A New Europe: Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Nation-State

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Re: A New Europe: Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Nation-State

Postby American Dream » Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:34 pm

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Re: A New Europe: Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Nation-State

Postby jakell » Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:20 am

This post follows from my previous two posts containing factual and personal observations about the far right in the UK

http://rigorousintuition.ca/board2/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=22490&start=465#p535229

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As the BNP were slowly going from strength to strength during the 2000's, I sort of took my eye off the ball a bit and assumed they would plateau at some point. They had moderated their image somewhat, but couldnt do this much more without changing their core beliefs.
They came to my attention again in 2009, and to serious political observers, when they won two European Parliament seats, at this point they also received the traditional British welcome to the political big league...

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Andrew Brons also got an EU seat, but no egg.


I said above that I took my eye off the BNP for a while, and this was mainly because my perspective got widened considerably by the subject of Peak Oil. What made me glance back in their direction was that Nick Griffin seemed to be the only 'politician' talking publicly about Peak Oil. This could have been written off as their characteristic bandwagon jumping, but their EU success in addition made me want to take a good look this time.

The phrase "a good look", is significant here, because I had become aware of a medium that enabled this in a way that hadn't existed before... internet presence. This was still in it's infancy back in 2002 when they made their first big leap, and even when it started to become more widespread, these particular folks were behind the curve.


I'm going to spend the next post in this series talking about cyberspace's potential to open up a useful new front in combating fascism, especially at it's core, and about how this had been woefully unappreciated by traditional anti-fascists....
" Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism"
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Re: A New Europe: Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Nation-State

Postby American Dream » Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:25 am

American Dream » Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:58 pm wrote:And that network of lovely, lovely people connects to crypto-fascist musician Tony Wakeford of Sol Invictus:

http://www.whomakesthenazis.com/2010/10 ... eford.html



"Tony Wakeford is not a fascist!"- or is he??? Stewart Home has an answer to that question. I'll link to it here:



DANGER! NEO-FOLK 'MUSICIAN' TONY WAKEFORD OF SOL INVICTUS IS STILL A FASCIST CREEP!
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Re: A New Europe: Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Nation-State

Postby jakell » Wed Feb 19, 2014 12:49 pm

It seems apt that the theme is music, because I was wanting to get down an impression I received this afternoon before it fades.

Working on my allotment, which is next to the park, I heard a very throaty and ebullient male voice quoir, and spontaneous real music from the heart is something I rarely hear any more.
Even without hearing the words, I knew it could not possibly be any English, West Indians, Pakistanis. Indians. Somalis, or anyone else who has been in England a while, we all had our individuality and cutures well supressed, to varying degrees.

I recognised it almost immediately as the Romany Slovaks who are moving on masse into the area where I live, I also recognised it as something coming out of suffering and deprivation, like the best music is.
To me, these people are the forgotten holocaust survivors, who had to make their way home from Nazi camps, and still be despised in their homeland, the fact that their culture survived, even over time and borders, is a testament to them.

I think the worst thing my own country could do to them is treat them as victims, and therefore worthy of special treatment, because their culture will fade just like all the others, they are spirited survivors. The rest of us are on the downslope from decadence and high expectations, and it would be a shame if they joined us in this.

(not very well thought out, just some fading thoughts)
" Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism"
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Re: A New Europe: Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Nation-State

Postby American Dream » Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:13 pm

American Dream » Mon Feb 10, 2014 3:35 pm wrote: http://kenanmalik.wordpress.com/2012/03 ... -to-fight/

here to stay, here to fight

BBC Radio 4 broadcast a documentary this week by Zaiba Malik on the history of the Asian Youth Movements. For many of us who grew up in 1970s and 1980s, the AYMs were a central feature of our lives. Radical and secular, the movements challenged both the vicious racism that defined Britain in that era and many traditional values too, helping to establish an alternative leadership in Asian communities that confronted the conservatives on issues such as the role of women and the dominance of the mosque.

Today, in an age in which communities are defined in terms almost solely of faith and culture, when identity politics has ripped apart any sense of radical unity, and when the idea of a ‘secular Muslim’ seems to most people an oxymoron, a movement and a tradition that thirty years ago was highly influential is barely remembered.

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Here is more from veteran Asian Youth Movement fighter Kenan Malik:


http://www.kenanmalik.com/essays/bradford_prospect.html

born in bradford

prospect, october 2005

It was February 1989. I was in Bradford, a few weeks after the demonstration on which a copy of Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses had been burnt. I had gone there to interview Sher Azam, president of the Bradford Council of Mosques, and the man who had torched the book. Waiting in the drab building that housed the Bradford Council of Mosques, I heard a familiar voice.

'Hello Kenan, what are you doing here?'

It was Hassan, a friend from London, whom I had not seen for a couple of years. 'Good to see you Hassan. I'm doing some interviews about Rushdie', I said. 'What are you doing in this God-forsaken place?'

'Trying to make it less God forsaken', said Hassan. 'I've been up here a few months, helping in the campaign to silence the blasphemer.'

'You what?'

'No need to look so shocked. I've had it with the white left. I'd lost my sense of who I am and where I came from. So I came back to Bradford to rediscover it. We need to defend our dignity as Muslims, to defend our values and beliefs, and not allow anyone - racist or Rushdie - to trample over them.'

I was astonished. The Hassan I knew in London had been a member of the Socialist Workers party (as I had been for a while). Apart from Trotskyism his other indulgences were sex, Southern Comfort and watching Arsenal. We had marched together, chucked bricks together at the National Front, been arrested together. I had never detected a religious bone in his body. But here he was in Bradford, an errand boy to the mullahs, inspired by book-burners.

Today 'radical' in an Islamic context means someone who espouses a fundamentalist theology. Twenty years ago it meant the opposite: a secularist who challenged the power of the mosques within Muslim communities. The expunging of that radical secularist tradition has played an important part in the rise of Islamic militancy in this country. Hassan embodied this mutation from left-wing activist to Islamic militant. And he was not alone. A surprising number of anti-Rushdie demonstrators were young. Few were religious, let alone fundamentalist. Many did not attend mosque, only a handful could recite the Koran, and most flouted traditional Muslim taboos on sex and drink. They felt resentful about the treatment of Muslims, disenchanted by leftwing politics and were looking for new ways of expressing their disaffection. While many began as secularists, they formed the pool of discontents into which radical Islamic organisations dipped. It was in the late 1980s and early 1990s that militant Islamic groups like Hizb ut-Tahrir began organising in this country, particularly on campuses. Like Hassan, many of their recruits came from the ranks of former leftwing activists.

The Rushdie affair was a turning point in the relationship between British society and its Muslim communities. It was the moment that Islamic militancy announced itself as a major political issue. It was also the moment that Britain realised it was facing a new kind of social conflict. From the Grunwick dispute in 1977 to the Broadwater Farm riot in 1986, blacks and Asians had often been involved in bitter conflicts with authority. But these were political issues, or issues of law and order. The Rushdie affair was the first major cultural conflict, and one that seemed to question the very possibility of social integration.

