The rising tide of xenophobia on our streets


5:09 pm - September 12th 2009

by Sunny Hundal    


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Yesterday two groups were planning a demonstration in Harrow, London: Stop Islamisation of Europe and the English Defence League. Their aim was clearly to incite some trouble given they had deliberately chosen the newly open Harrow mosque as the venue on the aniversary of 9/11.

Up to 1,500 people were expected according to some but in the end about 20 showed up. The counter-demonstration by United Against Fascism on the other hand was massively boosted by text messages circulating among Muslims calling on them to defend the mosque.

But with the ‘enemy’ failing to materialise, inevitably some elements of the counter-demonstration ended up throwing things at the police. To be sure, there were many people from the mosque trying to keep the crowd calm and telling them to go home.

But I think yesterday’s event was pyrrhic victory.

The unsurprising news reports of Muslim youths throwing things at the police did not do their cause any good at all.

There’s a few points to be made:

1. For many BNP & EDL types, the enemy are Muslims, not Asians or even all ethnic minorities. Muslims are easier to bait, easier to target and easier to demonise. I’ve said this repeatedly in the past: any examination of BNP / EDL activities that ignores their shift in focus to Muslims, is highly naive.

2. The SIOE and EDL people haven’t sprang up as a direct result of terrorism, otherwise they’d have started in July 2005. They’ve become more prominent recently because the rhetoric around Muslims taking over, the “demographic problem of Muslims”, the growing number of mosques etc has become fever-pitch, especially in the mainstream media. The kind of people who now daily scream about how many kids have Muslim names or how their babies are swelling in numbers are to blame for this hysteria.

3. These large confrontations make it even more difficult to challenge Islamists and racists on either side for obvious reasons. Muslims will become less tolerant of internal and external criticism given they feel under attack; while the xenophobes who peddle the scary demographics will point to the TV reports and say: ‘see, told you the Muslims were taking over, we can’t even stop them from building mosques now!

4. This is why I’ve increasingly shifted my focus on attacking these mainstream xenophobes, because they play very nicely into the polarising atmosphere that religious extremists want.

5. Unlike Lenin and others at Socialist Unity I’m not euphoric over what happened yesterday in Harrow.

Most of the youths who came weren’t inspired by the UAF call but by text messaging. Sooner or later these brawls will get out of hand and a rogue gang of youths will beat up someone so badly the entire anti-racist movement (and all Muslims) will be smeared by association. The situation is getting out of hand because now the EDL only need to call for a demonstration, turn up in small numbers, and watch the opposite side make a fool of themselves on TV.

The impact of the MSM cannot be ignored – the UAF and Muslim groups also need to be savvy about how they’ll be portrayed on screens. I’m not criticising the UAF but pointing out that the situation could very easily turn against them.

We need to be more careful when tackling this rising tide of xenophobia.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


Indeed.

Yesterday was the first protest of this type I’ve attended, in a vaguely UAF capacity (I’m a rep with a union that’s affiliated to them but not a direct member) and was a tad dismayed by the hidden faces and, later, the missiles being thrown at the Police.

Surely that’s exactly the sort of thing that the Islamophobes will play on and ultimately counterproductive.

Cor blimey, what a mess.
We have a media doing their best to insight people to believe they are under attack by benefit-stealing foreigners, people who believe it who aren’t proper racists, proper racists and those who protest against racists starting a riot because they’re bored.

There are many people at fault, and what to do is a big problem. There is no doubt plenty of people feel (rightly?) that they have been abandonded by the political establishment and they are angry. I don’t think University-educated middle-class liberals talking down to them and telling them they are naughty for supporting the likes of the BNP is going to help.

There is a serious problem and the MUWs at the Mail and Express etc. are throwing gallons of petrol on the fire, but blaming them is not enough

Totally agree with the OP and #1.

I think the overexcitement and sweaty palms I saw over at Lenin’s Tomb aren’t good news.
Granted, the skinheads of the EDL/SIOE or whatever it’s called who organised a 9/11-related demo right outside a mosque were simply taking the piss, what else. Imagine if they did the same outside a cathedral when the IRA murder a policeman or something.
But somehow I cant help but think that in having entire mobs frothing at the mouth while chucking stuff at the police they got the best possible response.

The term Facist is confusing me here, surely the individuals that murdered 55 people on the underground and a London bus. the individuals who attacked Glasgow airport and planned to murder 100’s of ” white slags” at a London nightclub or the indivduals who this week were found guilty of planning to down 7 trans-atlantic planes full of human beings, these must be the real facists not a few skinheads.

‘Terrorist’ does not equal ‘fascist’ any more than ‘racist’ equals ‘fascist’.

Many people are far too free in using the term ‘fascist’

@ 555

Now, that isn’t a fascist. Look it up.

What you’re looking for is extermism and that comes m’dear in all shades of right, left and the middle.

This doesn’t surprise me, how stupid. But then I think that about these muslim groups who are trying to get….what exactly? They have the anti-racist mob who helps them because they genuinely care about all people being discriminated but what about all those muslim kids? How wellcoming are they to blacks? Are they even left???

If I went to their country, I’d probably be thought of as a slave-cause I’m black and a whore who doesn’t wear a veil-cause I’m a woman.

Ironically enough-ha, lol-I’ve had more racist abuse from muslims-arabs/SE Asians, then white people…

So for me, again, this can be blindly sweeping any chance of dialogue, which is what is happening. I just don’t get how you can go on about hating a place but then stay-unless-you mention colonisation etc is the reason so but they never do!

I’m patiently waiting to read a positive and progressive story about muslims in this country speaking with empathy about race, society, the islamic culture in the middle east/SE Asia and why they feel it’s okay to have mosques et al in this country but it wouldn’t be done in their own. Honesty.

Also why do none of these muslim ‘leaders’ talk about how Islam was actually LESS oppressive then christianity!? I mean, it was one of the most intellectually progressive religions…from hoe the Alahambra was built to Persopolis’s creation…?

