The fight against fascism
In Hitler: the Rise of Evil (Channel 4 TV) Robert Carlyle gives a brilliant portrayal of the maniac himself. Carlyle condenses what he was politically and socially into a personality. We see his manner, body language, servile and half-fawning, like a dog with his tail down, towards his social "betters". We see the connection between his floundering attempts to find his own place in the world and his cranky nationalism, his need to find scapegoats and "conspirators" to explain the terrible things that happen to himself and to Germany.
By Dirk Haarman
In August Ronald Schill, interior minister in Hamburg city-state, was sacked after he allegedly tried to blackmail Ole von Beust, the Christian Democratic mayor of the city whose party forms a coalition with Schill's own party. This was the political end of Germany's best-known rightwing populist politician, once dubbed Judge Merciless, and often compared with Joerg Haider of Austria.
The SWP and some of its allies in the mobilisations for the European Social Forum and elsewhere have taken to portraying the French left as complacent about anti-fascism and anti-racism. This article reminds us of a day 30 years ago when part of that left, militants organised by the French Ligue communiste révolutionnaire (LCR, then the Ligue communiste), fought the police to get at the fascists, and got their organisation banned as a result. Alain Krivine, a leader of the Ligue and now one of their MEPs, was among several imprisoned for a while. This article is by the Ligue's François Duval.
I have to confess that I was not exactly thrilled when a big, middle-aged, shaven-headed bloke came up to me in a pub in Burnley after I’d been out campaigning for the Labour Party at a recent council by-election and asked me what I thought Labour ought to be doing about “the biggest problem facing Burnley”. I prepared myself to hear a rant about asylum-seekers and asked him what he thought the biggest problem in Burnley was. I was somewhat surprised when he replied that the problem was the Nazis/BNP and the way that Labour was pandering to racism. We had a very amicable discussion in which I managed to persuade him that the thing to do was to join the Labour Party to try to help reinvigorate the local party, because, as I told him, the biggest problem was that the BNP had more local activists putting out their message across Burnley than the Labour Party did.
By Mark Catterall
"Burnley, BNP capital of Britain" proclaimed the Lancashire Evening Telegraph on 2 May. This was the day after the fascist British National Party (BNP) increased the number of council seats it holds in Burnley from three to eight, making the BNP the second largest party on the council. Labour remains the largest party on the council with 23 councillors. However Labour fielded 16 candidates in the election and got 8,784 votes, while the BNP fielded 13 candidates, receiving 8,545 votes.
By Dan Katz
The fascist British National Party is contesting 221 council wards in May 2003 and has announced its intention to stand in 400 in 2004. The BNP is aiming to emerge as a major political force by 2004.
They are concentrating on building bases in the North West, North East and Yorkshire. BNP leader, Nick Griffin, will stand in Oldham, where he took 16% of the vote in the general election. The BNP will also contest 13 of the 15 seats in Burnley where they won three council places last year.
By Mark Sandell
In Spring 2002, Bicester was earmarked as one of the proposed sites in a pilot scheme to house asylum seekers in Accommodation Centres. The Bicester Centre will house 750 asylum seekers in a rural area about four miles outside the town, adjacent to a military base and a prison. Residents will be expected to remain in the centre and to participate in "structured activities". They will stay there until their applications for asylum have been processed. They will not be allowed to work and will be expected to live on a welfare payment set far below standard benefit levels.
Reasons to be cheerful
Not everyone views the prospect of civilian casualties in any assault on Baghdad as bad news.
Leading UK shares rose 1.5% after reports that US forces are closing in on Baghdad. European shares also rose. Reports that US forces were attacking Iraqi Republican Guard positions in the outskirts of Baghdad after intense air strikes dispelled recent gloom about the war effort.
In the film "The Pianist",] the uprising in Spring 1943 is only mentioned in passing, - because Polanski follows the actual biograhy of Szpilman. Here we provide you with somewhat more detailed information. Julia Masetovic and Stefan Neumeyer have amended their article that was published eight years ago in "Marxismus" Issue 4.
The uprising of the Warsaw Ghetto was as much an extraordinary as it was a heroic fight of the proletariat. The resistance of badly armed Jewish men and women against the armed strength of the SS refutes the legend that the Jewish masses behaved obediently towards the terror of the Nazis. In fact, there were resistance organisations in almost every Ghetto in Nazi-occupied eastern Europe. Tens of thousand Jewish men and women fought with the partisans.