For me personally, the Rushdie affair was a turning point in another way. It made me question my own relationship to the left and to the antiracist movement. The transformation of Hassan mirrored a wider transformation that was taking place on the left itself, a transformation from a belief in secular universalism to the defence of ethnic particularism and group rights. Once the left had been a champion of Enlightenment rationalism and humanism. It had believed in the ideas of a common humanity and universal rights, argued that everyone should be treated equally despite their racial, ethnic, religious or cultural differences and looked to social progress as a means of overcoming cultural differences. Today many on the left decry the Enlightenment as a Eurocentric project. They promote the idea of multiculturalism and of group rights, argue that different people should be treated differently because of their racial, ethnic, religious and cultural differences and worry that social progress is undermining cultural authenticity. 'You have to treat people differently to treat them equally', Lee Jasper, race adviser to London Mayor Ken Livingstone told me when I interviewed him for a Channel 4 documentary. Or as Labour MP Keith Vaz has put it, 'Britishness cannot be imposed on people of different races, cultures and religions.'

In the aftermath of Rushdie, I came to realise that as important as challenging racism was tackling this 'politics of difference'. A decade and a half later, as we debate how British Muslims could turn into savage terrorists, understanding that retreat from secular universalism is as important as ever.

The roots of the politics of difference can be found in the new forms of radicalism that emerged in the 1960s. Traditionally even revolutionaries who were hostile to capitalism saw themselves as standing in the Western intellectual tradition. ‘I denounce European colonialism’, CLR James once wrote, ‘But I respect the learning and profound discoveries of western civilisation’. James was one the great radicals of the 20th century, an anti-imperialist, a superb historian of black struggles, a Marxist who remained one even when it was no longer fashionable to be so. Today , though, many on the left would dismiss James' defence of 'Western civilisation' as insufferably Eurocentric, even racist. To be radical has come to mean the rejection of all that is 'Western' in the name of marginality or difference. The modernist project of pursuing a rational, scientific understanding of the world - a project that James unashamedly championed - is now widely decried as a dangerous fantasy that must be resisted.

The pursuit of difference has always been at the heart of the racist agenda. It was always conservatives who decried reason and sought refuge in what Edmund Burke called 'wholesome prejudice'. Reactionaries have long sought to block the advance of science and modernity in the name of tradition. So how did the left end up embracing difference, decrying reason, and defending tradition against modernity, all in the name of multiculturalism?

The postwar left was shaped by the experience of Nazism, the failures of old-style class politics and the emergence of new struggles such as the civil rights movement and feminism. For Marxists such as CLR James, their universalism was rooted in their class politics. James believed in a universally valid notion of progress. The key to emancipation, he argued, was the same everywhere. The working class was the 'universal class' because it would help bring about such emancipation. But from the Soviet Union, where the workers' state had turned into a tyranny, to the West where, in the words of historian H Stuart Hughes, the proletariat seemed to prefer 'creature comforts to heroism and kitsch to the elevation of its intellect', the class that Engels had called the 'heirs of classical philosophy' was not behaving in the manner that radicals expected of it. In the postwar years, the radical intelligentsia's relationship to the working class was, as Terry Eagleton once observed, a bit like the Virgin Mary's to the baby Jesus, reverently acknowledging his divinity but harbouring no illusions after cleaning up his shit.

Disenchantment set in not just with class politics but with the very ideas of Enlightenment rationality and progress. Postwar radicals had asked why it was that Germany, a nation with deep roots in the Enlightenment, should succumb so completely to Nazism. The answer seemed to be that it was the logic of Enlightenment rationalism itself that gave rise to such barbarism. As Thedor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, founders of the Frankfurt school, put it in their seminal work, Dialectic of Enlightenment, 'Enlightenment is totalitarian'. Or as Herbert Marcuse, one of the Marxist gurus of the 1960s student revolt, explained: 'Concentration camps, mass exterminations, world wars and atom bombs are no "relapse into barbarism" but the unrepressed implementation of the achievements of modern science, technology and domination.'

'Testifying at the trial against barbarism', the French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut's memorably observed, postwar intellectuals came to 'identify the Enlightenment with the defence and not with the prosecution'. The roots of barbarism, many argued, lay in Western arrogance and the roots of Western arrogance lay in an unquestioning belief in the superiority of Enlightenment rationalism and universalism. Antiracism, therefore, came to be defined as treating all peoples and all cultures with equal respect, and seeing none as backward, primitive, irrational. Radicals, Finkielkraut suggests, came to believe that 'the so-called civilised ones should come down from our imaginary heights and recognise with humble clarity that we were only another kind of native'. Increasingly relativism came to be a defining feature of postwar radicalism.

Both these themes - disenchantment with class politics and a hostility to Enlightenment rationalism - were at the heart of the New Left that emerged in the 1960s. The New Left was a loose association of groups and individuals that was self-consciously opposed to the 'old left' of the communist parties and trade unions. Where the old left looked to the working class as the agency of change, the New Left found new, surrogate proletariats in the so-called New Social Movements - third world liberation movements, civil rights organisations, feminist groups, campaigns for gay rights, and the peace movement. Where the old left talked of class and sought to raise class consciousness, the New Left talked of culture and sought to strengthen cultural identity. Culture was the defining feature of groups and the means by which one group differentiated itself from another. Every group, whether Cuban peasants, black Americans or women, had a specific culture, rooted in its particular history and experiences. That culture gave shape to an individual's identity. For an individual identity to be authentic, collective identity must be too. That required the group to be true to its own culture, to pursue faithfully the traditions that mark out that culture as unique and rebuff the advances of modernity and of other cultures.

These ideas echo the late 18th-century Romantic backlash against the Enlightenment. Whereas Enlightenment philosophes saw progress as civilisation overcoming the resistance of traditional cultures with their irrational prejudices and outmoded institutions, for the romantics the steamroller of progress was precisely what they feared. For Johann Gottfried Herder, the 18th-century German philosopher who best articulated the Romantic notion of culture, each people or volk was unique and this uniqueness was expressed through its volksgeist - the unchanging spirit of a people refined through history. Rejecting the Enlightenment belief that the same institutions and forms of governance would promote human flourishing in all societies, Herder held that the values of different cultures were incommensurate but equally valid. Every culture was authentic in its own terms, each adapted to its local environment.

The Romantic idea of culture flowered in the 1960s initially through the idea of self-organisation, a concept that emerged from the struggle for black rights in the US. In the 1960s, black America was squeezed between an intensely racist society, on one hand, and, on the other, a left largely indifferent to its plight. Many activists accused the left of indifference to their cause and argued that blacks must take matters into their own hands. They ceded from integrated civil rights organisations and set up separate black groups. Black self-organisation soon gave way to the idea of black identity. Blacks had to organise separately not as a political strategy but as a cultural necessity. 'In Africa they speak of Negritude', wrote black power activist Julius Lester. 'It is the recognition of those things uniquely ours which separate ourselves from the white man.'

