Friday, June 12, 2009

Euro-fascism, the rise of BNP, left unity and the renewal of politics

16th June: Some added links at the bottom
18th June: one more, and perhaps more later

I have lots more to say on this, but am running out of steam. I've left some comments at various other blogs. The first few links below, with stars by them, have comments by me, the others are worth reading. I don't think I 100% endorse any of them though. What do you think?

Max Dunbar: Northern Uproar*

Though Cowards Flinch: Our loyalty must be to our class...*

Tendence Coatesy: Defend the SWP!*

Grimmer Up North: Which way forward? [left a comment, but not moderator approved]

YouGov: Who voted BNP and why?

IWCA: Labour got what it deserved, and so did the BNP [h/t Waterloo Sunset]. See also commentary from Left Luggage*.

Vengeance & Fashion: We Don't Hire Any English People Here

AVPS: How can 900,000 vote BNP?

Paul Kingsnorth: The left needs to confront the root causes of BNP support [h/t Rayyan Mirza, who I see lives in my manor]

Left Luggage: The lessons of the elections

There's lots of psephological analysis at Jim J's place, including showing how weak the BNP are in London outside its three strongholds, and going into some detail about whose fault the vote in the North West was.

The next few are relevant, but moving a little off topic.

Winston Pickett: James von Brunn's shattered myths [relevance comes out in last paragraph. Note, not only is von Brunn linked to the BNP, he is linked to the English Democrats too.]

Rabbit's Eye View: As Sure as eggs is eggs* [on the Nick Griffin pelting incident]

Finally, this deals with a different subject altogether - Modernity: John Wight, racist thug, attacks blog*

Added links 16th June

Left Luggage: Amateur psephology and the rise of the far-right

Social Republic: The Mirage of Unity

Added links 19th June [last updated 18.07 Brockley time]

Vengeance and Fashion: Before You All Jump off a Bridge*

AWL: on No2Eu or a new Socialist Alliance.

The Commune: Responding to the SWP Open Letter.

David Osler: SWP and No2Eu.

Your Friend: Fascism and how not to fight it.

New Direction: Why Labour played the BNP's game.


ModernityBlog said...

Thanks for that.

I thought Jim's stuff was good, very worthwhile analysis.

Waterloo Sunset said...

I'm close to endorsing the IWCA analysis 100%. (Which isn't that much of a surprise I suspect).

I have two main questions that arise from it however.

1. Do we also need to go back to a twintrack strategy with the BNP. If so, do we need a new antifascist group to do so?

2. Considering their (welcome) self-criticism, where do we go next? Specifically, who are the IWCA now seeing as "progressive forces" that they wish to work with?

bob said...

I have some reservations about the IWCA statement.

a. Given the rather un-democratic practice of RA/IWCA in the last decade, can we expect them to genuinely be involved in building an open, democratic movement in which diverse viewpoints can flourish?

b. Do they have the spread and the clout to actually play a leading role in creating a UK-wide federation? Their forces are concentrated in a few places. They will need to find serious allies to break into new areas, but who would these allies be, if they are not the same left sects peculating around every other top-down unity initiative?

c. I am not sure about the electoralism implicit in the statement. I am not against getting involved in elections. But I think that the focus on elections distorts things. I think instead we need to be working on issues, starting at the bottom and then seeing if there is the momentum to get involved in electoral politics.

d. I'm not sure how to articulate this exactly, but I feel we need to re-think how an IWCA-type organisation talks about its class orientation. It seems to me that some organisations, e.g. some of the London Citizens initiatives, some of the local anti-BNP coalitions, perhaps the Community Action Party in the NW (about which I don't really know much) are having better success in generating working class support beyond the left ghetto without explicitly talking about a working class orientation. Is there a lesson there?

e. I'm still thinking through the twin-track strategy issue. I don't know if we do want to go back to a twin-track strategy at this particular moment; we need to prioritise the political. But I think I agree with WS that maybe we do need to think about an anti-fascist group, probably a loose network of the like-minded rather than a full-blown re-launched AFA.

Vengeance and Fashion said...

Thanks for the plug, I would be interested in what you think of my post on the Euro elections and the immigration issue.

bob said...

V&F - have added a link above and left a comment there, currently awaiting moderation.

andy newman said...


I strongly deprecate you providing a link to the smearing article by the deranged cyber-bully "Modernity".

i find it particularly despicable that "Modernity" himself hides behind a pseudonym while engaging in clearly libellous attacks and misrepresentations of known and identifiable individuals.

this loathsome individual has continually lied about me, and the SU web-site, misrepresnting my political views, insulting me, and making false accusations of the comments policy on Socialist Unity. Abusing the imunity provided by his web-anonymity.

