Monday, November 12, 2012

UK anti-fascist links

The antifa section of my link list seems to now mostly contain defunct sites. Here are some of the more live UK anti-fascist sites.

Militant anti-fascism
  • Anti-Fascist Network: This is the website of the fairly recently formed network of grassroots, local militant anti-fascist groups.
  • 3CAFA: 3 Counties Anti-Fascist Alliance is a network of anti-fascists based in Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire. Its website is pretty good. In the tradition of AFA, they believe in both physical and ideological struggle against fascism. 
  • Beating the Fascists: The site of the book by "Sean Burchill" which tells the story of Anti-Fascist Action in the 1980s-90s. 
  • East Midlands Antifascists: Like 3CAFA, a fairly regularly updated website focusing on regional issues.
  • Liverpool Antifascists: Probably the liveliest and best-looking militant anti-fascist website, mainly locally focused on Merseyside but with a  lot of non-local material.
  • TWAFA - Tyne and Wear Anti Fascist Association: Another regularly updated deep-rooted local anti-fascist group, older than the previously listed ones and, I believe, a bit more popular frontist and less exclusively militant.

Anti-EDL
  • EDL News: Most comprehensive anti-EDL blog
  • Malatesta's Blog: Enjoyably scurrilous tabloid style blog exposing the EDL. 

Liberal anti-fascism, counter-"extremism" and monitoring sites
  • Against Violent Extremism: A network of former "violent extremists" - a very interesting project and beautifully designed website.
  • Anti-Fascists Online: This essential site aggregates the main news items from the other main sources.
  • Counterextremism.org: A rich resource of research and analysis about extremism.
  • Extremis Project: Very impressive website tracking extremism, both Euronationalist far right and Islamist far right.





8 comments:

Waterloo Sunset said...

On TWAFA:

bit more popular frontist and less exclusively militant.

That's something of an understatement. They get funding from the council, or at least they did when I was living in Newcastle. They haven't had a large significant militant contingent since the 90's, where most of the militants left to form North-East AFA. (Along with some people who had never really got on with TWAFA anyway).

They were very cosy with Searchlight when I had dealings with them. Not sure which side of the split they've gone with though- both Searchlight and HnH are still linking to them.

But yeah, they're definitely a liberal anti-fascist group, although possibly a bit more Labour Party/trade union focused then most of the counter-extremist groups.

modernity's ghost said...

Surely, the real questions are

1) do they do good work?
2) are they successful in opposing neofascists? etc

Waterloo Sunset said...

To be clear, I don't thing it's wrong for Bob (or for that matter the AFN) to link to TWAFA. My only suggestion is that they need to be in a different category. That way people can find an anti-fascist group that suits their own tactical and strategic outlook.

Just to repeat this (because I think it's important), my knowledge of TWAFA is around 15 years old, so it may be a bit dated.

1. Yes and no. Some good stuff, some not so good, like any other group really. They did some decent work round Newcastle United. In particular, the "Geordies are black and white" slogan was a clever bit of populism.

They're pretty good at the educational side of things- speaking to schools etc.

They also do a lot of good work round antisemitism and have a good relationship with the local Jewish community.

On the negative side, while they officially cover Tyne & Wear, they aren't as good at doing stuff outside Newcastle. That isn't entirely their fault though. In particular, Sunderland is always really difficult if most of your group are Geordies, because of the long standing football rivalry there.

2. Depends what you mean really.

They're good at media work and getting the local press to oppose them. They're also pretty good at the "Anybody but a Fascist" electoral campaigns when those are needed.

They also deserve some respect simply because they've been going so long and have some very experienced people in their ranks. The split with AFA didn't really make much difference to them, from what I can tell. They just carried on as they'd always been doing.

They aren't great at opposing fascists directly on the streets. I suspect they simply don't have the physical capability.

And the fact they get funding off the council and have a working relationship with the local cops obviously limits what they can and can't do when it comes to opposing the fash. With that being such an obvious priority to them, they can't be seen to condone physical confrontation, regardless of whether that would be the most effective tactic in a specific situation.

They're also completely unwilling to criticise the Labour Party, as they're very close to the local Labour organisation. That obviously causes issues when it comes down to the fascists building support because of disillusionment with the local political establishment. That limits their otherwise competent grassroots community work. More ideologically, I'd suggest they're ill-placed to tackle the conditions that cause the fascists to grow because of it.

There you go. As near to a fair and unsectarian overview of TWAFA as I can manage. ;) I was active on the other side of the split back in the day though. So, obviously, I am pretty partisan.

Waterloo Sunset said...

Also, for those interested in anti-fascist history, the Red Action archive is now up- http://www.redactionarchive.org

modernity's ghost said...

WS,

That's true of all of us, but what I was trying to bring out was our partisanship shouldn't play a part (or even a small part) when it comes to antifascism.

It is far too easy on the British Left to be sectarian.

The result is that broader anti-fascism is weakened, and in turn neofascism grows.

In the 1970s and 1980s when I was a rather active antifascist, I too was critical of other groups, different tactics, but what I learnt latterly is that such attitudes are a counterproductive activity, even if fairly natural.

Or put another way, it would be fairly easy to heap criticisms on anarchist/class war groupings in Britain, yet too that would be a grave error (even if all of the criticisms were true), as it spreads division amongst antifascists.

And that's the problem, as the Left fragmented so did antifascism, in turn many of the poor habits which caused the Left to decline are still around.

The sectarianism which caused many Left ventures to fail should not be allowed to weaken the essential struggle against neofascism.

Countering neofascism is far too important for partisanship.

PS: I have been exceedingly partisan in the past, but now I recognise that is a mistake when it comes to antifascism.

There is not one solution to dealing with this problem and we need as many, many people's experiences in helping to counter it as possible.

That's what I am getting at.

bob said...

WS- thanks for clarification.

Mod- I sympathise with what you're saying, and have seen the corrosive effects of sectarianism destroy good initiatives. I also agree there are many ways of skinning cat, and that militant and liberal strategies can compliment (or is it complement? I always get that wrong) each other.

However, I think that we need to be critical of strategies that are useless or, worse, counterproductive.

For example, many Respect and Counterfire types may be legitimately and admirably anti-fascist, while also reproducing antisemitism and supporting (Islamist) far right nastiness. Can/should we work with them? When? I'm not sure, but I am sure we should criticise them.

Similarly, I think that many of the things UAF have done have been actively damaging to anti-fascism and/or positive for fascism: they've led people into danger without adequate security, staged pointless posturing demos that have bred resentment and backlash in localities. And even if this weren't true, there'd be scope for criticism in terms of improvement. For example, the mantra of "Nazis" is not conducive to solid analysis of why the BNP, EDL, etc grow. We need to criticise that.

As for state-oriented projects like Searchlight, HnH, Extremis, etc. I think they do a huge amount of useful stuff. But I think we need to be very critical of the framing of "extremism", their relationships with the security state, and their mobilisation of a liberal mainstream rather than engagement with beleaguered communities.

Clearly, we need to try and make such criticisms in a non-sectarian way, and work out how to work together and when.

Sarah AB said...

I have recently become aware of Extremis - possibly through you on Twitter Bob - and it is a useful, interesting site.

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