Backchat - April '01


From: "Dave Parks" <davep@e...>
Date: Sun Apr 1, 2001 12:22 pm
Subject: Context (was Re: Fw: BNP Update)

> Comrades
> I must say that I find it ironic that someone whose usual posts amount to
little more than rampant, sectarian attacks on the SA and SWP, can with no
qualms at all forward on this Nazi filth without passing any comment of
> Too much UK, not enough LEFT.
> Yours fraternally
> Ron Smith

It is very clear to me that James Tait has passed this item to the list in
the *context* of debate and interest around the BNP and the election result.
So he didn't introduce it with the words "Nazi filth from the BNP", so
what! The context is very clear and it is clear the intention is to inform
us rather than promote the BNP. I disagree with James' political position as
regards the SA but I thank him for the useful information.


Dave Parks

From: "ronald.smith" <ronald.smith@q...>
Date: Mon Apr 2, 2001 1:30 pm
Subject: Re: [UK_Left_Network] Context (was Re: Fw: BNP Update)


I've no doubts about the context of James' posting be well intended.

However, he covered the by-election result in a seperate posting. Which seemed
to be the crux of the matter. And I really do feel we should not be giving the
BNP a platform, albeit as a topic of discussion, on list of this nature.

Yours fraternally

Ron Smith
Crawley SA & SWP

From: Nick Bryant <>
Subject: Re: [UK_Left_Network] Context (was Re: Fw: BNP Update)
Date: 02 April 2001 21:00Re: [UK_Left_Network] Context (was Re: Fw: BNP Update)

I'm not sure what you're getting at here, Ronald. Are you saying that people
shouldn't post BNP material to the list or that we shouldn't discuss the BNP
at all. Whichever you mean, I think you're wrong. Hiding our heads in the
sand and ignoring what they have to say is a recipe for disaster. Knowing
what the BNP are doing, what their strategy is, and how to counter it, is
important for anti-fascists. How else can we know how to fight them.

It is an interesting fact that I have never seen any analysis of British
fascism in an SWP publication since the late 1970s that betrays any sign of
familiarity with, or understanding of, the BNP or the NF. This means that
the SWP doesn't recognise two very important things in regard to current
British fascists. 1. That since 1994, the BNP have completely changed their
strategy. They have dropped the old mainstay of the British far-right,
'march and grow' in favour of the euro fascist strategy pioneered by the FN
in France. This is why they spend their time working in local communities,
fighting to be the alternative to Labour. They wised up long before the left
to the fact that the working class are dissilusioned with ALL mainstream
parties and that there is a vacuum just waiting to be filled. That is why it
was such a disgrace that the SWP stopped the LSA standing against the BNP in
last week's Beckton by-Election. It would also be nice if you told us what
you think about this act of cowardice, Ronald.

2. In contrast to the growth of the BNP, the NF are an absolute irrelevance
to British politics. They have around 40 members at most, they charge around
the country, having marches that number between 10 and 40 people, and always
the same people. The ANL then moblises a counter-demonstration that only
attracts more attention to them. This just means that people think the NF is
important, which deflects attention from the importance of opposing the BNP
politically. This is something that the SWP, and most of the rest of the
left, have conspicuously ignored in favour of chasing shadows. A lot of this
is due to the SWP not having a position on fascism in Britain that is
independent of the pro-state magazine Searchlight. Surprisingly, Ronald is
against the posting of fascist material on this list in the course of a
discussion, but is perfectly happy for his organisation to be in cahoots
with a magazine that not only works hand in hand with the secret state, but
also smears anti-fascists!
Explain that one, Ronald.



From: Nick Bryant <>
Subject: [UK_Left_Network] The lessons of Newham for anti-fascists
Date: 05 April 2001 21:46

From the AFA website, 5th April.


