Its my misfortune to note some of the goings on with the ‘Stop the EDL’ demonstration scheduled for next week in Newcastle and the developing climate of red baiting that seems to have emerged. The targets appear as anyone disagreeing with the demo organisers anti-fascist tactics or responding to a series of lies, mistruths and manipulation of the positions of a range of anti-fascists.
I’m sorry to say that SWP comrades have lined up with Labour councillors to attack anyone raising criticism and of threats to exclude militant anti-fascists from the demonstration. The climate of hysteria and falsehood has been quite breathtaking even for someone like myself with several decades of experience in activist politics.
One ‘Gary Duncan’ has been allowed to slander and accuse while myself and others have been excluded from the online event page and comments made deleted. A catalogue of lies and hysteria from Gary borrows heavy from Stalinism and as a number will know – he has form in this department. Accusers labelling respondents as sectarian, against unity and even anti-democratic – its Orwellian stuff.
You will have to take my word for it as they will be unable to read the deleted exchanges for themselves, however my tone was sober and restricted to pointing out that disallowing the answering of accusation made by the organisers themselves (right to reply) is undemocratic. Other (possibly too mild) comments relating to the need for a debate, post demo caused equal mayhem and web links pointing to alternative versions of past events were the final straw.
Some of the hystria was directed at a group called the Revolutionary Communist Group – whose politics I disagree strongly and North East Anarchists, a group with who I align. Some of my comments pointed out to my view of the shortcomings of the current strategy of confronting street fascism pursued by Labour/SWP/Unite Against Fascism, tied up as it is with shouting behind barriers, waving placards and bothering the fascists 0%. An approach, which in my view strengthens the hands of state agencies to determine our activism and our resistance. Most notably the Police.
Militant Anti-Fascism argues that the far right needs to be confronted ideologically and physically, although the split in this is always tactical. Treblinka and Auschwitz stands as a reminder of what happens if Fascism is allowed to grow without effective confrontation.
Slandering anyone holding this view to the point of even allowing participation is a dangerous precedent. The slander was of rent-a-mobs seeking violent disorder, echoing headlines more worthy of the gutter press. Personally, I agree with physically confronting fascism, however we counter it additionally and more importantly by community and workplace organising, by our anti-capitalism and our working class solidarity – points made plainly receiving tirades of crazy hysterical non-argument.
Comrades, I realise that to some people this will seem like more bickering, more division and why can’t everyone just get along? I agree its a sorry state of affairs, however look at Greece, look at the crisis, remember our history and what happens if we get this stuff wrong. The anti-democratic culture evident from this debacle ( once more, you will either have to believe me or think me a crank) shows painfully how too much of the left is maybe scarred by past defeats, bereft of imagination and clinging on to positions in the power structure thinking that this will somehow provide ‘resistance’ or ‘great successes’.
It baulks at anything it cannot control and any meaningful creative bottom up impulse. The failure to face reality, to see things as they really are, to develop winning strategies and routes forwards is a sickness. We need honesty and frank debate and I will stand with anyone Labour, Green, Anarchist, Trotskyist or Union willing to debate the issues in a calm, rational and meaningful way.
Militant anti-fascists will be drawing lessons, appreciative that they form a minority seeking to confront fascism without hands tied behind backs. We need numbers at this demo, we need strategy and the back to basic essentials of independent working class politics, this alongside some honest upfront debate hopefully. Message me privately about future organising.