John is neither an anti-semite, nor a thug; nor a racist. It is completley wrong of you to further publish these libels.

ModernityBlog said...

Well, Andy,

John Wight has a habit of 1) using holocaust denying sites, 2) invoking neo-fascist lingo and 3) has a rather unhealthy obsession with "Zionists".

I'll leave you to connect the dots.

bob said...

Just read Duncan's comment on the IWCA statement:

The analysis of the current situation by the IWCA is perceptive and for 10 years they have been able to formulate the problem the left face clearly. What they haven’t been able to do is provide the solution.

The berating of the left for failure is also something the IWCA has been doing for the best part of a decade but now our failure to tackle the BNP politically is their failure as well.

That article talks about how successful the IWCA ‘pilot schemes’ were but doesn’t say anything about why those schemes failed, why the IWCA seems to have atrophied even in the places it gained a foothold like Oxford and doesn’t explain how these pilot schemes will become a national organisation.

Compulsory reading « The Nation of Duncan

TNC said...

Andy writes:

"I strongly deprecate you providing a link to the smearing article by the deranged cyber-bully "Modernity".

This isn't your blog, Andy. Got a problem with Mod? Feel free to whine about him at your place. But you should know many of Bob's readers view Mod as one of the more moderate and measured bloggers on the web these days. He calls it like he sees it and that is much appreciated. At least to honest people without an ideological axe to grind.

bob said...

Andy v Mod popped into the comments here without me noticing. First of all, as an anonymous blogger, it is true that there is a level of non-accountability that could be used irresponsibly. This has to be balanced against reasons why bloggers might want to remain anonymous, such as avoiding trouble at work.

Has Modernity abused his immunity to libel John Wight? I had another look at the Modernity post. It looks to me that he is evidencing the claims he is making. 1. A commenter using the name John Wight recommended an article at CODOH, a hardcore Holocaust revisionist site. 2. A commenter using the name John Wight used borderline antisemitic language about Israel and its supporters. When Engage informed the real John Wight, thinking someone was posing as him, he took responsibility for those comments. 3. Wight, commenting at Socialist Unity, articulated a softcore Holocaust denial in solidarity with the MCB. 4. Wight, perhaps joking, said he thought of suing Engage for talking about all this, but decided the cost was prohibitive. 5. Wight has posted Hamas statements to Socialist Unity, without any critical contextualisation at all. 6. Wight has articulated more "borderline guff" at SU. Well, that's a subjective opinion, but not exceptional and hardly libelous. 7. Wight posted some pro-GDR thing at SU. Actually, as I pointed out in Modernity's comments box, this was not necessarily Wight's own views. Here Modernity might have erred, but this is the most minor thing in the list. Oh, and then there's update 1. In this, Modernity shows that someone with Wight's e-mail has been pushing more softcore Holocaust denial on the internet, except using some of the language of hardcore Holocaust denial. So, I don't think that this post is libelous.

I would have thought, by the way, that "deranged" is quite a strong personal word to use about someone else.

Finally, I guess I should make it clear that "John Wight, racist thug, attacks blog" are Mod's words not mine, just as "Defend the SWP" are Coatesy's not mine and "We don't hire any English people here" are V&F's words like mine (well, actually, his title is a quote from someone else), and so on. However, I think Mod makes a strong case!

Mira Vogel said...

I think that Mod makes a strong case too. Andy, are you actually saying that John Wight has not made racist statements? Or are such statements only not racist when John Wight says them? Or are they only not racist when Modernity points them out?

Sorry if he's your mate, but because of all that Wight has written, "clearly libellous" this is not - not even by the standard of our rotten British libel laws where, if you did sue Modernity, he would have to prove in his own defence that John Wight was intentionally antisemitic, rather than making what should be a sufficient case that Wight simply was antisemitic.

ModernityBlog said...


If you need me to explain the racism in John Wight's words, then please do drop a comment on my blog.

You won't be censored in any way, I am happy to explain any bits of that post that you didn't understand.

PS: Thank you to everyone for their support.

I think such stark racism/obsession as displayed by John Wight is fairly rare on the Left, or it was until recently, and I believe that it needs to be called out when it occurs.

ross said...

readers might be interested, but probably not surprised that socialist unity was sent the iwca piece but refused to host it because it was 'too left wing' and the criticisms of galloway and sheridan too harsh

ross said...

Give Up Anti Fascism!