When is a fascist not a fascist?

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May 2, 2007 by cosmoakacitizensmith

Unleashed dancers from Butetown give it some at the anti-racism festival in Cardiff 22.4.07

Once upon a time, fighting fascism in the UK was a fairly straightforward affair. Fascists wore huge boots and sported skinheads and they organised marches. All you needed to do was organise a counter march and have a scrap. Sorted. Easy. Fash off the streets.

These days, the British National Party have donned suits and talk about democracy and free speech and animal rights. They tell us that we, the great white British, are in danger of becoming a minority in our own country. And in the climate created by certain sections of the press, people listen to them.

Well, there ARE rather a lot of immigrants. And they DO tend to cause a lot of trouble. And those Muslims ARE a bit crazy. Surely they have a point….

What to do about all this?

On the surface of it, putting on one multi-cultural, anti-racism gig just before the Assembly elections here in Wales, (where the BNP are fielding 20 candidates), may seem a little inadequate in terms of addressing peoples’ long-term concerns.

Well, in a way, yes.

But then I’ve always looked at the mainstream clubs in Cardiff and seen there are always lots of different people from different ethnic groups – white, brown and black – getting together and having a laugh.

On the underground scene, however, we seem to be segregated. We’re punks or hippies or skate kids or grime heads or b-boys or bangra crew. And never the twain shall meet.

So the gig at Callaghans was good in as much as all these different types were partying together and checking out each other’s scenes. A success! Let’s do some more!

But what about the rest of it? How long can we keep hitting the BNP with accusations of racism, fascism and fanaticism when they are coming over so reasonable now?

The first point is this. They are run by people with a history of criminal convictions, in some cases for racial violence. Nick Griffin is on the record as a holocaust denier. Which of course he denies he is now, but can you trust people like that? Really?

Secondly, on a council level, they have proved incompetent. Stoke-on-Trent oouncillor has spoken twice in two years – once to ask what “abstain” means.

Thirdly, with the effects of the globalised economy, unfair trade agreements and neo-colonial foreign policy, immigration in its many forms will be with us for a long time.

There is doubtless room for an honest, rational debate about it, dealing with the problems as well as the positive sides of it. But what the BNP and people like that are offering are the easy answers. A lot of the time, they even misrepresent the questions.

Send ’em all home, divide-and-rule racism is not going to work. It’s going to cause a whole lot more problems than the ones we face now. Whatever you may feel about immigration, these people are not going to solve anything.

Nowadays, identity politics is here to stay. The BNP are really tapping into this. We’ve all got to be something from somewhere. I see it like an end of empire malaise. It’s the political equivalent of I’m a Celebrity – Get me out of Here. A bunch of has-beens trying to tap into some former sense of glory. Or else cut and run with their share of the family silver.

Enough, already. Who gives a fuck. Really.


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