Why not? No, go and on and on and on about ‘Allah’ and how you are ‘righteous’ ones..just as bad as the crazy Christian fundementals in the US is you ask me..

Anyhow, until then, they will be fuelling these racists who have NO right to behave in this way when ‘their’ country-which is an island lol-has spent centuries taking from people/countries to line their own pockets.

I went to £3,000 a year private school that taught us slavery for 2 weeks…only. I daren’t ask what it was like in a state school…

So go figure why these nazi’s are so deluded. And angry.

totally agreed Sunny. There are elements of the counter-demonstration we on the anti-fascist left should totally ignore through ideological differences, and for danger of getting our fingers burnt.

“4. This is why I’ve increasingly shifted my focus on attacking these mainstream xenophobes, because they play very nicely into the polarising atmosphere that religious extremists want.”

Please, this seems to me to be the most important thing. While the BNP and various other groups exist and have substantial followings, it’s the mainstreaming of xenophobic discourse in media that really worries me. The recent consternation about the Question Time invite for the BNP only distracts from how respectable and normal many of their opinions already are among large sections of the population. Whether the BNP appears on QT or not, the very next day we’ll still see another news article or report that feeds the same image of Muslims or “foreigners”. Yet it will pass by as part of the normal process of the news in our society.

I’ve been to a few UAF demos myself – peaceful ones – and think time could be better spent making a wider point about xenophobia in society, instead of the narrows in the BNP. Perhaps the UAF is not the place for that, but I still feel it’s a valid view.

Well said Sunny!

One special reason for the current surge in anti-immigrant xenophobia is that, come the general election, it is most likely to diminish white working-class support for the Labour Party.

Electoral reform, anyone?

“..inevitably some elements of the counter-demonstration ended up throwing things at the police.”

inevitably?

why so?

why couldn’t they observe their “oppo” was pathetically small in number and posed no threat (bar some token shouting, etc), done some triumphal shouting back and mocking, and gone on their way? That would actually have taken less effort than making a deliberate choice to attack the police.

Saying it’s “inevitable” is defeatist, and implies that the counter-demonstrators are even more (incurably?) stupid than their aggressors – turning an easy win into negative press, and handing a media ‘victory’ to the EDL. “Hey look, Muslims can’t control themselves”.

But there’s nowt “inevitable” about it.

Sorry. Pissed-off rant over.

12. Chris Baldwin

“The term Facist is confusing me here, surely the individuals that murdered 55 people on the underground and a London bus. the individuals who attacked Glasgow airport and planned to murder 100’s of ” white slags” at a London nightclub or the indivduals who this week were found guilty of planning to down 7 trans-atlantic planes full of human beings, these must be the real facists not a few skinheads.”

1. It’s fascist not facist

2. Fascism is an ideology with specific tenets and historical roots, it is not a synonym for “evil”. No, those terrorists were not fascists, they were Islamists, which is something completely different. The BNP and those with similar views are fascists and there are not a few of them, there are thousands and many more sympathizers. They are as much a real threat as anyone.

rantersparadise

#Now, that isn’t a fascist. Look it up. #

More fool me then…I’ve been reading books, articles, blogs and all sorts of opinion for years on what constitutes fascism. I should have just ‘looked it up’.

Any particular reference guide you’re recommending? Even better..just tell me what a fascist is..or maybe Sunny could pop up with the definitive answer?

Nope…wait a minute…Chris Baldwin’s got the answer..

“Fascism is an ideology with specific tenets and historical roots”..and they are?…whoops…you’ve failed to say…what a fuckin surprise…a bunch of liberals sitting on the fence

As it happens…since we’re all such experts on fascism around here without actually ever divulging a definition…I’ll go absolutely mental and suggest the following…in my considered opinion…and after studying an awful lot of bullshit around the issue I’ll plum for this…about the best I’ve see..but hardly definitive..Umberto Eco’s take on the situation

http://www.themodernword.com/eco/eco_blackshirt.html

So that more or less convicts the London bombers by falling into at least 10 of the 14 categories…I’d say 9/14 constitutes a majority decision…brings home a unanimous verdict on the BNP and for now…in a favourable and possibly undeserved light hangs the jury on the EDL…though I’ve little doubt they’ll cop a guilty verdict eventually.

Please, either address your objections to Mr Eco or come up with a better checklist AND stop faffing about sitting on the fence FFS…it’s not compulsory even for liberals…or are you all relativists too? Sheesh

Whoops..one rider on Umberto’s number 7..

“To people who feel deprived of a clear social identity, Ur-Fascism says that their only privilege is the most common one, to be born in the same country.”

Can’t personally think of a substantive reason why religion can’t be substituted for country; simply replacing a “blood and soil” mythology for a supposedly revealed truth hardly changes things. Furthermore “country” doesn’t have to be a presently existing one…Hitler predicated much of his reasoning on a greater future German Reich which certainly wasn’t in existence when he began his political ‘career’. A theoretical future Caliphate would occupy much the same role for extremist Islamists.

Now I can go to bed and await the slings and arrows of outrageous relativism berating me with accusations of Islamophobia at the merest suggestion of the potential possibility of the existence of a phenomenon named Islamofascism. Don’t bother..you’re boring…and trite and living in a house built on sand. I’ve just heard a guy on radio 5 calling for greater dialogue and cooperation between ‘communities’ to end all forms of extremism. Hmmm…? How about we fuckin forget about ‘communities’, their self-appointed spokespeople and all just start being citizens again, getting on with our neighbours and standing up to the common enemies: junk capitalism, the corporate state and fuzzy relativists?

Now, let’s not get bogged down with semantics, shall we?

Both BNP and fundamentalist Islamists embrace ideologies I -and I assume most people on Liberal Conspiracy- would not touch with a bargepole.

