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(en) [AFIB] Anti-Fascism in the U.K.

From Tom Burghardt <tburghardt@igc.apc.org>
Date Wed, 27 May 1998 09:01:02 -0700 (PDT)


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                              *****
 
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|| * --  SPECIAL  -- *    May 27, 1998    * --  EDITION  -- * ||
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                       * SPECIAL EDITION *
 
                              * * *
_________________________________________________________________
 
                     ANTI-FASCISM IN THE U.K.
_________________________________________________________________
 
                     * ANTI-FASCIST ACTION * 
                           Box BM 1734
                         London, WC1N 3XX
                        Tel: 0161-232-0813
 
                             CONTENTS
                              ------
        - `Fighting Talk' No. 19, April 1998 (excerpts) -
 
     1. In The Area
     2. AFA Statement Concerning Northern AFA Network And        
        Searchlight
     3. Behind Enemy Lines
     4. Between The Sheets
 
                              * * *
_________________________________________________________________
 
                           IN THE AREA
_________________________________________________________________
 
     Welcome to Issue 19 of Fighting Talk, and we start with our
     usual round-up of news and views from the front line against
     fascism.
 
                                *
 
     On January 24 the annual Bloody Sunday commemoration march
was held in London. The NF called a counter-demonstration along
the route so AFA mobilised against the fascists. What was
interesting was the scale of the police operation against AFA;
indeed, the chief target for all police action on the day was the
anti-fascists. Not the marchers, not the NF counter-demo - but
AFA. At midday AFA members arrived at the Archway to be met by
100 police. This was no coincidence but part of a well planned
operation. Police were seen carrying sheets of mugshots,
presumably to identify the 'ringleaders', and anyone on the
street who the police thought looked like an anti-fascist was
stopped and photographed. As this included a number of people who
had nothing to do with AFA this raises additional civil liberties
questions.
    
     One group of anti-fascists sought 'refuge' in a pub, only
for the police to come in and close the pub down, but not before
everyone was photographed, videoed, and details taken. Five
mobile police camera teams were operating against AFA throughout
the day, as opposed to one that was based at Kings Cross for the
visiting Barnsley supporters.
     
     Anyone who was identified as being with AFA was pushed away
from the tube station to prevent any further movement and
contained in an area about a mile and a half away from the
fascists. The NF operation on the day was totally coordinated
with the police. The police were waiting for them to arrive at
Holloway Road tube station at an appointed time and when they
failed to persuade a local pub to open and let the NF drink there
they escorted them to their allocated site. Almost immediately
when the demonstration had passed them they were escorted by the
police to a different tube station (Caledonian Road) and away. In
all there were 50 fascists, including a group of National
Socialist Movement - the Steve Sargent faction of C18.
     
     This group then left the main NF contingent and went for a
drink in a well-known football pub in Camden. Unfortunately AFA
scouts were rumbled and they moved to a pub in Kings Cross but
had left by the time AFA stewards were able to avoid police
attention and arrive in the area. The lesson for AFA was the
amount of resources the police were prepared to use on the day to
prevent the anti-fascists being effective.
     
     Historically the physical struggle against fascism has
proved vital, and although the BNP (undoubtedly the main fascist
threat at present) have withdrawn from this arena at present, the
principle of physical opposition must be maintained and defended.
     
     The attempt to smash effective anti-fascism was seen again
in Dover on February 28. Once again the NF had called an anti-
gypsy march on the seafront and anti-fascists mobilised against
them. After AFA's success in stopping the Front when they tried
to march there last November, other anti-fascist groups supported
the call to mobilise along the route of the NF march rather than
away in the town centre.
     
     With the NSM not showing this time the Front's numbers were
down to 30. This meant the anti-fascists outnumbered the fascists
by 5 to 1, but that pales into insignificance when you consider
that the police outnumbered the anti-fascists themselves by at
least 3 to 1. Again the police had camera teams busy all day,
including at least one from Bloody Sunday.
     
     Suspected anti-fascists were stopped and searched, and when
the NF march set off the anti-fascists were penned in. This led
to a number of arrests which contrasted with the previous
encounter in Dover, which was more confrontational but no-one was
arrested. In all 14 anti-fascists were charged, their names and
addresses appearing in the local papers before they appeared in
court. This goes against normal practice and the information was
obviously supplied by the police, in direct contrast to the
Gillingham fans arrested after the murder of a Fulham supporter
recently - whose addresses were kept secret "to protect them from
reprisals".
     
     The scale of the police operation meant any meaningful
activity was hopeless, and once again the NF didn't complete
their intended route but were put back on their coach and
escorted up the motorway.
     