The lessons of Newham for anti-fascists

The concerns raised by AFA about the way the Socialist Alliance reacted to
the Newham by-election should have initiated a serious discussion within the
Left and anti-fascist movement as to what is needed to beat the threat from
the Far Right. Apart from a few lines agreeing with AFA in Weekly Worker and
some comments on the UK Left discussion site, the targets of AFA's
criticisms have remained completely silent. The Newham election may appear
to have only limited significance, but in fact perfectly illustrates many of
the key issues.
The local paper described the area in the south of the borough as "being in
the top two per cent of the most deprived areas in the country and long term
unemployment has become an accepted feature of life there. Poor housing
stock, a lack of social amenities and a decline in essential services have
all conspired to create an atmosphere of isolation and despair. The
community regard themselves as the forgotten people of Newham and that
feeling runs deep among the 16,000 living there." (Newham Recorder 29/3/01.)
Perfect territory for the Left to attack the Labour run council you would
think. But no, instead the East London Socialist Alliance called for a
Labour vote.
As a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain said on the UK Left
discussion site: "Given that the only reason that the BNP ever gets any
halfway decent votes is because working class people feel they are being
disenfranchised by Labour (old and new), it is therefore bizarre to then
call for a vote for Labour to defeat the BNP!!"
And why did the Socialist Alliance back Labour? Because they placed race
above class. Fearing their intervention might split the Labour vote and
allow the BNP to win the seat, rather than out-radicalise the Far Right and
win over working class voters from the BNP, they instead backed the class
enemy. In a community where some resources are already allocated racial
lines, a failure to be seen to be standing up for all sections of the
community only helps those who seek to divide the working class into
competing racial groups.
Having backed Labour in the election, it is hard to stomach the prospective
Socialist Alliance candidate in the forthcoming general election claiming in
a letter to the Newham Recorder (4/4/01) that: "Newham New Labour council's
plan for Canning Town is nothing other than 'social cleansing' - push out
working class people and bring in the rich and those for whom a flat or
house is a 'property investment', not a place to live and bring up your
family. The Socialist Alliance will stand with those fighting this 'social
cleansing', and opposing Jim [Fitzpatrick MP] and his New Labour friends on
Newham and Tower Hamlets councils at the general election."
The question is, will the 'working class people' referred to by the
Socialist Alliance have any faith in an organisation that was launched with
a fanfare to fight Labour, then decides to back Labour, and now announces it
will stand against Labour in a few months time? This is hardly principled
opposition designed to show the community you have their interests at heart.
Recent results in Austria should give encouragement to the Left. Although
the Freedom Party still got over 20% of the vote in the Vienna elections,
the 7% drop they did suffer was on account of their support for cuts in
welfare spending which were unpopular with their working class supporters.
The potential for a genuine progressive working class movement remains
Unlike the Socialist Alliance, the Christian People's Alliance were keen to
stand against Labour, their candidate speaking out against Labour's
"gentrification" before the election, and afterwards said: "On the streets I
heard a lot of hurt and anger. No one is upset about the need to do things
for Canning Town, but the housing programme will destroy communities."
(Newham Recorder, 4/4/01.) And what were the Socialist Alliance doing while
this was going on? Backing the forces of 'social cleansing'!
The need for a consistent working class opposition to Labour becomes a
priority when you look at the big picture. The latest Commission for Racial
Equality survey found that "three quarters of white respondents thought that
ethnic minority communities receive too much advice and assistance from the
Government" and 20% of those surveyed were hostile to asylum seekers. These
are the issues that the BNP will look to exploit and at the same time these
are issues that the Left can challenge the fascists on. The BNP only appear
radical in the absence of any alternative, a point AFA is totally confident
on. Whether it is consistent support for local working class concerns or
addressing the refugee situation with a working class friendly 'For the
community - Against racism' approach, the Left could isolate the fascists
from working class communities.
If, on the other hand, none of these lessons are learned and it remains
'business as usual' then projects like the Socialist Alliance will have no
value for the anti-fascist movement. To make it a serious three-cornered
fight in working class communities between Labour, the BNP and the Left
(because this is the issue), then the Socialist Alliance will have to do a
lot more than just turn up with a few slogans.

Subject: [UK_Left_Network] Re: The lessons of Newham for anti-fascists
Date: 07 April 2001 16:48

In UK_Left_Network@y..., "Nick Bryant" <bryantnicholas@h...>

> The local paper described the area in the south of the borough
as "being in
> the top two per cent of the most deprived areas in the country
and long term
> unemployment has become an accepted feature of life there.
Poor housing
> stock, a lack of social amenities and a decline in essential
services have
> all conspired to create an atmosphere of isolation and despair.
> community regard themselves as the forgotten people of
Newham and that
> feeling runs deep among the 16,000 living there." (Newham
Recorder 29/3/01.)
> Perfect territory for the Left to attack the Labour run council you
> think. But no, instead the East London Socialist Alliance called
for a
> Labour vote.

Why is a deprived inner city area a perfect area for the left to
attack. I thought the Left is more interested about an upmarket
university area or an innercity area full of cafes and bars? The
social composition of organisations determines their social
consciousness, not the other way round...

> As a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain said on
the UK Left
> discussion site: "Given that the only reason that the BNP ever
gets any
> halfway decent votes is because working class people feel
they are being
> disenfranchised by Labour (old and new), it is therefore bizarre
to then
> call for a vote for Labour to defeat the BNP!!"
> And why did the Socialist Alliance back Labour? Because they
placed race
> above class.
Race is to a certain extent above class, but not totally separate
form it. For the new Rachmans to profit from the newly created
EU Asylum Seekers Departments, one needs to popularise
imperialist immigration policies all over Europe. The Left having
a tradition of 'internationalism' are best suited to implement the
New Worlds Order multi-ethnic cosmopolitan corporate order.
Hence the insistence on voting for and defending at every
available opportunity New Labour, even to the point of driving
sections of the working class over to the class enemy.

