“If you cannot convince a Fascist, acquaint his head with the pavement”
– Leon Trotsky
Racism is often viewed as a battle that has been fought and won. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Despite what some people would have us believe we do not live in a “post-racial” society and the need for militant anti-racist action is as important today as it has ever been.
Prejudice against a individual or group based on their ethnicity or skin colour does not merely manifest itself in the form of racist attacks or verbal abuse. Racism is systematic within our society and can be seen when people of colour (POC) are refused work due to their race; or when black people are at least 30 times more likely to be stopped and searched by the Police.
These forms of oppression are enforced by the media and Government who like to use a tactic of ‘divide and rule’. Scare stories about “illegal immigrants” and “black gangs” are used to create fear amongst the working class in order to keep them oppressed and to turn their attention from the real problems (i.e. distribution of wealth/resources, politicians, capitalism etc.).
The recent rise of far-right, fascist groups like the English Defence League (EDL) is another symptom of the oppressive system we live under. The EDL, who claim to be against “Radical Islam” and the “Islamification of England”, are nothing more than a reactionary street army who spread the propaganda of the ruling classes and seek to further divide the working class.
Fascism is a very right wing, fiercely nationalist, totalitarian ideology which originated in Italy in the early 20th Century to crush the powerful workers’ movement which was pushing up wages and threatening revolution. The most well known example of fascism in the 20th century is Nazi Germany, led by Adolf Hitler. His brand of fascism – Nazism – attempted to direct public anger at the problems caused by capitalism (mass unemployment, poverty, etc.) onto a racial group – the Jews.
Fascism has reared its ugly head several times since the end of World War II from Franco’s Spain to Pinochet’s Chile. Fascism is a vile ideology which seeks to create a society based on “traditional values” while at the same time being extremely oppressive towards anybody who does not fit their definition of “normal”.
Fascist groups have existed in the United Kingdom from as early as on the 1930s in the form of Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists, but since the earliest days of Fascism in this country, there has been militant resistance from people of colour, anarchists, communists and other left-wing anti-fascists.
Fascism began to gain some traction in the late 1970s/early 1980s with the formation of groups like the National Front (NF), British National Party (BNP) and Combat 18 (C18) who infiltrated the punk and skinhead scenes in order to recruit working class men and women into their street armies. These attempts were met with physical resistance by militant anti-fascist groups like Red Action, Anti-Fascist Action (AFA) and later Antifa, effectively driving fascism underground.
In recent years fascist groups such as the EDL and NF have started to incorporate animal rights into their ideologies as another weapon to attack Muslims. They specifically target businesses/industries linked to Halal meat claiming to be concerned with the welfare of the animals. This could not be further from the truth. Fascists have a history of appropriating left-wing causes for their own ends. It is important that we, as Animal Liberationists, do not buy into their sick game and refuse to work with anybody who spouts fascist or racist views.