     Recently there has been an upsurge in National Front
activity in the South East. Apart from Dover and Bloody Sunday
they have been touring around the area doing one off paper sales
in old haunts like Brick Lane. In Camden an SWP paper sale was
chased off and another left-wing sale was threatened in Kentish
Town. On this occasion a black stall holder was attacked and 5
fascists were arrested. The result of the subsequent court case
was one Fronter fined 30 pounds for possession of a penknife!
Their activity in North London is being closely monitored and, in
a recent press release, a spokesperson for London AFA said: "It
is a fact that all incursions into North London by the Far Right
in the last decade have ultimately ended in disaster and
humiliation. Because it has long been established as a no-go area
for fascists they will be aware that to prosper now will require
a combination of determination, intelligence, cunning and luck.
Luck is a rare commodity and they will have to be lucky all the
time. While we, on the other hand, need only be lucky once."
     
     The NF have also announced a campaign of activity at
football grounds, and they did leaflet Fulham for the last Dover
demonstration. Presumably the NF have spotted a gap in the market
and are looking to raise their profile by returning to the kind
of activities that they used in the 70s and early 80s. The fact
that the BNP no longer operate this way, instead treading the
electoral path, will be seen as an opportunity to pick up some
new recruits.
     
     The other interesting point about the NF activity,
particularly Dover and Bloody Sunday, has been the opportunity
this has given the police to run major operations against AFA.
Presumably the police are happy to work so closely with the NF on
these occasions to develop their tactics against AFA. You have to
ask serious questions as to why the NF called the second Dover
march. No attempt was made by them to use the media to publicise
the march, only 30 people attended, the police didn't even let
them march the whole of the agreed route, and yet 500 police were
mobilised to prevent anti-fascists operating freely on the day.
     
     The involvement of former C18 members on some of these NF
activities is interesting. As readers are undoubtedly aware many
of the top C18 activists have recently been jailed. Will
Browning, Mark Atkinson, Robin Gray, Charlie Sargent and Martin
Cross have all been sent down - the last two for murder. The
organisation, always greatly exaggerated, is essentially
finished.
     
     Browning is apparently trying to keep things going, but
Charlie Sargent's brother Steve has set up a rival National
Socialist Movement group. They have produced a pamphlet entitled
'Drowning Browning' which is a 12-page attack on 'the Beast'
himself. It is full of the usual old nonsense but there are two
interesting allegations. One is that Browning privately kept in
touch with the BNP's Nick Griffin and the other is that he has
been selling information to Searchlight since 1994. At the moment
we can only speculate on the reasons behind both these
revelations, but they are undoubtedly significant.
     
     At the trial of Gray and Atkinson (for distributing C18's
'The Stormer' magazine) the judge commented that he had "never
encountered such vile outpourings of hatred and incitement to
violence as revealed in these magazines." What surprises us is
how they got away with it for so long. C18 openly incited
violence (including murder), printed bomb-making instructions and
published hit lists of opponents. They must have known that they
would inevitably get done for it - so why do it? Curious.
     
     In Scotland the links between fascist activity and increased
racist violence have been tragically highlighted by the murder of
a 15-year old Asian boy, lmran Khan, by racists in Glasgow. In
May the BNP had been active in the area in support of their
candidate in the General Election, Jim White.
     
     Also in Glasgow two BNP activists and members of Rangers
ICF, Craig Pringle and Peter McGregor, were jailed for their part
in a racist attack on a young black footballer after a local
match. Despite denying their politics in court, they are both
known to AFA as being actively involved in Far Right politics.
     
     The Scottish papers carried a front page story in February
about a senior Lothian Health Board official who was jailed for 4
1/2 years for carrying out a series of attacks on gays and down-
and-outs in Edinburgh. Police found nazi literature when they
raided his home and it was revealed that he had tried to join the
KKK but was turned down because he was gay himself. The papers
picked up on the KKK angle, in line with a wider media policy of
promoting the KKK now that C18 are in decline.
     
     AFA has long argued that building up groups like C18 and the
KKK is wrong because although they make for sensational stories
(violence, weapons, hoods, masks, etc.) they are used to call for
more State action against the fascists, which is then inevitably
used against all "extremists" - and distract attention away from
the far less dramatic but much more dangerous activities of the
BNP and other 'respectable' Far Right groups. We are not
suggesting that they don't exist (they have recently distributed
a joint leaflet with the Surrey Border Front in Croydon) or that
they shouldn't be opposed - but the threat they pose must not be
exaggerated.
     
     Anyway, back to the story. The Daily Record unearthed James
Mitchell who claimed to be "one of the top people for the Klan in
Scotland". In fact he is a former mental patient who has got on
the wrong side of Edinburgh AFA twice for his fascist activities.
The interview in the paper is a classic with Mitchell claiming
5,500 KKK members in Scotland who meet 6 times a week and "3,000
turned up for one meeting in West Lothian." Now either AFA in
Scotland is in serious trouble or Mitchell's doctor should
increase the dosage! The serious point, though, is why on earth
the Daily Record insist on printing this nonsense without
comment?
     