> The need for a consistent working class opposition to Labour
becomes a
> priority when you look at the big picture. The latest
Commission for Racial
> Equality survey found that "three quarters of white respondents
thought that
> ethnic minority communities receive too much advice and
assistance from the
> Government" and 20% of those surveyed were hostile to
asylum seekers. These
> are the issues that the BNP will look to exploit and at the same
time these
> are issues that the Left can challenge the fascists on. The BNP
only appear
> radical in the absence of any alternative, a point AFA is totally
> on. Whether it is consistent support for local working class
concerns or
> addressing the refugee situation with a working class friendly
'For the
> community - Against racism' approach, the Left could isolate
the fascists
> from working class communities.
> If, on the other hand, none of these lessons are learned and it
> 'business as usual' then projects like the Socialist Alliance will
have no
> value for the anti-fascist movement. To make it a serious three-
> fight in working class communities between Labour, the BNP
and the Left
> (because this is the issue), then the Socialist Alliance will have
to do a
> lot more than just turn up with a few slogans.

The central electoral slogan of the Socialist Alliance of All
Refugees Welcome Here is underhanded support ot New
Labour and the EU. There are plans to re-locate millions of
workers from Eastern Europe to the deregulated marketplace of
Corporate Europe. With an oversupply of cheap labour wages
can be driven down as they have been on the railways, the
electricity companies, BT etc. With the public sector up for sale,
bosses are planning ahead creating more and more wars eg.
Macedonia to justify even more refugees. Unless the left tackles
the issue of who is profitiing from immigraition there votes anc
campaigning will be pointless.


(from RA newspage)

6th April '01

In a strongly worded attack on the Labour Party in Newham in this weeks
Newham Recorder, Dr Kamla Boomla, Socialist
Alliance prospective parliamentary candidate wrote:

"Newhams New Labour councils plan for Canning Town is nothing more than
"social cleansing" - push out working class
people and bring in the rich and those for whom a flat or house is a
"property investment" not a place to live and bring up a

"The Socialist Alliance" he continued "will stand with those fighting this
"social cleansing", and oppose Jim and his New Labour
friends at the General Election."

Is this the same Socialist Alliance who, rather than stand against the
social cleansing policy of New Labour instead took a
'principled' decision to actually physically campaign on the ground for New
Labour only last week?

Is this the same Socialist Alliance who opted to back a Tory defector
against the Christian Alliance candidate, the sole
candidate to oppose gentrification and reflect working class interests and
concerns on the issue?

Is this the same Socialist Alliance when faced with a choice of boosting
working class independence opted instead to maintain
New Labour's monoply in one of the most discriminated against boroughs in
the country?

Is this the same Socialist Alliance who possibly made that crucial 5%
difference to reinforce the New Labour mandate on social

Is this the same Socialist Alliance - or is it a different one?

08 April 2001 01:16
Re: Is this the same Socialist alliance

Sadly, Nick it's the same one. A disgrace. We, or rather some of us,
need to get our house in order big time. Keep posting the articles, Nick.
Principled, open criticism of some of the mind boggling contortions occuring
are the only way to identify and rectify errors. Backing Labour and bottling
it against the fash? I cring in shame.

Revolutionary greetings, H.

7th April. 19.42
From: Jim Carrol
Re: Is this the same Socialist alliance

I,ll second that Harry. I wonder if most of us would have heard anything of
the Beckton disgrace had not the Red Action comrades not oublicised it. I
wonder what other dirty work is going on in areas where RA or AFA are not so
active. What BNP metings are being *overlooked* or passed off as being
irrevelat or paper sales being ignored. I say this because there are half
remembered precedents in my mind usually involving the SWP.

Jim Carroll

From Lawrie Coombs
07 April 2001 20:36
Re: Is this the same Socialist alliance

I agree with the comrade, we should not be paranoid about the BNP, but on
guard and refusing to stand when this could let in A tory or even a BNP does
nothing in the long term to challenge the reactionary ideas of the far right
preying as they do on despair etc, we need to challenge the likes of the BNP
with ideas as much as fists, if this has some unpleasant consequences for
saome people so be it.

Saying that however it seems that activity from the far right seems to be at
a bit of a lull, do any of the comrades on this list have any idea what kind
of campaigning they are likely to engage in during the election, is there
any way of finding if they will get bodies onto streets leafleting, is this
done accassionaly at 3.00 in the morning in groups of 50 or what? we should
use the election to undermine them further, however the fact of the matter
is they will be further undermined because in a lot of working class areas
there ideas will be met with some contest, albeit of a sub-reformist

Congratulations to Red Action< AFA and of course Weekly worker for pointing
this out.

