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The far-right must be halted in its tracks

Stand up to racism - download flyerToday is UN Anti-Racism Day. It is our chance to show that we can prevent fascism and racism scarring Europe’s future in the way it has scarred its past. We enter these European elections with fascist and extreme right parties likely to increase their seats.

In France backing for Le Front Nationale is at an all-time high with predictions of 25 per cent support. This pattern is repeated across Europe, with extreme right, neo-Nazi parties or their more “mainstream” populist variants looking like they will be the big winners in the coming Euro elections. In Britain the effective broad campaigning of Unite Against Fascism with its allies in the labour movement against the neofascist British National Party – along with its own internal divisions – have roundly defeated that party.

But instead, Nigel Farage’s Ukip is making the running with its platform that calls for an end to all immigration while having nothing to say about alternatives to cuts and austerity. Farage has said he finds it “uncomfortable” to be surrounded by different languages on a London train. However, he is quite comfortable being co-president of the Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) European parliamentary group with Italian rightwinger Francesco Speroni, who has expressed agreement with some of the views of Norwegian extreme right mass murderer Anders Breivik.

Despite this, the mainstream media have yet to scrutinise Ukip’s distasteful alliances. Instead it gets free promotion through hysterical headlines spreading myths and lies about “benefit tourism,” scare stories about the imminent descent on a “full-up” Britain of unmanageable hordes of east European migrants and demonisation of the Muslim community. There is no doubt that the growth of the populist and extreme right across Europe has occurred in an environment where its divisive policies are legitimised by mainstream parties and given currency by the media.

They have not just gone along with policies that scapegoat immigrants, attacks on the veil, kosher and halal practices and initiatives like the referendum to ban all immigration in Switzerland but have driven them forward.
In France it was Nicolas Sarkozy’s government that banned the full face veil in public places, in an attempt to win back votes from the Front Nationale.

In Britain, the Tories are desperately trying to out-bid Ukip to be the hardest on immigration.
But by capitulating to this agenda the mainstream parties feed a process where today’s unacceptable becomes tomorrow’s norm. In response the far-right just escalates its demands. Ukip started out calling for limits on immigration. As the Tories adopted its agenda they shifted their position to no immigration at all.
In Hungary the mainstream agenda has moved so far to the right that it has led to the downplaying of the Holocaust. The covering up of collaboration in the nazi deportations of Hungarian Jews led to the Jewish community boycotting Holocaust commemorations in protest.

Unite Against Fascism has organised an anti-fascist movement that has helped to drive back the danger from overt neofascists, seeing off the British National Party electoral threat and defeating its street-fighting counterpart, the English Defence League. As well as bringing people together on the broadest possible basis to oppose the extreme right, Unite Against Fascism has always made the need to celebrate and defend our multicultural society part of its response.

Saying: “Don’t let the racists divide us,” it has brought people together on the basis that we are one society with many cultures. This approach has broadened the mobilisations to defend mosques, Pride parades or ensuring fascist, anti-semitic views are exposed like those of the Hungarian neofascist party Jobbik in London earlier this year.

In colleges and universities students have taken this up under the slogan “one campus, many cultures” to reject the extreme right and attempts by college authorities to ban the veil or target Islamic societies. But we cannot afford to be complacent about the retreat of the latest wave of British fascism. At present the populist anti-immigration policies of Ukip are gathering up the votes, but the legitimisation of these views tends the ground for the regrowth of fascism.

That is why we are marching today in the Stand up to Racism demonstration as part of UN Anti-Racism day.
The event is timed to be a positive statement opposing the racist scapegoating of migrants in the run-up to the European election. Scapegoating immigrants and ethnic minorities divides the response to the real culprits for the assault on living standards and has a destructive impact on vulnerable communities. It will also be a timely statement of the positive contribution of immigration to Britain’s successful multicultural society.

Aaron Kiely is Black Students’ Officer for the National Union of Students. This article originally appeared in the Morning Star.

4 Comments

  1. Robert says:

    Not me the simple fact today we have in the EU and in the UK three political parties who are so close the difference is impossible to see.

    We have poverty in the UK with food banks and it’s growing we have labour telling us they will vote for the Tories benefits cap or hammering down on the unemployed who are unemployed because of labour’s love affair with the banks and Thatcherism.

    get the politics right and the far right will die out unneeded, carry on like you are and sadly one day another Hitler will arrive somebody who speaks to the poor the sick the disabled and the unemployed 2010 should have been warning to politicians in the UK it was not they think we are just stupid .

    Look at Greece and Spain and especially Italy, if your not willing to blame the bankers for the down turns and the crises you should not blame the working class.

    Look who talks for us Ball’s Miliband and Clegg the Tories are the Tories.

    We are dead lucky that Griffin is the bloke in charge of the BNP and not somebody with some ideas and a voice.

    But today in the EU the Tories and the socialist it’s hard to tell the difference.

  2. Dave Roberts says:

    The issue of whether UKIP is a far right party is open to debate but articles like this do your website no good in terms of credibility. Aaaron Kiely is a councillor in Thanet where he is under criticism for taking his allowances and not turning up to council meetings.

    He also recently spent some time on a jaunt to Venezuela. I understand that it is unclear who paid for it but it was probably the Venezuelan government.

    The article is similar to one that appeared on the site left foot foot forward by the Chair of the TUC and which was taken apart by several people including Sunder Katwala wo cannot be called racist or right wing in any way I would have thought. The article is still there and well worth reading as are the comments.

    It was news to me coming from East London that UAF had been involved in opposition to the BNP. Certainly in Barking and Dagenham all of the running was made by Hope not Hate and there was no UAF presence at all. I understand that was also the situation in other parts of the country.

    UAF is a tiny and insignificant remnant of an SWP front that has all but collapsed because of their known opportunism and the fact that their former national secretary was the Comrade Delta now accused of the rapes of several women in the SWP.

    It is clear that there is an attempt to create an atmosphere of tension at the claimed rise of the far right in this country by linking it to the fortunes of similar tendencies in Europe.

    As Sunder Katwala has pointed out the far right in this country has never been in such a state of disarray. The coming elections will see it wiped out completely so where this upsurge of racism and xenophobia?

    The answer is there isn’t one except in the minds of the likes of Aaron who should really get out more especially from the closed world of student far left politics.

  3. swatantra says:

    Unfortunately these days its Nigel Farage who is the ‘front man’ and the voice of the Far Right and he is being given a platform nationally.
    The french facists have made some headway in the provincial elections, and why? … because of the shambolic and weak leadership and womanising of the supposed socialist Francoise Hollande. Thats what happens when you have a weak leader of a Party …. its an invitation and opening for the Far Right to fill.

  4. Dave Roberts says:

    So it’s all down to womanising then? And this is what passes for comment from the far left?

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