Eternal vigilance required to defeat the fascists

THE BRITISH National Party has over the last two years suffered huge electoral defeats — it has been virtually wiped out from Britain’s local authorities — and its finances are in total disarray. It has descended into bitter infighting, mainly over money but also over clashes of ego. The Islamophobic English Defence League is seriously divided and its leader — convicted of violent disorder offences — is under court orders not to appear in public and has to operate in the shadows.

This is a reason for good cheer and to congratulate all the thousands of anti-fascists who have slogged away on doorsteps throughout the country countering the lies and racist scaremongering of the fascists to bring this situation about.

But it is no reason to let up our guard. A hard core of neo-Nazis remain, they may be in disarray now but sooner or later they will re-emerge. The BNP has not totally gone away; it still holds regular bookstalls and pitches in Barking and Dagenham and other places and challenges in local elections.

Anti-fascist campaigners in Redbridge and Epping Forest Together (REFT) — a forerunner of Hope not Hate — have spent the last few months seeing off BNP challenges in four by-elections in Epping District Council and Redbridge and Havering Council.

In 1980, shortly after the election of Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister, the National Front suffered a total collapse and fell into warring splinters. The Anti-Nazi League, dominated by the Socialist Workers’ Party, was wound up on the basis that the racist and fascist threat had more or less disappeared. This was a big mistake. The BNP grew out of the fragments of the NF and racist attacks on the streets never stopped. Those who think the BNP is done and dusted and that they can forget about it and move on are misguided.

The New Communist Party line on anti-racism and anti-fascism is to support all anti-racist and anti-fascist groups that are doing a good, effective job in their locality, to work for unity in action and to support the anti-fascist magazine Searchlight. This is based on experience on the streets that although the leaderships of different anti-racist and anti-fascist groups may be divided or act in a sectarian way, once the fascists appear on the scene all trivial divisions disappear and the anti-fascists/anti-racists stand strongly together. This includes members of Unite Against Fascism, Carf, Hope not Hate, REFT and so on. All left activists will know their local group that is working effectively and should support them actively.

Anti-fascist work must involve a wide spectrum of people from different political parties and who have all sorts of different view on other issues. It must never become a front for one particular party because that will drive others out. The most effective anti-fascist alliance in history involved Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt and political spectrums do not come much wider than that — and that alliance saved the world from the Nazi menace.

Last Saturday in Barking an EDL march through the town proclaimed itself to be the heart and soul of Barking and England, yelling insults at anyone who had a darker skin. But when the EDL was penned by police at one end of the town square while a smaller group from Unite Against Fascism was penned at the other end, local youths came to see what was going on. After consideration they opted to join the UAF. All anti-fascists present, including friends of Searchlight and NCP, gave a cheer.

The real heart and soul of Barking — as demonstrated by those youths — is fine.