Lawtrie Coombs


To: UK_Left_Network
08 April 2001 12:14
Subject: [UK_Left_Network] Re: [ANL] Bermondsey unites against the NF

--- In UK_Left_Network@y..., anti_nazileague@h... wrote:
> To: <anl@m...>
> Sent: 7 April 2001 23:05
> Subject: [ANL] Bermondsey unites against the NF
> > Saturday 7 April 2001 Bermondsey, south London
> > Bermondsey unites against the NF
> >
> > Around a thousand anti-racists and trade unionists from all over
> Southwark
> > and Lambeth rallied outside South Bermondsey station to oppose a
> Nazi
> > National Front march today.
> >
> > The rally was addressed by local MP Simon Hughes and Trevor
> Phillips,
> Chair
> > of the Greater London Authority. Local church leaders condemned
> the fact
> > the Anti-Nazis were being penned in by the police while the NF
> being
> > given protection to roam the streets spreading their racist
> >
> > Anti-Nazis occupied the road junction outside the station,
> preventing the
> NF
> > leaving the main exit. A pathetic dozen Nazis marched in single
> file down
> a
> > side passageway from the station where the police allowed...

The ANL counter-demo in Bermondsey is brazenly written up as a
success but look at the subtext.

ANL objective: 'STOP' the NF!

Line-up: 1,000 ANL (supposedly) versus 62 "pathetic" NF.

Result: NF 'march':
national media publicity before and after,
local racist support galvanised.

Arrests: none

Injuries: inflicted on NF before or after march? none

Damage to NF/racist morale in Bermondsey? Zero

If this is what the ANL consider success, what in their eyes
constitutes failure?

During debate on the Red Action discussion site recently an SWP
member was challenged to name and date when the ANL had EVER
succesfully 'stopped' the BNP, NF, Blood and Honour C18 in the near
decade since it's re-launch in 1992.

Response: Silence

If truth be told, there is a direct correlation between the political
appetite the SWP/ANL display for 'taking on' (not literally of
course) the NF, (membership 100) and the chicken shit strategy on
display in Beckton. Any wonder when in Beckton they were confronted
with the BNP who enjoy a potential support base, already nudging a
quarter of a million in London alone.

Of course it was only last June when the BNP cloked 80,000 votes on
33% turn-out that the SWP/ANL rushed to sedate the rest of the Left
with the comforting word that the BNP vote was 'tiny'. Now ten months
on it is the genuinely 'tiny' NF who are talked up as THE political

It is encouraging that at least some people saw SWP antics in Beckton
in calling for Labour vote as 'bogus anti-fascism', (and I might add
a dangerous portend for local elections in 2002, precisley because
Beckton should not be considered a 'one-off'. Isle of Dogs/
Beckton 'Love your neighbour vote Labour' is very clearly still the
favoured strategy of the SWP leadership whatever the impact on the
development of the LSA.

In that light Bermondsey stands exposed as the flip side of
Beckton. 'Exposed' being the operative term.

From: Lawrie Coombs
Date: 08 April 2001 14:16
To: UK Left Network
Subject: [UK_Left_Network] Re: [ANL] Bermondsey unites against the NF

I tend to agree with the above, it sometimes seems that some of the
mobilisations in oppostion to the NF have no effect othe than giving them
more publicity, they can crow, we faced down 1,000 commies etc. A simil;ar
series of events seems to be taking place in Dover on a weekly basis

Maybe a better strategy for such events would be a monitoring opweration and
perhaps some kind of hit squad (sorry don't want to sound like Starsky and
Hutch), obviously there are occasions when a big turnout is needed, maybe
saturday wasn't one of them....I am open to different views on this

Date: 08 April 2001 16:00
To: UK_Left_Network
Subject: [UK_Left_Network] Re: [ANL] Bermondsey unites against the NF
In UK_Left_Network@y..., gary_ohalloran@y... wrote:

Gary O Halloran correctly points out:

> The ANL counter-demo in Bermondsey is brazenly written up as a
> success but look at the subtext.

And encouragingly, Gary having a go at the ANL for failing to stop the
march - he's no longer arguing that there is no point in trying to
oppose the NF.

Come to Leicester, April 21st, and help stop the NF march.

NB - Red Action / AFA are correct in hammering home the point that it
is the BNP who provide the most dangerous threat at this time, and the
tactics needed to oppose them are very different from those needed to
oppose the NF.


Date: 08 April 2001 21:12
Subject: [UK_Left_Network] Bermondsey anti-fash march

Good to see the demonstration against the scum went well. But really, ...

>The rally was addressed by local MP Simon Hughes ... Local church leaders

That'll be Simon Hughes, who a few years ago made a thinly-veiled racist
criticism of the local council's housing policy. A Liberal Democrat - the
party whose term in charge of Tower Hamlets saw a not-at-all-veiled racist
housing policy that fertilised the ground for fascist successes in the area.

The political and social establishment likes to put across that there is this
broad anti-fascist, anti-racist consensus. Behind this smokescreen, they
pursue anti-working-class and racist policies. So what on earth is the left
doing buying into, giving credibility to, this fake consensus?

There have been lots of good arguments on this list of late about how we can
only win support/votes away from the fash by putting forward a working-class
socialist alternative. How is that helped by putting Liberals and clerics on
the platform?!?


