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.
Earlier this year, at a gig in London, two friends and myself were attacked by a gang of Nazis.
The attack was typical of the Nazis. The cowards attacked from behind after making sure that they outnumbered us. Even then they botched the job and when we began to fight back they ran off into the night. The three of us were left bloodied and pissed off but it could have been much worse. My black mate was wearing glasses which were smashed off his face and could easily have blinded him. The Nazis had slashed my face with a pointed instrument which had been aimed at my eye.
Adam Powell in December’s Review suggests that we could have dealt with the fascists in a different manner. We should have patiently explained that they were dupes of capitalism and offered to take them to a screening of Gandhi!
Adam’s argument is both confused and dangerous. On the one hand he argues, correctly, that the ANL defeated the Nazis in the 1970s, yet he also argues that they did so by ‘peaceful means’ and uses this as a platform to argue for a pacific response to the growing Nazi threat. This is to totally rewrite the history of the successful anti-fascist struggle.
The ANL fought the National Front – the largest of the Nazi groups of the 1970s – on two fronts. On one hand we mobilised propaganda to expose the NF as Nazis. Millions of leaflets, badges and posters alerted people to the message that the NF was a Nazi organisation with a Nazi leadership and programme. But this in itself was not enough. Hand in hand with propaganda went a commitment to stop the Nazis on the streets. Wherever the NF tried to march or meet or sell their racist filth they were met by an ANL counter-demonstration determined to stop them using any means necessary – including force.
This strategy was not based on any bloodlust or love of violence by the socialists and anti-racists of the ANL. It was based on an understanding of the nature of fascism.
Fascism is concerned not with the destruction, but with the preservation of bourgeois society.
They have to show our rulers that they are a valid option to be turned to as capitalism slides into crisis and our rulers’ profits are threatened. The only arena where the fascists can grow is on the streets and we must not shrink from challenging them there.
Pacifism will not stop the Nazis! The Blackshirts of the 1930s were not reasoned away, neither were the NF in the 1970s.
History has shown us that the Nazis can be beaten. It’s also shown us the consequences if they’re not. By the end of the Second World War, the Nazis had murdered six million Jews, over ten million other non-combatants including Poles, Czechs, Yugoslavs and Russians, they slaughtered tens of thousands of gays and lesbians and tens of thousands of what they termed as ‘mental defectives’. We say never again!
Aleksandar Sasha Simic
Last updated: 4 March 2017