Force and Hegemony in Anti-Fascism

The ‘EDL’ could not gain any power on the streets without ideological cover. This has been granted by the popular witch-hunt or panic against Muslims. It is a mood generated by a sustained propaganda onslaught by the corporate media to promote our rulers failing ‘war on terror’ in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Just like in Orwell’s novel 1984, our rulers always manufacture bogeymen to keep the population paranoid and divided against each other. And today a frightened population facing recession and cuts are taken in – and the mood is exploited by hardcore fascists. The new found ‘legitimacy’ of the BNP and the street intimidation by the EDL are just two sides of the same coin, twin pincers of the same reaction.

We need to build new alliances between different groups to politically and culturally isolate the fascists of the BNP and the Muslim-baiting pogromists of the EDL. This requires both ideological and physical struggle.

The large drunken mob of EDL taking over a section of central Manchester on Saturday shows what we are up against. Griffin’s appearance on the BBC’s ‘question time’ will inevitably give confidence and a sense of legitimacy to every racist street thug to go ‘p*ki-bashing’. No matter how much the BBC help Griffin to appear moderate in the genteel QT debating chamber (he will denounce the EDL as thugs), the BBC elites appeasement of the BNP by allowing them on the panel will inevitably empower EDL Muslim-baiting mobs on the streets.

The EDL street mob holds up to society the mirror of the ugly reality of xenohobia and Islamophobia. This is a matter of a clash of social forces, not just some refined intellectual debate. Societies, especially those facing economic crisis, often turn ugly, going into an irrational frenzy, with mass popular movements viciously scapegoating some minority group or other. That’s the history of pogroms and ‘ethnic-cleansing’ in Europe and elsewhere.

The Islamophobic or Anti-Semitic pogrom-frenzy is an elemental force that seizes on whatever jutifications and rationalisations it needs, deploying or discarding them opportunistically. This cant be stopped as arrogant liberal elites believe, by scoring fine points with fascism’s besuited figureheads in the debating chamber, even if we win the arguments. We can only win by mobilising an equally powerful counter-veiling social force – one that can occupy the streets and also point to resolving the crisis through a class struggle against the capitalist parasites.

We may soon face the attempt by its crazed leaders to march the drunken EDL hoologan mob into a mixed area, somewhere where Muslims live in significant numbers. When it happens, to stop the pogrom we will have to physically block the way – with greater numbers united from diverse communities and social groups. Thats what our side successfully did in the battles of Cable Street in 1936 and Lewisham in 1977. That requires a politics of physical force, with large numbers of people organised and militant enough to stand their ground.

But this physical force, while necessary – is not sufficient. We need to rebuild the counter-hegemonic alliances between different groups that have been successful in the past- alliances between the different lefts, organised working class movements, oppressed ethnic, racial and religious minorities, students, other minorities like Lesbians and Gays, young people and counter-cultures…

At the moment, Muslims appear isolated and singled out. The right have won a propaganda war so that people fear ‘Islamification’. Racist fears of immigrants and immigrant descended communities are given a new edge by a religious dynamic.

Today’s pogromist swears to the media they are only against ‘Islamic extremists’ – but then carry banners against all mosques and shout slogans against all Muslims. At the same time their ideologists claim that there is no such thing as a moderate Muslim, and that in their view the whole faith of Islam is inherently terrorist!

Today’s pogromist swear that they ‘are not racist’ because ‘Islam is a religion not a race’. But as history shows, the persecution of a religious minority is just as much an evil, destructive and poisonous force for both minority and majority communities as is racism. Our argument is clear – today, Muslims in Britain form a vulnerable ethic minority, who must be defended if a civilized society is to be maintained in Britain.

But because Muslims are not only a racial or ethnic minority, but a religious one – then pogromist vigilantes like the EDL can hide beneath the cloak of our secular critique of religion! We on the left have fought centuries old battles for freedom against kings, tyrants and priests, against religious obscurantism, sexism and patriarchy. Now the fascists attempt to hijack our past victories, hijack the language of secularism and feminism – and turn them against the downtrodden immigrant workers and ethnic minorities of the Muslim faith!

