Posts Tagged ‘far right’

Fascism

September 26, 2017

A heavy word. Not one to be tossed easily,
Grenade-like into polite conversation.
A threat, a lie, a swindle to
Set us against each other.

But tyrants are mortal.
You cannot set in stone,
When wind erodes,
Time crumbles to dust.

National pride wrapped in bundles of sticks.
Together we are strong, individuals can be broken.
In basements, under spotlights, in gas chambers.

The Roman salute, Hail Caesar!
Mussolini stole such
Patriotic guff. Clothed his men in uniform
To inspire fear, to stand aside from
Crowds of unbelievers.

For fascism to take hold
It first has to rid itself
Of opposition. Crush resistance
From those who conspire and
Dream of freedom, democracy.
Label others with stigmata.

Hitler failed at art.
If only his school teachers
Praised his scribblings,
Galleries showed his work,
His ego may not have found
Such an outlet.

He was also a thief.
Cloaked distasteful ideas, at first,
In talk of socialism,
Freedom from wage tyranny.
But hate and terror prevailed,
The world blazed in agony.

Together, humanity defeated such ideas:
Or so we may talk ourselves into believing,
Sitting here, discussing politics and struggle.
Yet still there are people

Who swallow lies of superiority,
Deceit of supremacy.
Visions, of returning to
Non-existent golden era.

Rome taught them the art of carving up
Ruling supreme. Keep tribes squabbling
With petty concerns,
Or if revolt threatened,
Throw their chieftain a juicy bone.

Corruption still gnaws at our society.
But there is human solidarity,
Kindness, and comradeship,
Which, if it stands firm,
Can overcome racism and division.

When we realise that we are all just
Part of a fragile, blue bauble in space.

 

Opposing hatred and bigotry in Leicester

May 29, 2016

Leicester has been in the news a lot recently, because of the unprecedented success of its football team. However, we have seen the far-right attempt to jump on this bandwagon, oblivious to the multicultural nature of both Leicester and its footballing heroes. This was the scene last weekend:

leicesterbf

photo – Leicester Socialist Party – see more details

For two weekends in a row, the people of Leicester have successfully defended the city centre from Britain First, a far-right splinter-group which crawled out of the wreckage of Nick Griffin’s BNP. They claimed to be campaigning for the EU referendum, but their literature is full of lies and hatred, targeted at Muslims in particular. The Another Angry Voice blog has posted a useful guide to their brand of hatred.

Leicester is one of the most diverse cities in Britain and has a proud record of standing up against racism. Dividing people in terms of their race is a convenient smokescreen for the ruling class. If working-class people are made to view each other as the enemy, then they are not blaming the real causes of their problems. These include attacks on services and jobs which the Conservatives are carrying through nationally, but unfortunately the local Labour council are passing these on to the people of Leicester and the shortage of council housing due to a lack of investment in public housing over decades.

People are at the mercy of private landlords, on zero-hour contracts, in insecure employment or are unable to get a job. It is not surprising if the ruling class try to divert their anger on to scapegoats, such as “terrorists” or “immigrants”, rather than admit that the situation we find ourselves in is because of the system of capitalism. This results in an increase in racial attacks and discrimination against minorities.

The Socialist Party in Leicester have a long tradition of holding street stalls in the city centre, every Saturday. When confronted with the bullying tactics of the far-right, we refused to go away. Instead, we called on the public to oppose and surround their stall. We reminded people of the nature of Britain First, and why they do not stand for modern Britain. We pointed out that we need to unite as a community in order to defeat the Tories’ attacks and it is still vitally important to oppose the far-right, just as the people of Leicester saw off the National Front in 1979 and opposed the EDL when they marched through the city in 2012.

leicesterbf2

A similar unwelcome reception for Britain First this weekend – picture Midlands Antifascist Network

If they are left unopposed, racist thugs can get away with attacks on Muslims. Britain First has invaded mosques, and its leader Paul Golding has been convicted of harassment. He was arrested again this weekend, after breaking bail conditions by failing to show up to a scheduled appointment in a probation office in Luton, as he was 50 miles north of that city, in Leicester.

leicesterbf3

Golding being escorted by members of the local constabulary – picture East Midlands Anti Fascist Network

The far-right have form in this city. In 2010, the EDL broke out of police lines and attacked Big Johns, a local fast-food restaurant, because it was selling Halal produce. In 2013, I wrote about a Leicester pub, “The Globe”, which was attacked on a neo-Nazi website for allegedly refusing to serve members of the armed forces, in case this offended Muslims. As a result, staff of the pub received threats, although the report was clearly completely fake. Britain First share the racist views of the EDL and BNP and have no place in a modern, democratic society.