Soon, not just blacks, but everyone had an identity that was uniquely theirs and that separated them not just from the white man, but from every other kind of man and from men in general. Using the template established by black power activists, Native Americans, Puerto Ricans, Chicanos, Chinese Americans, not to mention a myriad of white ethnics all set up their separate cultural organisations. Women and gays became surrogate ethnics, each with their own particular cultures, identities and ways of thinking. 'The demand is not for inclusion within the fold of "universal humankind" on the basis of shared human attributes; nor is it for respect "in spite of one's differences"', wrote feminist and sociologist Sonia Krups. 'Rather, what is demanded is respect for oneself as different.'

'The very language of commonality', American cultural critic Todd Gittlin observes, 'came to be perceived by the new movements as a colonialist smothering - an ideology to rationalise white dominance'. The irony is that the politics of identity itself drew on the most reactionary of ideas - the claim that one's political beliefs and ways of thinking should be derived from the fact of one's birth, sex or ethnic origins.

Social and political developments over the next two decades helped entrench such ideas. The weakening of both social democratic and Stalinist parties, the demise of Third World national liberation movements and the transformation of many third world countries into tyrannies and, finally, the end of the Cold War all added to the belief that radical social transformation was a chimera. The New Social Movements themselves had largely disintegrated by the 1990s. All that was left was the sense of difference. Social solidarity became increasingly defined not in political terms - as collective action in pursuit of certain political ideals - but in terms of ethnicity or culture. 'Stripped of a radical idiom', the American critic Russell Jacoby writes, 'robbed of a utopian hope, liberals and leftists retreat in the name of progress to celebrate diversity. With few ideas on how a future should be shaped, they celebrate all ideas.' Multiculturalism, Jacoby concludes, 'has become... the ideology of an era without ideology'. What began in the 1960s as a way of organising against oppression had ended up by the nineties as way of rationalising the left's impotence. Romanticism was born in the late 18th century out of the fear of the radical change unleashed by the Enlightenment and the French revolution and out of the desire for the safe anchor of ancient traditions. In the late 20th century, it was the fading of the possibilities of social transformation that led many radicals, albeit unwittingly, back to a Romantic view of the world.

It is against this background that we must understand the transformation of someone like Hassan from leftwing activist to Islamic militant. In Britain the black and Asian population is smaller than in the US, and its political and economic clout less significant. The attempts at self-organisation have been much weaker, while the authority of both the moderate and extreme left in Britain has been much greater. As a result, until the 1980s, the influence of identity politics remained weak.

First generation black and Asian immigrants were concerned less about preserving cultural differences than about fighting for political equality. They recognised that at the heart of that fight were shared values and aspirations between blacks and whites, not an articulation of unbridgeable differences. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, three big issues dominated the struggle for political equality: opposition to discriminatory immigration controls; the fight against racist attacks; and the issue of police brutality. These struggles radicalised a new generation of black and Asian activists and came to a climax in the inner city riots of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

In April 1976, 24 people were arrested in pitched battles in the Manningham area of Bradford, as Asian youths confronted a National Front march and fought police protecting it. It was seen as the blooding of a new movement. The following year the Asian Youth Movement was born. Built on the model of self-organisation, the AYM was nevertheless more outward looking, working closely with other anti-racist and radical organisations. AYM activists did not distinguish themselves as Muslim, Hindu or Sikh; indeed many did not even see themselves as specifically Asian, preferring to call themselves 'black' which they viewed as an all-inclusive term for non-white immigrants. They challenged not just racism but also many traditional values too, particularly within the Muslim community, helping establish an alternative leadership that confronted traditionalists on issues such as the role of women and the dominance of the mosque.

The next few years brought further conflict between Asian youth and the police, culminating in the trial of the Bradford 12 in 1982. Twelve young Asians faced conspiracy charges for making petrol bombs to use against racists. They argued they were acting in self-defence - and won.

Faced with this growing militancy, Bradford council drew up a new antiracist strategy, based on a template pioneered by Ken Livingstone's Greater London Council. It established race relations units drew up equal opportunities policies, and dispensed millions of pounds in grants to black and Asian community organisations. Bradford's 12-point race relations plan declared that every section of the 'multiracial, multicultural city' had 'an equal right to maintain its own identity, culture, language, religion and customs'. At the heart of this multicultural strategy was a redefinition of racism built on the insights of identity politics. Racism now meant not simply the denial of equal rights but the denial of the right to be different. Black and Asian people, many argued, should not be forced to accept British values, or to adopt a British identity. Rather different peoples should have the right to express their identities, explore their own histories, formulate their own values, pursue their own lifestyles. Through this process the politics of difference became institutionalised
.
Multiculturalism transformed the character of antiracism. By the mid-1980s the focus of antiracist protest in Bradford had shifted from political issues, such as policing and immigration, to religious and cultural issues: a demand for Muslim schools and for separate education for girls, a campaign for halal meat to be served at school, and, most explosively, the confrontation over the publication of The Satanic Verses. Political struggles unite across ethnic or cultural divisions; cultural struggles inevitably fragment. As different groups began asserting their particular identities ever more fiercely, so the shift from the political to the cultural arena helped to create a more tribal city. Secular Muslims were regarded as betraying their culture (they belonged to the 'white left') while radical Islam became not just more acceptable but, to many, more authentic.

This process was strengthened by a new relationship between the local council and the local mosques. In 1981, the council helped set up and fund the Bradford Council of Mosques and looked to it as a voice of the community. This helped marginalise secular radicals - the Asian Youth Movement eventually broke up - and allowed religious leaders to reassert their power. As the secular tradition was squeezed out, the only place offering shelter for disaffected youth was militant Islam.

Multiculturalism did not create militant Islam, but it helped create a space for it within British Muslim communities that had not existed before. It fostered a more tribal nation, undermined progressive trends within the Muslim communities and strengthened the hand of conservative religious leaders - all in the name of antiracism. It is true that since 9/11. and particularly since 7/7 there has been growing questioning of the consequences of multiculturalism. From former Home Secretary David Blunkett to CRE chief Trevor Phillips many have woken up to the fragmenting character of pluralism and have talked of the need to reassert common values. Yet the fundamental tenets of the politics of difference remain largely unquestioned. The idea that society consists of a variety of distinct cultures, that all these cultures should be respected and preserved and that society should be organised to meet the distinct needs of different cultures - these continued to be regarded as the hallmarks of a progressive, antiracist outlook. The lesson of the past two decades, however, is this: a left that espouses multiculturalism makes itself redundant. In a world of narrow, competing interest groups there is little room for a progressive vision. Back in the 1980s, my old friend Hassan may well have taken to militant Islam because of his disenchantment with the left. But it was the disenchantment of the left with its own secular, universalist traditions that helped ease his path to the mosque - and the path of many others since.
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Re: A New Europe: Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Nation-State

Postby jakell » Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:24 pm

There have been several posts about the Asian Youth Movement on this thread, and as someone up close, I've given my feedback each time.

