From Socialist Review, No. 171, January 1994.
Copyright © Socialist Review.
Copied with thanks from the Socialist Review Archive.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.
Adam Powell’s letter implies that by advocating resistance to the Nazis ‘by any means necessary’ we are stooping to their level. This is a dangerous misunderstanding of how fascism works. It is not just about anti-democratic ideas, but a movement based on force that aims to physically destroy all democratic institutions.
As BNP Führer Tyndall says, ‘When we come to power our opponents will be swept aside like flies.’ You can’t oppose it on the basis of some textbook idea of democracy where everyone has equal rights. Stopping the Nazis is a life and death question, and humanity has paid a high enough price for the left’s failure to realise this last time round.
If we give Nazis the ‘democratic right’ to march and peddle their filthy ideas, we’re letting them deny democratic rights to everyone.
Adam’s right to say we shouldn’t write off ordinary BNP voters in Millwall. But there’s a difference between people who vote BNP out of protest and the hardened Nazis who run the BNP. Stopping the Nazis recruiting in places like Millwall means stopping them being able to play on people’s fears in the first place.
The alternative is to give the Nazis the respectability they have in France, where SOS Racisme publicly debates with Le Pen, or Germany, where former socialist Danny Cohn-Bendit advocates discussions with the openly Nazi NPD.
Last updated: 4 March 2017