1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Beating the Fascists: The authorised history of Anti-Fascist Action

Discussion in 'UK politics, current affairs and news' started by cogg, May 24, 2010.

  1. Nigel Irritable

    Nigel Irritable Five, Ten, Fifteen Years

    It has nothing to do with being "more socially relevant"!

    Bigger groups don't generally bother to review books from smaller groups (or dead groups) unless they have a good reason to do so. That goes for "socially relevant" groups and completely irrelevant groups alike. I don't think that's a good thing. In fact, I think that the AFA book should be taken seriously, both in terms of its merits and its flaws. I'm just pointing out why left groups haven't done so.
    imposs1904 likes this.
  2. The39thStep

    The39thStep Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbour?

    They have been forced in into that position because of the books 'sneering tone'. Which is rich coming from Nigel Irritable
  3. past caring

    past caring The Cathars were right

    "Bigger groups" - you daft cunt.
  4. The39thStep

    The39thStep Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbour?

    No doubt you will be using your considerable good office within the Committee for a Workers' International (CWI), 'a socialist international that organises in over 40 countries' to argue that it should be reviewed.

    Without wanting to stray into the halcyon days of the Cockneyrebel theory of size and irrelevance, RA may have been small but punched well above their weight in impact.politically. What the book correctly points out is that the role of 'bigger' groups like the SP in stopping the fash was not only minimal and half hearted but got in the way of their ( the bigger Lefts) business is usual.In other words the book understandably doesn't have too much to say about Militant/SPs activity in this area that is too positive.

    One of the reasons for that was Militant/SP operated in a parallel universe whereby their anti racist/anti facsist delivery was narrowly and almost exclusively confined to their franchises of Youth Against Racism in Europe (YRE) and the disastrous Panther UK . They weren't in the ANL Mark One and weren't in AFA.

    Despite the sneering tone of the book a quick glance through the Socialist Party website does give us plenty of reassurance that it was in fact Militant the forerunners of the SP who were really at the heart of antifacsism in this period rather than AFA. So much so AFA is never mentioned . This explains the SPs version of history which pretty much says due to YRE organising the Welling march the BNP were left isolated leaving a situation in which :

    'Their only national public activity - a paper sale in East London - was closed down and they lost their only councillor. Within two years the BNP's headquarters had been shut.
    This success was made possible by the approach of groups like the YRE and Militant Labour (the forerunner of the Socialist Party).'

    .." In the early 1990s Militant Labour in Tower Hamlets (the Socialist Party's forerunner) emulated the work of the Stepney CP and the YCL in the 1930s. They played a key role in driving the racist BNP permanently from their provocative paper sale in Brick Lane in the heart of Tower Hamlets' Bangladeshi community."

    Taaffe's chapter on Fighting fascism in his treatise The Rise of Militant not only reveals that Militant were better at stewarding demos than the SWP but that after the battle of Welling (which is seen as a key event in turning the tide against the fash rather than the battle of Waterloo) that Militant issued a call for a "united front of all anti-racist organizations with the trade union and labor movement involved." This "would push the fascists back into the sewers."

    The real reason the book wasn't reviewed by the SP is that they would have to rewrite history.
  5. Joe Reilly

    Joe Reilly Well-Known Member

    I was amused to see the previous reference to 'minor-leaguers'. It took AFA the best part of a decade to clear NF,B&H,C18, and BNP off the streets. Under similar treatment the SP would have been happy to last the best part of a month.
    Smokeandsteam and Red Storm like this.
  6. intersol32

    intersol32 Well-Known Member

    During that time much of the pressure that was placed upon the fash in order to secure their retreat was (for obvious reasons) not claimed by AFA, even though it would have been perfectly within our remit to do so.

    Meanwhile groups like Militant and the SWP were more than happy to take credit for victories and incidents which they had little or no part in.