From: james.carroll
Date: 08 April 2001 21:56
Subject: Re: [UK_Left_Network] Bermondsey anti-fash march

Actually Janine, there have not been a lot of arguments on the list about
this what there has been is pretty general agreement across the board that
this is not the way to do it. What we have here is the ANL reverting to
good old Popular Frontism because it is easier and quicker than doing the
sort of serious long term groundwork necessary to isolate and contain
Fascism. I have been looking at postings by the BNP elsewhere recently and
they are becoming quite sophisticated in some of there arguments now and
operating much closer to the right-populist line put out by the Daily Mail
and others. The ANL on the other hand sems to be incapable of learning
anything or forgetting anything. It seems that with the SWP and Anti
Fascist work it is forever 1978.

Date: 09 April 2001 12:56
To: UK Left Network
Subject: [ANL] Another NF march in Bermondsey

Assemble 10.30am, Saturday 14 April 2001, South Bermondsey Station, Ilderton

The NF are hoping to hold another demonstration in Bermondsey this Saturday.

Following the NF demonstration last Saturday a Metropolitan Police spokesman
told the press: "We regret that the organisers proceeded with a protest
specifically designed to incite racial intolerance"

If that is the case why did the Metropolitan Police waste thousands of
pounds policing 30 Nazis?

The NF intended to march with a banner reading: "Keep Bermondsey White".
They were furious that they never got the support they expected in
Bermondsey. That is why they want to march this Saturday.

We must ensure that they are stopped.

Anti Nazi League
PO Box 2566, London N4 1WJ
Phone: 020 7924 0333
Fax: 020 7924 0313 phone:020 79240333, fax:020 79240313, ANL PO Box 2566 London N4 1WJ======

Subject: [UK_Left_Network] NF to march in Bermondsey -again!
Date: 09 April 2001 17:05

So intimidated were the NF by the strategy of the ANL in Bermondsey,
so impressed were they by the vicars and MP's, so depressed were they
by the 'unity of Bermondsey' against them that they have announed a
second march for - next Saturday. Says it all really.

from the AFA website
April 10 2001

From: Nick Bryant <>
Subject: [UK_Left_Network] NF march in Bermondsey - time for new thinking
Date: 10 April 2001 20:04


NF march in Bermondsey - time for new thinking

The NF march in Bermondsey on Saturday 7th attracted the predictable ANL
counter-demonstration. Having boldly advertised beforehand that they were
going to "Stop the NF march", they subsequently reported in a rather more
restrained manner, after the NF had marched, that "Bermondsey unites against
the National Front".
In fact the ANL's anti-fascism is no more than a protest - and the question
is, does a protest damage the fascists? And if it doesn't damage the
fascists can it rightly be called anti-fascism?
The ANL complained after Bermondsey that they were penned in by the police.
Of course they were, they had always intended to allow the police to keep
them apart from the NF or else they would have planned the event
That being the case, who benefits from the militant slogans? If the
intention was, as stated, to stop the NF, then the anti-fascists failed. And
what impact did the protest have on the NF? As Red Action have rightly
pointed out: "So intimidated were the NF by the strategy of the ANL in
Bermondsey, so impressed were they by the vicars and MPs, so depressed were
they by the 'unity of Bermondsey' against them that they have announced a
second march for ... next Saturday. Says it all really."
Unless the whole exercise is a game, why present a failure as a success? The
potential recruits to fascism in the area won't be put off by anything they
saw or heard on Saturday - in fact we hear the opposite happened and the
impotence of the anti-fascists encouraged a group of locals to attack ANL
supporters leaving the area.
This kind of dishonesty is nothing new to the ANL. One week previously, on
31st March, the ANL reported on a 'victory rally' against the NF in Oldham.
Victory? A full week before the ANL rally to 'Stop the NF' marching , the NF
themselves issued a statement: "Nothing, and we mean nothing, is happening
on Saturday 31st March. Don't believe what the local paper is saying or the
ANL site. We are getting on with our election work in our target seats and
that doesn't include Oldham." This makes the 'victory' seem somewhat hollow!
ANL propaganda is geared towards giving the impression of activity and
success; that their activities against the NF (real or imagined) are at the
cutting edge of anti-fascism. This is wholly misleading - and the danger of
this illusion is that by exclusively concentrating on the wrong target - the
NF - they are deliberately avoiding having to deal with the BNP; the BNP who
have clearly demonstrated that the potential for a Euro-Nationalist party to
attract disillusioned working class voters exists.
The ANL is not just trying to steer anti-fascism in the wrong direction, it
uses tactics that were never designed to stop anything. And by inviting
speakers like Simon Hughes MP and Trevor Phillips, chair of the GLA, to
speak at the rally sends out all the wrong signals. In a place like
Bermondsey, an inner city working class area lacking resources where racism
is rife, this allies the anti-fascists with the establishment and allows the
fascists to appear as the radicals to their target audience. This is when
the ANL become counter-productive.
Ironically it hasn't always been like this. At Lewisham in 1977 it was the
SWP who were attacked by the Labour Party, Communist Party, church leaders
and other liberals for refusing to be confined to a passive protest and
going on to attack an NF march. Sheer weight of numbers and genuine
aggression successfully inflicted lasting damage on the fascists that day.
Sadly the innovative approach of 1977 has long been lost. With almost
complete radio silence regarding the BNP, no tactical flexibility, and
propaganda rooted in the past, the ANL serve little useful purpose. The ANL
leaflet in Oldham enlightened their readers that the NF "admire Hitler and
stand for racism, bigotry, and violence" while in Bermondsey "the NF are a
Nazi Party". Times have moved on, what might have worked 25 years ago needs
to be updated to make the propaganda relevant to the issues of today.
Despite all their bluff and bluster the ANL strategy is not working. The
evidence shows that they are not effective. Time for new thinking!

