In the past in Britain (and still today in most other European countries) opposing fascism was considered a duty by almost all anarchists and socialists. Today, many (particularly within the British anarchist movement) have abdicated responsibility for taking on the fascists, and either ignore the issue completely, or at best seed responsibility to specialist antifascist groups such as Antifa. Opposing fascism is something ALL of us have to play a part in, particularly with the growing influence of fascist groups like the British National Party (BNP.)
Organizations like ‘Unite Against Fascism’ (UAF) and ‘Hope Not Hate’ would probably agree with the above premise. However, while many of their rank and file supporters may be genuine in their intent, the organizations themselves have no real interest in defeating organized fascism. The UAF is a front-group dominated and controlled by the Trotskyite ‘Socialist Workers Party’ (SWP) who are far more interested in selling papers and recruiting members than in effectively confronting the BNP. ‘Hope Not Hate’ were set up by the State-affiliated entity ‘Searchlight’, who tell us we can stop the BNP by voting Labour and helping to strengthen the tools of the State itself (i.e. new laws.) Both groups merely seek to manipulate and exploit antifascists, and arguably their stupid politics must take some of the share of responsibility for the rise of the BNP in the first place. At best they are a waste of time.
Antifa is a network of ordinary men and women opposed to the rise of the Far-Right. We work autonomously, but are united by a shared set of principles enshrined in our Founding Statement. If you support our position, you can get involved with one of our groups, or you could even set up your own. Ultimately however, we are not asking for people to join us; we are not asking for your contact details or for your money; we are simply asking for you to ACT.
While their true aims have not changed in the slightest, the BNP are trying to make the move from the shadows of neo-Nazism to mainstream politics. They are hiding their old swastika armbands under suit jackets and going out leafleting instead of petrol-bombing the homes of Asian families (leaving that kind of terror to their fascist allies and their ‘off-duty’ members.) They stand candidates in elections and regularly hold stalls in town centres around the country. Going public in this way however, makes them vulnerable.
Besides the BNP, there are other fascist groups who must also be opposed when they come out onto the streets. They are in many ways even easier to combat. In fighting organized fascism the only limits are our imagination and courage, even small numbers of people can make a difference.
Antifa however, also believe in organizing within our own communities against the spread of racism stirred up by everyone from the mainstream media to New Labour, and against the fascism of the BNP. Only by organizing in our own communities and workplaces can we hope to defeat fascism once and for all. In the white working-class areas where the BNP have already gained a toe-hold (primarily former Labour strongholds where people rightly feel betrayed by the mainstream parties and have been conned into seeing the BNP as some form of ‘radical’ alternative), as well as confronting the BNP physically, we should aim to challenge the BNP’s fascist politics and replace them with our own anti-racist, anti-state, and pro working-class politics.
These are desperate times for antifascists and all of us must play our part in taking on organized fascism. Antifa believe we have already shown on numerous occasions that a relatively small number of dedicated antifascists can score decisive victories. Most of our actions and activities go unreported, but the fascists know and fear us. Imagine what a difference it would make if there were thousands of us.