The principle of freedom of speech extends only to those who will allow freedom of speech to others. In destroying a stall table and megaphone of socialist groups, Britain First showed themselves to be no respecters of the right of free speech. They brought a loud sound system, blaring out patriotic music, in an attempt to drown out the public’s opposition.

Fortunately, they were again sent packing, behind police lines and carrying armfuls of their racist publicity, which they were unable to give out due to being surrounded and outnumbered. The public of Leicester will need to be watchful and ready to mobilise to counter their threat.

The Socialist Party stands for unity of the working class and against any attempts to divide us. We stand against racism, bigotry and intolerance. We are a democratic party and are happy to debate with our political opponents, but we will organise against far-right bullies, who resort to abuse, threats and violence.

The Socialist Party campaigns for a LEAVE vote in the forthcoming EU referendum, but not on the basis of racism and xenophobia. We are for a united, socialist Europe, not the bosses’ undemocratic EU, whose treaties have imposed privatisation and austerity across the continent.

 

 

Build an alternative for ordinary people, not the bosses.

June 2, 2014

In the recent council elections, TUSC (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition) stood an historic 561 candidates nationwide – this represents the biggest left-of-Labour challenge for 70 years. Despite this, we were largely ignored by the media, with only two interviews on the Daily Politics. Our candidates achieved some very good results, in spite of this lack of coverage, getting around 1000 votes in St Michaels ward in Coventry, and electing a councillor in Southampton. We also achieved excellent results in Doncaster, Sheffield and London. In total, TUSC’s candidates received over 65,000 votes.

In Ireland, there were elections at the same time, but with a completely different system of proportional representation, which tends to give smaller parties a fighting chance. We also faced, in the European Elections, a challenge to get our MEP, Paul Murphy re-elected for the Dublin constituency. With the Irish section of the SWP (as People Before Profit) standing against us in his seat, this meant that it was going to be even more of a difficult battle. With the resulting split in the Socialist vote, this meant that despite him getting nearly 30,000 first preference votes, it wasn’t quite enough. However, this is still a strong showing for us and we should be well-placed to regain the seat in the future. Elsewhere in Ireland, anger against austerity meant that it was a great night for the Anti Austerity Alliance, which the Socialist Party took part in – we won 14 councillors and Ruth Coppinger was elected as a TD in Dublin West (the Irish equivalent of an MP).

In the European elections in the UK, UKIP were the recipient of an anti-EU protest vote, winning votes from both Tories and Labour, while the Lib Dem vote collapsed. However, UKIP, a right-wing split from the Tories, will be exposed in the future, as their anti-working-class policies offer people no real alternative. Of course, the vast majority of the electorate simply stayed at home, seeing little point in voting in the European elections, reflecting a generalised anger at establishment politicians in general.

While in some countries, the far-right have made gains, this is not the case across Europe as a whole. In Greece, Syriza were the largest party, with a programme opposing austerity, and in Spain the United Left gained 10% of the vote, along with Podemos, a party which rose from the Indignados  movement. Podemos gained  five MEPs and 1.5million votes in the European elections. From  The Guardian: “Podemos’ lofty list of election promises includes doing away with tax havens, establishing a guaranteed minimum income and lowering the retirement age to 60.  “Voted in by Spaniards tired with persistent unemployment, austerity measures and corruption scandals, Iglesias said Podemos MEPs would act accordingly. Rather than the standard salary of more than €8,000 (£6,500) a month, “not one of our MEPs will earn more than €1,930, an amount that’s three times the minimum wage in Spain. The remainder would either go to the party or a chosen cause.” This is similar to what TUSC is putting forward in Britain. The need for an alternative is clear, as Milliband’s Labour has made clear that it “cannot afford” to roll back Con-Dem cuts.

