April 01, 2010

The Lefties - A Warning from History

BNP supporters often gloat about what they see as the historical "failure" of left-wing politics in post-war Britain, while, on the other hand, constantly complaining about the huge successes that the liberal left has had in influencing public policy on issues of equality, anti-racism and human rights, in influencing the media and popular culture, and in creating what the right-wing try to misrepresent as "political correctness". In contrast to the successes of liberal leftism, the radical and militant left have been in overall decline since the 1960s, marginalised by mainstream society absorbing the best ideas produced by their ideological experiments, ham-strung by dogmatic beliefs, and defeated in major industrial disputes.

In comparison, since the collapse of the NF in 1979, the racist movement slowly learned from its mistakes, and Nick Griffin used the BNP to re-build British Fascism around the pretense of a more moderate image, with the failure of the militant left creating a vacuum which the BNP now try to exploit. Because militant left dogma insists that the glorious workers must be above criticism, and that therefore Fascism MUST be "middle-class", left-wing and anarchist militants often refuse to acknowledge facts which everyone else knows full well - namely the strong middle-class influence in left-wing movements, and the strongly working-class nature of most support for the BNP. Since a temporary peak in radical activism in the early 1980s, instead of learning from their mistakes like the BNP did, some militant left groups purged their middle-class supporters, successfully alienating millions of potential sympathisers and reducing themselves to the pathetic state they find themselves in now.

Anti-Fascists all talk the talk when it comes to being "united" against the BNP, but not all Anti-Fascists walk the walk. Some militant Anti-Fascists seem to spend nearly as much time insulting other Anti-Fascists as they spend attacking the BNP, and dissipate their energy in Anti-Fascist turf-wars which the BNP covertly encourage. There is no doubt that working people should take control of their own lives, and that militant Anti-Fascists are often very brave and noble people, but left-wing opportunists dividing Anti-Fascism with "class struggle" rhetoric totally misunderstands the aspirations of white working-class and migrant communities, alienates moderates, is disastrous for Anti-BNP campaigning, and is music to the ears of the BNP.



Anonymous said...

I feel like cutting my wrists after reading that!

Can we leave the Lefty sectarianism in the 20th Century?

Let's unite, regardless of social class and race, and kick back against the fascists.

Anonymous said...

This is a good article with some hard uncomfortable home truths for too many associated with the left.
Unfortunately 'the left' and especially when you go further leftwards always reminds me of that wonderful sequence in 'The Life of Brian' with John Cleese and the 'Judean Peoples Liberation Front'... or was it 'The Peoples Front for the Liberation of Judea'......
'Splitters' as John Cleese so eloquently put it.
Can we learn some useful lessons from Europe (and elsewhere) if at all where the march of the far right has been halted and reversed?

Anonymous said...

'Because militant left dogma insists that the glorious workers must be above criticism'

Does it!, where?! Who? Why? What?

This article is very vague. Who is this 'militant left' you're talking about?!

Anonymous said...

The successes of 'liberal leftism'?

Which would be?

Leftism is, surely, by it's correct definition, pro-working class. In which ways has the 'liberal left' closed the gap, improved the lot of the ordinary working person, etc?

To try to remove racism & fascism away from the economic realities - and consequentially class conflicts - that underpin and re-enforce scapegoating is to send us down the garden path towards complete irrelevance. To try and look at the BNP and the EDL etc in the abstract, and not as the consequence of mainstream political & economic consensus, is lunacy.

It does sometimes seem that in the UK the fascists understand class better than the anti-fascists, and that is a fucking tragedy.

To paraphrase, it's the economics, stupid.

Anonymous said...

The best part of anti-BNP work is meeting such a diverse lot of people with similar goals, all working together. The worst part is when those people lose sight of their common goals.

BNPinfo / UKfightback said...

So as not to be misunderstood, I'd like to clarify that my intention in writing this article was NOT to insult militant Anti-Fascists (with whom I have ideological disagreements, but for whom I have great admiration as well). Nor was my intention to encourage time-wasting debates about the pros and cons of hard-left vs liberal beliefs. The purpose was instead to encourage all Anti-Fascists to unite on the basis of what we have in common, and to take the energy that could be wasted on such disputes and instead to focus that energy exclusively on campaigning against the BNP

Love to everyone


Anonymous said...

"The Lefties, A Warning from History" blurb is taken from the text description for a You Tube posting which can be found here...


There is limited space to post text in You Tube, so inevitably the arguments presented are simplified, but the underlying message remains very important

Readers might recall a fake e-mail circulated to Anti-Fascists, pretending to be from a group called "Real AFA" (referring to the long-defunct militant group Anti-Fascist Action). The e-mail accused moderate Anti-Fascists of colluding with the State and advocated a return to class-struggle politics. In fact AFA ceased to exist years before the e-mail was sent out, and the e-mail was sent by a professional spamming company who also handle bulk e-mailing for the BNP. In other words the e-mail was a BNP trick to try and dis-unite working-class and middle-class Anti-Fascists, in order to weaken their effectiveness against the BNP.

Anonymous said...

Who are these class struggle rhetoricians that the article criticises?
Leftist theory recognises that most people most of the time support the status quo. That includes workers. When leftists support workers' actions, they must often argue with many of the workers involved.

Anonymous said...

I once went on an anti-fascist demo and there were a group who ignored the BNP altogther and proceeded to have a heated debate among themselves about an incident that occured at the Kronstadt naval base in 1921! The invective was flying that day.

Good , eh?!

Anonymous said...

"Who are these class struggle rhetoricians that the article criticises?" - you could start with the recent piece on Lancaster Unity about the "New anti-fascist network" which "resolved to create new national anti-fascist network based on a class-struggle approach"; and "the successes of liberal leftism... would be?" - the same ones referred to in the original post!!!

Try to keep up ;)

Rebel Bull said...

Im sorry but this article and some of these comments are an absolute joke! This is a clear attack on militant anti-fascists and the many true socialists and anarchists involved in anti-fascist activities.

By ignoring class issues and attacking those that do attempt to deal with them, YOU are infact playing directly into the hands of the fascists.
Why have the BNP been able to win huge support in working class areas such as parts of East London or northern ex-mining communities? Why do the EDL continue to mobilise thousands of white, working class, football-going youth? Because they've identified this demographic as one that none of the mainstream parties represent, and realised that it is commonly ignored by the left and some other 'liberal' anti-fascists.

One of the few accurate things this article states is that much of the support for the BNP comes from working class people; doesn't this tell you that class clearly IS an important issue in anti-fascist politics? Until we realise this and start to deal with this then the far-right in this country will continue to recruit from this ground, and continue to make huge progress both at the ballot box and in the streets.

You have shown a complete ignorance towards extremely dedicated and committed militant and class struggle anti-fascists in this article. Considering you claim that it's purpose was to encourage anti-fascists to unite, you have done a pretty good job at achieving the opposite. Maybe you should do your homework; look at some of the successes achieved by these anti-fascists, look at the reasons and areas where fascism has grown (both historically and in present-day Britain), and maybe most importantly; look at your own problems before starting to point out those of others.