Alan Lake, the wealthy business man who claims to bankroll the EDL reveals his strategy. The Guardian commented that he appears to want to “build alliances with all groups who might fall foul of the strict Islamic code, including lesbian and gay organisations, other religions and ethnic groups and supporters of free speech”. At the same time Lake said that: “Football fans are a potential source of support. They are a hoi polloi that gets off their backsides and travels to a city and they are available before and after matches.”

So will this force of violent football hooligans, who are marching around Manchester bellowing ‘God Save Our Queen’ going to stand up for secular critique, for women’s rights and Lesbian and Gay rights? Are they going to win the support of mainstream Muslims and isolate the extreme Islamist minority? Are they f*ck!

Once they have made their bridgehead, hiding beneath their ill-fitting cloak of convenience of liberal secularism, then they will attempt to role back liberal secularism, attacking other minorities. They will also attempt to use Christianity as an ethno-nationalist identity, obviously ignoring the actual teachings attributed to Christ – of peace (sermon on the mount) or tolerance and diversity (the good Samaritan).

We must therefore work within all communities to prevent the EDL and/or BNP building the ‘Islamophobic alliance’ that isolates and singles out Muslims. This means work with secularists and humanists, women’s groups, Lesbians and Gay communities, Christians, Hindus and Sikhs – as well as trades unionists and the broader working class. This is essential and difficult but not impossible. Leading figure for the Muslim Council appear to want to help, recently proclaiming that tolerance for sexual minorities like Lesbians and Gays is an Islamic goal.

And despite the Islamophobic propaganda of the BNP and EDL, reality will often break through. The professional liars and demonisers of Islam who inspire the EDL say that that the Muslims faith teaches conquest. Yet it is the West, for all its secular humanism and post enlightenment rationalism that has recently invaded and occupied two Muslim countries, Iraq and Afghanistan. It is not therefore what is found in some old book that reveals the truth – but what people actually do. Today’s problems (and solutions) have their roots in political and economic crisis – wars, occupations and recessions – not in scripture – be it the teachings of Christ, Mohammed or Voltaire.

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14 Comments

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14 responses to “Force and Hegemony in Anti-Fascism

  1. hvlm68

    It seems it is you that has fallen foul of propaganda. The EDL is not racist – yes, they have problems at the moment with BNP and other racist org’s using it as a vehicle via which to get on the streets, but they are not welcome in the EDL. The EDL is evolving and attracting demographics that others will begin to listen to, and its message is not against Islam, but that religion’s extremists who see fit to dishonour our soldiers and shun our way of life.

    I’m a 43 yr old married woman – not a skinhead, not a racist, and certainly not a member of the BNP.

  2. barrykade

    Looking at the demonstration in Manchester, the EDL were 99.9% male and 100% white. You may be a 43 year old woman, but the EDL is clearly built from football hooligans. I’ll use the evidence provided by my own eyes, thank you.

    Furthermore, if you can read, why don’t you actually respond to my critique of the EDL written above – here I address the question of the persecution of religious minorities. I mention xenophobia and ethnic cleansing, not racism. So you claim not to be ‘racist’ – i.e. you only want to engage in the persecution of minority groups based upon religion and ethnicity, not skin colour. Big deal! When Jews were driven out of the cities of medieval europe, did it matter that the persecution was based on religion and not ‘race’?

    You seem to have pasted a pre-set response about not being ‘racist’ (the EDL’s propaganda line) rather than actually responding intelligently to my arguments. This does not impress me.

    So you say you are “not against Islam, but that religion’s extremists”. So why don’t you link up with the majority of moderate British Muslims who are also against the extremists? How will provocative marches of hundreds of drunken football hooligans in city centres engage with that moderate majority and isolate the Islamist extremists from them? If encouraging moderate mainstream Islam is your intention, organising a group of bellowing football hoologans clearly up for a fight is a pretty stupid tactic. I therefore doubt either your sincerity or wisdom.

    Lastly, have you nothing better to do? I am engaged in fighting against job cuts and supporting workers rights. I get angry about greedy rich parasites and elite bankers ripping the country off, exploiting the working people and destroying the environment. You seem worried about a minority group practicing their religion. Is that what the tabloid press tells you to think?