     Talking of nutters, an incident at the Upstarts gig in
London in December proves the point that the fascists are still
pumping the old line to new recruits that AFA are just a bunch of
middle class students and social workers.
     
     AFA was happy to be of service to steward a gig for our old
mate Mensi and the boys and after he had told a lonesome bonehead
to remove his Skrewdriver T-shirt or leave the gig, we thought we
were in for a quiet night once Mr. Blobby had waddled off into
the distance.
     
     But it wasn't to be. Just before the band were due on, one
of the stewards reported that he had been accosted on the way
back from the toilet by some geezer shouting the odds, claiming
he had seen our man on the TV at the Dover NF march taking the
piss out of his mate who was wearing a Rangers shirt (C18's
Warren Glass). The AFA stewards declined the opportunity to take
up this discussion, the band were on and they were needed at the
front of the stage.
     
     Just as Mensi was getting into his stride, who comes wading
through the crowd but Ian! (His 'mates' furnished us with the
relevant information later on). After handing round his drink to
his new found friends, he began to harangue our man again.
Boredom quickly set in and the group of students and social
workers decided it was time to test out whether Ian was either
incredibly popular or incredibly dumb. As the bouncers arrived to
scrape Ian up and carry him away, it had become obvious to
everyone that he was just incredibly dumb; his mates stared at
the stage, singing along, never once turning to look. When will
they learn, eh? Vicious bastards the middle classes!
     
     Back in the real world the massive Countryside March in
London on March 1st saw 3 fascist groups out and about. The NF,
ITP and BNP (who produced a special paper for the occasion - see
Behind Enemy Lines) were all spotted distributing propaganda and
appeared completely unmolested. As society moves to the Right the
fascists see opportunities to address new audiences - and given
the reactionary nature of the protest it appears their views
weren't that out of place.
     
     As anti-fascists are getting marginalised and the fascists
look to enter the mainstream, the BNP have publicly praised the
actions of Camden's Labour Council for banning AFA's
International Conference. The campaign against AFA has continued
with the London Welsh Centre refusing an AFA booking. This venue
was successfully used by AFA as one of the alternative venues
when we were banned from the Irish Centre in October. Presumably
the plain clothes police sitting in the car outside during our
meeting eventually got their chance to talk to the management!
 
LOYALIST LEADERS IN NAZI ROCK SHOCK
 
     When Mo Mowlam, the Northern Ireland Secretary, recently
visited the Maze prison to discuss difficulties over the Loyalist
ceasefire, one of the UFF leaders she met was Sam McCrory. It was
noticed at the time that he had a 'white power' tattoo on his arm
which only confirmed what AFA has been saying about the links
between the fascists and the Loyalists.
     
     What was not widely known was that Sam McCrory and another
notorious senior UFF prisoner - Johnny 'Mad Dog' Adair - were
both in a nazi Oi band called Offensive Weapon. They played in
England a few times, featuring alongside Blood & Honour
favourites Skrewdriver and Brutal Attack at the Rock Against
Communism festival in September 1984. In those days if you wanted
to contact the band you wrote to Johnny Adair's Crumlin Road
address in Belfast.
 
                              *****
_________________________________________________________________
 
                           AFA STATEMENT
_________________________________________________________________
 
                                *
 
     For the last eighteen months AFA has been trying to resolve
a number of problems concerning the Leeds and Huddersfield AFA
branches. The main problem has been the insistence of the
organisers of the Leeds branch in working with Searchlight, in
direct contradiction of agreed AFA policy (see below). A whole
web of lies and deceit has surrounded the issue which has
resulted in others, opposed to the Searchlight strategy, becoming
involved in the intrigue. In addition, the representatives of
Leeds and Huddersfield branches have failed to carry out their
responsibilities in the Northern Network and have refused to
participate in the national AFA structures or abide by agreed
decisions.
     
     At a time of increased support for the Far Right, and being
based in an area of Yorkshire which the fascists see as a
priority, it is intolerable that the effectiveness of AFA is
undermined by individuals with a completely different agenda.
     
     Tired of being lied to, listening to excuses and the lack of
accountability of the Leeds and Huddersfield delegates, the
National Co-ordinating Committee of AFA (made up of delegates of
the four regions) has been forced to intervene. The 'old' Leeds
and Huddersfield branches have been replaced with a new West
Yorkshire AFA branch.
     
     It is important to stress that the problem lies with the
'organisers' and that activists in the area who agree with AFA's
stated aims and objectives are invited to get involved with the
new branch. Contact the National Office for further details.
     
