Anti-Fascism

Drop Walney's inquiry!

Fighter against "extremism" John Woodcock (Lord Walney), with two far-right Turkish politicians On 7 February, the former right-wing Labour MP John Woodcock — now Lord Walney, a Tory supporter, and the government’s official for “countering violent extremism” — announced via the Daily Telegraph that the government had asked him to do a new “inquiry” into “extremism”. Walney said that the biggest “threat” is the “far right”, but the Telegraph chose to headline “far left influence in Extinction Rebellion (XR) and Black Lives Matter”. It quoted Walney further as saying that he was worried about...

USA: building the movement

There is a division in the US left between doubling down on an electoral orientation, essentially to the Democrats, and those who want to focus on the harder but more fruitful task of building up the grassroots labour movement. We’re in a better position than under Obama. At that time the entirety of the unions and the entirety of the NGO-type “left” put complete faith in Obama to bring about “change”. We’ve progressed to some extent in that there’s now a much more significant layer of people who want to exert pressure for left-wing demands. Nonetheless the bulk of the unions and the NGO world...

The British far right in 2020

Socialists in Britain had a pretty awful 2020, but it’s slightly heartening to note that the far right in the UK had a bad year too. In some ways things look favourable for them. Millions of voters voted Tory without any particular love for that party in 2019, on the basis that a hard Brexit and Boris Johnson would deliver on jobs, reverse the decline of northern towns, restore national prestige to where it was in the 1950s, or reverse the UK’s cultural and ethnic diversity. None of that was ever going to happen. Meanwhile the socialist left and the trade unions have been mostly on the back...

Today farce, tomorrow tragedy?

This [6 January] was a “coup” as social media spectacle. In their pseudo-Viking gear and Confederate patches, the far-right rebels were a distinctly unappealing lot. And their rebellion utterly lacked a coherent plan beyond smashed windows and selfies. Rather than a coup, it was a pathetic right-wing putsch attempt and was put down remarkably swiftly. It was given the green-light by Trump and his inner circle. But it was overwhelmingly condemned by the spokespeople of the capitalist class: the National Association of Manufacturers, the Chamber of Commerce, the CEOs of most major corporations...

Will Trump pay for his crimes?

According to iconic jazz poet Gil Scott Heron “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”. The same can’t be said for 6 January’s counter-revolutionary attempt, when a delusional and demented far-right mob stormed the Capitol building. Cameras rolled to record the invasion of the legislature by a rabble of fascists and crazed believers in conspiracy theories who trashed the building in the hope of overturning the Presidential election result. Some participants in the ransack wore costumes as bizarre as their QAnon beliefs. Others raised the Confederate flag. In all his attempts to capture...

The USA needs to be made a proper democracy

The woman, in her late 20s, has been maced. Recovering slowly, she looks a bit sorry for herself, and complains indignantly. “As soon as I went into the Capitol, they maced me, right in my face.” Interviewer: “Yes, but why did you go in?” “Go in? For the revolution, of course.” Not since fascists wielding cut-throat razors tried to invade the French Chamber of Deputies in February 1934 has there been, in a functioning bourgeois democracy, anything like the occupation of the Senate and Representatives chambers in Washington on 6 January. A large crowd rampaged through the building looking for...

6 January 2021, 6 February 1934

Many historians, in hindsight, regard the 6 February 1934 attempt by mostly far-right army-veteran groups to storm France’s Chamber of Deputies, over a corruption scandal, as a blip. They can make a case. The 6 February riot was smaller than 4 January’s in Washington. The police were solid against it, indeed shot down the protesters, killing 16 and injuring 600-odd. The riot never got near breaching the parliament building. The biggest contingent, the Croix du Feu, went home when trouble started. Politically, the protest was a mix of small groups. The French far right in 1934 was weaker than...

The organised far right on 6 January

On 6 July, at the storming of the US Capitol, a number of far-right groups — as distinguished from the “regular” far-right Trump supporters — were present. Among them were the Proud Boys, donning orange hats to distinguish themselves. While their founder Gavin McInnes denies having been there, a man looking suspiciously like him was recorded giving orders to various members of the group. Others present included militia groups such as the Three Percenters and the Oath Keepers, members of which were recorded marching up the Capitol steps in body armour, holding onto each other, suggesting...

Kino Eye: American fascism on film

Unsurprisingly, here’s another American film. Tony Kaye’s American History X (1998) features Derek, a committed Nazi, complete with swastika tattoos and membership in the “Disciples of Christ”. He is sentenced to three years for voluntary manslaughter of an African-American. While imprisoned he begins to distrust the “Aryan Brotherhood”, the prisoners’ fascist network. Instead, he befriend’s Lamont, an African-American with whom he works in the prison laundry. On release he finds that his younger brother Danny has become a hard-line Nazi but eventually Derek persuades him to drop his views...

Hitler's unwilling citizens

The resistance to the Nazis from within the German working class itself is a subject much overlooked in mainstream narratives around World War 2. The typical narrative that most people in Britain will come across is one of a relatively homogenous fascist population (minus Jews, homosexuals, Romanis, disabled people, etc.) that was overcome by the “good guys” of world politics at the time, chiefly Churchill and his plucky band of Brits. So the myth goes. Anti-Nazi Germans by Merilyn Moos offers a compelling left-wing alternative to this narrative. How could militants from the most advanced...

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