  3. I am engaged in fighting against job cuts and supporting workers rights. I get angry about greedy rich parasites and elite bankers ripping the country off, exploiting the working people and destroying the environment. You seem worried about a minority group practicing their religion. Is that what the tabloid press tells you to think

    be proud standing up against job cuts mate you totaly miss the point of what the edl is about it is yourself that has been fooled by the anti edl uaf and press etc

    the edl is a movement that has grown in size very quickly and has no political agenda as such, it is real working class people who have one common believe that muslim radicals must not be allowed to preach hate and wish harm on our country, our brave soldiers are around the world fighting this very problem yet the goverment and police and the facist uaf allow them to stand in the streets and preach the exact thing our soldiers are fighting against. the edl is a movement of the brithish people why join another group? say the sioe why do that, they are against islam as a hole the edl has a problem with radical islamist who preach hate and death and want shariah law in the uk on this country.

    how do you expect muslims to join in our protests when the press are so far of the mark they brand us racist football thugs would average joe sat at home with his/her family want to take to the streets to protest knowing the attitude of the people who will come to counter protest? in manchester if you bother to look through the lies you will see it was the uaf constantly trying to push through the police lines the uaf who continued to shout when there was a 2 minutes silence for the troops. if you can use yoube look at a few edl videos instead of the uaf rubbish and you will clearly see the edl has both black and white members the leader of the edl youth is of mixed race so to say that the edl is racist is frankly laughable

  4. btw way i am a carer for my disabled wife who joined the edl after reading thier website with an open mind not brainwashed by the state or uaf lies

  5. mark white

    Hello,

    Kev… why don’t you read the original post by Barry before responding …He does not argue that the EDL is racist. He calls it xenophobic and Islamophobic. Is anti-semitism against Jews racism or religious persecution? What about protecting religious minorities? Muslims are an ethnic /religious minority. It is wrong to persecute them, to attempt to drive them out of the country. People think thats the EDL agenda.

    You now say that you want the mainstream Muslim majority to unite with you in defeating the extremist Jihadist minority. If thats the case then the EDL has started from the wrong position. You try to blame this all on UAF lies or propaganda. But what about press reports of the initial march in Luton – it looked like a bunch of football hoologans marching against all Muslims.

    Have you not seen the march by mainstream Luton Muslims against the Jihadist extreemists? According to the Times newspaper, on 29th May this year a group of around 200 moderate Muslims from the Luton Islamic centre peacefully marched against the Islamic extremists in Luton. They surrounded the Islamic extremists – who numbered about six and drove them from the streets shouting ‘we dont want you here’. Should not these people be your allies?

    If you say you are not against all Muslims, and want to combat Islamic extremism – then why not unite with these moderate Muslims? Instead, the very first EDL march saw an Asian restaurant smashed and random Asians punched:

    “…Yesterday there were about 500 protesters, some carrying banners with slogans such as “No Sharia Law in the UK” and “Respect our Troops”. Several cars were damaged after a small group split off from the march. An Asian-owned business had its windows smashed”

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article6356118.ece

    The Sun adds:

    “Banner-waving drunks, some disguised under balaclavas, trapped terrified Asian staff inside a restaurant”.
    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/2446970/Protest-turns-into-riot-in-Luton.html

    While the Daily Mail tells us that:

    There were reports of violence, with onlookers claiming that an Asian man was hit across the face with a banner and left with a bloody nose”.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1187165/Nine-arrested-masked-mobs-march-Muslim-extremists-turns-violent.html

    AND THIS WAS BEFORE THE UAF STARTED TO COUNTER PROTEST AGSAINST THE EDL!!!! Thats why the EDL will now always be opposed by the majority of decent British people, of all colours and faiths.

  6. barrykade

    Hi Kev and others from the EDL

    I can see on my blog stats that yopu are coming here direct from a link from the EDL forums. Thats great, welcome to the debate. But all you seem to be doing is coming straight to the comments box and pasting in the usual EDL line – ‘we are not racists, just against Islamic extremists etc’. Please can you actually read and respond to the blog posts – otherwise you look like complete prats! OK?
    Cheers!

    I have another article also more aimed at EDL members here:
    https://barrykade.wordpress.com/2009/10/12/defending-england-against-the-english-defence-league/

    Its called “Defending England Against the English Defence League”. Enjoy!

  7. EX SQUADDIE

    OK,

    I am ex-forces myself. And like most people I think the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are bollox – based on complete LIES! Kev of the EDL bleats on about ‘our brave soldiers are around the world fighting this very problem’. F*ck that! These stupid wars are causing the problem! BRING OUR LADS HOME NOW!