     Printed below is a statement regarding AFA and Searchlight
which was unanimously agreed by national AFA delegates in
September 1997:
 
     "It is widely recognised within AFA and among large sections
of the Left which is any way familiar with anti-fascist politics
that Searchlight has a separate agenda to our own and is friendly
or hostile to AFA depending on whether it fits in with their
agenda.
     
     It has also been established that Searchlight have in the
not too distant past used individuals and organisations to
manipulate, exploit or subvert AFA policy and initiatives.
Searchlight has also targetted organisations and individuals
within AFA, employing many of the tactics used against the Far
Right. Its reporting of events, particularly involving AFA, is
often so dishonest it amounts to black propaganda.
     
     It provides genuine information only where it sees a benefit
to itself. Information concerning the personal safety of
individual militant anti-fascists it regards with indifference
unless it meets that criteria. Cultivating extensive contacts
with Special Branch and MI5 is pert of its remit.
     
     With the election of a Labour government militant anti-
facism faces a tremendous challenge. All over Europe the Far
Right is on the march. Similar ambitions exist over here. Due to
the Far Right's adoption of the Euro-Nationalist strategy a
steadily increasing intensity between the protagonists as the
ante is upped can be anticipated.
     
     Over the next five years anti-fascist resistance will be
broken or the existing fascist vanguards may collapse. It will
prove a fight to the political death. As a consequence routine
surveillance by MI5/SB/C11 will be stepped up and more determined
efforts to infiltrate AFA wtll be attempted.
     
     This means: Membership or association with the Searchlight
team is incompatible with AFA membership. Any information
supplied or approaches made by Searchlight should be reported to
the National Office and Regional Delegate immediately."
 
     AFA does not normally conduct its internal affairs in
public. Due to rumours circulating around the country it was
decided to issue this statement. All further enquiries regarding
this matter should be addressed to the National Office.
 
                              *****
_________________________________________________________________
 
                        BEHIND ENEMY LINES
_________________________________________________________________
 
     With our old columnist Bill Gothrocks forced into early
     retirement, Fighting Talk would like to welcome our latest
     recruit Vern Ethered who takes his first look at the
     writings of the Far Right.
 
                                *
 
     The BNP continues to expand its strategy of entering the
political mainstream, targeting specific sections of the
population with relevant propaganda. A new leaflet on benefit
cuts for single parents, pensioners and the disabled is now
available! However, it is only to be used on impoverished council
estates. On the other hand propaganda concerning rural issues is
addressed to Middle England. In both area the BNP hopes to pick
up support on the back of disillusionment with Labour.
     
     The Benefits leaflet, which has already been used door to
door on the Isle of Dogs and in Bristol, is hard to distinguish
from a left-wing leaflet on the same subject, at least to the
casual reader. But this shows how serious the BNP are in
attempting to address real issues affecting the working class. It
does not matter that the BNP can do little to actually help
people getting shafted by New Labour's restructuring of the
Welfare State, or that the qualifications they add (e.g.
"genuinely" disabled and "abandoned" single mums) demonstrate
that their real agenda is no different to that of the Tories and
New Labour.
     
     By making sympathetic noises and by addressing the issue and
other areas of local concern where more can be achieved, they are
copying proven tactics for building a political organization,
that is effective, local and credible and which can serve as a
springboard to electoral success. As they acknowledge this is
exactly the tactic used by the Liberal Democrats to achieve their
gains in local government.
     
     As part of this new grass-roots community activism the BNP
can also tackle populist issues like anti-social crime,
paedophiles etc. They are fully aware of the potential to exploit
such issues in a particular political direction, whether against
the "politically correct" establishment or to justify a racist
agenda. By taking on issues which the Left won't address or by
doing so in areas where the Left no longer has a real presence,
they can pander to popular conservative prejudices and, at the
same time, appear as a radical "can do" organization. Of course
the underlying aim is to rehabilitate themselves as populist
Euro-Nationalists rather than the Hitler loving sad cases they
actually are. They can win elections, especially when some form
of proportional representation is introduced.
     
     As they are also fully aware the same tactics are not
restricted to urban estates. For the recent "Countryside March"
the BNP produced a special newspaper, "British Countryman" and
rural issues have featured prominently in other publications,
together with a new leaflet, "Theme-Park Britain: How
'politically correct' townies are killing our country". The
"revolt of Middle England" is seen as fertile ground, since it
combines opposition to Labour policies and European integration
with dewy eyed nostalgia for the Britain of warm beer, cricket
and old ladies cycling home after church.
     
     The BNP web site reports that the paper was well received,
as has been their leaflet on buying British Beef. Whilst the
majority of people on the Countryside March would traditionally
vote Tory, many of the issues raised affect the rural working
class. As with many urban estates, the absence of an alternative
radical agenda from the Left means the BNP have something of an
open field.
     
