Monthly Archives: April 2012

Why liberal ‘anti-fascism’ is a mistake, Part 1

An important distinction needs to be made between a genuine, militant anti-fascism, and the pseudo anti-fascism of liberal organisations like Unite Against Fascism, Hope Not Hate and Searchlight. The latter ideology also informs websites like EDL News and Expose who often seem to see anti-fascism as a race to see who can report racist comments to the police first. Whilst there is no doubt that some of what these organisations do is useful to the anti-fascist cause, the liberal approach strengthens authoritarian elements of the state and state-sponsored ‘community leaders’ who seek to undermine all threats to their power. It boosts an ideologically filtered anti-extremism that is ultimately opposed to militant anti-fascism and liberatory movements as well. Militant anti-fascists must consistently challenge the statist tactics of some who oppose the far right. Over the next few weeks we will be publishing the reasons why.

1. It takes us closer to a police state

Central to liberal ideology is the idea that the state should have a monopoly on violence. Consequently, liberals favour the idea that the police are the only body that can legitimately ‘smash the fash’ on the streets. They blithely ignore the tendency of the police to ‘facilitate’ the free speech of fascists and to repress anti-fascists as and when it suits their interests. Calls for the state to regulate fascism in this way help the state to concentrate power in the hands of authoritarians and quasi-fascists within its own ranks. It should be easy to see why calling for the state to tackle fascism is extremely counter-productive.

The British police have a long and shameful history of protecting fascists. From the famous Battle of Cable Street (which was a fight between anti-fascists and the Metropolitan Police, who were protecting Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists), to the 1993 demonstration against the BNP bookshop at Welling (brutally attacked by the police), to the fitting up of anti-fascists protesting against a neo-Nazi Blood & Honour gig in 2009, the police have made it their job to ensure that fascists have the freedom to organise. Their aims are fundamentally different to those of anti-fascists.

Anti-fascists who call for the state to ban fascist marches, groups and symbols are playing an extremely dangerous game as such state intervention is frequently also turned against them. For example, Searchlight and other liberal anti-fascists trumpeted Home Secretary Theresa May’s ban on the EDL marching in Tower Hamlets in August last year. However, the Home Office used this opportunity to ban all marches in Tower Hamlets and four other London boroughs for an entire month, which conveniently also banned anti-militarist marches against the DSEI arms fair, East London LGBT Pride and anti-cuts protests. The state will use the cover of banning ‘extremists’ (who are as likely to be people fighting for freedom as fascists or religious militants) to further its own controlling and policing agendas, which are usually fundamentally opposed to the interests of those who want to fight fascism.

There is also evidence of the state using liberal anti-fascist organisations to monitor and control anti-fascists. For example, Searchlight founder and long-time editor, Gerry Gable, was exposed as having links to various state intelligence agencies in the 1980s. Searchlight notoriously infiltrated the Yorkshire branch of Anti-Fascist Action, as detailed in Beating the Fascists, sowing distrust and weakening the organisation. Inevitably, even without intentionally stitching up their comrades, the passing of information about fascist activities to the state by anti-fascists provides an opportunity for the state to monitor what the anti-fascists are up to as well.

For all of these reasons, militant anti-fascists do not trust the state and have sought to build their own movements against fascism, outside of state surveillance and control.

[Go to Part 2 | Part 3]

Infidels or imbeciles?

The recent arrests of members of EDL splinter group, the Infidels, have raised the profile of this tiny far right protest group. Anti-fascists might be wondering whether the Infidels have a local presence and what kind of threat they pose. We did the dirty job of scouring their websites so you don’t have to. Here’s the deal:

Derbyshire Infidels

These guys go for an old school white supremacist vibe, devoid of punctuation or grammar: “The futures bright the futures white ktf ns!”, “Unite the right to be white”, “white white white is right kick them and fight fight fight”, etc. As with many of their fellow on the far right, the urge to write bloody awful racist songs and ‘poetry’ cannot be suppressed:

They say they are “sometimes violent” and use fascist imagery of fighting for the white race, etc. So are they a threat?

Erm… don’t think so.