The thing is- there’s an element of delusion within some on the far-left (Lenin’s tomb and Socialist Unity two examples) who think that certain Islamist extremists are automatically ‘comrades’ whereas they aren’t. People who are deeply homophobic and misogynist aren’t ‘comrades’ and I guess they wouldn’t want to be called that either. They just happen to be against the EDL/BNP oiks as well at this specific point in time.

Also, the message we need to give out to those proto-racists from the EDL and potential sympathisers before it’s too late is this:

There are people making a mint out there and you’re doing exactly what they want. They want ordinary people, workers like us, to split and quibble over stuff such as ‘skin colour’, ‘religion’ and ‘place of birth’ while we should be channelling our energy together towards better wages, better working conditions, affordable transport, better housing policies, job security, a cap on stupid profits etc…

There’s a debate in the meantime going on here. Quite insightful as to the mind of a BNP supporter.

Now I see this clown is trying to inflame the situation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNSsywa46Oo&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fbastardoldholborn.blogspot.com%2F&feature=player_embedded

Is he Nick Griffin’s agent?

Has no-one heard of the term “Clerical fascism”?
People who want to repress half the population, kill gays, outlaw trades unions, and have an ideological/theological objection to *any* form of democracy, should properly be called…fascists…to be precise (in the case of the worst kind of Political Islamicists), Clerical fascists. Their main victims are ordinary Muslims, of course.
Yes: they’re clerical fascists: why would anyone of the left object to such a designation?

Uhuh. I wrote about this yesterday – another view on who the real fascists are.

“Fascism is an ideology with specific tenets and historical roots”

Er, don’t all ideologies, by definition, have that – Marxism does, as does liberalism, conservatism and every other ism I can think of.

The problem for the left is that fascism and socialism have more in common than you like to admit (the word Nazi means “National Socialist”) . The biggest, arguably only, fault line is that fascism relies on the formation of out groups (jews, gypsys, gays, or currently, muslims) to unify the masses – it gives people an enemy, and alleigance to “the cause” is defined in terms of difference from, and opposition to, that enemy.
Socialism relies on the establishment of an all embracing, quasi religious relationship with the state to the extent that the state and the individual become indistinguishable and out groups are, de facto, people who do not have that relationship (capitalists, adherents to any religion, intellectuals etc).
Both can be extremely nasty, and given that both have killed millions, I’ve never really understood why one is seen as ok, or at least much more ok than the other.

#the word Nazi means “National Socialist”#

FFS…this again! Meaning and Naming are entirely separate concepts.

Let me demonstrate….the word “Boots” means protective footwear…so how come when I nipped down to buy a pair of wellies yesterday all they had was shampoo, deodorant and the contents of what could best be described as a “chemists”. Then I went to Iceland for a packet of frozen sausage rolls…the round trip to Reykjavik cost me £789…turns out it not just a Scandinavian island, it’s a frozen food shop.

See…it’s a minefield!

Now try “People’s Republic of China”…sounds pretty egalitarian huh? Or “German Democratic Republic”…that sounds like my cup of tea…Or the “Church of latter-day Saints”…sound like nice people…not the sort to go around bothering you or making a nuisance of themselves.

“Fascism is an ideology with specific tenets and historical roots”

One of the best held political secrets is that “fascism” is a left-wing ideology, although historians have known that for decades. The documented evidence is compelling:

Mussolini was editor of the Italian Socialist Party’s newspaper before he was expelled from the Party and went on to found the Fasci di Combattimento in 1919.

The provenance of Blair’s Third Way goes back to Mussolini – see Martin Clark, an academic historian at Edinburgh University, on: Modern Italy 1871-1995 (Longman 2nd ed. (1996)), p.250, which has an illuminating section on the policies of Mussolini’s fascist government : “They seemed to offer ‘a third way’, between capitalism and Bolshevism, which looked attractive in the Depression. …”

The formal name of the Nazis in Germany was the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. Try the Party’s basic 25-point programme of 1920 which was never amended – the Führer, who endorsed it, couldn’t be wrong:
http://users.stlcc.edu/rkalfus/PDFs/026.pdf

Besides the notorious racist elements, the Nazi programme also included a string of commitments familiar from many European socialist manifestos – such as: nationalisation of trusts, profit-sharing in large enterprises, better pensions etc. Hitler used to denounce “Bolshevism” but not “Socialism”. Racism is not necessarily inherent in Fascism – the Italian Fascists only became racist under pressure from the Nazi Germany forces based in Italy.

Oswald Mosley, founder of the British Union of Facists in 1932, was previously a cabinet minister in Ramsay Macdonald’s Labour government of 1929-31. Mosley resigned in 1930 saying the government was doing too little to deal with rising unemployment.

We also have George Orwell’s diary notes for a public meeting addressed by Mosley on 16 March 1936:

“Last night to hear Mosley speak at the Public Hall [in Barnsley], which is in structure a theatre. It was quite full – about 700 people I should say. About 100 Blackshirts on duty, with two or three exceptions weedy looking specimens, and girls selling Action etc. Mosley spoke for an hour and a half and to my dismay seemed to have the meeting mainly with him. He was booed at the start but loudly clapped at the end. Several men who tried to interject with questions were thrown out . . . one with quite unnecessary violence. . . . M. is a very good speaker. His speech was the usual clap-trap – Empire free trade, down with the Jew and the foreigner, higher wages and shorter hours all round etc. After the preliminary booing the (mainly) working class audience was easily bamboozled by M speaking as it were from a Socialist angle, condemning the treachery of successive governments towards the workers. The blame for everything was put upon mysterious international gangs of Jews who were said to be financing, among other things the British Labour Party and the Soviet. . . . M. kept extolling Italy and Germany but when questioned about concentration camps etc always replied ‘We have no foreign models; what happens in Germany need not happen here.’ . . . ”
From George Orwell: The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters, Vol. 1 An Age Like This 1920-1940 (Penguin Books) p.230.

The key sentence is: “After the preliminary booing the (mainly) working class audience was easily bamboozled by M speaking as it were from a Socialist angle, condemning the treachery of successive governments towards the workers.”

