The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 18th August 2017

Unity against fascism and racism

THE EVENTS in Charlottesville, the 40th anniversary of the Battle of Lewisham and last year’s 80th anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street all emphasise one point — that communities coming together can challenge and reverse growing fascist and racist movements — even when these movements are backed by powerful sections of the ruling class.

But they also show that activity that is pacifist, submissive to the state — obeying the police at all times, holding anti-fascist protests miles away from where the fascists are, staying indoors to not get involved in violence that might offend the middle classes — are not enough. It is only full-face confrontation on the streets and blocking the fascists from reaching their goals that will do the job.

It is only when anti-fascists have the courage to come out and really take on the fascists on the street that the local Jewish, Black and Asian communities — who have suffered unending attacks, intimidation, harassment and outright terrorism — will achieve the confidence to come out from their houses and join in the fight-back in huge numbers, that the battle can be won.

When these big clashes happen they are reported in the right-wing media as riots. Both sides are condemned as hooligans and criminals. But 40 or 80 years on those who took to the streets to stop fascism on the march are recognised as heroes of the working class.

Yet when the same clashes happen today on the streets, fighting the remnants and splinter groups from the British National Party (BNP), the English Defence League (EDL) and so on, there are some older left-wingers who will condemn the young anarchists who come out, refuse to be herded and kettled by police and succeed in stopping the fascists, as a disorganised rabble.

In reality the ‘anarchists’ are highly organised, using their mobile phones, Twitter and so on to stay aware all the time of where the fascists are and where the police are. They specialise in appearing from nowhere suddenly en masse to have maximum impact on stopping the fascists in their tracks. They use huge amplifiers to play very loud music, drowning out the fascists’ attempt to make speeches, and they run rings round the police.

By doing this they demoralise the fascists and racists — it is this sort of activity that has smashed the BNP and the EDL, and keeps the surviving splinter groups tiny and impotent — just as their parents’ generation smashed the National Front (NF) and their grandparents smashed Oswald Moseley’s British Union of Fascists.

The older generation of anti-fascists still come out on the streets to support Unite Against Fascism (UAF), which on the whole complies with police instructions, and listen to speeches by community leaders, trade union leaders, local politicians and so on, still do a good job.

And on the streets there is no sectarianism between the generations. All tactics have a role but it is the youngsters who refuse to kowtow to police demands and to bourgeois respectability who do the job of stopping the fascists, and the older anti-fascists who do come out on the streets recognise this. It is those who have stopped coming out and lost touch with street activity who are most likely to condemn the full-face confrontations with fascists they once took part in themselves.

During the greatest battle against fascism so far, the Second World War, the Red Army won by smashing Hitler’s Nazi hordes, not by debating with them or passing resolutions deploring them. It was obvious then that there was no other way.

When Donald Trump condemned the “violence from all sides” at Charlottesville — equating open Nazis with anti-fascists — he showed where he really stands. The Nazis took it as a message that Trump was with them and they proudly boasted that they supported his presidency. But he condemned himself more than anyone by failing to condemn the white supremacist racists. This shocked many of his own supporters, who are now falling away.

And the American anti-fascists who responded by stepping up their activities have shown the rest of the world that the US has a growing army of decent, courageous people who will resist the growth of fascism, as did their grandparents who joined the fight against the Nazis in Europe in an alliance with Britain and the Red Army.