Leicester Infidels

These fellas are more happy to show their links to Nazism, littering their posts  with “14w” (reference to a 14 word phrase codified by David Lane, leader of white separatist organisation, The Order) and “88” (8th word of the alphabet is H, HH stands for Heil Hitler). They think that “jew scum took control of the uk/world media” and are obsessed with anti-semitic conspiracy theories and holocaust denial. Fortunately they seem like too paranoid a bunch of lunatics for most people to show the slightest bit of interest in them and have to resort to liking their own posts.

Nottinghamshire Infidels

A relatively new Facebook group that seems to have aroused very minimal support. Set up by Phil Murfet, a Notts County fan whose speciality is rape jokes, race hate jokes and jokes about Tommy Robinson involving race hate. ” ‘Sex with someone who doesn’t want to is rape’ … I call it marriage” the little charmer wrote in a recent status update. Another recent ‘joke’ called black people at KFC “native, wild black members in their home tribe” an “uncivilized group” who “sloppily munched into their food”. Little Miss Murfet refers to Tommy Robinson as a “fenian” funded by “jew boy” Alan Lake. A nasty piece of work to be sure, but without any support.

What is noticeable about all of these tiny Facebook fan pages is that they have very little local support and seem capable of very little independent action.  They are full of links to the North West Infidels, British People’s Party and National Front and their members occasionally report going to fairly small demonstrations in the north. In short, although they love to think of themselves as the hardcore street army who have had enough of what they see as the multicultural, Zionist, Irish-led EDL, they will always be in its much larger shadow.

The threat of more militant, hardline fascist groups like these is not that they might have any mass influence, but that they might give rise to future ‘lone wolves’ – radicalised individuals who resort to violent atrocities in order to ‘fight back’ against ‘the Jewish conspiracy’, ‘multiculturalism’, ‘cultural Marxism’, ‘Islamic takeover’ or whatever their current bogeyman is. We have had homegrown Breiviks in the past – David Copeland, Martyn Gilleard and Robert Cottage spring to mind.

Fortunately the Infidels phenomenon does not seem to have taken off in the Midlands and the police raids on several of the leaders of the movement in the north and London will hopefully dampen their spirits. However, we should not be complacent. These fascists need to be stamped out.

Update 30/04/12: Origin of the 14 word phrase corrected.

Nottingham fascists on St. George’s day

Nottingham Indymedia reports that some local fascists were seen attending the official St.George’s day parade today, although without their public branding.  The local EDL also organised Saturday’s parade in the Clifton area of the city in memory of soldier Kieron Hill and Nottingham organiser Jay Clark even got quoted in the local paper. Not everyone thought the event was as successful as the Post made out though. One local said “it was not the turn out I expected” and “it seems as tho everyone just wanted to head to the pub”. When the EDL are in charge that’s what we come to expect. It seems they headed straight to Weatherspoons after the Nottingham march as well.

The revelations will be a blow to the local Labour party’s attempts to portray themselves as anti-racists. The St. George’s Day march has grown from a tiny group of football fans in a pub in Radford to the large march through the town centre that it is today largely thanks to the Labour city council’s promotion. It will be extremely embarrassing for them that the event is being used as a platform for groups like the EDL.

It’s no big surprise that fascists will be at such public events, especially on St.George’s day, as it’s one of their best chances to safely show their collective ugly mugs in public.  The far-right, opportunists as they are, will always seek to use any space they can to gather and organise, and piggybacking on mainstream events is a relatively easy way to achieve this if they can get away with it.

French lessons

The huge vote for the National Front (FN) in yesterday’s French presidential elections is a salutary reminder of the threat posed by the fascist parties.

Provisional results suggest that Marine Le Pen secured 18.01% of the vote on a turnout of 80.16%. This is higher than the 16.86% of the vote secured by her father, Jean Marie Le Pen, in the 2002 election when he came second, making his way to the second round.

While anti-fascists (and anybody with any sense) should breath a sigh of relief that the FN did not make it to the second round again we should not assume that the threat the party pose has disappeared. The most immediate danger is the influence it will exert on the political mainstream.

According to the Guardian, “Sarkozy had run a rightwing campaign from the outset, chasing voters on the extreme right by focusing on immigration, saying there were too many foreigners in France and following Le Pen’s lead in claiming unlabelled halal meat was a key concern of French voters. He had recently stressed conservative family values and the Christian heritage of France.”