     The BNP doesn't mind which class rallies to its banner, but
they dearly love the idea of being able to attract disgruntled
middle class Tory xenophobes. After all this will provide them
with the people of "quality" they want to make their movement
respectable and who can continue their "natural" role of managing
and leading the working class in the nationalist cause. A case of
goodbye "Eastenders", hello "To The Manor Born". The rural agenda
promoted by the BNP is very much a cobbled together affair, which
doesn't bear even the lightest scrutiny, despite Nick Griffin's
attempts to lend it credibility in his other persona as a Welsh
small-holder.
     
     The driving force behind the Countryside March was the fox
hunting lobby. Understandably some BNP members are perplexed as
to whether the party now has a pro-hunt policy. No, they are
reassured - its just a matter of individual freedom. The real
issues about fox control and the hunt are not even addressed. In
fact all British Countryman does is use fox-hunting as a
convenient peg for racism - stop the "real cruelty" of ethnic
ritual slaughter. If the BNP is so concerned about cruelty to
animals what is their position on factory farming? Is ritual
slaughter a deeply contentious issue in rural areas? We think
not, but fox-hunting definitely is, as the many farmers and small
landowners who have tried to stop hunts riding roughshod over
their property will testify. Is the BNP going to defend their
freedom?
     
     Similar contradictions underlie the demand to stop
concreting the countryside and preserve its traditional and
quintessentially English character. This is utter drivel since
the green and pleasant land, unchanged in appearance and
tradition for generations, is a Victorian myth. The "traditional"
countryside was destroyed by the Enclosure Acts and the
introduction of industrial agriculture, starting over 200 years
ago. The rural working class was evicted, to emigrate either to
the cities or abroad. Over one million Scottish smallholders and
crofters were driven off the Highlands by force of English arms,
so that large scale sheep farming could be introduced, wool being
more profitable than human beings.
     
     The culmination of this process has been the reverse
emigration of the privileged from town to countryside. For years
now they have been buying up the countryside and forcing out
locals by pushing up house prices, the general cost of living and
contributing to the closure of village schools and cottage
hospitals because they subscribe to private health and private
education.
     
     So the BNP is a little late in wanting to defend country
folk from urban migration. The rural landscape they champion is
infested by the rich and the sentimental bleating about
countryside traditions comes largely from the mouths of people
who have never done any agricultural work in their lives, other
than watering the dahlias. Not that the BNP are that bothered.
Whatever they say about defending the indigenous rural
population, they're far more interested in recruiting Little
Englanders. As with fox-hunting, another upper class innovation
in the countryside, the BNP doesn't have a position on the rural
class divide anymore than on the urban one. The semi-feudal image
of the labourer and the lord of the manor as part of some mutual
organic structure exactly matches their ideology of a corporate
nationalist society, even though that image is one promoted by
the ruling class to justify themselves sitting at the top of the
heap.
     
     As with the development issue, the economic arguments in
British Countryman and the scribblings of Farmer Griffin leak
like a sieve. Fishing communities and small scale farmers do face
serious problems, but its like the chicken and egg question.
European subsidies and quotas exist because of the imbalances
introduced by corporate intensive farming and by cheap imports
from even more exploited rural communities elsewhere in the
world. Farmers have been protected from exposure to the ruthless
nature of Capitalism, unlike the "urban" industries of coal,
steel, etc. Without wishing to be over harsh, perhaps if the
farmers had woken from their rural idyll, counting out the
European gold, and supported those other "traditional" industries
when they were being decimated, they would not now find
themselves so isolated. Whilst its good to see small farmers
emulating their European counterparts by faking direct action,
the BNP's support for them rings very hollow. After all they are
forever condemning French farmers for doing exactly the same
thing.
     
     But the last point exposes the reality and absurdity of the
"Euro-Nationalist" position. Major problems immediately face
anyone withdrawing from the global free market (regardless of
whether their ideology is nationalist or communist). Trade
protection measures always result in reprisals, which affects
exports, which then produces a downturn in industry. The classic
historical solution to trade wars is real wars. The BNP might
want to give the French, Irish or Argentineans a slapping, but
these are hardly the dominant players in the global agricultural
economy. Restrict U.S. imports or the activity of U.S.
multinationals and you can kiss the "special relationship" good-
bye overnight. And unless Tyndall and Co. fancy having the Marine
Corps landing on our beaches to "stabilize democracy" (i.e.
McDonald's profit margins), they'll do what they're told and our
farmers will continue to be pared to the bone. The conclusion
from all this is clear, the BNP are talking rubbish when it comes
to the countryside. But if there are no other voices out there to
oppose them then they can carry on calling a spade a fork and
vice versa until the cows come home. The same truth applies in
urban areas as much as in rural ones.
     