    Probably another reason why such mainstream Left groups were so hostile to the BTF book. It effectively debunks the myth within their own organisations that they were instrumental in removing the Fascists from the streets.
  7. Deareg

    Deareg Well-Known Member

    Talking of others making claims, I remember 3 fascists been done by Red Action members one Sunday night in Kings Cross, and later on there was an article in a gay newspaper with some group calling itself the Gay liberation army claiming responsibility.
    intersol32 and Red Storm like this.
  8. SpineyNorman

    SpineyNorman it was already like that when I got here

    To be fair I'd say that one ought to be forgivable, just for the stick the fascists concerned must of got off their mates for getting a pasting off what they would have seen as a "bunch of queers" :D
    Deareg likes this.
  9. laptop

    laptop Freudenschade

    Not just forgivable but genius :)
    frogwoman likes this.
  10. Deareg

    Deareg Well-Known Member

    That was the attitude that was taken at the time.
    SpineyNorman likes this.
  11. Nigel Irritable

    Nigel Irritable Five, Ten, Fifteen Years

    Yes, bigger groups. Red Action was a piddling little group even by the small standards of the socialist left. Which means that larger groups either don't give a shit what they say or affect not to give a shit what they say. That's all the more so when the people talking aren't even a little group any more but a bunch of retired members of a defunct little group. I'm surprised that this is news to any of you. I don't think that's a good thing. Just because a group like Red Action combined diminutive stature with a wild sneering arrogance towards everyone else doesn't mean that they can't have something of interest to say.

    How's the IWCA project coming along these days, by the way? Still showing the rest of us how it's done? I'm surprised that you lot have the time for all this arrogant bluster on internet message boards when working class power is just a mini-marathon away.
    Nigel likes this.
  12. past caring

    past caring The Cathars were right

    Has anyone on here ever met this cunt in real life? Does he talk like this in real life? If so, how many people manage to resist giving him a dig? :D
    Red Storm and intersol32 like this.
  13. Nigel Irritable

    Nigel Irritable Five, Ten, Fifteen Years

    You lads are fucking hilarious. You dish out non stop sneering bollocks about everyone else on the left, but if anyone responds with anything other than respect for your deceased grouplet you whine and yap endlessly. If you got a tenth as much stick as the SWP posters here you'd spontaneously combust. I wasn't even having a go at you and you managed to get the hump because I didn't display the requisite reverence.
  14. Red Storm

    Red Storm M14

  15. The39thStep

    The39thStep Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbour?

    No wonder Violet Elisabeth has anorexia
  16. SpineyNorman

    SpineyNorman it was already like that when I got here


    I've got to admit that there is sometimes a knee-jerk defence thing going on when anyone criticises the IWCA, like on the EDL thread I was asking why it failed to take off and even though I made it clear that I thought there was a lot we can learn from the IWCA, the response I got was along the lines of "how can you say it failed when the left achieved even less etc." It makes it difficult to discuss it critically.
    frogwoman likes this.
  17. Smokeandsteam

    Smokeandsteam Well-Known Member

    Size as they say isn't everything. In terms of what was achieved, in terms of impact and in terms of mapping out a progressive way forward post AFA then the record speaks for itself. How's the campaign for a new workers party coming along by the way?
    Red Storm likes this.
  18. Nigel Irritable

    Nigel Irritable Five, Ten, Fifteen Years

    Well, yes it does. They've shown us all how to go from a small political organisation to a running club in just 17 years. I'm just not sure who would want to follow this particular map, or why.

    The thing that cracks me up about the small band of online IWCA fans is their sheer lack of self-awareness. They love to dish out abuse to all and sundry on the left, but have absolutely no sense of proportion when it comes to the profoundly limited results their own approach has produced over the last 17 years. If you listen to them you'd almost think that the IWCA had actually had some kind of significant impact, rather than getting a handful of councillors elected and then slowly falling apart.

    The less funny part is that there actually are things worth learning from and about the IWCA experience, or there would be if its proponents ever got past self-aggrandizing bluster and actually attempted to make some kind of rational assessment of nearly two decades work.
    Nigel likes this.
  19. Red Storm

    Red Storm M14

    The IWCA seem open to discuss why their project gain larger ground much more than can be said of the SP and SWP.

    Which region of the SP are you in, if I may ask?
  20. Nigel Irritable

    Nigel Irritable Five, Ten, Fifteen Years

    There have been endless discussions of the IWCA here. Fairly consistently any remotely difficult questions about the IWCA's progress or lack thereof are met with the usual sneering about the rest of the left rather than real attempts to answer.

