Anti-fascism

The English Defence League: Not suited but booted

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This summer saw a sinister new development on the far right of British politics.

Groups such as the English Defence League (EDL) have started to take to the streets, organising anti-Muslim "demonstrations" in towns and cities such as Birmingham, Luton and Harrow.

Anti-fascists have responded by mobilising against the EDL, often at very short notice. In Birmingham thousands mobilised on two occasions to chase them out of town. And in Harrow last month some 2,000 people, of all ages and backgrounds, turned out to defend the local mosque from a protest planned by the EDL and an organisation called "Stop the Islamisation of Europe".

A tale of two festivals

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This summer Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR) was invited to open one of the largest European music festivals, the Sziget festival in Budapest, and I was sent along to compere the event.

The day before I arrived in Hungary, reports were coming through that gangs of young skinheads had rampaged through the village of Veroce, attacked a pregnant Roma woman and beaten up a young Roma boy.

I talked about these attacks in interviews I gave to the press. I was surprised when I was told that it was best not to talk about this, as no attacks had taken place. I was even more taken aback when the police issued a statement saying that they had not received any reports of such attacks.

Anti-fascists keep BNP on the run

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The Nazi British National Party (BNP) had hoped to build on the election of their two MEPs in June. Instead they have found themselves hounded wherever they go. Their first post-election press conference ended in farce as leader Nick Griffin was covered in eggs and forced to flee.

But their biggest setback came with the protests outside their annual Red, White and Blue "festival" in Codnor, Derbyshire, last month. Unite Against Fascism (UAF), the Midlands TUC and local groups called a national protest that mobilised over 2,000 protesters.

Nothing democratic about Nazis

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How do we challenge the Nazi British National Party now that it has won two seats in the European parliament and is attempting to appear part of the mainstream? Anindya Bhattacharyya argues we have to start with an understanding of the nature of fascism.

The election of two members of the fascist British National Party (BNP) to the European Parliament in June has triggered a variety of reactions. Most people are rightly shocked and disgusted that Nick Griffin and Andrew Brons, a pair of hardened racists with a long history of involvement in Nazi politics, grabbed enough votes to become Euro MPs.

Stand up to the Nazis

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Elections next month may see the Nazi BNP win their first MEPs. But, argues Weyman Bennett, the threat of fascism can, and must, be challenged

The elections for the European parliament on 4 June this year will be a watershed for British politics. As things stand presently, there is a serious danger that the fascist British National Party (BNP) will gain their first seats in the European parliament. Some people will react to this news by dismissing it. Others will be paralysed by fear. But the important thing is not to laugh or cry, but to understand what is fuelling the BNP's electoral rise - and what we can do to stop them.

New challenges for anti-fascism

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Along with every great success come new challenges. That will be the case for Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR).

By any measure, the 2008 LMHR carnival was a great success. It celebrated London's multicultural spirit. Around 100,000 mainly young people soaked up its political message of opposing racism and the Nazi BNP. And that message got out far and wide.

Don Letts' documentary on the carnival was shown on Channel 4. Every major newspaper and magazine gave it glowing reviews, except for the New Statesman. Its journalist, Daniel Trilling, argued that the festival was too corporate.

The resistible rise of the BNP

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The recent local elections saw the BNP gain ten councillors and a London Assembly member. Judith Orr puts these results in context, and argues that the fascists can, and must, be stopped once more.

One of the most shocking results last month was the election of Nazi British National Party (BNP) member Richard Barnbrook to London's assembly. This was on top of 13 seats the fascist organisation won in councils in England. It also lost three seats, so its net gain was ten, bringing a total of 57 seats.

Is Britain moving to the right?

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Labour's crushing election defeats and the increase in the vote for the Nazi BNP has led some to believe the country is drifting rightwards. Lindsey German opens our analysis of the situation by challenging that assumption and argues that election results don't tell the whole story.

It's hard to remember that only nine months ago 1 May was projected as a likely general election day. Then, the theory went, Gordon Brown would be able to take Labour to a fourth election victory, strengthen his position as elected prime minister and continue for another four or five years. Brown was at that time - again hard to remember - enjoying a honeymoon following the unlamented departure of Tony Blair.

Workers' unity in the face of Enoch Powell's racism

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Socialists watched in despair when dockers and building workers marched in support of Enoch Powell's "rivers of blood" speech. But the tide turned and a few years later dockers were marching for Grunwick strikers.

This year the left will be commemorating the events of May 1968, when students and workers rose up in Paris.

But those events were preceded in Britain by a dismal affair. The gutter press and right wing politicians launched a huge campaign against Asian families fleeing persecution in East Africa. The Labour government and nearly all the Labour MPs joined in. They pushed a bill through parliament in just one day, removing the right of Asians to enter this country even through they held British passports.

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