Why read...The Struggle Against Fascism in Germany

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Trotsky wrote this series of articles in extraordinary times. Germany in the 1930s was hit by a massive crisis that crippled the economy and drove unemployment up to 6 million.

In the conditions of global recession a new movement, fascism, was rising in parts of Europe. In Germany this took the form of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party.

The resistable rise of Golden Dawn

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Socialist Review spoke to Petros Constantinou, an Athens councillor for the left wing Antarsya coalition and the national coordinator of the Movement Against Racism and the Fascist Threat (Keerfa) in Greece.

Where is Greece at the moment in terms of the rise of Golden Dawn and the anti-fascist movement?

After the murder of rapper Pavlos Fyssas on 18 September there was an explosion of anger against the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, and against the government that was giving it cover.

FN: A warning from France

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The murder of an anti-fascist activist has galvanised the campaign to stop the Front National, but the strategy of the movement falls short of what is needed.

The death of Clement Meric at the hands of a Nazi thug on 5 June was a rude awakening to many in France. While attacks on Muslims, LGBT people and left wing activists have been numerous in recent years, they have remained a concern only for a limited number among the politically active.

Nick Griffin Must Go!

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Paul Jenkins, UAF north west organiser

In May 2014 we will have an opportunity to put the final nail in the BNP's coffin. Its leader Nick Griffin will try and hang on to his seat in the European Parliament that he won with great fanfare in 2009.

We have a good chance to strip him of his seat as MEP representing the North West, but we have to work hard because he can use the Euro elections' proportional representation system to his advantage. It is worth noting that when Nick Griffin failed to win the North West MEP seat in 2004, his vote then was actually higher than when he won the same seat in 2009.

'EDL are splintering and demoralised'

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Kelvin Williams, UAF photographer

When Tommy Robinson and Kevin Caroll announced they quit the EDL it was greeted with acrimonious disappointment by the foot soldiers. The constant opposition they faced was the chief factor in them drawing the conclusion that the street movement was no longer working.

Stopping the BNP and EDL: Strategy of patience and small deeds

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Paul Sillet, UAF national campaigner

When the EDL first emerged in 2009 we thought, "What is this new beast?" We noticed that there were former BNP, Combat 18 and National Front types around the demos, if not necessarily on them. Those on the demos were mainly from the "firms" - football supporters involved in inter-club violence - and others.

The EDL were attracting supporters to the prospect of launching mini pogroms in places like Luton and Dudley. At the time we were facing a possible BNP electoral breakthrough alongside a growing fascist street movement.

'A victory that came from unity'

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Dean Harris and Natasha Munoz, Waltham Forest UAF

Dean: 'As soon as we discovered that the fascists would come to Waltham Forest we called a meeting and invited everyone we could. No one was to be excluded. We wanted it to be as broad as possible, even though there were others who disagreed - especially some people who wanted to exclude the Labour Party as they accused them of implementing austerity.

To us it was clear that we needed to build a big movement, despite any other disagreements. It was a big advantage to have Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy with us. She played important role in the campaign.

'We took a risk, and it paid off'

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Leicester was one of the turning points in the battle to stop the EDL. It was to be the first major UAF demo built locally, despite facing a national mobilisation by the fascists. At the time it represented an attempt to turn the EDL strategy on its head. Instead of them leaving behind local groups, UAF would use the opportunity to put down deep roots.

Leicester had been trying to get a local UAF group running for a while. We had managed to get a number of people to some of the national mobilisations against the EDL, as well as days of action against the BNP. We that knew sooner or later the fascists would target our multiracial city.

When the EDL announced they would march on 9 October 2010 we assumed that there would be a national UAF mobilisation. But we received a call from the UAF national office telling us that we had to build a local demo. Our first reaction was, "You've got to be joking!"

Anti-fascism and the spirit of the united front

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In this special feature Socialist Review sets out the challenges and strategies faced by the anti-fascist movements in Britain. With contributions from activists involved in the struggle here.

The declaration by Tommy Robinson and his cousin Kevin Carroll that they were abandoning the English Defence League (EDL), the street organisation they had founded, marked an important milestone in the struggle against fascism in Britain. Robinson had led one of the most successful fascist street movements since the National Front in the 1970s, a model emulated by dozens of "Defence Leagues" across Europe. His resignation marked the movement's demise, and follows the electoral collapse of the Nazi British National Party (BNP).

One, two, three, Tower Hamlets

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The English Defence League (EDL) suffered a significant blow last month when they attempted to march through the heart of Tower Hamlets in East London. Instead of being a day spent intimidated the local Muslim community and its allies, the EDL found itself unable to set a foot inside the borough.


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