Many years later, on 26 April 1968, Mosley wrote to The Times: “I am not and never have been a man of the right. My position was on the left and is now in the centre of politics.”

Frank Fisher,
but you manipulated the truth in your blog entry.

You wrote:
West Midlands Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Sharon Rowe takes a similarly direct route: ‘If the EDL come back to this city in future I’ve got more of an evidence case, and intelligence to arrest them a lot earlier, to prevent a breach of the peace’. Nice. Say something that angers people, and you’ll be arrested.

That’s unfair and that’s not what this is about.

I’ve seen what the EDL have caused in Birmingham. West Midlands Police took an enormous amount of stick from all sides (from left to right, from the Methodist Church to residents’ associations, from shopkeepers to shoppers, from the local papers to local radios) because they let the EDL march twice in August and September saying their intentions would be peaceful and they had no reason to presume otherwise.

In July the EDL stood there by the Bullring chanting blatantly racist stuff. Still WM Police gave them the benefir of the doubt and let them go ahead in August and September. The result? They had do to literally close off the city centre.

Now, while i’m prepared to admit that a good amount of mess in August was caused by some counter-demonstrators (not so much the UAF but the Muslim youth spontaneously coming into towm to kick the crap out of anyone passing by), in September in particular the EDL were appalling.

They didnt co-operate with the police. They left the designated point (Broad St) to go for a wander abut time abusing people and seeking (and getting) confrontation. They devastated buses and other public property. That is not ‘freedom of speech’. Frankly WM Police are there to protect the local citizens, familes, shoppers, shops, etc. So if you get this group of oiks coming into town to cause mayhem I think the least the police could do is zero tolerance towards them.

It’s not a matter of ‘freedom of speech’. It’s a matter of safety and security. And the EDL don’t want that. For sure.

“FFS…this again! Meaning and Naming are entirely separate concepts.”

Amazing to hear that from a leftie – left wing thinking normally tends toward linguistic determinism – which is why there is so much debate in PC circles about labels.

I hate to disppoint you but I am familiar with the Sapir Whorf hypotheis (I don’t agree with it though, and by the sound of it you don’t either) You are correct that concepts and the labels are represented separately, but most theorists will admit to some interplay between the two, basically that the socially constructed “meaning” of a concept is influenced by language to a greater or lesser extent.

#but most theorists will admit to some interplay between the two#

…. particularly when there is a disingenuous attempt to appeal to socially conservative reactionary elements and the labour movement simultaneously in a cynical bid for power

#basically that the socially constructed “meaning” of a concept is influenced by language to a greater or lesser extent.#

except in this case, it wasn’t so much socially constructed, as fabricated by a smallish self-serving group for its cynical propaganda value…in such a case, I think it’s fair to say that the “real meaning” and the name bear no relation whatsoever.

20
Fascism is not a left or right-wing ideology it is a form of government which is anti-democratic, the term ‘fascism’ tends to be used more as an insult such as the term ‘peasant’, but this has got lost owing to its’ constant use.
Hitler’s government, which was right-wing’ nationalist and racist’ it was also fascist, the Soviet Union was left-wing, internationalist and fascist, Mussolini was right-wing and nationalist also non-racist and fascist.
Fascism is the modern equivalent of absolute monarchy.

I have been rather dismayed by much of what I have seen, admittedly second hand via TV, at these protests. I am quite happy that people have counter demonstrations at EDL and fellow travellers, but I agree with the thrust of what has been said regarding the image that stone throwing at police portrays on the media.

I totally condemn the attacks on Mosques by anyone, but a stone thrower is a stone thrower in my eyes and deserves to be condemned by anyone.

I am not about to see one type of violent thuggery eradicated, only to be replaced by another.

I urge everyone concerned to be a bit more media savy here. You will not win friends by being seen to be carrying out violence, esp against the police.

Has no-one heard of the term “Clerical fascism”?
People who want to repress half the population

Dunno what the hell that has to do with anything here.

The point is that the EDL are a bunch of fascists. They managed to goad the Muslims into a big demonstration and then watched the fireworks.

‘Up to 1,500 people were expected according to some but in the end about 20 showed up’

And for you those 20 people represent a ‘rising tide of xenophobia’?

Stop hyping the fuckers up and the ‘easily baited’ Muslim counter-demonstrators will stay at home too.

‘Amazing to hear that from a leftie – left wing thinking normally tends toward linguistic determinism – which is why there is so much debate in PC circles about labels.’

Chomskyan generative grammar is at the opposite end of the theoretical spectrum from Sapir Whorf’s linguistic determinism.

30. Michael Treacy

1. comment by
Dave P

Indeed.

Yesterday was the first protest of this type I’ve attended, in a vaguely UAF capacity (I’m a rep with a union that’s affiliated to them but not a direct member) and was a tad dismayed by the hidden faces and, later, the missiles being thrown at the Police.

Surely that’s exactly the sort of thing that the Islamophobes will play on and ultimately counterproductive.

You admit to being ‘A tad dismayed.’ That would never do would it! You should be utterly appalled and, being a Union Rep, start working for workers rights and not appeasing violence!

Besides the notorious racist elements, the Nazi programme also included a string of commitments familiar from many European socialist manifestos’

There is no ‘Besides the notorious racist elements’. You use the phrase as if racism was just a minor part of Nazism or that their policies carried equal weight.

One theme that keeps being overlooked here, and i my opinion is massive, is the effect of ten years of relentless tabloid-bombardment.

From what I read, according to the people behind the EDL the catalyst behind forming the group was the Luton protests last March when some Muslim demonstrators booed off British soldiers returning from Basra.
You may remember the tabloids went mental following that (here a quick snippet).

Now, look at Max Hasting’s piece from last Friday’s Daily Mail. Is this a responsible sort of behaviour in the midst of all this tension? Is accusing Muslim citizens of calling their children ‘Mohammed’ a good way to go about it?