     For all its premature triumphalist preening, the BNP faces
some major obstacles in both town and country. As has been
pointed out before they are seeking to move in on the landscape
previously regarded as the natural home of the militant left-wing
of the working class. And even in today's changed political arena
they are going to have to do a lot and quickly, starting from a
handful of areas of real support, with little experience of
community organising and many bitter opponents ranged against
them. And they know this - which is why their real tactic is not
community activism in itself, but using this as a stepping stone
to electoral power, the only way a minority can impose itself
other than by economic or physical force. Which is why it is
amusing to see articles like "Red Force, Spent Force" (Patriot
#2) in which Tony Lecomber seeks to bolster party morale and the
current BNP agenda by quoting from the AFA analysis of the
current situation, not to mention incorporating chunks of the
"Left Luggage" article from Fighting Talk #17 without quoting the
source. Well, they say imitation is the sincerest form of
flattery.
     
     Just to set the record straight. The fad that the political
landscape has changed and that the BNP has adapted to it whilst
the traditional Left has not, should give them only temporary
cause for celebration. After all the main reason they now pursue
the electoral road is because AFA repeatedly crushed their
previous attempt to establish dominance on the street. So now
they have changed direction and they have chosen a good time and
a good strategy, albeit largely borrowed from their opponents.
But they should remember a few sobering points.
     
     First, the "Left" may be in collapse but AFA and other
militant elements are a different kettle of fish - not just
physically but also ideologically (a point the BNP, etc. never
seem to have quite grasped), and we definitely aren't going away.
     
     Second, we understand that we loom large in the BNP's
thinking and its very gratifying but AFA is not a political
organization or party - more like a specialised (and very
efficient) department. It may seem like it at times, but we don't
just appear out of thin air - we have our bases of support in the
community too. AFA is not tasked and does not have to win the
political war by itself, as the BNP seem to think. More important
are those solid working class elements disaffected from the
political parties and sects but still understanding politics as
class struggle, who will not only fight the BNP street by street
if they come into our communities but are also the elements from
which the political challenge to the Right as a whole will assert
itself.
     
     Third, developing this, the paralysis and collapse of the
traditional Left presents us with an even greater opportunity
than it does the Fascists, because the traditional Left has been
one of the biggest obstacles to advancing genuine class politics
and class struggle in this country. So while Lecomber may derive
satisfaction (and mislead his readers) by partially quoting AFA,
"We cannot actually prevent them (the BNP) attempting to enter
the mainstream..." he is well aware of what followed, namely that
we will "enter the mainstream ourselves". If the new battleground
is in the arena of grass roots politics, then that's where you'll
find us.
 
                              *****
_________________________________________________________________
 
                        BETWEEN THE SHEETS
_________________________________________________________________
 
                      With Elvis Mondallant
 
     In our regular column that looks at how the wider media
     report on all things fascist, Elvis Mondallant casts his eye
     over the recent C18 murder trial, no-go zones in Germany and
     the dead bigot Enoch Powell. Read on.
 
                                *
 
     Charlie Sargent and Martin Cross will not be seen for some
time. Several articles have appeared in the press recently
reporting on the trial of Sargent and Cross. Both received life
sentences back in January for the murder of Chris Castle, a
fellow member of C18.
     
     Castle was killed, according to press reports, while acting
as an intermediary between two rival factions of C18. Originally
the difference of opinion was over control of C18's CD operation,
a big money spinner, later developing into a contest for control
of C18 itself.
     
     The killing took place last February at Sargent's
girlfriend's flat in Harlow. Castle went into the flat alone
while X, Charlie's rival for the C18 gaffership, waited outside.
When he appeared again, Castle had a 12-inch knife wound in his
back. Mr. X, somewhat put out by all of this demanded to know
what was going on. "He's a casualty of war. Fuck him. Let him
rot.", was the reply. Castle died shortly afterwards at hospital.
     
     Searchlight's coverage was fairly predictable. The February
issue used up column inches patting its personnel on the back,
"Despite personal danger, including a letter bomb and an attack
on a photographer, Searchlight's team of investigative
journalists, moles, researchers and photographers have never let
up in pursuit of these terrorists."
     
     We are also informed "Eighteen months ago, at a meeting
between Searchlight and Essex police officers, both sides agreed
that when the festering split in the organization finally
exploded, someone was likely to die."
     
     Articles in The Observer and The Independent on Sunday, as
well as drooling over events in Harlow, delved into some of the
history of C18. The Observer gives us a fairly sensational story,
C18 from its origins to the present day ending with a quote from
X, "All the scum has been got rid of, all the hangers on, all the
drunken bums. The music scene will continue. Now that Sargent has
gone, we can only get stronger."
     
