"United working-class campaigns against fascism" (document 1.2)

Submitted by martin on 20 May, 2007 - 7:27

1. The growth of the BNP is largely a result of three factors:
a. The Labour government's continuing attacks on the working class
b. The organisational and political weakness of the any visible fighting left within the trade union and labour movement
c. The flight from class politics of sections of the far-left, in particular the SWP and Respect, and towards communalist politics

2. The BNP are primarily targeting right wing dissident Tory voters and are recruiting significantly in that milieu. Their model is the fascist French Front National. Gaining an electoral base is essential for them in breaking out of the ghetto of neo-Nazi crazies.

3. A significant element of the BNP's electoral support and membership come from sections of the community that in the past voted Labour. Racism in the labour movement has never been extensively campaigned against. New Labour in particular has been happy to exploit racism on issues like asylum seekers rather than combat it. Now the increasing apathy of Labour's traditional working class electoral base, the atrophy of trade unions and the notions of working class solidarity has led to disoriented, politically uneducated elements within the working class to becoming easy prey for the BNP.

4. Whilst the BNP try to use dissatisfaction with the government to mobilise enraged petty-bourgeois and ignorant workers behind it, and the mainstream anti-fascists exempt the government and capitalism from criticism, socialists have to attempt to build united genuine working class campaigns against fascism.

5. The increasing strength of the BNP is likely to lead to a resurgence of concern about the growth of fascism amongst trade unions and the Labour Party.

6. The anti-fascist left is not in a healthy state. For decades through various front organisations, but particularly since the establishment of the Anti-Nazi League in 1978, the SWP has dominated anti-fascist politics and promoted through them popular front politics. Whilst in the earlier days such politics may have gone along with working class politics carried out elsewhere by the SWP; now popular frontism is central to the SWP's work.

7. Given this endemic popular frontism of the anti-fascist left, it is likely that a widespread response to BNP growth will be to advocate cross-party electoral alliances with Lib Dems and Tories in order to keep out the BNP.

8. Effective campaigning against the BNP requires campaigning both against the anti-working class policies as well as the racist ones of the New Labour government. The BNP cannot be combated by pretending that the Labour Government's record is anything other than rotten.

9. It requires mobilizing trade unions, students and young workers wherever necessary; building genuine working class campaigns against racism and fascism that function continuously and are not just resurrected at election times.

10. Anti-fascist concerns can act as rallying points for real campaigns to promote struggles for trade union rights, against unemployment and low wages; to fight against privatisation of, and cuts in, public services; challenging local Labour Party organisations to make alliances with such campaigns rather than doing election deals with Tories and Liberals.

11. Fascism will never be effectively opposed by calling for unity behind New Labour's policies. It can only be effectively fought by organising in the working class against the policies of New Labour. Wherever possible we should organise as widely as possible along these lines. No to capitalist class collaborationist policies; for fighting unity against the fascists.

12. This does not mean calling for, as the SP do, the exclusion of Labour Party organisations from such struggles. In simple numerical terms the combined organised left is probably now less than the membership of the BNP. The number of BNP candidates standing in this year's council elections exceeds the combined membership of the component parts of the SGUC and at least matches the active membership of the SWP.

13. The Socialist Party conflates the need for a fight against fascism into their own party-building campaigns. They argue against the possible inclusion of Labour Party organisations in any anti-fascist campaign or support for any Labour candidates. Not only is this an electoralist interpretation of the united front slogan it is also a sectarian one, reminiscent of Third Period Stalinism.

14. On the contrary, the rise of the BNP must be used to force trade unionists and socialists still in, or affiliated to, the Labour Party to re-evaluate any active defense or passive toleration of the Government and its records. They have to be challenged to look at the legacy of New Labour's rejection of working class representation; to further reject alliances with Liberals and Tories and instead ally themselves with extra-Labour Party working class forces in campaigns against the fascists and for class-struggle policies.

15. In the aftermath of the May elections we should seek a national get-together of working-class-oriented anti-fascist campaigners dissatisfied with the UAF and Searchlight cross-class approaches