Anti-Fascism

200,000 in Rome against fascism

On 9 October thousands of right-wing anti-vaccine demonstrators protested in Rome, and fascists from the Forza Nuova party smashed their way into the offices of the CGIL, Italy’s biggest union federation. On 16 October, trade unionists and left-wingers responded by demonstrating in Rome to say “Mai più fascismi” (“Never again fascisms”). The organisers, Italy’s three biggest union federations, claimed 200,000, while the media said 50,000. Many report that demonstrators carried pro-vaccination slogans as well as anti-fascist and pro-union ones. The Italian labour movement’s fight against the...

Italy: complete the anti-fascist revolution

Of the three aggressor nations that made up the Axis during the Second World War, only one saw its population rise up and topple a dictatorship. While the populations of Germany and Japan remained largely supportive of the regimes right up to the surrender, the Italians ousted Mussolini in 1943, bringing an end to the fascist era. And in 1945, the former dictator was captured and killed by Italian partisans. Italians are rightly proud of this fact, but there’s another side to the story — one which we saw in action this last weekend, 9-10 October — and that’s the continuing presence of openly...

Fascists smash union office in Rome

Fascists stormed and wrecked the Rome headquarters of the CGIL, Italy’s biggest trade union federation, at an anti-vaccination demonstration on 9 October. The far right mobilised protests in multiple Italian cities to oppose the introduction of a health certificate or “green pass” to enter workplaces from 15 October (any worker who fails to produce the certificate can be suspended without pay, but not sacked). There were at least ten thousand on the streets in Rome. The attack on the CGIL building was led by activists from the neo-fascist Forza Nuova party, who used metal bars to smash their...

Remember Cable Street, learn the real lessons

About 500 people attended the 3 October march and rally to commemorate the October 1936 Battle of Cable Street, when tens of thousands of East London workers and supporters defeated the police to block Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists from marching. Although members of the Communist Party of Britain were not particularly visible in the crowd, the event is very much a CP-organised affair, as was clear from the speakers at the end. Several puffed up the role of the Communist Party at Cable Street, when in fact the CP's role - as opposed to that of some CP members in East London, defying...

Dark secrets in the Channel Islands

The Sunday Times (30 May) featured a front page story with this headline: “Exposed: Horrors of Channel Islands concentration camps”. The article reported that official documents describing the German treatment of prisoners on Alderney — where thousands died — would be published for the first time. That may well be the case, but the story of the German occupation of the Channel Islands in general, and Alderney in particular, is already well known. Alderney, one of the smaller islands, has been described as the biggest “crime scene” in British history. As the Times reported, “Britain later...

Another sort of anti-fascism

The 43 Group has long held a strange place in Jewish and anti-fascist memory. On the one hand, the story of a group of Jews who violently beat the fascists off the streets of post-war Britain has an obvious romantic appeal. On the other hand, there has been remarkably little serious history written about what was, at its peak, a very well-organised fighting organisation of anti-fascists with a regular newspaper, democratic structures, a substantial headquarters and hundreds of active members. Before the publication of Daniel Sonabend’s new book We Fight Fascists, the last on the organisation...

Recognising 21st century fascism

During the time when the left protested the Vietnam war the term "fascist" was thrown about with careless abandon.

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...

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