Good piece, Sunny.

34. the a&e charge nurse

[31] “Muslim demonstrators booed off British soldiers returning from Basra” – a slight understatement, perhaps, Claude ?

I seem to recall protestors in Luton brandishing placards with slogans like “butchers of Basra”, “murderers” and “baby-killers”.

And for you those 20 people represent a ‘rising tide of xenophobia’?

No – that relates to point 2.

As Claude points out in his article, linked above in #31.

@ 28 “Chomskyan generative grammar is at the opposite end of the theoretical spectrum from Sapir Whorf’s linguistic determinism.”

True. Not sure what your point is though. Chomsky was a leftie and therefore being a leftie is inconsistent with linguistic determinism ?

#24: “Hitler’s government, which was right-wing’ nationalist and racist’ it was also fascist, the Soviet Union was left-wing, internationalist and fascist, Mussolini was right-wing and nationalist also non-racist and fascist.”

That’s mostly the usual mantra but note that the Soviet Union signed a Friendship Treaty with Nazi Germany on 28 September 1939 when Britain and France were already at war with Germany. Reference: Norman Davies: Euorpe (OUP, 1996) p. 1000. Here is the text of the treaty:
http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/German-Soviet_Boundary_and_Friendship_Treaty_28_September_1939

Evidently, Stalin had no objections to “friendly” relations with the Nazis. Famously, the Communists in France became the mainstay of the Resistance during the German occupation of France but only after Germany invaded the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941. Before that, the French Communist Party was officially neutral.

There is no historical basis for the claim that the Nazis were “right-wing”. Their economic policies, when in government in Germany, were characteristic of leftist governments, not right-wing, “free market” ideologies.

Kindleberger notes that once in power after January 1933, the Nazis were hugely successful in reducing unemployment and that was through state spending on public works before they embarked on rearmament:

” . . from 6 million in October 1933 to 4.1 million a year later, 2.8 million in February 1935, 2.5 million in February 1936, and 1.2 million in February 1937.” [CP Kindleberger: The World in Depression 1929-1939 (Allen Lane, 1973) p.240]

A regime of regulatory controls over prices, business investment and imports was introduced to contain the inflationary consequences of the boost in state spending on, initially, motorways, government buildings, stadiums, making movies (Leni Riefenstahl) and setting up VolksWagen as a state-owned enterprise in 1937 to make a “People’s Car”.

In 1936, Lloyd George – the last Liberal prime minister of Britain – went on a visit to Germany to meet with Herr Hitler. On returning to Britain he wrote an article for the Daily Express of 17 November 1936 in which he said all sorts of amazingly flattering things about Herr Hitler:
http://www.history-of-the-holocaust.org/LIBARC/ARCHIVE/Chapters/Stabiliz/Foreign/LloydGeo.html

Note too this academic assessment of the motivation for National Socialism:

“The Nazi Party leaders were savvy enough to realise that pure racial anti-semitism would not set the party apart from the pack of racist, anti-semitic, and ultranationalist groups that abounded in post-1918 Germany. Instead, I would suggest, the Nazi success can be attributed largely to the economic proposals found in the party’s programs, which in an uncanny fashion integrated elements of 18th and 19th century nationalist-etatist philosophy with Keynesian economics. Nationalist etatism is an ideology that rejects economic liberalism and promotes the right of the state to intervene in all spheres of life including the economy.” [W Brustein: The Logic of Evil – The Social Origins of the Nazi Party 1925-33 (Yale UP, 1996), p.51]

The reference there to Keynes relates, I think, to a pamphlet Keynes co-authored for the Liberal Party in its 1929 election campaign on: Can Lloyd George Do It? And Keynes then briefly visited Germany in January 1932 to lecture – a year before Hitler was offered the Chancellorship in Germany – see DE Moggridge: Maynard Keynes (1992) p.539. There is evidence from Avraham Barkai: Nazi Economics (1990) that the Nazis lifted his policy ideas for public working spending to alleviate unemployment in times of depression and contrary to the advice they were getting at the time from Schacht, the banker and effectively their principal economic adviser and fixer.

And we have this:

“The tax department chief of the Association of Industrialists (Reichsgruppe Industrie) emphasized that it was useless to attempt precise comparisons between the new and old tax regulations because the important issue was ‘the new spirit of the reform, the spirit of national Socialism. The principle of the common good precedes the good of the individual stands above everything else. In the interests of the whole nation, everyone has to pay the taxes he owes according to the new tax law.'”
Avraham Barkai: Nazi Economics (Berg Publisher Ltd (1990)) p.183. Mr Barkai is a research fellow at the Institute of German History, Tel Aviv.

The leftist sentiments there resonate clearly. If Fascism isn’t left-wing, how come this?

“However it was with the idea of a state planning agency that [Stuart] Holland [Labour MP for Lambeth, Vauxhall 1979-89, political assistant in Downing St to the PM 1967/8, and shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury 1987-9] hoped to show the new possibilities open to a more just economy. He looked to the Italian example of the IRI (the Industrial Reconstruction Institute), set up by Mussolini and used by subsequent Italian governments to develop the economy. This had, of course, already been tried through the IRC (the Industrial Reorganization Corporation) set up as part of the National Plan in 1966, but the IRC had been too small to have much effect on the British economy. A revamped IRC in the form of a National Enterprise Board would, however, have a major effect in stimulating the private sector through an active policy of state intervention and direction.”
Geoffrey Foote: The Labour Party’s Political Thought: A History (Palgrave, 1997) p.311.

39. the a&e charge nurse

[35] Claude may have linked to a Scum headline but he is being rather disingenuous if he is suggesting that anger (within the media or anywhere else) arose because returning soldiers were simply “booed”.

Let’s start by admitting that extremists populate both sets of demonstrators.

>From what I read, according to the people behind the EDL the catalyst behind forming the group was the Luton protests last March when some Muslim demonstrators booed off British soldiers returning from Basra.
You may remember the tabloids went mental following that (here a quick snippet).