Having failed to win the first round (the first president in modern France to do so) he is on the back foot and there is a danger that he will swing even further to the right order to try and pick up some of Le Pen’s voters. FN supporters are strongly anti-establishment so it is far from guaranteed that Le Pen votes will transfer to Sarkozy in real numbers, but by that point the damage will have been done.

This is not a trend unique to the France, as Sean Birchall notes, “Unlike its 1930s forebears, what characterises fascism today is not the ‘putsch’ but what anti-fascists have referred to as ‘the drift'” (Beating the Fascists, p17). The potential impact of this drift is apparent in Denmark. There, the far-right People’s Party (PP) secured 12.0% of the vote in 2001 and shored up a Conservative-Liberal coalition. In exchange for their cooperation, the coalition adopted a number of the PP’s key demands, crucially strong restrictions on immigration. As a result, Denmark has what the PP has described as Europe’s strictest immigration laws. (Danish TV series The Killing II features a dramatised account of the same process pushing a relatively liberal government to adopt authoritarian anti-terrorist measures.)

Even in the UK where far-right electoral success remains modest, we have seen fascists exerting a rightward pull on mainstream parties. In 2007, Margaret Hodge Labour MP for Barking, where the BNP had made considerable gains, sought to take on the BNP on their own territory by arguing that British residents should get priority in council house allocation.

Nobody should assume that these sorts of concessions constitute an anti-fascist strategy. Swinging to the right can only serve to legitimise far-right ideas and give confidence to their practitioners. In any case, once the mainstream have conceded enough to the far-right, voters may well ask themselves why they don’t just vote for the real thing anyway.

Jon Collins can fuck right off

According to a post on Nottingham Indymedia, the anti-mayor campaign currently being run by the Labour Party in Nottingham has sunk to a new low.

A leaflet (found in the street outside a mosque) claims, “The Racist BNP & EDL want a £1M Extra Mayor. That’s the only way they can win in Nottingham.” This is desperate stuff on Labour’s part.

While it is true that the BNP have expressed support for elected mayors and will presumably stand somebody in the unlikely event that the city votes in favour of a mayor in the May 3rd referendum, they are unlikely to win anything more than a handful of votes. As “Weasel Hunter” points out, “They polled at around 3% of the vote in the ward where they stood in Nottingham last year.” The EDL meanwhile are not a political party (despite the aspirations of some members) so their opinion on elected mayors (if they have one) is of no consequence.

That Nottingham Labour is now using the threat of the far-right to further their political agendas is particularly ironic given that when the EDL came to town in December 2009, council leader Jon Collins encouraged people not to join the counter-protest. Fortunately he was widely ignored.

This sort of cynical exploitation of anti-fascism by politicians, seeking to protect their power, can only serve to discredit serious anti-fascism – presenting it as a conservative force, defending the status quo – and needs to be condemned in the strongest terms.

Local elections round up

With a little under 2 weeks to go until polling day, 3rd May, East Midlands Anti-fascists bring you a round up of local fascist attempts to jockey for power.


Having finally concluded the messy power struggle within Amber Valley (Lewis Allsebrook jumped ship before he was pushed), the blackshirts of Derbyshire BNP have put up 8 candidates in Derby and Amber Valley.

The “invisible councillor” Cliff Roper is fighting to retain his seat in Heanor East, which should be a struggle if reports that he barely opens his mouth in public are to be believed. Not so long ago Roper was having a strop and resigned the party whip in order to get his way in the local party, and there have  been plenty of accusations of backstabbing and being a “red” flung his way. Aging bonehead, Adrian Hickman, will stand in Allsebrook’s former constituency of Heanor West. “Inept” Emma Roper will hope to get slightly more than the 2.4% she polled last time in the Codnor and Waingroves ward. Ken Cooper (Heanor & Loscoe) and Alan Edwards (Ripley & Marehay) are also standing.