It would be nice to hear other's thoughts, even if they don't feel 'qualifed'

Is there anybody out there? (sorry, Pink Floyd lyrics come to mind quite a lot with me)
Last edited by jakell on Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A New Europe: Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Nation-State

Postby American Dream » Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:05 pm

American Dream » Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:25 am wrote:
American Dream » Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:58 pm wrote:And that network of lovely, lovely people connects to crypto-fascist musician Tony Wakeford of Sol Invictus:

http://www.whomakesthenazis.com/2010/10 ... eford.html


"Tony Wakeford is not a fascist!"- or is he??? Stewart Home has an answer to that question. I'll link to it here:


DANGER! NEO-FOLK 'MUSICIAN' TONY WAKEFORD OF SOL INVICTUS IS STILL A FASCIST CREEP!


More on this, from Stewart Home:



TONY WAKEFORD, SOL INVICTUS & ABOVE THE RUIINS: WITH A BIT OF BOYD RICE & FASCISM

Wakeford's Wiki Wars: Time for truth?
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Re: A New Europe: Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Nation-State

Postby American Dream » Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:12 pm

More on the Italian side of this sick equation- note the deep state/neo-fascist convergence:


http://strugglesinitaly.wordpress.com/2 ... e-michele/

Franca Rame’s rape: Fascists, carabinieri and ‘a higher wish’, by Girolamo De Michele

Posted on 2013/06/07 by Struggles in Italy

Image


Original article was published on Carmilla.

On the 9th of March 1973 Franca Rame was abducted by five men and forced to get in a van where she was tortured and raped. Famously, Franca managed to talk about this aggression in a monologue called ‘Lo Stupro’ (‘The Rape’), which she included in the show ‘Tutta casa, letto e chiesa’. For a long time, Franca said she had been inspired by a news story, without revealing that she had in fact been the victim of the rape.


On the evening of 9th March 1973, on hearing about the rape, someone cheered in Milan – General Palumbo, captain of the Pastrengo division. ‘The news of Rame’s rape was wildly cheered in the barracks, the captain was exultant as if he had successfully accomplished a military operation. No, even more…’, according to Nicolò Bozzo, who would later collaborate closely with Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa, and who at the time was on duty at the Pastrengo:

‘The news of Franca Rame’s abduction and rape arrived. It came as a shock to me, I experienced it as a defeat of justice. But amongst my superiors there was someone who reacted in exactly the opposite way. He was all happy. “About time”, he said. [...] He was at the top of the hierarchy: the captain of the “Pastrengo”, General Giovanni Battista Palumbo. [...] At the time I considered Palumbo’s reaction to be just a display of bad taste. I thought that the general was pleasantly surprised by that piece of news, nothing more. After all Palumbo was a peculiar character, he had been in the Social Republic, then had switched to the Partisans just before the Liberation. His right-wing leanings were no mystery. And at the “Pastrengo”, under his command, some extreme right-wing characters were to be found, the “silent majority” such as lawyer Dagli Occhi were at home there.’


In 1981, General Palumbo’s name was found in the list of members of the P2 Lodge, together with two high-ranking officers of the corps. According to Bozzo, ‘General Mino was the commander in chief [of the corps of carabinieri]. It is enough to read the report of the court of enquiry on the P2 to understand why he did not notice anything. He was not listed, but according to the report he was part of the system.’

In 1987-88, two fascists, Angelo Izzo and Biagio Pitarresi, revealed to Judge Salvini that the rape was carried out by a neofascist squad and, above all, that the order to ‘punish’ Franca Rame by raping her had come from the corps of carabinieri. As the ordinance of committal for trial of the investigation on neofascist subversion in the Seventies stated:

’Pitarresi revealed the names of the comrades involved in the rape: Angelo Angeli and, with him, “a certain Muller” and “a certain Patrizio” – neofascists involved in arms trafficking, double-crossers who would act as agents provocateurs in leftist circles and inform the carabinieri, misfits in touch with organised crime. Indeed, it was in this no man’s land where the state apparatus and terrorists met during the seventies that the idea arose to punish Dario Fo’s partner. Pitarresi said: “The action against Franca Rame was suggested by some carabinieri from the Pastrengo division. Angeli and I had been in touch for some time with the corps command.”’


A note by the former Head of Secret Service, Gianadelio Maletti, recounting a heated altercation between General Giovanni Battista Palumbo and Vito Miceli (who would himself later become the Head of Secret Service), supports the two informers’ testimony: ‘The former, Maletti’s note reported, during the fight had reproached him over “the action against Franca Rame”’.

Judge Salvini remarks:

‘The likelihood of some Pastrengo division officers’ involvement as advisors should not come as a surprise [...] the Pastrengo command had been heavily involved in the seventies in colluding with subversive structures and in throwing ongoing investigations off the track, for instance by covering up arms trafficking, by suppressing sources of information which may have led to discovering those really behind the massacre of neofascists Freda and Ventura.’


According to Nicolò Bozzo, however, General Palumbo himself was not primarily responsible for giving the order to rape Franca Rame, but rather he carried out a ‘much higher wish’:

‘Besides his political opinions, I remember that General Palumbo would often receive phone calls from the Ministry, from the Minister. I know he used to talk to the Minister of Defence and Home Affairs. It is normal practice for the Minister of Defence to call the commander of a division. But I don’t think a crime like this originates at a local level. It is true that when the rape was announced there were displays of joy in the barracks, but personally I cannot picture General Palumbo calling the terrorists and ordering or asking them to do this.’


In 1973, the head of government was Giulio Andreotti, with a centre-right majority whose goal, according to the Memoriale Moro [a series of documents written by the Red Brigades and by Aldo Moro and found on different occasions between 1978 and 1990], was to “divert popular forces, for ever, from access to the life of the State”. The Minister of Defence was Mario Tanassi, the Minister of Interior was Mariano Rumor.
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Re: A New Europe: Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Nation-State

Postby jakell » Thu Feb 20, 2014 7:52 am

Maybe this deep state/neo-fascist convergence needs some highlighting and discussion, because without that it's just data and suggestion. (This is GD right?)

I'm concerned that this is actually moving away from fascism as such, as one gang of bully boys and abusers can look very much like another one, regardless of politics, and can even be apolitical. In fact some are drawn to this scene just for the cameraderie and aggression** (British football Hooligans are/were a case in point)


**In the same way that ritual abusers do the Satanism thing sometimes, not necessarily because they are Satanists, but because it's a suitable vehicle.

ETA: it's just occurred to me that the Italians have similar culture of organised football hooliganism (as do some other European countries), so there may be something in the above.
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Re: A New Europe: Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Nation-State

Postby American Dream » Thu Feb 20, 2014 9:46 am

Jakell, given your horrible track record of trolling this thread and- even before that- being slippery as an eel in regards to your actual beliefs and history regarding the revolutionary right, you are not going to get more conversation from me than this, here on this thread. I've told you this so many times before and you just don't want to accept it, you keep insisting.