Good point. Tabloids much to blame.

For context, I recall about 20 “Muslim” (I would probably call them Islamist) protestors in a town with a Muslim community of around 30k, the community being noticeably absent from the demonsration.

To be fair, the local Muslim community were not noticeably welcoming the soldiers back either.

The most balanced article at the time that I saw was from the Luton UAF, which I reproduced here:

http://www.mattwardman.com/blog/2009/03/13/luton-anti-army-demonstrations-nuts-to-all-extremists-from-norfolk-unity-blog/

My commentary on the papers, including the one linked by A&E above, was:

“This reporting is bollocks; it fails to give the crucial context to anyone who just sees the front page – as we know is often the case for people who, for example, watch the “papers review” on the television. Just adding “Extremist” into the headline would be better. To their credit, none of the “qualities” played the same trick. Where to start?

1. The “Muslim extremist” (not quite an accurate description, but close enough) demonstrators were about 20 people, are thought to be associated with the organisation Al-Muhajiroun – or related glove puppet organisations.
2. Luton has a Muslim community of around 30,000 – and there is no real evidence that I have seen that that is mainly where this crowd originated.
3. I don’t actually see much difference from the language used by most “White British” demonstrators against the operations in Iraq.
4. Yes, we are right to be disgusted by the protest.
5. What’s it going to be next? “Sensible Daily Mail front page reporting” instead of “somehow a sensible report appeared on the front page of the Daily Mail this morning”.
6. This is an excellent way to allow the public to swallow BNP attack lines.

Most of the Muslim community may be sceptical or hostile, and that is their right; I don’t agree with that. I’d be out there welcoming the troops home – they did a decent job in a difficult set of circumstances.

I tend to agree with Margaret Moran the MP: the question is whether the demo should have been allowed to go ahead in these circumstances. If Dave Gorman the comedian photographing Helter-Skelters constitutes a possible breach of the peace, then I don’t see how this demonstration failed to qualify; breach of the peace depends on context, but the comparison is startling.”

The local TV coverage was far superior than the nationals, but I don’t know if it is still available.

Rgds

PS It perhaps points up the importance of media monitoring projects, such as those Tim I is spearheading. And please god let the Daily Mail introduce a paywall.

#38
Absolutely. You are correct and I don’t dispute a single word you wrote.

However:

1) I linked to one Sun front page for reasons of time and practicality, but the swirl of articles, comments and editorials from all the usual tabloids was simply incredible.

2) For what? For 20 or so isolated extremists? A one-off demonstration, however objectionable that may have looked, sparked rage that went on for months and was disproportionate.

3) The articles etc that followed had a particular angle towards “Muslims” as a whole, and I remember very unfortunate references to bearded demonstrators and all that. Unfortunately I havent got time to find the links, but on my blog I did link to several atrocious tabloid pieces .

4) Just to put it into perspective. Look at about three or four months ago, in the aftermath of British servicemen murdered in Ulster by the IRA in cold blood. A few weeks later, the police went to arrest some suspects in a Catholic area. They were met with petrol bombs and hours of unrest followed in the streets. Yet those policemen were doing their job. That, which was a thousand times more severe than 20 people with placards in Luton, hardly raised an eyebrow, especially in the tabloid press.

[I dont wish to start a debate on this but, incidentally, is it possible to criticise those British soldiers who were found guilty of torture and an illegal invasion of a sovereign country without triggering a rabid response?].

Good post but once again ruined by discussion on if the Nazis or Fascists were left or right wing.

It’s the modern equivalent of asking how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

but he is being rather disingenuous if he is suggesting that anger (within the media or anywhere else) arose because returning soldiers were simply “booed”.

That is in fact exactly what happened. Many of these groups sprung up and received a huge surge of support following that Luton demo. Here’s a lot of background info:

http://www.searchlightmagazine.com/index.php?link=template&story=286

44. the a&e charge nurse

[40] thanks, Claude – good questions.

To take your last point – can we criticise bad apples in the forces?
Well I think Zimardo provides a masterly exposition of this phenomena
http://mitworld.mit.edu/video/459

The ‘Lucifer effect’ attempts to explain why ‘ordinary people’ do bad things (especially in a combat situation) – needless to say the answers are not straightforward.
In my experience it is usually those at the end of a dysfunctional chain who are blamed, rather than those responsible for instigating the likes of Abu-Ghraib in the first place – I would certainly like to see Blair taken down a peg or two.

Turning to your analysis of the Luton demo, well it might have been brushed of as nothing more than the action of a few religious extremists were it not for the London tube bombs (7/7) Glasgow airport, and perhaps to a lesser extent threats to kill Rushdie (for writing a book).
The Luton demonstrators, although a minority were seen by many as emblematic of the kind of mind-set that led to the acts of dreadful violence mentioned above.

#43
The Luton demonstrators, although a minority were seen by many as emblematic of the kind of mind-set that led to the acts of dreadful violence mentioned above.
So you honestly, hand on heart, don’t think the tabloids are to blame at all. Not even one bit? How about that Hastings piece about kids named Mohammed? What does it tell you about inflammatory language?

“A minority were seen by many”, you write.
And then they were seen by many many many, infinitely many more and through much more ferocious eyes thanks to the indefatigable work of the Sun, the Mail and so forth.

“Evidently, Stalin had no objections to “friendly” relations with the Nazis.”

Oh FFS. That was strategic…and you know it…and don’t imply that by saying this I’m condoning anything Stalin did but Russia was unprepared for a war, wanted a Polish buffer zone and would indeed have sent troops to Poland to defend the place if the Polish Colonels hadn’t vehemently opposed the proposal.

As for the rest of your spiel..of course a planned economy whose purpose is the the creation of a Reich predicated on unprecedented military conquest will lead to widespread job creation starting with a series of public works to create the infrastructure necessary for military expansionism. By your reasoning the use of slave labour to service such economy might be termed “hyper-Keynsianism”…do you seriously think you’re proving anything with this claptrap.