Subject: [UK_Left_Network] Re: [ANL] Another NF march in Bermondsey
Date: 10 April 2001 20:17

"We" the ANL claim "must ensure that the NF are stopped" . There is
not even a hint at is how this is to be achieved? Why for instance,
were the NF not stopped last Saturday, when the according to the ANL
they outnumbered them by more than 30 -1. What odds do they want?

Assuming the odds are the same how will the tactics differ this time?
Or indeed (for the benefit of Chris) what will the distinguish the
anti-fascist burlesque at Bermondsey on April 7 from what happens on
the 14, or for that matter on April 21 in Leicester?

The answer is nothing. The ANL have repeated the same formula year on
year since the abandoned any commitment to confrontation in 1981. I
again challenge ANYONE to list where the SWP/ANL 'stopped' the
fascists in that 20 year period. Lets spell it out in plain English:
the strategy of the ANL is NOT designed to stop the NF - but to
protest. And as importantly, to be seen to do so. Hence the

We can already hear the ANL protest: 'if it wasn't for the police
penning us in...who knows what would happen etc'. This is entirely
disengenous. Collaboration between the Met and the ANL is intimate
and long established. Such collaboration is required in order to
guarantee the security of the counter demo. Is there really anyone
who thinks that if sections of the ANL avoided the 'pen' they would
survive in Bermondsey unmolested?

That is the reality of the situation. Pretence that
Bermondsey 'united'to confront the NF is absurd when it was painfully
evident the overwhelming majority of the counter protest
were 'bussed' in. Moreover evidence of support for the far-right was
not countered by evidence of local support for the ANL.

It is true the NF need the police. The NF are tiny. But it also true
the ANL need the police. The NF need the ANL to create a colorful
backdrop and make an occassion of it. This symbiotic relationship,
allows the police to dictate who demonstrates and who counter-
demonstrates. All are happy with this arrangement.

It is pure pantomine therefore for the ANL to condemn the police 'for
wasting thousands of pounds protecting 30 nazis' when they themselves
with their blood-curdling rhetoric to 'smash the nazis' are a vital
component in the relationship. Take away the ANL and the parade,
bereft of ANL/police media hype would be a non-event. No way would
the NF be capable of generate a fraction of the publicity themselves.
With an organisation numbering less than 100, it would not be
possible to have 'national' marches on three Saturdays in succession
without the ANL publicity machine going into overdrive.

Rather ridiciously having publicised the event, once the media have
bitten, the ANL immediately call for the police to 'ban it'. This
creates the appropriate mood of self-rightousness to then call on the
Left for support to thwart the unseemly collaboration between the
Nazis and the 'institutionally racist police'.
Once the ball is rolling they sit down for tea and biscuits with the
self same 'racists', (who will of course make NF concerns known to
them) to discuss exactly how the situation can be equitably resolved.
But not before each is allowed one ritual dig. The police 'regret'
the NF surprisingly tried to incite racial hatred' while the NF are
equally aghast the police prevented them doing so.
Generally, when everything goes to plan as happened on Saturday, such
a cosy arrangment allows all three partners to the conspiracy to
retire to their corners, honour intact.

Behind this charade the situation in an around Bermondsey is by all
accounts degenerating. Clashed between rival racial gangs are
increasing in intensity. The NF did not create this situation, they
are simply trying to capitalise on it. This is what attracted then to
Bermondsey in the first place. Ditto Oldham. If aware of it, the ANL
do not strategically take any account of these underlying factors. In
truth they are indifferent to the impact, negative or otherwise, they
might cause. All that matters is that the 'demo' is 'seen' to be a
success. What affect their antics have on the white working class
youth drawn by the possibility of confrontation is immaterial.What do
they care? They have no long term political investment in the
community anyway.

