Friday, March 05, 2010

This is what Nazis do

Former concentration camp vandalised in Austria

From Reuters via Yahoo
A former concentration camp in Austria has been vandalised with anti-Semitic and anti-Turkish graffiti by suspected far-right activists, police and officials said on Friday.
Abuse was scrawled on the outer wall of the Mauthausen camp near Linz overnight and no culprits had been found, Michael Tischlinger, head of the provincial anti-terrorism police, told the Austrian Press Agency.
"Such a desecration is not a prank, the culprits had a select target," said Willi Mernyi, head of the Mauthausen Committee which helps oversee the site where around 100,000 people died during Nazi rule in Austria in 1938-45.
"There is an active far-right scene in Upper Austria that does not even shrink away from vandalising a former concentration camp," Mernyi said in a statement.
The case shows authorities need to clamp down more on the extreme right, local Social Democrat politician Josef Ackerl said. Local police and Austria's interior ministry were not available for comment.
Far-right parties together captured nearly a third of the vote in Austria's 2008 national elections and feed off xenophobia and anti-European sentiment in the insular Alpine Republic.

That, dear reader is one reason I demonstrated with UAF against the EDL today. Another is that I despise Islamophobia and believe passionately in religious freedom.

Nazi scum off our streets!


Blogger Joe said...

I do have a difficulty with "anti-fascism" as a political programme. The last sentence of your post brings this to the fore: the EDL and BNP are criticised for their lack of respect (frankly, bullying - and I agree that their approach involves both verbal and physical violence) towards minority communities.

But if the "anti-fascist" simply goes in for the same thing in reverse - by describing his or her opponents as "scum" and wanting to remove them from the streets by exercising violence in return (this based on an SWP web report of the anti-fascist demo in Harrow when the BNP gathered near the mosque there - the phrase "dealt with" was used to describe the treatment of some BNP supporters cornered by anti-fascists), what service have they done for the ordinary people of the streets?

I also don't understand why a typical UAF rally includes posters that name-check the BNP - in large letters for all to see. It strikes me as a rather naive politics. Given the history of previous anti-fascist alliances in their relation to hard-left groups and to an extent as front groups for them, I really cannot work out whose interests are being served by anti-fascism as a political programme. I can think of at least two instances over the last two or three years where UAF would have been better advised not to counter-demonstrate - the BNP activity involved only got media attention because of the UAF counter activity, and would have been almost totally ignored otherwise. [This clearly isn't true of every instance, I know.]

That is not to say that I don't think the EDL and BNP should be opposed - I do - but I wonder whether the real way to do this is through serious acts of solidarity with minority communities.

Enlightenment please!

3/06/2010 12:51 AM  
Anonymous Antonio said...

Here here Joe.

3/06/2010 6:00 AM  
Blogger Red Maria said...

Hi Joe,

I'm afraid that I disagree with you quite emphatically. That's not easy for me because you are a blogger I admire. However, on this subject, I think you are wrong. I apologise in advance for any intemperance in my reply to you; this is a subject I feel very strongly about.

Anti-fascists are not facists' mirror image. They are our line of defence against the murderous hatred which is fascism.
Unite against Fascism and Hope not Hate (I support both of them) descend from a noble tradition of anti-fascist resistance; one thinks here especially of the Battle of Cable Street. Recall that in 1936 both the Board of Deputies and the Communist Party urged people to stay away from Cable Street.
Many Eastenders, such as the magnificent Joe Jacobs ignored their advice and confronted the Mosleyites, stopping them from marching through the East End. They were right to do so and today we call them heroes.

Similarly, UAF was right to mount a counter-demonstration against the EDL. Sure the style and language of UAF demonstrators is demotic if not a little fruity, referring to the EDL as scum. But I have always been one for plain speech and scum is, as far as I'm concerned, what they the EDL are. That isn't to say that they can't change, or be redeemed. But their behaviour right now is scummy and that's putting it mildly.

The EDL mounts intimidating demonstrations outside mosques and terrorise people. Its links with the BNP are well-documented. Its members are the political heirs of Adolf Hitler, hence, in my view, it is not putting it too strongly to say that their cause is satanic, for wherever fascism goes, murder follows.

By complete contrast, anti-fascists are genuinely peaceable people. I can say, hand on heart, that when in a UAF demonstration I have never felt safer. There has NEVER been any instance of violence at any UAF action I have attended, I have NEVER heard any violent sentiments expressed by UAF members and supporters, quite the opposite in fact. I was speaking to a UAF member yesterday - Pat, who is a very committed trade unionist - and he was utterly scathing about squadism.

I can understand why you may have the impression you have about UAF since the media's reportage is sensationalist claptrap and far from the truth. The reality is that UAF is a broad-based national campaign drawing members and supporters from trade unions and the Labour Party as well as the SWP and other Trotskyist groups.

Those of us who demonstrated against the EDL were angry - infuriated, in fact - that the EDL were marching through London. All we did was express our anger by means of peaceful, disciplined democratic protest. We held the EDL back for an hour and a half.

Sure, we should engage in acts of solidarity with minority communities AND there are times when we should protest against fascists. One is not counterposed but complementary to the other.

We know that murder follows fascism as night follows day. In 1989 the BNP opened its headquarters in Welling, South East London, following which racist attacks, including the murders of Stephen Lawrence, Rohit Duggal and Rolan Adams, zoomed up by 210%. It is only the determined selfless work of anti-fascist groups like UAF which really stops the fascist menace. As far as I am concerned UAF saves lives. That is why I support it.

I urge everyone to go to Bolton on 20th March to demonstrate their opposition to the EDL.

3/06/2010 3:13 PM  

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