On the other hand, if you choose to show a bit of good faith and stop your trolling here and instead start a thread which articulates your own "neither right nor left" type political agenda, you can do that- and, (hopefully) honestly make your case. You never know- even though I am now more persuaded than ever by the "no platform for fascists" position- I am much more likely to be up for some kind of exchange there than here.

That's it- no more with you here.
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Re: A New Europe: Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Nation-State

Postby jakell » Thu Feb 20, 2014 12:43 pm

Having referenced football Hooliganism above, I am wondering if North Americans have any sort of equivelant to this.

It's basically long running and often organised violence centred almost solely around the game of football (soccer that is). Crews or 'firms' tend to build up loosely surrounding a particular team, but the craving for violence often goes beyond mere rivalry around the actual sport, it becomes a gang culture. This has calmed down to an extent due to teams making very strong efforts to reduce this a few decades ago, it was getting so that families could not really atttend events because of this.
A lot of European clubs have a similar problem, often worse.

The English Defence League, even though coming long after soccer hooliganism's heydey, initially organised around this sort of thing in that very large numbers of (mainly white) people appeared on the streets after games in all major cities at predictable times, and this represented an opportunity for them to have a significant presence with very little planning needed.
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Re: A New Europe: Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Nation-State

Postby Basement Jack » Thu Feb 20, 2014 12:45 pm

Jakell says earlier on this thread….

“Not sure what the 'Asian Youth movement' is…
As ever, I am pleased to be able to add some relevent detail to your links and pastes.”

Now he says…

“There have been several posts about the Asian Youth Movement on this thread, and as someone up close, I've given my feedback each time.

It would be nice to hear other's thoughts, even if they don't feel 'qualifed”

Funny how Jakell makes comments about stuff he admits to knowing nothing about and then goes on to clap himself on the back, “I am pleased to be able to add some relevant details”, “as someone up close…” Indeed….

I lived in Bradford in the late 70’s in a shared house with some students at the university and we were the only ‘whites’ in the street. Bradford was cosmopolitan in the extreme with predominantly Pakistani Asians who came to work in the mills from the North West Frontier Province (NWFP).There were plenty of Polish, Italians, Irish and other nationalities as well but I got to know and work with many, mostly young second generation Pakistanis, Indians, Bengalis and Sikhs, playing football and cricket on nearby waste ground and going with them to punk gigs in the Royal Standard, the Manville and Queens Hall.

My landlord was from Pakistan and he offered me a job driving a Ford Transit van overland to his home town in the NWFP. That’s a whole other story but one occurrence at the end of that journey summed up for me the ubiquity of the Bradford connection to this part of Pakistan. Staying as a guest in my landlords home village recuperating from the arduous journey I went out one day after breakfast to add some nutrition to the soil, after which I stood to enjoy the view towards the Karakoram mountains across fields being ploughed with oxen and thinking how the view probably hadn’t changed for centuries when the ploughman stopped and, presumably on seeing my white face, shouted ‘Hey! Bradford!’

Later I lived in other cities in the UK and met up with some of my friends form Bradford, who had joined the Asian Youth Movement, at political rallies for anti-apartheid, ant-nukes, pro Palestine and every January, the Bloody Sunday commemoration march and, while they were still in prison, the Birmingham Six marches in Birmingham, which took real guts. At all these rallies the AYM were always cheerful, informed and dedicated and great to have along in case a fight broke out, as it usually did, with the fascist NF and BM. They were also united together, Sikhs and Pakistanis etc. and I have never known such political commitment and solidarity. Later again I heard that some had got involved with Hez but-Tahrir which were known as pretty radical separatist Muslims along the lines of the Nation of Islam but in more traditional dress.

Thanks for the piece from Prospect, which was very interesting American Dream but I always felt that we were capable of carrying on anti-racist struggles while maintaining and sharing the best of our cultures like in those heady days in Bradford in the 70’s when everything seemed possible and inevitable. More than Rushdie or religious teaching I believe it was the work of the British and American secret services in Iran, Afghanistan etc. which turned radical Asians towards identifying strongly with their ‘otherness’
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Re: A New Europe: Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Nation-State

Postby jakell » Thu Feb 20, 2014 12:53 pm

Basement Jack » Thu Feb 20, 2014 4:45 pm wrote:Jakell says earlier on this thread….

“Not sure what the 'Asian Youth movement' is…
As ever, I am pleased to be able to add some relevent detail to your links and pastes.”

Now he says…

“There have been several posts about the Asian Youth Movement on this thread, and as someone up close, I've given my feedback each time.

It would be nice to hear other's thoughts, even if they don't feel 'qualifed”

Funny how Jakell makes comments about stuff he admits to knowing nothing about and then goes on to clap himself on the back, “I am pleased to be able to add some relevant details”, “as someone up close…” Indeed….

I lived in Bradford in the late 70’s in a shared house with some students at the university and we were the only ‘whites’ in the street. Bradford was cosmopolitan in the extreme with predominantly Pakistani Asians who came to work in the mills from the North West Frontier Province (NWFP).There were plenty of Polish, Italians, Irish and other nationalities as well but I got to know and work with many, mostly young second generation Pakistanis, Indians, Bengalis and Sikhs, playing football and cricket on nearby waste ground and going with them to punk gigs in the Royal Standard, the Manville and Queens Hall.

My landlord was from Pakistan and he offered me a job driving a Ford Transit van overland to his home town in the NWFP. That’s a whole other story but one occurrence at the end of that journey summed up for me the ubiquity of the Bradford connection to this part of Pakistan. Staying as a guest in my landlords home village recuperating from the arduous journey I went out one day after breakfast to add some nutrition to the soil, after which I stood to enjoy the view towards the Karakoram mountains across fields being ploughed with oxen and thinking how the view probably hadn’t changed for centuries when the ploughman stopped and, presumably on seeing my white face, shouted ‘Hey! Bradford!’

Later I lived in other cities in the UK and met up with some of my friends form Bradford, who had joined the Asian Youth Movement, at political rallies for anti-apartheid, ant-nukes, pro Palestine and every January, the Bloody Sunday commemoration march and, while they were still in prison, the Birmingham Six marches in Birmingham, which took real guts. At all these rallies the AYM were always cheerful, informed and dedicated and great to have along in case a fight broke out, as it usually did, with the fascist NF and BM. They were also united together, Sikhs and Pakistanis etc. and I have never known such political commitment and solidarity. Later again I heard that some had got involved with Hez but-Tahrir which were known as pretty radical separatist Muslims along the lines of the Nation of Islam but in more traditional dress.

Thanks for the piece from Prospect, which was very interesting American Dream but I always felt that we were capable of carrying on anti-racist struggles while maintaining and sharing the best of our cultures like in those heady days in Bradford in the 70’s when everything seemed possible and inevitable. More than Rushdie or religious teaching I believe it was the work of the British and American secret services in Iran, Afghanistan etc. which turned radical Asians towards identifying strongly with their ‘otherness’


I do have a fair bit of knowledge about this relative to non-Brits (the majority here) as it's what I've grown up amongst, when I said I was adding some details, I was actuallly referencing their paucity. All this had been in a effort to encourage some focusing and relvency here.