Another point…if German fascism isn’t right-wing..just what the fuck is?…or is the term either totally obsolete or only strictly applicable in the terms of Burkean traditionalism…all kinda roast beef, warm beer and deference?

47. the a&e charge nurse

[47] chicken and egg, Claude, chicken and egg.

Are the MSM capable of creating a shit-storm in a vacuum, or are they simply expert at recognising then pandering to an existing gestalt – it is a question I have never quite worked out for myself, although I suspect the later because first and foremost newspapers are concerned with circulation and it probably involves less work pushing buttons that have already been primed?

We may not like the Sun or Mail, et al – but we are talking about a sizable constituency who read these newspapers.

Are we to assume that millions who read these newspapers (using the loosest definition of the term in the Scum’s case) are incapable of critical, or independent thought – or put another way are these tabloids the only source of information for most people?

We may not like the Sun or Mail, et al – but we are talking about a sizable constituency who read these newspapers.

Except of course, when they make up stories that make people believe that people are actually more dangerous than is the case.

And I can give you three front-page stories about Muslims in the Sun that were untrue (Muslims vandalise home of Afghan soldier, Muslim bus-driver stops bus to pray, Jewish hit-list drawn up by Muslims).

What would you say about that then?

#48
“Are we to assume that millions who read these newspapers (using the loosest definition of the term in the Scum’s case) are incapable of critical, or independent thought – or put another way are these tabloids the only source of information for most people?”

No, and in fact, thankfully the EDL does not represent millions. Not even anywhere near a thousand. But if such irresponsible churnalism (and good on Sunny to remind us of completely made up stories whose only aim was to egg people on- what else) can influence a handful of people, alas a lot of damage is done!

Now, please can you answer this question. What good is Max Hastings’ crap about kids being named Mohammed (see link at #33) can possibly do to social cohesion especially at this very delicate moment in time? Stories like that are almost dished up daily.

‘True. Not sure what your point is though. Chomsky was a leftie and therefore being a leftie is inconsistent with linguistic determinism ?’

No, my point was just that ‘the Left’ is not synonymous with linguistic determinism or related concepts like epistemic relativism, whatever the Right and the nuttier fringes of the Left might believe.

51. the a&e charge nurse

[49] I have vowed NEVER to read the Sun again, Sunny (post Hillsborough) but I am not contesting for a minute the anti-muslim sentiments that such stories are meant to engender – I do not dispute the degrading effect they have on the life of ordinary people.

There has been a huge upheaval in demographics in recent generations but I remain confident that rapproachment can be attained in the longer term – we will just have to be patient until this happens.

After all, the Scum, et al can only point the finger for so long warning people about the bogeyman before people switch off – they won’t switch off though if a minority who are identified with certain groups commit atrocities in the name of religion or political extremism – in such cases they are not only supplying real bullets but metaphorical ones as well.

“What would you say about that then?”

I’ll see your concocted Muslim allegations and raise one false hamster eating incident

#No, my point was just that ‘the Left’ is not synonymous with linguistic determinism or related concepts like epistemic relativism, whatever the Right and the nuttier fringes of the Left might believe.#

Thank you….I feel justified… I’m fuckin sick of describing myself as Left wing and then having to field shit on site’s like this which is really down to Social Constructivists, Derrida, Post-Modern US feminists and uncle Tom Foucault and all.

I kinda just liked Nye Bevan, Michael Foot and economic justice…y’know worra mean?

39
your post is interesting and well constructed but ultimately, does not address the proposition that fascism = anti-democratic and is not, in itself, a political ideology. As in most cases it is used to insult and more often refers to right-wing, racist regimes, I personally believe that Nazism was right-wing because of its’ racist views and the holocaust. Race is not an issue with socialism, it is an economic system and the only divisions socialism is concerned with is class division within capitalist societies. You may believe that Nazism is left-wing, however they were most certainly fascist.
I am not really sure whether the BNP could, at this stage, be labelled as fascist, I
would stick my neck out and suggest that if they were ever elected to govern they too, like Hitler, would withdraw the democratic process. But as another contributor has mentioned, the word ‘fascist’ is overused in the wrong context.

#47: “do you seriously think you’re proving anything with this claptrap”

The short answer is “yes”, especially since Stuart Holland – a shadow Treasury spokesman when Kinnock was Labour leader – could uphold Mussolini institutions as a model for a future Labour government.

However, I do appreciate your further deep embarrassment about Mosley having been a Labour cabinet minister before going on found the British Union of Fascists in 1932 as well as your need to conceal these unpleasant documented, historical facts with bluster about my “claptrap”.

The economic policies of the Fascists in Italy and the Nazis in Germany were nowhere near the “free market” policies of governments in Britain during the 1930s.

Britain went off the gold standard in September 1931 but Germany during the Third Reich kept to the gold standard with a regime of controls over foreign exchange transactions and trade.

“In the long run, the Nazis aimed essentially at an economic system which would be an alternative to capitalism and communism, supporting neither a laissez-faire attitude nor total planning.” [ Hardach: The Political Economy of Germany in the Twentieth Century; University of California Press (1980), p 66 ] They introduced administrative controls over investment through licensing and direct allocation of raw materials. But their brand of socialism emphasised central control over economic activity rather than public ownership of firms. Instead of dispossessing private owners, the Nazis severely circumscribed the scope within which the nominal owners could make choices by currency controls, taxes on profits and direct allocation measures of the state.”
Peter Temin: Lessons from the Great Depression: The Lionel Robbins Lectures for 1989 (MIT Press, 1989) p.117. The author was a professor at the MIT.

In Britain, the Treasury persisted in arguing that boosting funded public spending to alleviate unemployment was pointless as that would just crowd out equivalent private spending – which tends to sound rather familiar from Conservative rhetoric nowadays.