Cliff Roper: actively working for his Heanor constituents again

Admirer of Mussolini’s blackshirts and “Grand Dictator of Derbyshire”, Paul Hilliard is standing in the Chaddesden ward in Derby and is joined by Julie Fuller (Derwent) and Vanessa Griffin (Spondon). Let’s just say you wouldn’t buy a second-hand car from the man.

Paul Hilliard: Would you trust this chump with your vote?

The BNP’s only candidate in Lincolnshire is neo-Nazi Dean Lowther, whose campaign is in a bit of a pickle after his openly racist posts on Facebook became the subject of a police investigation and front-page news in the local paper. His posts included cartoons portraying the Obamas as monkeys and the insignia of violent and openly Nazi groups, the Racial Volunteer Force, the British People’s Party, Blood and Honour and Combat 18.  Lowther is standing in the Bracebridge ward of Lincoln.


English Democrats

The entire North-West Leicestershire BNP branch has recently defected to the English Democrats in the hope that they can do away with secret meetings and redirection points and gain a bit of respectability, something which seems unlikely given that about half of the English Democrats’ candidates across the UK are recent defectors from the BNP. Alan and Gaynor Bennett Spencer are standing for the half-fascist party in Daventry.

National Front

Fascist failure, Tim Knowles, who was so dim he managed to fuck up being elected unopposed is trying for a second crack of the whip in Langley Mill, Amber Valley. Last time round he failed to fill in the acceptance form or turn up to any meetings so was booted out. We hope the Front will sink further into irrelevance during these elections.

Black Shirts in Derbyshire

Sometimes when compiling this blog, the jokes just write themselves – especially when Derbyshire BNP are involved.  In February we mentioned plans to get BNP-branded garments for the Derbyshire footsoldiers, and joked that they’d probably be in black.  Well, they are.


So far, so easy laugh…let’s not read too much into their choice of colour, eh?  Until we notice that Derbyshire head honcho Paul Hilliard has, on his facebook page, “liked” the original, fascist Italian paramilitary blackshirts, which he lists as one of his “activities” (!)

Glad we now know where Derbyshire BNP get their inspiration from, Paul.

Full English?

The defection of the entire North West Leicestershire branch of the BNP to the English Democrats is merely the the latest instance of BNPers giving up on Nick Griffin and jumping ship. So large is the shift, that some have claimed that as many as 43% of the English Democrats’ candidates in the forthcoming local elections are one-time BNP members.

Among the former BNPers standing for the English Democrats:

  • Paul Rimmer is standing as the party’s candidate for mayor in Liverpool (alongside candidates for the BNP and National Front). Rimmer is a former member of the both the BNP and UKIP and, if Hope Not Hate can be believed, he has also been a member of “Militant Labour” (presumably the Trotskyist Militant Tendency, latterly the Socialist Party and the Tories.
  • Eddy Butler, the BNP’s former national organiser and architect of the “Rights for Whites” campaign in the 1990s is standing in Epping Forest, Hertfordshire. Butler was expelled from the BNP by Nick Griffin in 2010, but is still listed on BNP MEPS Andrew Brons’ website as a political researcher. He is also a former member of the National Front.
  • Chris Beverley, standing in Leeds, was previously a Parliamentary candidate for he BNP and, like Butler, is still listed as working for Andrew Brons as his PA.

It is interesting to note that Butler and Beverley appear to have kept a foot in both camps joining and actively campaigning for the English Democrats while maintaining their association with Brons, leader of the anti-Griffinite “BNPIdeas” faction. Is this an indication that Brons and the rest of his followers are testing the water before jumping ship themselves?

English Democrat leader Robin Tilbrook told the party’s annual conference, held in Leicester last September, that the influx of BNP members represented an opportunity for the party, claiming that “some of the people who wanted to do their honest best for our country but made the mistake of joining the BNP are now joining us and will help us become that electorally credible party.” He conceded, “We need to be sure that such people are genuine converts to a more civic or cultural nationalism and that they will be an asset to our party, but we do not need to be too defensive.”

How Tilbrook proposes to ensure they are “genuine converts” isn’t clear. With so many BNP members joining and only 60 people attending last year’s conference it is not to difficult to imagine a situation where the party is pulled ever further to the right or even taken over completely.

