “Are you thinking what we’re thinking?” that immigrants do the jobs that everyone else in Britain is “too lazy” to do and so anyone from ideological racists and neo-Nazis to the Lindsey oil refinery strikers is “just jealous”. That’s why they can argue a seemingly economic, class-based position and describe themselves as the “party of the downtrodden“. The image of feckless British workers as compared to thrifty hard-working Poles and Muslims simply helps to reinforce divisions among the working class. It is an old joke that fascism claims to be “beyond left and right“, a “third position” between communism and capitalism, the “movement of the radical centre” – but sometimes you forget how true that is.
Yet many of those who make common cause in “united fronts” with those who create the conditions for fascism, Tories and neo-liberals who claim that people are opposed to immigration because they are just lazy, union tops who are more interested in preserving their positions rather than representing their members, are those people who are not members of the ruling class but are so dripping with gutter class hatred as they talk about “setting chavs on fire” that they surely have as full a claim to the title of “lumpen” as the bad-toothed Stella-swigging bogeymen they use as a disguise for their real hatred of the working class. Many people have bad teeth, beer guts, have struggled with alcoholism and other addictions – and aren’t fascists.
And many real racists use “chavvy” clothing and “common” accents as a way to identify people – like people who are kicked out of bars or shops for being “pikeys”.
My partner puts it this way:
‘Anti-fascism coming from the working classes who would be on the end of the jackboot has proud tradition. From Cable street to the unreported and unremembered battle for the streets of the last few decades it has been by ‘fist, stones, batons and the gun‘ that these people were shown the door. Then kicked through it. So it is with a heavy heart that that I see so-called antifa types engaging in the grossest class prejudice when referring to the EDL. Beer guts, drunkenness (I fucking drink on a march, fosters to keep a clear head but how else are you going to deal with speeches by union leaders and labourite liars? sober? no) , rowdiness and bad tattoos and teeth. Yeah well we didn’t all get daddies BUPA care mate. It’s fashionable class hatred, absolved cos they are the Other. For some of us they aren’t the Other. We look like them, we shop in the same places, we face the same social deprivation and the same assaults on our wages, our living conditions and yes we look like them. If you think liberal sneering about bad teeth and beer guts is going to stop FN controlling the politically conscious angry youths of the banlieues then get the fuck out of the way. You aren’t my anti-fascist. You are just another Fabian except you haven’t the modicum of conscience and well-meaning they misguidedly had. You are just as much the enemy. Go home to the flat your dad bought you and stop the struggle tourism. Except you won’t, because it allows you an outlet to vent about the underclass. Just do me a favour, jog on, you mug etc etc have I established my w/c credentials through use of those phrases yet? Just fuck off.
Look at this selection of comments from the “anti-fascist” page “EDL News“:
Banned again.. apparently, Islams No1 enemy is a few dozen chavs in the Manchester area. The world is hushed and waiting for the epic battle ahead.
Jesus wept. No offence but are you actually autistic? You are genuinely incapable of having a discussion unless everybody accepts every single assertion and definition you make as gospel. You’re like a masterclass in blind sanctimony.
How is that about mental illness? You might find buses are more interested in your ranting.
I LOVE it! He hurls insults like ‘fuckwit’ and ‘small-minded’ and ‘ignoramus child’ and then tries to mount his high horse when someone intimates that he may be a low-functioning human. Hypocritical arsehole.
99% of them on Saturday have educational problems, as in they didn’t bother to learn sod all important in life, They might know the off side laws in football, or the catalog number or every single realise of Elvis Presley, but that’s about it.
Her picture is next to the word ‘Chav’ in the Oxford Dictionary….
Why would anyone want to go to one of the sink estates where the EDL go just so that some EDL scumbag can carry out a threat? Moron.
Why are you stirring up racial tensions in the Manchester area you androgenous cretin ?
Does this slapper go out of her way to humiliate herself or what…
I’m serious though, I feel absolutely no remorse for the disgusting waster, I feel desperately sorry for those onto whom her values are passed. When you choose being a drunken bum that turns up to stir trouble on and off line with no result, over being a good decent individual with something of note to pass onto others, its game over.
Food poverty is crippling the UK & to an extent Ireland, kids are sent to school (if their parents can even be arsed) full of fast release sugars and fats, there’s nowhere for the info to go, when people speak about “brain food” with the exception of Omega3, its just a marketing ploy to nourish yourself well.
Whatever about the fact she’s a bum and supported by handouts, its gonna be even more expensive when the NHS has to support her rotting corpse. The good news for us is most of these subhumans will likely die of heart failure in their 50s or 60s, not before they screw the country out of more money though.
If I feel like setting a Chav on fire I will. Nobodies going to tell me shit.
Can anyone claim that this depraved trash, benefits bashing and sneering debate-club “humour” has anything to do with fighting fascism? Is referring to people who disagree with them – not even EDL members – as “low functioning humans” and “autistic” as an insult, and celebrating the fact that poverty will cause their early deaths and lamenting the handouts they get given anything to do with opposing the extreme right?
Would you not expect to hear similar sentiments from Cambridge graduates who take their inspiration from those who turned mass eugenics and deciding whether people were worth anything based on their “stock” into a political programme? What about if they dressed in suits and had posh accents like Taki in the Spectator? Would that be OK then? Meanwhile, as this piece describes, any opposition to their actual politics gets lost, and far-right views become normalised as the mainstream parties show themselves willing to adopt more and more of their policies faced with a useless opposition which isn’t even worthy of the title, or promotes hyperbolic rubbish about concentration camps being set up like somebody who’s been reading too much 1984. Indeed they, rather than the left which is so plainly “not for the likes of” so many people, can even become something of a magnet for people who are discontented and radically opposed to the system.
Does anyone take the piss out of Golden Dawn’s fecklessness, beer bellies and bad dental hygiene these days in Greece as they gain support by offering practical help to people, which then enables them to beat up immigrants with impunity and as the state itself adopts many of their policies? Is there a “Still Laughing at Jobbik” as they take one quarter of the seats in the parliament and attack gypsies and Jews with the police looking on benignly? And if there is are they going to take a good fucking look at themselves?