While some countries looked for alternatives on the left, others, like voters in France, expressed their disappointment with the soft-left Francois Hollande, who is continuing with austerity measures, by voting for the far-right Front National. I think the most effective way to defeat the divisive and racist ideology of the far-right is to build a political alternative for ordinary people. UKIP has benefited from a protest vote against all the main parties, who are carrying out vicious cuts to public services. We say these cuts are not necessary – the resources are there in society to fund decent services for all, but the problem is the money is in the hands of bankers and speculators. To fight back, join the Socialist Party (which is part of TUSC, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition) — http://www.tusc.org.uk

The TUSC video the media wouldn’t show... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyG1KPeCAT0

The Globe – a friendly, welcoming pub in Leicester

August 18, 2013

Just got back from a drink at The Globe, where I had a lovely pint of Tiger and a Titanic Plum Porter – well worth seeking out if you happen to be in Leicester. The Tiger was well kept, the usual balance of hops and malt. The Plum Porter (4.8% from Titanic Brewery) was very unusual – a fruity taste, with a lot of body and roasted malt flavours.

What’s all this? This is usually a blog about politics, with a bit of poetry thrown in. I didn’t come here to read about real ale or pubs.

The reason I went along to support a local pub, was that it has been the subject of threats from the far right. As a member of the Socialist Party, I felt it important that we stand up to their bullying tactics – and it was a good excuse for a pint!

A far-right blog (I’m not going to give them the satisfaction of mentioning it by name) has made threats against the staff, and accused the pub of refusing to serve service personnel, because of causing offence to the Muslim population of Leicester. Nothing could be further from the truth – while I was in the pub, a member of a charity for ex-servicemen who have been left homeless, dropped by to leave some leaflets.

The site put up a completely bogus photograph of a different pub, in Knutsford – about 75 miles away in Cheshire. The staff at the pub received a phone call threatening to harm them as they left work, so naturally the landlord called in security staff. In response, the blog then had the cheek to claim that the extra security was to turn away servicemen trying to enter the pub. “You can’t win”, was my comment.

The blog even turned on the Leicester Mercury, displaying a picture of the editor wearing a red tie (obviously a Communist Party member then), saying that the paper was full of communist sympathisers for daring to run an article pointing out the truth.

This sad farce shows the depths to which far-right, racist, moronic keyboard warriors will stoop. I hope the publicity (the pub has been on regional news) actually improves custom. The staff have been brave in keeping the place open through what must have been a difficult time.

How can we defeat the far-right?

May 24, 2009

The European and local elections are looming and it looks like New Labour is, predictably, in for a battering. Unfortunately, the beneficiaries of the protest vote against sleaze and corruption could be the far right UKIP or even the Nazi BNP. There is the spectre of the far right being elected and racist thugs getting their hands on the loot that goes with Brussels, where MEPs can be millionaires within five years.

Trying to do something about this, I volunteered for the Searchlight Hope Not Hate campaign and delivered some Daily Mirror tabloids around Leicester. However, the organisers had targetted Keith Vaz’s constituency – overwhelmingly Asian, with not a BNP supporter in sight. The reason for their choice? This was an attempt to get out the anti-BNP vote, rather than offer a positive alternative to the main parties. The message was that the BNP are hardline racists who do not stand up for ordinary people. It is important to cast your vote to keep them out. (Fair enough as far as it goes, but will appealing to voters in a solid Labour ward work anymore, with New Labour at an historic low in the polls and with Vaz himself completely discredited?) At least some of the tabloids I handed out had a NO2EU leaflet inside advertising our public meeting.

I think the campaign should have targeted a white working-class area in the city and engaged with voters about their concerns. However, this takes commitment, honesty and a programme to really benefit ordinary workers – all of which the Labour Party are completely lacking in.

It is vital, therefore, that for the first time in over 100 years, a fighting trade union, the RMT, are backing candidates to the left of Labour. My hope is that the No2EU Yes to Democracy campaign will appeal to those dissafected with the complete lack of representation for ordinary people, and will provide a protest vote for those rightly disgusted with the sleaze and corruption at the heart of Parliament – in Westminster and Brussels. This is the only campaign whose candidates will not take any expenses in the event of them being elected.

It is wholly wrong to suggest that the far right, despite what their propaganda might say, stand up for British workers. They would be hostile to trade unions and seek to divide us along lines of race, when we need to unite together on a class basis to fight back. They only offer lies and hatred.

Equally, we cannot have any hope left in a Labour Party which has completely sold out ordinary voters. At last years Campaign for a New Workers’ Party conference, Bob Crow said that anyone with any principles left in New Labour should leave, as they were only giving the party some false respectability. Recent events have shown how corrupt and rotten all three mainstream parties are and posed the need to urgently build a new, socialist alternative.