     However Nick Ryan in The Independent on Sunday made some
fairly astute observations. He recalls two interviews with C18
members towards the end of 1996 when Charlie and others explained
their ambitions.
     
     When describing his meetings with Charlie and co. Ryan draws
a grim sketch, describing hard looking men, well versed in
violence and with plenty to say about "White Revolution". Charlie
is an aggressive, intimidating character, we are told that on at
least one occasion he has bitten off an opponents nose.
     
     Charlie explained why it was necessary for C18 to come into
being, "The reds were going around and they were beating the
living daylights out of the right-wing. They were kicking in
doors, petrol bombing people and beating old men black and blue
with hammers (a reference to an attack by anti-fascists on a
right-wing meeting in Kensington Library during 1992]. Red Action
[an extreme left-wing group] were absolutely battering the
Right." He then goes on to claim that C18 turned the situation
around: "We fuckin' battered 'em wherever we met until there was
no fucker left standing."
     
     Charlie's admission that militant anti-fascism was winning
at street level is a lot more honest than anything you would ever
hear from the likes of Tony Lecomber, who claims that the BNP's
move away from street level activity was "...because it hindered
our political progress, and was the only thing holding our
extreme opponents together."
     
     However Charlie is also a past master at twisting the facts
into some unrecognizable shape. The covert activity he makes
reference to certainly never took place and there has never been
a big clash at street level between C18 and AFA.
     
     The earliest meeting between AFA and what was about to
become C18 came at Weavers Field, Bethnal Green, in 1990. C18
bottled it. Since then C18 has been found wanting on a number of
occasions - The Little Driver (Bow), The Harrow Inn (Abbey Wood),
The White Hart (Holborn) to name a few. Hardly the crazy monsters
they were made out to be.
     
     Ryan, during the course of two interviews, is subjected to
further bravado and much bullshit. In one of the interviews
detail is given of the white homelands project, apparently funds
were raised with shares being sold at 10 pounds each. "1000
shares giving you the right to work permanently and reside on the
site", Ryan tells us. However for once the journo refrains from
hyping it up and instead does his homework, concluding like AFA
previously, that C18 is partial to confusing ambition with
ability. The white homelands are just a dream.
     
     By the end of the article Ryan takes us back to the murder
trial and delivers his final assessment of Charlie Sargent. "In
the dock at Chelmsford crown court a fortnight ago, Charlie
Sargent cuts a lonely, almost sad figure, stripped of his
reputation and coterie. When I first met him some 15 months ago,
he seemed an intimidating figure, with his short, cropped hair
surrounded by followers and talking of revolutionary struggle.
Now wearing glasses, with his hair long and very much on his own,
the myth was dispelled. I noticed for the first time just how
physically small he really is. It seemed to highlight the
difference between reality and the fantasy so often espoused in
the Far Right's literature and lifestyles. Is this - finally -
the reality of "Aryan man"?
 
                                *
 
     In January there was a sudden rush to report on neo-Nazi
activity in eastern Germany. The Guardian of January 21st
reports: "Large parts of formerly communist East Germany are
becoming no-go areas for foreigners and German 'outsiders' as
support for racist neo-Nazi ideology backed by violence,
intimidation and clandestine propaganda, grows rapidly across the
region."
     
     German police estimate the number of active fascists at
47,000. This is only the hardcore. The Guardian tells us "much of
the population, young and old, is receptive to neo-Nazi ideas,
sympathetic to such views, and often tacitly endorsing
violence..." An East German criminologist, Berndt Wagner, says
"To say that one third of East German youth is now prone to the
extreme right is an understatement. The point of no return has
already been reached for many."
     
     The fascists are well organised and a major weapon in their
arsenal is the Internet, which is used to propagate their
politics, including foreigner free zones. "Vast tracts of eastern
Germany are becoming de facto no-go areas for foreigners, left-
wingers, gays and teenage punks - anyone who does not fit the
homogeneous ideal, or appears 'un-German'", according to The
Guardian.
     
     The Internet is also used to list venues for clandestine
gigs with about sixty skinhead bands active on the neo-Nazi music
scene. Last year there were seventy nine gigs, some with
audiences of up to 1,600 strong.
     
     Although the media have been fairly quiet in the recent past
about fascist activity in Germany, the story has been there to
report if anyone had felt inclined to do so. This is not media
hype either, like some of the C18 scare stories dished out by the
press.
     
     In Brandenburg state the authorities have warned that
thousands of foreign building workers are under threat from the
fascists, where they are setting up foreigner free zones. The
truth is that the neo-Nazi organizations that are established in
Germany are slowly but surely developing in size, stature and
influence. In some areas they and the political ideas that they
propagate are now the mainstream. Everything else has been swept
aside.
 
