Friday, 5 July 2013

Thoughts on Unite Against Fascism


Although the name 'Unite Against Fascism' is a sentiment and worthy cause we can hardly disagree with, the organisation's tactics, ideology and composition bears some investigation.  The UAF has been at the forefront of the anti-fascist movement in Britain for quite some time now and can claim an illustrious heritage going back through the Rock Against Racism and the Anti-Nazi League and further to that decisive event in English radical history: The Battle of Cable Street.

 But what of Unite Against Fascism today?  The UAF draws most of its ranks from middle class students, ethnic minorities and 'professional protesters'.  Although that is not to say it doesn't have working class supporters and members too.  The UAF plays its part as a 'broad church' anti-fascist movement, from centre-left liberalism through to far-left positions and minority interest groups.  This is all overseen by UAF's parent organisation, the Socialist Workers Party: a name so discredited it does best to hide behind a front organisation.  Of course, the SWP tries to direct this movement (the size of which it could not amass based on its own platform) with its own brand of bourgeois academic Marxism and (rather authoritarian) Trotskyism.  This leads to a sort of ultra-PC, ultra-Liberalism tied to other issues like Palestinian liberation and determined to quash any thought apposed to its own orthodoxy.  The no-platform policy, unfortunately, plays into the hands of the fascists they are trying to oppose by allowing them to become free-speech martyrs.  The Right can then appear to be bearers of  a suppressed 'truth', just by the very fact it is suppressed... whilst the UAF lends its uncritical support to any fashionable cause or dubious Islamic regime.

There is no untrue or wrong idea that cannot be defeated by argument.  Unfortunately, UAF are not so confident of themselves.  The end result is, like the EDL, the militant upholding the status-quo.

2 comments:

  1. I'd like to add, the way it (the UAF) presents itself comes across as deeply un-patriotic, and even implicitly anti-English, which is a trait shared across much of the "left" in England; from New Labour (if you can even include them in the left of course!) right the way through to the UAF and the Hope Not Hate campaign group there is a deep-seated ambivalence to English patriotism, and an unwillingness to associate themselves with any notion of "England".

    Think about it - when was the last time you saw a COSG waved by a member of the UAF? Are the UAF willing to leave the COSG to the likes of the EDL? After all, the calls for the mainstream of the English population to "reclaim" the English flag from the far-right have been going on for years, but since when has anyone in New Labour, the UAF, or any centrist, leftist or any radical group or party been willing to associate itself with England, Englishness or the English, and to embrace English patriotism as a positive force, and as a route to challenge the likes of the EDL? As far as I can tell, never, and so we have a vacuum, an empty chasm into which the EDL, BNP and others are willing to step in.

    There is no tradition of mainstream, political English nationalism at the moment, and for as long as the likes of the BNP and EDL are the only ones willing to wave an England flag and proclaim their Englishness there will always be an association between Englishness and racism, which is a real shame. It is time for the UAF and others to step up, and "reclaim the flag".

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    1. You make some very good points, Simon, and thank you for contributing. I hope we and others can go some way to redressing this issue and prove that a confident, healthy English identity that is against racism is possible and desirable.

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