If you've looked back a bit what do you think about the thread's thrust in general as the content has varied considerably?


ETA: I sort of see what you mean.... my statements taken together do seem contradictory. The first statement was true, I wasn't aware of such an organisation. The subsequent ones come from reading the articles. Is this clear now?
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Re: A New Europe: Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Nation-State

Postby American Dream » Thu Feb 20, 2014 12:59 pm

Basement Jack » Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:45 am wrote:
Thanks for the piece from Prospect, which was very interesting American Dream but I always felt that we were capable of carrying on anti-racist struggles while maintaining and sharing the best of our cultures like in those heady days in Bradford in the 70’s when everything seemed possible and inevitable. More than Rushdie or religious teaching I believe it was the work of the British and American secret services in Iran, Afghanistan etc. which turned radical Asians towards identifying strongly with their ‘otherness’


My reading of Kenan Malik is that he is in essential agreement with what you are saying here, i.e. that if we have strong and well-informed principles about the liberation of women, queer people, all colonized people, under a rubric of anti-capitalist struggle, then we should make our cultural expression congruent with those deeply held principles. Total assimilation into the mainstream is not necessarily congruent with a critique of how the State can and does appropriate "multiculturalism".
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Re: A New Europe: Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Nation-State

Postby American Dream » Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:11 pm

Not perfect but has lots of useful information on International Fascist/Right connections:


http://www.irr.org.uk/news/anti-extremi ... i-fascism/

ANTI-EXTREMISM OR ANTI-FASCISM?

November 21, 2013

Written by Liz Fekete

Anti-extremism frameworks, popular in policy and academic circles, are masking the multi-dimensional and pan-European nature of contemporary fascism and the role of the state.

Not since the early 1990s, and the pogroms at Hoyerswerda and Rostock have Europe’s far-right movements posed such a tangible threat to the safety of racial and religious minorities. In truth, levels of violence and state responses are far more worrying today than in the 1990s when hostels housing asylum seekers and guest workers were firebombed. There are a number of reasons why the central issues associated with far-right violence and racism are not being fully and publicly discussed.

A fertile climate for fascism

First, fascism is a much more complicated and diverse phenomenon than it was in the 1990s. (Read an IRR report: Pedlars of Hate: the violent impact of the European far Right.) When violence is carried out by neo-Nazis, it is easier to understand and see as linked to fascism. But the far Right is a fluid, evolving scene which is constantly mutating. The Autonomous Nationalists, white resistance movements, the counter-jihadists, the ultra-patriot identity movements and defence leagues are amongst the more recent variations on a far-right theme. The nebulous homophobic network Printemps Français (French Spring) is yet another. Earlier this year, as the Gay Marriage Bill went through the French parliament, Christian fundamentalists, ultra-nationalists and neo-Nazis all participated in its fanatical demonstrations. In the poisonous atmosphere generated by the verbal violence of French Spring, politicians who supported the Bill were issued with death threats.[1] Then, in June – a month after the Gay Marriage Bill became law – 18-year-old anti-fascist Clément Méric was left brain-dead after being attacked by skinheads in Paris.

Many of the homophobic movements (in western Europe at least) do not necessarily identify as fascist (though the picture is more clear cut in Russia and eastern Europe). Neither do the counter-jihadists. But just look at their actions: marching through Muslim neighbourhoods; spreading hate against Gays; and threatening politicians who support progressive legislation. All this might lead us to conclude that self-definition is not the only measure of fascism.

Second, the climate today – with the European-wide assault on multiculturalism by centre-right politicians and the embedded presence within the electoral process of extreme-Right and anti-immigrant movements – is much more fertile for fascism than at any time I can recall since I first started researching the far Right in different European contexts in 1992.

Many of the electoral extreme-right parties, like the Freedom Party in Austria, the Front National in France, Golden Dawn in Greece (and Cyprus), Jobbik in Hungary, National Union Attack (Ataka) in Bulgaria, Vlaams Belang in Belgium, the Falange in Spain, the National Democratic Party of Germany have expressed admiration for fascism. Some of these parties (as well as key elements within the People of Freedom Alliance in Italy) are in fact the direct political descendants of pre-war fascist movements.[2] These did not wither on the vine after the Second World War, but regrouped, initially mobilising over the loss of former colonies (the French over the loss of Algeria, and the Belgian over the loss of the Congo) or in favour of nationalist and revanchist demands for territory lost at the end of the war, or, later, in support of apartheid South Africa. And yet it is they, alongside newer anti-immigration parties such as the Danish People’s Party, Sweden Democrats, United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), Progress Party (Norway), True Finns (Finland), Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party (Netherlands) as well as the older and more-established Swiss People’s Party, which are benefiting from the electorate’s disillusionment with the centre-right and centre-left parties. We should be alarmed not just by the influence of extreme-right and Islamophobic parties in Europe’s legislatures, or the likelihood that they will make impressive gains in next year’s European parliament elections,[3] but also by the way in which fascist ideas are rapidly travelling from the far Right to the mainstream.

Thirdly, far-right violence is not contained on one region or country. It has emerged as a definite and specific threat in every country of Europe, with the culture of racism in one country crossing borders. Pavlo Lapshyn, the 25-year-old PhD student sentenced to life imprisonment for the Birmingham killing of 82-year-old grandfather Mohammed Saleem and for a bombing campaign against mosques across the West Midlands was described as a ‘lone wolf’ by the police, a view quickly echoed by journalists and anti-extremism experts. Lapshyn, who was from a Russian linguistic minority in the Ukraine, was known to visit Russian neo-Nazi websites, and had a video game on his computer called ‘ethnic cleansing’ at the time of the police raid on his Birmingham apartment. Yet, disturbingly, not one single article has appeared in the British press attempting to situate Lapshyn’s seemingly inexplicable actions within the ubiquitous culture of racism and fascism which goes unpunished both in the Ukraine (the land of his birth) and in Russia.[4] Nor did anyone ask, if he could do this here, perhaps he had already done it elsewhere.

The threat is constantly shifting from one country to the next, from Hungary, to Greece, then to the Czech Republic, where, over the course of this Summer, the Workers’ Party of Social Justice have mobilised every weekend in Roma neighbourhoods. Just as Winter brings a temporary halt to the Czech protests, the hysteria passes to Bulgaria where hatred towards Syrian refugees and attacks on refugee accommodation centres is being fuelled by government ministers and far-right parliamentarians from Ataka who described Syrians as ’scum’, mass killers’, ‘cannibals’, ‘savages’, ‘Islamic fundamentalists who have escaped justice’ and ‘terrible, despicable primates’.[5]Only last year, the Romani municipal council candidate Malin Iliev, died a month after sustaining critical injuries when his arm was ripped off in a bomb explosion outside the Euroma party headquarters in Sandanski. (Read an IRR briefing paper: From pillar to post: pan-European racism and the Roma.)