                                *
 
     The press has been full of comment on the passing away of
Enoch Powell, with much chewing over of old speeches and his
personal political history. Tributes have been forthcoming from
many high profile political figures, "There will never be another
Enoch. He was magnetic." says Thatcher. His funeral proved to be
something of a magnet as well. It was held at St. Margaret's,
Westminster, which was, "packed to capacity with friends and
admirers" the Daily Telegraph tells us.
     
     Francis Wheen, writing in The Guardian, noticed something a
little suspect about one of the mourners. Among the list of
Tories and Major Generals that had gathered to pay their last
respects was one Mrs. Joy Page of The London and Counties
Tenants' Federation.
     
     Francis did a little investigative work and discovered that
Joy Page was also, in the past, with an organization called The
Immigration Control Association. At a rally in Trafalgar square
in 1976 she shared a platform with Michael McLaughlin and Lady
Birchwood. In the 1980's Page and her friend Joan Mason were
leading lights in WISE [Welsh, Irish, Scottish, English], an
organization that provided a link between the extreme Right of
the Tory party and leaders of the NF.
     
     Joy Page was not the only dodgy character at the funeral.
The Daily Mirror of February 19th reports: Sid Chaney, 76, from
Basildon, Essex, unfurled a poster of the cross of St. George
with a picture of a knight on a white horse. He said: "I've come
because I'm a great supporter of Mr. Powell. So many young people
today don't know who he is. We do. But we have to keep our mouths
shut."
     
     A lot of young people today might not know who Sid Chaney
is. We do. Chaney was an active member, and stood as a candidate
for the National Front in the 1970's. It comes as no big surprise
for us to discover that characters such as Page and Chaney turned
up at the funeral.
     
     While much of the liberal press have been critical of Powell
and his politics, it is some indication of the political culture
in the British Establishment that tributes to the man have been
made, not only by Thatcher but by the likes of Tony Blair [see
quotes] and the Bishop of Wolverhampton. "He was one of our great
politicians."
     
     The truth is that Enoch Powell was a racist bigot operating
to a hard-Right political agenda and he should be condemned as
such.
 
QUOTES
 
     "We don't categorize feelings of revulsion against
     foreigners as Extreme Right (Brandenberg police spokesman.
     Guardian - January 21, 1998)
 
No comment.
 
     "I want lovely clean streets and blue eyed blonde birds."
     (Steve Sargent. Independent On Sunday - February 1, 1998)
 
What you want and what you get are two very different things, and
we don't reckon his brother Charlie will be getting either for a
good few years!
 
     "One of the greatest figures of 2Oth century British
     politics, with a brilliant mind." (Tony Blair. Guardian -
     February 9, 1998)
 
The Leader of the Labour Party praising the reactionary, racist
bigot Enoch Powell.
 
     "A German skinhead picked on the wrong man in a billiard
     hall in Zinnowitz last week and ended up with a bloody nose.
     The skinhead directed racial insults at a Cuban relaxing in
     the hall only to find that he had taken on the boxer Juan
     Carlos Gomez." (Guardian - January 15, 1998)
 
     "Nor will we have been chased into doorstep politics by the
     police, or by red gangs. Rather we should adopt doorstep
     tactics because it is the best way to campaign. And if the
     reds change to doorstep politics to counter us, then it is
     another victory for us." ('Jack Truman' Patriot magazine,
     Winter 1997)
 
Well, 'Jack', a couple of quick points. First, back in the early
90's it was AFA that chased you off the streets (ask Charlie
Sargent) and second, I can't quite work out the logic of the
BNP's 'victory' if anti-fascists start challenging their
arguments on the doorstep.
 
                              * * *
 
                    ANTIFA INFO-BULLETIN (AFIB)
                        750 La Playa # 730
                  San Francisco, California 94121
                     E-Mail: tburghardt@igc.org
 
                                *
 
     On PeaceNet visit ANTIFA INFO-BULLETIN on pol.right.antifa
     or by gopher --> gopher://gopher.igc.apc.org:7021/11/europe
     Via the Web  --> http://burn.ucsd.edu/~aff/afib.html
 
                                *
 
                     ANTI-FASCIST FORUM (AFF)
     Antifa Info-Bulletin is a member of the Anti-Fascist Forum
     network. AFF is an info-group which collects and
     disseminates information, research and analysis on fascist
     activity and anti-fascist resistance. More info: 
                    E-mail: aff@burn.ucsd.edu 
                  Web: http://burn.ucsd.edu/~aff
 
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     :+                                                       :+
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          ++++ stop the execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal ++++
   ++++ if you agree copy these 3 sentences in your own sig ++++
  ++++ see: http://www.xs4all.nl/~tank/spg-l/sigaction.htm ++++


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