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(en) Britain, West Yorkshire, The anti-authoritarian anti-fascist 635 Group Launched

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Fri, 11 Feb 2005 12:24:14 +0100 (CET)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
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The 635 Group is a group of militant anti-fascists based in West
Yorkshire. We exist to confront fascist ideas, activities and
organisations wherever and however they occur. We utilise a wide
range of tactics and believe it is important to confront fascism on
the streets as well as ideologically. We do not advocate the electoral
process as a means of defeating fascism nor will we work with
groups that do. Our structure is anti-authoritarian and non
hierarchical. We oppose discrimination based on race, gender,
sexuality, ability or age.

We will not work with, accept information from, nor pass
information to the magazine Searchlight.

It is a mistake to see fascism solely in terms of extreme far-right
nationalist political parties such as the BNP, NF etc. While these
are the most obvious target for an anti-fascist campaign, many
policies promoted by other parties are equally fascist in nature, and
demand an appropriate reaction. The media is also guilty of pushing
far-right ideology (the tabloid treatment of the issues surrounding
refugees for example) and their actions often fall within the remit of
an anti-fascist group. We should oppose fascist ideology whatever
its source. Equally, fascism is often used as a synonym for racism.
Racism is a tool frequently employed by fascist movements, but it is
important to be aware that fascists can be non-racist and indeed
most racists are not fascists. While our major target is fascism, we
must be aware that bigotry in all forms (racism, sexism,
homophobia etc) needs to be fought, whether it comes from the
mouths of fascists or from elsewhere.

Fascism is a violent ideology, which throughout history has been
prepared to use violence against those it opposes, and against those
who challenge it politically. The 635 Group is part of the
\u2018physical force\u2019 anti-fascist tradition, prepared to
confront fascism by force when we deem it necessary and
appropriate. Physical confrontation is only one of our tactics
though, we do not aim to fetishise it as one tactic above all others,
nor will we allow a hierarchy to develop based on the kudos of
street-fighting. If an individual member feels unable to engage on
this level they are no less worthy as an anti-fascist than any other
member of the group, however those with a "moral"
problem regarding this issue should be advised that this is not the
group for them.

In keeping with our anti-authoritarian ideas, we seek to challenge
hierarchy within our own group and elsewhere. We do not believe
in fixed leadership or power structures. Within the group we make
decisions on a consensus basis to ensure that the opinions of all
within the group are represented as far as possible. Where an
organising role needs to be taken on by one or more people (for
example, acting as chief steward during an action), we accept that
this is immediately revocable should the members of the group be
dissatisfied, and that the appointment of any role that could be seen
as leadership is temporary and based on group consensus. There
are situations in militant anti-fascism where decisions have to be
made quickly (e.g. chief stewarding) and it is vital that the group
trusts the person who is making those decisions. It is also vital that
appointing those decision-makers does not create any unspoken
hierarchy, so we encourage the rotation of roles as far as possible.
This extends to meetings, where we encourage a rotating chair.
The structure of our own group needs to reflect our political goals.

Within militant anti-fascism, the role of women has often been
reduced to simply "spotting" and fund-raising. A culture
of chauvinism and a "boys club" mentality has often
prevailed, with a group often being made up exclusively of young
white men. It is vital that a group"s demographic reflects the
society it wishes to change, and we should expect to see far greater
balance in terms of gender, race, disability, etc. We make a
conscious effort not to discourage anyone from involvement, but we
will not engage in "tokenism" either. As the tactics of
the group are not expected to rely solely on physical confrontation,
hopefully the make-up of the group can become more
representative, and the perception of militant anti-fascism as
"politics-meets-football hooliganism" can be reversed.

We will not work with, accept information from, nor pass
information to the so-called anti-fascist magazine Searchlight, and
we will not work with individuals who have any connection to them.
As an organisation that works hand-in-glove with State agencies,
we cannot trust them or the agenda they pursue. Their influence
within, and manipulation of, militant anti-fascism has been deeply
divisive over the years, their methods and involvement with State
security services are well documented and entirely incompatible
with our own position.

For decades certain Marxist-Leninist groups, most obviously the
'Socialist Workers Party', have opportunistically used
the mobilisation against fascism as a way of trying to swell their
membership numbers and the coffers of their party. We are not
interested in working with these groups, nor with their front groups,
such as the "Anti-Nazi League" or "Unite Against
Racism And Fascism". Our experience is that these front
groups exist merely to try and recruit members on behalf of the
controlling party, to peddle their papers, and to manipulate and
marginalize genuine anti-fascists. In the past we have seen the
leadership of such fronts collaborate not only with the State, but
also with the fascists themselves. We will not be fooled again, and
advise genuine anti-fascists within these organisations to leave,
after which we may be able to work with them.

Voting is something that allows the State to pretend we live in a
democracy, and it is a tactic used by fascist parties such as the
British National Party to promote themselves and their policies.
While the BNP may be in a position to throw bricks through the
windows of a few Asian households, it is New Labour that is
locking up refugees and bombing Iraqi civilians. It is ridiculous to
suggest that voting helps to stop fascism, and the sort of insult to
working class communities that has allowed the BNP to grow. This
is the case whether we are being told to vote for the old Statist
parties or opportunist fronts, such as "Respect", which
has helped to promote bigotry (sexism and homophobia) in order to
further the agenda of its leadership. The problems that allow racism
and fascism to flourish will not be solved simply by voting for
parties which mask their fascism slightly more cleverly than the
BNP, nor for some middle-class tourist standing on a Left-Wing

Eliminating the threat of fascism will not magically correct all the
wrongs of the world; only the overthrow of global capitalism will
offer any chance of real lasting change. Members of the group are
involved in a wide variety of other anti-capitalist struggle, but The
635 Group itself remains focussed on the fight against fascism,
which we believe is linked to the wider struggle. The State will
employ fascist tactics if necessary in the cause of suppressing
dissent, and the fight against openly fascist ideology, wherever it
comes from, is a critical part of the fight against the ultimate enemy
of capitalism itself.

Fascism can be suppressed by the use of street-level tactics against
their attempts to publicly organise. Its electoral ambitions can be
defeated by the use of counter-propaganda. But a meaningful
impact on fascism requires far more than this. We believe that
involvement in local communities is critical (and this does not
mean parachuting in as outsiders, but people taking action in their
own communities.) Education and presenting workable solutions to
the problems faced by communities are absolutely vital to the
struggle. These may be outside the remit of The 635 Group, but we
will support these tactics, and while we may not be able to initiate
such activities, we strongly encourage our members to involve
themselves in this sort of grass-roots work.

For tactical and security reasons, The 635 Group is not an
"open" group. Some of our work may put us in conflict
with the authorities, and of course with fascists themselves. We do
not seek mass-recruitment and we do not hold regular open
meetings. That said, we are always on the lookout for potential new
members. In the early stages of the group we are admitting new
members on the basis of personal recommendation from one or
more existing members of the group, with their admission on the
basis of consensus. As the group progresses, this situation will
probably change, and our policy on involving new people will be
constantly monitored and updated as required.

If you have information on fascist activity or would like to contact
The 635 Group:
e-mail The635Group@mail.com

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