    DONT USE OUR LADS IN AFGHANISTAN AS AN EXCUSE FOR YOUR MORONIC EDL SHIT! OK?

  8. Tanya

    i think most of the edl just hate ‘pakis’ and all this stuff about being against extreme islam is an excuse – its just football fans up for a fight needing a reason to kick off, imho

  9. Idris Khan

    This is hilarious … Barry’s erudite, articulate and well argued points stand in total contrast to the EDL muppets ravings. They can not engage in argument, they just spout their ‘were not racist’ PR spin and then run off! All these EDL go on about ‘England’ but they can hardly speak or write in English!

  10. DaveB

    The first thing edl have to do – if they are not to be seen as anything other than a bunch of hooligans with fascist inclinations – is establish formal relations with Muslim organisations that are opposed to extremism.

    And a decent turnout by EDL at anti-BNP events would also help to prove the anti-racist/nazi position they also claim.

  11. you are all missing the point of the edl. it is not politically motivated it is a group asfor mentioned that started in reaction to the radicals in luton, which has grown through word of mouth, this is why there are the likes of yourselves who portray us in a bad light, you do not get the fact that the edl is just a growing group with a joint believe that radical muslims must not be allowed in our country, not with an agenda like uaf sioe etc, please try to look about the edl on their own sites and dont believe everything the press say, as we all know they are not the most reliable source of truth and are staunch backers of the uaf along with the goverment. we are not jumping on the troops bandwagon the reason this is mentioned is simple our troops are in a fight against muslim extremists (irrelevant whether right or wrong)yet in this country we allow the extremists to preach hate and wish death on us and our troops why is this allowed? a country of free speech you say yet you wish to silence the voice of the edl a facist act in itself.

    at the end of the day if you believe the edl is wrong why are you so eager to start this blog to dismiss them? is it because they have found a cause that you are to scared to encroach upon through fear of being branded right wing or do you believe that extremist pose no threat?.

    what is your problem with wanting people who wish harm on this country to leave?

  12. DaveB

    Kev Edl – you say we are all missing the point of edl, that it is not poliiically motivated. I think its you who is missing the point. I’ve checked out some of the youtube vids of EDL protests – I’ve seen nazi salutes and someone on the Manchester protest was shouting anti-communist slogans.
    What have nazi salutes and anti-communist slogans got to do with opposing Muslim extremism?

    Incidentally, my dad is a communist and he was a Royal Marine. Why is EDL opposed to him?

    You may say that there’s always a few nutters in any gathering. But I’ve only ever seen nazi salutes at fascist type events and anti-communist slogans are a form of political activity.

    I think that its you who doesn’t get the point. Why haven’t you responded to the issues raised in Barry Kades post at the top of this thread.

    That’s the point.

    And for you to imply that we are in sympathy with people who want to harm this country is beneath contempt.

  13. St George (legendary dragon-slayer and historic swarthy middle-easterner)

    Hi Kev of the EDL – you said in point 11:

    “you are all missing the point of the edl. it is not politically motivated it is a group asfor mentioned that started in reaction to the radicals in luton, which has grown through word of mouth…”

    So you are new to politics are you Kev? You “are not politically motivated”? Well, I’m sorry but welcome to the real world, where politics happens. Its time to educate yourself and get savvy – and fast. On the one side you will have neo-nazis trying to turn the EDL into a violent ‘pogrom’ against innocent Muslim families. And on the other side you will face us – socialists and antifascists of all faiths and none, and of many ethnicities – trying to defend the Muslim community and other vulnerable minority groups. You cannot stand in the middle, but must choose sides. Will you stay with the EDL even when it is riddled with the Nazi cancer, and trying to destroy Britain with a civil war?

    Yes, Islamic extremists are bad. But a bigger extremist threat is stirring in Britain – one that claims to speak for ‘us’, the white English majority. And that makes it far more likely to win influence and cause terrible pain and division. You are foolishly attempting to awake the dragon, and now you pose sitting astride it, feebly imagining you can tame it. But that dragon only wants to destroy, to set fire to you and me, it will burn Muslims and Christians, atheists, conservatives, nationalists and socialists and leave our land scorched and barren. Get out of the way, Kev, for we are going to make one great effort and try and slay the dragon, while it is still half asleep. You can even join us and help us, for it is not yet too late.

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