On a national level neither the potenial of the BNP electorally, nor
the growth in racial incidents (290,000 annually according to the
Runnymeade Trust) are factors they wish to discuss. When invited to
do so by AFA at a rally in October 2000, they, along with the entire
London Socialist Alliance (bar the CPGB) declined. Nothing must be
allowed to upset the equilibrium of the membership. In truth the Left
is denial. 'The Left is not winning the arguments'. The ANL is not
when it comes down to it, even capable of stopping an NF they
themselves describe as 'pathetic'.

Nevertheless it is stated 'we must ensure that they are stopped'.
Why? What will happen if 'we' fail to stop them? What for instance
have been been the consequences of 'failing' to stop them last week?
Or in Margate or in Dover?

What the SWP/ANL pointedly refuse to address is that the NF these
days are a near insignificant symptom of the failure anti-racism
itself. In recent polls 75% reject entirely the concept of equal
opps. In another Mori survey 8 out of 10 declare a resentment of
refugees, and so on. The BNP are positioning themselves, as is Hague
incidentally, to try and cash politically on this reactionary
sentiment. THERE is the real problem. It is problem that those who
continue to insist 'refugees welcome here' is 'a vote winner' wish to
hide from themselves, and hope everyone else ignores in turn.

The attempts at earnestness 'do you want to fight fascism or not?' is
an essential part of this camouflage.

Such camouflage is necessary to conceal something militant anti-
fascists have realised for more than a decade: the ANL (and the
politics they espouse) are not part of any genuine anti-fascist
solution, they are instead frankly part of the problem.

Subject: [UK_Left_Network] Re: NF march in Bermondsey - time for new thinking
Date: 11 April 2001 10:04

I was at the ANL march in Bermondsey last Saturday and I agree with
many of the points made by the AFA in criticism of it.

I took the trouble to go and try to talk to people from the local
estate right next to the station and they were clearly hostile to us
and friendly towards the NF (some more some less).

It is true that only about 30 NFers were escorted out from the train
station by the police but they were then joined by groups of local
youth. The NF demo was cheered by many amongst the local white
working class (and also lumpen elements I would add).

After the demo was over groups of local white kids were running up
and down Bermondsey trashing things and intimidating people (I saw a
group of about 30). And at least one serious racial attack took place
on that night.

Although many in the demo were from Bermondsey (including some local
LP members, SA members, local firefighters, etc) many were also from
outside and no attempt was made either during the demo or before to
engage with the local people.

Unless we are able to address the reasons why they sympathise with
the racists then we have lost the battle. And you do not do that by
inviting Simon Hughes to address the demo. After all the local Lib
Dems were playing the race card not so long ago! (as they also did in
Tower Hamlets in the 90s).

As far as actually stopping the NF, even if that had been the
intention of the ANL this would have been difficult in any case as we
did not have the numbers. The ANL claims there were 1,000 people
there but my guess is that the figure was more like 300. Without the
need to go into a war of figures the point is that there were far
more police than anti-racists and they were more armed than us.

Having said all this I would ask the comrades from AFA where were you
on that day? I didn't see any AFA people there. Now, that does not
mean they weren't there (I do not know them personally). But they
were not there in any visible way: distributing a leaflet, proposing
different tacticts, trying to prevent Simon Hughes from speaking, etc.

It is all very good to have a go at the ANL and the SWP, and as I
said I agree with most of your arguments, but something must be done
in practice as well to try and convince people of the need for a
serious working class alternative to racism.



Subject: [UK_Left_Network] Re: NF march in Bermondsey - time for new thinking
Date: 11 April 2001 20:46

In UK_Left_Network@y..., jordi1917@y... wrote:
> I was at the ANL march in Bermondsey last Saturday and I agree with
> many of the points made by the AFA in criticism of it.
> I took the trouble to go and try to talk to people from the local
> estate right next to the station and they were clearly hostile to
> and friendly towards the NF (some more some less).

Reponse: If AFA had thought the NF 'march and grow' strategy was
worth seriously addressing no doubt AFA would have by now inititated
an effective counter strategy itself. It is not so long ago that the
NF were boasting of having an activity a week. This involved a number
of incursions into the north London area. As reported by a leading
BNP member rather rather gloatingly, it only took a couple
of 'sinister AFA members' from the area to be seen monitoring
activities for the then leader of the NF to resign and strategy to be

From an AFA perspective the NF are not the real problem. 80,000 votes
for the BNP and an estimate of 290,000 racial incidents annually are.
What for AFA those figures, plus events around Beckton and Bermondsey
underscore is the underlying problems reside not within the NF but
within contemporary manifestations of anti-racism and anti-fascism.

The problem with the ANL is that they highlight the problem but are
unable to deal with it. It does not take rocket science to see how in
certain circumstances by upping the ante, ANL involvment can make
things significantly worse for minority communities on the ground.

Like Sunny Delight the ANL is a 'manufactured brand' designed to
appeal to liberal sentiment. Why they think it would have resonance
in an area such a Bermondsey is incomprehensible.

Again similar to Sunny Delight the other mistake
the ANL makes is to 'overclaim'. 'Smash' 'Stop' the NF which infers
violent counter protest when what they really intend is entirely
legal entirely passive protest.