Generally speaking, since the war, fascism has been defined as ‘any right-wing nationalist ideology or movement with an authoritarian and hierarchical structure that is fundamentally opposed to democracy and liberalism’ (Collins). Anti-fascism, therefore, was tacitly accepted as an ethical movement to uphold democracy and liberalism and the rights of national and other minorities which might be under attack. One would think that, though the exact circumstances of fascism and anti-fascism might change over time, the basic tenets would not. But this is not the case.

The myopia of anti-extremism

In government, policy and academic circles it is now the fashion to reduce fascism to extremism, which exists at both ends of the political spectrum – on a line from far-left to far-right, as well as within minority cultures and religions (ie Islam) themselves. Anti-extremist experts in academic departments now dominate the debate, constantly warning of the symbiotic relationship between different forms of extremism, and the danger of a spiral of ‘cumulative extremism’[6] or ‘reciprocal radicalisation’.[7] (One group brings out the worst in another extremist group in an enduring cycle of violence and terrorism. And groups in terms of ideology and tactics simply mirror one another.) The dominance of these anti-extremist ideas is the fourth factor inhibiting the anti-fascist cause. Not only do the new ‘experts’ on extremism dominate in the media (crowding out grassroots voices and perspectives), but another problem also arises when some NGOs and civil society actors, partly driven by the need to secure government funds or gain influence in policy circles, accommodate themselves to anti-extremist frameworks in ways that undermine the broader vision inherent in anti-fascism. For anti-fascism has always been linked to anti-racism, and effective anti-racism/anti-fascism opens one up to the broader picture, one which may, as a matter of practical necessity, have to foreground the neo-Nazis at certain points, but does so in ways that illuminate (rather than obscure) the political culture and social reality that gives them succour.

Ironically, substituting a broad approach to combating fascism for a myopic study of different forms of extremism ends up hindering both the fight against fascism and strategies against extremism. Extremism is a multi-faceted phenomenon. Different forms of extremism have specific historical roots. They are not variations on the single them of a generic extremism. Each extremism is different, and has its own individual trajectory.[8]

When it comes to fascism, the myopic lens of the anti-extremist can’t help us to see the relationship between fascism on the fringes of society and racism in the mainstream – the relationship between fascist hatred of Roma and Muslims today for example, and mainstream laws that deny Muslims and Roma civil and human rights, and the popular media that constantly dehumanises, stigmatises and serves them up to the fascists as suitable enemies. Despite the mad ranting of the counter-jihadi fanatics about the Islamisation of Europe and the spread of Sharia law, the reality is that no Islamist party is represented in any government – in even a tiny corner of the EU. The same cannot be said of extreme-right, anti-immigration Islamophobic movements which are represented in government in every single country, and every single nook and cranny of Europe. They are constantly pushing at the frontiers of government policy. Against the background of the economic crisis, and the inability of parliamentary democracies to protect its citizenry from the forces of globalisation, elected politicians have moved firmly into the extreme-right territory of nativism. This is evidenced in laws against the veil and other signs of visible Islam, racial profiling of migrant populations, denial of welfare to immigrants, of citizenship (and the protections that go with it) to Muslims, dismantling of Roma encampments etc. To recapitulate: racist ideas are constantly travelling from the fringe to the mainstream and back again. (Maybe we should call this phenomenon ‘cumulative racism’!) It calls into question, of course, the idea behind cumulative extremism of a neutral government or state, holding the ring between warring extremist factions.

Variations on the cumulative extremism theme

The diagnosis that the real threat we face today is from cumulative extremism has different consequences in different European contexts. In the context of the UK, we are told that there is a symbiotic relationship between Islamist extremism and the English Defence League, whose ideologies mirror one another and who feed off each other in a spiral of violence. In fact this viewpoint is merely a reworking of tired frameworks used before in Northern Ireland. Remember all those film-makers, journalists and academics who sought to present the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland as part of an everlasting cycle of Catholic and Protestant religious fanaticism, thereby denying that British troops, British policies and entrenched discrimination against Catholics were the engine of the Conflict.

In the Czech Republic, politicians and mainstream extremist experts have suggested that violence of the far Right is a cumulative response to too much reliance on welfare, or too much delinquency amongst the Roma community.[9] And at the EU-level, the current fad is for research into populism per se, which tends to see Left and Right populism as part of the same stable, equally driven by anti-elite ‘resentment’ and thus equally dangerous to the EU project.[10] But in Germany, where both fascism and Communism were deemed un-constitutional in the post-war period (in the Federal Republic that is), and where the pre-unification mindset (against the Communist East) still prevails, with the Left seen as a greater threat to democracy than the Right, cumulative extremism plays out more in terms of equating Left and Right as equal threats to the democratic order. Not surprisingly, then, given the history of fascism in Germany and the centrality of Left forces in the anti-fascist resistance, it is here where anti-racist and victim support groups are refusing to accommodate to government programmes that equate Left, Right and ‘foreigner’ violence on the grounds that such programmes exclude radical critiques (and critics) from debate and delegitimise anything radical. (Read IRR News articles: ‘German counter-extremism programme – a “spying charter”’ and ‘Anti-fascism – extreme necessity’.)

Anti-extremism and the security state

Anti-fascism has always been associated in the post-war period with progressive causes – from the fight against dictatorship in Spain, Greece and Portugal, to the defence of ethnic minority communities under attack. Removing anti-fascism from a progressive register and placing it in the field of anti-extremism, means accepting reactionary security discourses which have emerged in the context of the war on terror. For anti-extremist experts, with a few honourable exceptions, are not speaking primarily to anti-fascist movements at the grassroots, those endeavouring to protect communities from fascist provocation, but to policy-makers, police and intelligence services. The idea is taking hold that fascism and hate – so widespread on the internet – can only be controlled by relying on the state as policeman and protector. This is very dangerous at a time when parliamentary democracy is weak, when the right to demonstrate is under attack (if not in terms of legislation, in practice, via police techniques such as kettling) and when the Snowden revelations have thrown light on the ‘increasing subservience of democracy to the unaccountability of security power’[11] (read an IRR News article: ‘Is anti-fascism being criminalised?‘) and the ‘interconnections between global intelligence services in a system of global dominance’.[12] A warning from novelist John Lanchester (asked to read the Snowden documents by the Guardian), about the dangers of the ‘lone wolf’ theory, is pertinent here. He calls this ‘the ultimate version of the scare story that used to be called “reds under the bed”‘, adding ‘how can the state ever hope to protect us against people like that, if not by permanent, omnipresent, ever-increasing surveillance?’ [13]

Post-war history – from the 1980 Bologna railway massacre, the pogroms at Hoyerswerda and Rostock, to the 1995 presence of Greek fascists at the Srebrenica massacre, and Breivik’s 2011 massacre at Osloand Utoya island – teaches us that fascism can emerge on states’ blind side.[14] Whether this is because of a tendency to view fascism as excess of nationalism, or patriotism (a form of extremism states can sympathise with), or due to suspicions about the loyalties of ethnic minorities and anti-racists (witness the current revelations about the surveillance of the Lawrence family and anti-racist organisations in the 1990s[15]), or because far-right groups are not seen as a direct threat to state institutions (so the threat is downgraded) is a moot point.