    The Southern Region of the Irish SP.
  21. audiotech

    audiotech wav, aiff, mp3, ogg, flac

    For sneering at most, if not all of the left have a gander at Derek Hattans book. An abysmal piece of writing.
  22. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Every man and every woman is a star

    as is derek hatton's "inside left"
  23. audiotech

    audiotech wav, aiff, mp3, ogg, flac

    That's the one.
  24. frogwoman

    frogwoman Whatever's meant to go here.

    have the IWCA done this then? and is the CWI being in 40 countries a bad thing?

    because i never see you lot.


    not being funny but "paper sellers" and "leninists" get slagged off on here all the time and a lot of the time it's accurate but a lot of the time it isn't. i agree that there is a need to do more community work (doing things that actually make a difference in a local area) and have the SP and other trots done enough? almost certainly not. but it is happening. i've seen it. i've seen the difference that kind of patient steady work can do in an area about issues that people actually care about and it's a big mistake to think that the IWCA are the only ones doing it.

    and there have been things the SP have done in the past that i've disagreed with and probably will be those things again and i'll say so. perfectly prepared to say so. at the end of the day tho i have seen what we've done in my local area and the type of stuff we've been able to get people involved in. believe it or not i actually agree with a lot of the criticisms made on here of the left, including at times the sp, however if you dish it out you should be prepared to take some of it as well
    Nigel and SpineyNorman like this.
  25. Red Storm

    Red Storm M14

    IWCA is so local though. SP is much more broader geographically. Just because you've not seen them doesn't mean they're not doing work in Blackbird Lyes for example.

    I never see Wigan Green Socialists doing anything but that is because I generally avoid Wigan...
  26. SpineyNorman

    SpineyNorman it was already like that when I got here

    And just to prove the point...

    I wish that was true but it's not is it? Blaming the rest of the left for not joining the IWCA isn't really a satisfactory answer. Why didn't it grow in the constituency it was aimed at (which wasn't the organised left)? If people are serious about this model, and think it contains within it tactical insights that could help further the interests of the working class then they ought to be looking seriously at why it didn't take off rather than using trots as an excuse.

    Which region of the IWCA are you in, if I may ask?
  27. SpineyNorman

    SpineyNorman it was already like that when I got here

    And the obvious follow on question to that is why hasn't it spread beyond Blackbird Leys? If they think this is the correct model why don't they respond to emails asking for more information about how to set up similar orgs in other areas?

    These are serious questions that nobody appears to want to address.
  28. Red Storm

    Red Storm M14

    I think on U75 there has been an engagement as to why it didn't take off nationally. There was a good debate on EDL Watch. Maybe they don't have all the answers to our questions. I'm as eager as you to know.

    Haha, I don't know whether this is rhetorical. I'm not in the IWCA. I was in the SP from age of 16-18 though. I'm a proud unaligned Red.

    Plus 'I've never seen them around'! Although this is most likely because they aren't active in my area ;)

    Like I said I want to know too. There's more of us bombarding them with questions, that perhaps they don't have the answers too, than those who can answer them on here.
    frogwoman likes this.
  29. frogwoman

    frogwoman Whatever's meant to go here.

    why though?

    i've been on quite a few demos in oxford and i haven't seen them (iwca) at a single one. i've never had a single leaflet from them. never seen at any picket lines. i've never seen them anywhere. i know giving out leaflets and going on demos is a bit of an old fashioned middle class cobweb leftie thing but ya know ...

    we've done a lot of things round here such as helping to set up the trades council, organising demos and solidarity for several strikes, organising meetings on estates about local issues (and getting A LOT of people along to them and building a campaign out of it) in a very spread out and often quite cut off rural area. i'm not for a moment saying that other groups/individuals including the iwca haven't done the same or that the work they've done isn't as or in some cases more valuable.

    i honestly am not having a go, and I don't think it's out of order to ask that, and ask what could have been done better, what worked, what didn't etc? And if we're going to talk about why the left is unsuccessful (and i definitely don't think that the CWI is perfect) then why is it that having members in lots of countries is like something to be looked down upon? if a lot of the whole point of these discussions is why the left is not growing as much as it should be but the far right is?
    Nigel likes this.
  30. SpineyNorman

    SpineyNorman it was already like that when I got here

    I was involved in that debate. No real answers were forthcoming apart from those I detailed above. If you remember differently please refresh my memory.

    Why not join? You could always email them via their national website. They won't bother replying but that's not the point.

    I'm afraid to say that those same questions have been asked over and over again and I've yet to see a single answer. It looked like Joe might have been getting close to one on the EDL thread but that exchange ended prematurely amid a serious derail. Members of other groups are constantly required to justify their positions and account for perceived failings, why the double standards? And if they don't have answers then maybe there's a flaw in the model itself. I suspect we'll never know unfortunately.

Share This Page