For the timebeing at least, the The English Democrats are not a far-right party. Instead they positioning themselves somewhere to the right of the Conservative Party, much like UKIP, but substituting constitutional questions about Europe with concerns about England’s role within the Union. They are committed to the formation of a devolved English Parliament with at least the same powers as those granted to the Scottish Parliament, but not full independence.

They like to present themselves as an English version of the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP), however, Scottish nationalism has historically defined itself in opposition to a Tory-dominated England. This has tended to pull it to the left. (Whether this would continue after independence is open for debate, but the SNP in power has in practice been little different to the mainstream parties.) Without similar pressures pertaining in England, the English Democrats are a very different beast and weare actually formed by an ex-Tory.

The party claims that it is neither left nor right, but are hardly the first to do so. Third Positionist neo-Nazis have been insisting that they’ve transcended the left-right dichotomy for decades, convincing nobody. This isn’t to suggest that the English Democrats are actually undercover Strasserites, but the party’s key policies incorporate the usual right wing cliches: an end to “mass immigration,” withdrawal from the EU and opposition to “political correctness”.

So far the English Democrats have had little electoral success. The sole exception being in Doncaster where Peter Davies was elected as Mayor in 2009. His period in office has been characterised by attacks on “political correctness” (although his attempt to get rid of “non jobs” at the council floundered when none could be found) and incompetence, culminating in a 2010 report by the Audit Commission which concluded that the authority was “dysfunctional”.

It is hard to believe that English nationalism is going to set the electorate alight. For most people in England, the West Lothian Question is a matter of constitutional arcana of no relevance to their daily lives. Apart from its attachment to an English Parliament, the English Democrats are essentially just another Tory party and the one we’ve got is more than enough.

There is a real danger, however, that if the party is pulled to the right it might be able to fill the space occupied by the BNP, which over the last decade has demonstrated that there is considerable potential for a radical far-right political party. Recall that in the 2010 General Election, the BNP received 564,321 votes for 338 candidates. This is more than twice as many as the Green Party who secured a seat in Brighton, and almost three times as many as the National Front’s electoral highpoint in the “bad old days” of 1979. In 2009, the BNP won 2 seats in the European Parliament (with the attendant financial bonuses) on the back of 943,598 votes, 4.9% of the vote.

The BNP achieved more than any other far-right group in the UK has ever done before, but a combination of anti-fascist organising and incessant internal squabbling has prevented them from making the kind breakthrough we’ve their counterparts make elsewhere in Europe (The Front National in France, Vlaams Belang in Belgium etc.). Could the English Democrats now make that breakthrough in their stead? It certainly isn’t inevitable, but equally it isn’t inconceivable. Anti-fascists will be watching with interest.

Leicestershire EDL hoot about Hamza

The news that Islamist cleric, Abu Hamza, had lost his appeal against extradition from the UK was greeted with glee by members of Leicester EDL. Mark Dunn crowed about how the “hook-handed bastard” would “Have fun in America”.

Andy 'Kuffaar' with his EDL hat on

Andy ‘Kuffaar’ Catchpole of Hinckley Division suggested “leave the poor paki to worry about his own water boarding” which had to be corrected by Dunn: “Think your mate Abu is Egyptian”.  Catchpole’s response? “there all the fucking same to me mate”. When another poster suggested flying him halfway to America, Andy responded “thats a waste of a drone plane strap him to a cluster bomb and fire him at a arabic country don’t give a fuck which one”. Leicester EDL’s Alan Allsopp reckoned it would be a “result either way”.

This is par for the course for the EDL who frequently express the opinion that Muslims are “all the same”, just “pakis” and that they should be the target of indiscriminate violence, preferably at the hands of the British armed forces.

It’s no surprise that Andy’s getting a bit confused and angry. He’s normally found slumped in a heap with TWAT written on his face after a night drinking and snorting coke.

His shaky grasp of geography is shared by his division who didn’t even manage to spell the name of their hometown on their EDL uniform.

Nazi salute EDL hooligan banned

A Lincoln City fan who took an EDL flag to matches and  was photographed giving a Nazi salute has been banned from attending football matches for 3 years.

Briggs lives on Bentley Drive, Bracebridge Heath, in the area that BNP candidate Dean Lowther is standing for election.