Compare this from a speech by Goering in 1936:

“We must not reckon profit and loss according to the book, but only according to political needs. There must be no calculation of cost. I require that you do all that you can and to prove that part of the national fortune is in your hands. Whether new investment can be written off in every case is a matter of indifference.”
Quoted in John Hiden: Republican and Fascist Germany (Longman 1996), p.128.

Which has a continuing familiar resonance in contemporary leftist rhetoric.

#55: “fascism = anti-democratic and is not, in itself, a political ideology”

I doubt that is generally agreed. Consider, for example:

“Fascist ideology also included a romantic, an antirational allure, an appeal to the emotions, to a quasi-religious longing for a mystic union of peoples and their prophetic leader. In reaction to a utilitarian liberal state, fascism revived aspirations towards a normative or ethical state. According to this view, the community existed not merely as a practical convenience but in order to fulfil the individual’s ethical and moral potential. How people perceived these themes depended on the eye of the beholder. Conservatives viewed fascism as a bulwark against Bolshevism or as a middle way between worn-out liberal capitalism and the communist horror. Radicals viewed fascism as a genuinely revolutionary ideology that would sweep away discredited ideals and institutions and replace them with a new disciplined and cohesive society.”

From the entry for Fascism in: The Oxford Companion to Politics.

57
I think the crucial wording there is “How people perceived these themes depended on the eye of the beholder* And that certainly is so,, because as I keep banging on about the word ‘fascism’ being used at any opportunity to insult a particular group, but toatally incorrectly/subjectively/
Nazism was certainly romantic and relied heavily on pre-Christian myths and supernatural beliefs mixed with some quasi-Darwinsism for good measure.
Both Naziam and Bolshevism emerged out of chaos, however, and, in reality, a lot was ‘made-up’ as it went along. The Soviets realized that socialism was impossible within that particular environment and named that system ‘war-communism’ to denote its’ planned transience. Socialism, although it has never existed. has had the time to formulate a more structured framework

Here is the definitive quote. Please pass it on:

“We must be open and tolerant towards Islam and the Muslims, because when we [white non-Muslim Swedes] become a minority, they will be so towards us”

Jens Orback,
Swedish Social Democrat and former government minister

Any comments?

57.Bob b. I would say fascism is part a reaction to an aristocratic land owning class. Many supporters of fascism come from a middle class /meritocratic background who consider the aristocrats as being unfit to run the country.

But Oswald Mosley was also an aristocrat who was the Conservative MP for Harrow from 1918-1924. He went through both political parties before dismissing them both and forming his own New Party, which later became the BUF. If there is any “embarrassment” it should be for both major parties.

“But Oswald Mosley was also an aristocrat who was the Conservative MP for Harrow from 1918-1924”

Who stood on a platform of “socialist imperialism” even when standing for the Tories. Odd chap.

“I would say fascism is part a reaction to an aristocratic land owning class”
“But Oswald Mosley was also an aristocrat who was the Conservative MP for Harrow from 1918-1924.”

Mosley didn’t come from the landed aristocracy. He was on the lowest rung of aristocracy – a mere baronet – and that conferred on his father for achievement in commerce in Manchester.

Mussolini – who was credited even by Hitler for his leadership in founding Fascism – had been a Socialist and editor of the Socialist Party newspaper prior to founding the Fascist movement in Italy in 1919. The fascists in Italy and, later, in Germany were bidding to recruit the industrial proletariat but depended on friendly industrial capitalists for financial support.

As for Oswald Mosley switching parties, Winston Churchill was first a Conservative, then a Liberal, and then a Conservative again. He was often regarded as a political maverick by the Conservatives, not least because in the 1930s he led a vociferous backbench campaign against Stanley Baldwin’s India Act – eventually passed in 1935 – which provided for limited self-government of internal affairs in India. Churchill had very clear reservations about extending democracy to India.

The general election of November 1935 was a landslide win for the Conservatives – it was the last election at which the winning party attracted more than half the votes cast. The election was fought on the issue of rearmament based on the government’s white paper of 4 March 1935, as reported in The Guardian:
http://century.guardian.co.uk/1930-1939/Story/0,,126998,00.html

The Labour Party, with the leadership of George Lansbury, were opposed to rearmament in that election. Lansbury lost his seat and Attlee, his deputy, became Labour leader instead after the election.

“The fact is that the rearmament programme was seriously begun under Baldwin, pushed along more slowly than Churchill wanted, but more quickly than the opposition advocated. Defence spending, pegged at about 2.5 per cent of GNP until 1935, increased to 3.8 per cent by 1937.”
Peter Clarke: Hope and Glory: Britain 1900-2000 (Penguin Books, 2004) p.186.

Lloyd George of the Liberals visited Germany to meet Hitler in August 1936 and returned to say he was a “great leader”:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxYg8pmNRZI

On the strength of the evidence, it is impossible to claim rationally that the fascists fit with a “right-wing” free market ideology of the kind practised by the Conservatives in Britain during the depression years of the 1930s.

It is easy to comdemn any organisation that expresses disatisfaction with the status quo.

Might I suggest that before condemning the EDL you go to their official website. The EDL are not a racist or a fascist organisation neither are they anti Muslim, They are however anti radical Muslim and they welcome all races including non-radical Muslims to their organisation. The UAF have stirred up trouble at all of their protest meetings and have incited young Muslims to attacked the police even when the EDL have cancelled their march to avoid trouble as in Luton. The UAF are sponsered by the main political parties and trade unions in order to stiffle free speech, that is fascism, Hitler did exactly the same, organise mobs to prevent conflicting opinions.

Their website gives a link to a speech by a radical Muslim called Anjem Choudry and this is what they are against.

A TRAGIC OMISSION

Where was the book-fool Taffy of Cantab and the dhimmi Lord Chief Justice on this eventful day?

Surely they should have been out in full regalia witha a banner

ENCOURAGE AND HASTEN THE ISLAMIFICATION OF EUROPE

with subtexts in Urdu and Bengali


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