The left is making errors that have allowed the far right a hearing among ordinary people they should never have been gifted.
STEPHEN YAXLEY-LENNON has been freed on bail. Describing his terrifying eight weeks in prison as “mental torture,” he has immediately exploited his own children’s grief in a highly effective propaganda video showing his return from jail. We can now expect the British far right to take a stab at serious rejuvenation.
For the last few years British fascism has been exhausted. Dogged by its own internal divisions, lack of direction and policies, and repeatedly humiliated in the streets by anti-fascists.
The most successful right-wing street organisation, the Football Lads Alliance, was relatively diluted in its politics, despite being led and influenced by the far right.
Significant numbers showing up to their demos were ordinary people motivated by opposition to jihadist terrorism and Islamist extremism. Many had no intent to vilify the Muslim community as a whole.
That period is now over. A series of set-piece rallies, generously funded by the international far right, followed by the Free Tommy movement, have made the politics unambiguous once again.
Now the old chants are back: “Shut the fucking mosques down,” “Allah is a paedo,” “I’d rather be a nazi than a Muslim.”
At a demonstration over the summer, a group of around 40 FLA supporters attacked and glassed Steve Hedley, assistant general secretary of the RMT, along with other RMT officials and anti-fascists (including the author of this piece) outside a pub.
Given the element of surprise and greater numbers, the attack achieved very little — but this is the classic sign of a fascist movement, which attempts to normalise violence against both minorities and the organised working class.
In the face of this and other attacks, I am for absolute unity in the struggle against this movement. I will see you all in the street, standing shoulder to shoulder.
However, I also believe the left is making unnecessary errors that have allowed the far right a hearing among ordinary people they should never have been gifted.
These include a liberal style and substance on anti-fascist demonstrations and a failure to tackle the issue of paedophile gangs.
I can already hear the allegations of Strasserism, of trolling, of “letting the right set the terms of the debate.” I am not a Strasserite. I am not joking. The anti-fascist movement should seek to seize the narrative away from the right, in areas it should never have controlled.