Collusion with fascism and criminalisation of anti-fascism

But certainly it is true in a number of countries, most notably Germany, with the National Socialist Underground (NSU) revelations, that police and intelligence services (including military intelligence) are today, far from blind to fascism. (Read an IRR Briefing paper: State intelligence agencies and the far Right: A review of developments in Germany, Hungary and Austria.) In fact they are too close to it, running inappropriate paid informer schemes and other dubious methods of covert policing. In Germany, eight men of Turkish origin, one man of Greek origin and a female police officer, were shot in the head at close range between 2000 and 2007 by members of the NSU. Despite having examined 80,000 documents and examining 800 witnesses, a parliamentary inquiry failed to conclusively determine why thirty-four separate police and intelligences agencies were unable to apprehend the far-right killers over that seven-year period. The deliberations of the parliamentary commission were not helped by the fact that countless security services’ documents were shredded on the eve of the inquiry and that key witnesses appeared to suffer from memory loss. Many political commentators in Germany now ask whether the security services are a law unto themselves and a threat to a constitutional state.

In Hungary, six Roma, including a 5-year-old child, were assassinated by four neo-Nazis who carried out a total of twenty attacks in nine small towns and villages from July 2008 until 2011. A short parliamentary inquiry, despite limitations in its remit, managed to establish that the National Security Office repeatedly failed to prioritise the murder of the Roma and to pass relevant information to police investigators. Journalists managed to uncover other facts which had been withheld from the parliamentarians, namely that one of the neo-Nazis (a former professional soldier) had at some point been an informer for military intelligence. Other disturbing facts have emerged from Austria, where seven members of Objekt 21 were convicted in November 2013 for ‘re-engagement with National Socialism’ under a 1947 anti-Nazi Prohibition Act. While they were under surveillance from 2009, it is not clear why they were allowed to maintain a reign of terror in the region for years, with arson attacks, weapons and drugs dealing, as well as control of prostitution, being amongst their crimes. A former detective had previously alleged that of three agents working for state security on the question of fascism, two were openly sympathetic towards the far Right.

The most serious allegations come from Greece, where members of the Special Forces Reserve Union recently called for a coup and a government investigation has been launched into allegations that members of the armed forces were training Golden Dawn hit squads. The head of the police’s special forces, internal security, organised crimes, firearms and explosives and a rapid motorcycle division have been moved to other posts pending investigation of media reports that they were assisting Golden Dawn’s criminal activities. During a raid on the home of the chief of police in the fascists’ Athenian stronghold of St Panteleimon, the addresses of immigrants, bags of counterfeit goods and weapons were seized. Taking just these known cases from Germany, Hungary, Austria and Greece (given the nature of covert policing there are bound to be more) allows us to say with some authority that there is now considerable evidence of European state collusion – either direct or indirect – with the growth of the far Right. Collusion, Sir John Stevens defined, (in the context of Northern Ireland) in 1993 as ‘encompassing a range of actions including the wilful failure to keep records, the absence of accountability, the withholding of intelligence and evidence, through to the extreme of agents being involved in murder[16]

An anti-extremism discourse, with its narrow parameters and closeness to security discourses and interests, keeps the state and its security services outside the reckoning. This is not to suggest a conspiracy, but merely to point to a significant blind spot, which, in the political arena, lends legitimacy to police in their attempts to criminalise resistance to fascism (as just another form of extremism), and to intelligence services to spy on anti-racists and anti-fascists (as potential subversives and extremists). In fact, opposition to fascism – which should be the preserve of all democrats – has already been seriously weakened by this ‘anti-extremist’ discourse which is proving very useful to powerful state agencies and extreme- right politicians. For now, human rights defenders and anti-fascists face criminalisation as police target them as extremists leading to high-profile court cases, a number of which have collapsed.[17] At the same time Right politicians in European parliaments are attempting to get left parties banned. When the French government, in the wake of the murder of Clément Méric, announced in parliament that the Third Way, Revolutionary Nationalist Youth and Desire to Dream, would be banned, angry rightwing politicians heckled, calling for similar bans on left groups[18] — a policy now supported by the leader of the UMP Jean-Francois Copé.[19] Marine Le Pen, for her part, has decried policies based on ‘selective dissolution’.[20] In Greece, the New Democracy/PASOK coalition government routinely equates Golden Dawn to the Left (including the anti-fascist movement) with the law professor Costas Douzinas amongst those who have warned that the ignorant and morally perverse ‘theory of two extremes ‘ is the favoured narrative of the Greek elite.[21] The recent murders of two fascists outside the Golden Dawn headquarters in Athens does not bolster this argument, no matter how hard the press try to portray it as a revenge attack for the earlier murder of the anti-fascist musician Pavlos Fyssas.[22] Unnamed Greek security sources now claim that either the Sect of Revolutionaries, or a splinter group of Revolutionary Struggle, were behind the fatal machine gun attack. But no one has been arrested yet and neither of these groups were connected to Pavlos Fyssas or anti-fascism. In fact, neither of these organisations emerged in the context of the current fight against Golden Dawn but out of anti-capitalist anarchist movements on the one hand and the 2008 student protests in Greece that followed the police killing of the student Alexandros Grigoropoulos. Their previous targets were banks, prison and police officers, and court houses – ie institutions associated with the state and capitalism.

Building an anti-fascist culture

Fascism starts by capturing public spaces, be it a street, a village, or a town and turning them into natives only, foreigner no-go zones. In the modern world, ‘the spaces’ that fascists also seek to capture include television and social media, using free speech as the Trojan horse through which democratic societies can be infiltrated and undermined. In the long term we probably have most to fear from the far Right at a local rather than a national level (where extreme-right and anti-immigration movements hoover up the racist vote). For it is at the local level, that the cultural revolution of the Right is advancing like an invasion of weeds in the European garden. It is here also that anti-fascism is at its most vibrant and relevant. The danger is that the anti-extremism industry will provide the intellectual cover for the criminalisation of resistance to fascism.

We desperately need strong local movements against fascism. This doesn’t just involve mobilising to protect our streets from neo-Nazis, but building a resilient focused and grassroots anti-fascist culture. For, as Greek anti-fascists on the frontline of resistance today have argued, ‘anti-fascism is a political struggle about the kind of life we want to live … it is a battle for democracy, solidarity and social justice’.[23] Such movements need also to embrace town halls. It is only right that our elected tribunes should stand shoulder to shoulder with us in demanding ‘they shall not pass’. Catchpenny theories and fashionable fads are one thing – but sometimes the old slogans say it so much better.
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