Not your usual Hollywood Holocaust
Roman Polanski's Palme d'Or-winning film about the Warsaw Ghetto is one that certainly deserves to get a wide audience. It is based on the autobiography of Polish pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman, who was one of the twenty Jewish residents (from a starting point of 360,000) of the capital to survive the holocaust.
The film begins when Szpilman, played by Adrien Brody, is interrupted while recording a Chopin concert for state radio - the Nazi invasion has begun. We see his family at home wondering what to do next. The men have been called up to defend the country and are frantically packing, but they don't all want to go. Meanwhile, the first Nazi laws have been published by the city's new leader, one Dr. Fischer, filling pages of newsprint. Where should the money be hidden? Does one have to sew the regulation star-of-David armbands themselves or can they be bought? Where can one go for a coffee? On what bench may one sit? Where will the money come from to get something to eat? And then the Ghetto.
'The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui' by Bertholt Brecht, in a new translation by Andy de la Tour, directed by Phil Willmott, and playing until 24 August (2002) at the Bridewell Theatre, Bride Lane (off Fleet Street) London.
“There’s no spoon long enough to sup with you!”, Mayor Dogsborough shouts at Arturo Ui when Ui comes knocking on the door to blackmail him with guaranteed silence about Dogsborough’s corruption, in return for political support.
John Bulaitis (a supporter of the "Socialist Solidarity Network", now living in France) and Martin Thomas (Alliance for Workers' Liberty) debate whether socialists should have supported a vote for Chirac in the second round of the French Presidential election.
Jill Mountford reports from the huge May Day demonstration in Paris against Jean-Marie Le Pen.
Of course it was very exciting to be on a huge demonstration of over a million people, many of whom you could truthfully describe as comrades, expressing their abhorrence for Jean-Marie Le Pen.
Mark Catterall discusses why the fascist BNP was able to get three councillors elected in Burnley on 2 May.
The conditions for the rise of far right politics have been present in Burnley for some time. The manufacturing and employment base of the town has been declining for years. The traditional textile industry has declined out of sight. manufacturing jobs have also disappeared: the Prestige pan factory closed over a year ago; just this year the Michelin tyre factory closed with the loss of hundreds of jobs. There are thousands of young people who no longer have employment opportunities. Many now look to leaving Burnley.
In the run-off second round of the German presidential election in 1932, the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) called for votes for Hindenburg, a "traditional" right-winger, against Hitler -- just as in the previous presidential election they had backed Wilhelm Marx, the candidate of the Catholic-bourgeois-liberal Centre Party. Their catchcry was that workers must support the "lesser evil". A few months later Hindenburg appointed Hitler as Chancellor.
In his writings on Germany, aimed mostly at people in or around the CP, Trotsky largely takes it as obvious, not needing detailed argument, that the SPD vote for Marx or Hindenburg was unprincipled from a working-class point of view. In a later article, on Spain (14 September 1937), when he feels that not so much can be taken for granted in the way of his readers holding certain assumptions, he explains more.
Specifically, he argues that siding with the Republic in the Spanish Civil War was quite different from voting for Hindenburg.
Plusieurs centaines de milliers de gens sont descendu dans la rue dès qu'on a appris que le deuxième tour de l'élection présidentielle, le 5 mai, offrerait une choix entre le fasciste Jean-Marie Le Pen et le droitier corrompu Jacques Chirac.
Derrière ces centaines de milliers sont rangés les trois millions qui ont voté pour les trois candidats trotskystes au premier tour - Arlette Laguiller (1,6 millions de voix), Olivier Besancenot (1,2 millions) et Daniel Gluckstein (0,1 million).
Many hundreds of thousands were on the streets of France's cities within hours of hearing that the second-round run-off of their presidential election, on 5 May, would give them a choice between the fascist Jean-Marie Le Pen and the corrupt right-wing Tory Jacques Chirac.
Behind those hundreds of thousands stand three million people who voted for the three Trotskyist candidates in the presidential first round - Arlette Laguiller (1.6 million), Olivier Besancenot (1.2 million), and Daniel Gluckstein (0.1 million).
BNP plan election blitz:
Workers' action to beat the fascists!
The British National Party pumps out racist filth against black and Jewish people. Their speciality is to blame black and immigrant workers for the more blatant problems caused by British capitalist society - unemployment and terrible housing - and Jewish people for the dog-eat-dog, money-rules ways of Tony Blair's new Britain. They promote a jingoistic, white-only, might-is-right culture.
Many socialists believe that we should deal with the Islamic fundamentalists now recruiting among Asian youth in Britain — notably Hizb-ut Tahir — by a policy of “no platform” for such bigo