Make no mistake anti-fascism itself is seriously tarnished in working
class areas by such antics.

Why was AFA not there anyway?

Because, to put it bluntly, within AFA it is widely believed the
strategy of the ANL has significantly more potential to create
problems than does the current strategy of the NF. From an AFA
perspective it is not the NF but the ANL who constitute the problem.

(See previous post Tuesday for a more comprehensive critique)

Date: 12 April 2001 16:04
Subject: [UK_Left_Network] ANL - a message of state friendly 'anti-extremism'

> For my two pennies worth, I don't think you've responded to the
> point Jordi was making. That being if the ANL are the main barrier
> an effective anti-fascist strategy, why weren't AFA activists in
> among the ANL mobilization trying to convince them of the
> of AFA tactics?
> Comradely,
> Phil Hamilton


Well I thought I had Phil. To repeat, the NF is not in itself a
political threat. Such is their ephemeral political presence, and a
turn-out of between 9-50 at most national demos a 'correct strategy'
would be to focus on why they are attracted to places like Bermondsey
in the first place. This means dealing with other than the NF as
symptom of deep seated problems.

Two, while AFA activists did not attempt to 'convince the ANL
mobilization of the need for new thinking' this is probably a
reflection of the undemocratic dogmatic nature of the SWP itself.

Twice within the last 18 months AFA has sought to publicly engage
with the SWP leadership on the need for a comprehensive review of
anti-fascist and anti-racist strategy and tactics.

In October 1999 for instance AFA invited the SWP/ANL on to the
platform to discuss the implications for us over here of the rise of
Euro-Nationalism on the Continent. 'The war is over and we won it'
was Weyman Bennet's opening remarks.

A feisteness he probably regretted when in June the following year
the BNP got, they argue, the best ever vote for a nationalist party
in London possibly since the war.

In light of the GLA result, under the title 'Can the LSA beat the
BNP' the SWP/ANL were again invited to share a platform in October
2000. Despite the LSA steering committee agreeing to sponsor the
event, on the day the SWP/ANL leadership was apparently, along with
Workers Power Alliance for Workers Liberty etc otherwise engaged.

If the leadership of the LSA refuse to admit their might be a problem
what the liklehood of the membership reaching a contrary conclusion ?

Particularly as this is you must remember the same membership who
happily reguritate whole, general ANL propaganda on the efficacy of
the ANL.

Finally the ANL are not the 'main barrier to an effective anti-
fascist strategy'. As attempts to raise the need for a comprehensive
review within the LSA have shown, the ANL is the 'Left in denial'
made flesh.

Unwilling to come to terms with the world as it is the Left provides
tactic support for a strategy which looked at objectively can
increasingly be seen to have cut any real ties with historical anti-
fascism. What the ANL preach these days 'ban this, ban that' 'jail
all the nazis etc' is like Searchlight, a message of state friendly

In that sense AFA concerns are not based on the ANL projecting a
seriously watered down and thoroughly ineffective/counter productive
anti-fascism, more that the ANL message these days, is stricty
speaking, not anti-fascist at all.


Date: 17 April 2001 11:30
Subject: [UK_Left_Network] and the NF marched again

Hi all,

I was away over the weekend but talking to comrades who were at the
anti-NF on Saturday this is what happened.

The turnout at the anti-NF demo was much lower (someone said about
50, but that is probably an understimation) and the police again
outnumbered them, encircled them with gates and made sure the NF
went ahead.


Date: 17 April 2001 12:44
Subject: [UK_Left_Network] Re: and the NF marched again,and again and again and again and again

jordi, if the estimate of 50 ANL is right, then that registers as
evidence as almost a complete collapse in support for the ANL
strategy, from 1,000 claimed on the April 7 reduced to 50 on the 14!
A depreciation of 950% in one week!

You also infer that the had the 'police not encircled the 50 with
gates' the NF demo might somehow have been in jeopardy. Dream on.

When have the ANL ever stopped the NF regardless of numbers? Fact is
far from being the villians, police in Leicester seem to be making
every effort to prevent the ANL advertising its impotence for the
third week in succession by calling for the march to be banned.

Bradford meanwhile offers a more reliable indication of where the
threat really lies.

From: Hooley, T.J. <>
To: ''
Date: 17 April 2001 13:45
Subject: RE: [UK_Left_Network] Re: and the NF marched again,and again and again and again and again

For information

The ANL has been pretty insignificant in organising against the Leicester NF
march. There have been plenty of other forces in Leicester (Civil Rights
Movement, AFA, Indian Workers Association, Leicester Radical Alliance,
Socialist Party, Communist Party etc) organising against it. If their is a
pathetic turnout the SWP and ANL can really be blamed - if there is a decent
one they can't claim credit for it.

The world in general and Leicester in particular does not revolve around the

Leicester Radical Alliance


Date: 17 April 2001 13:38
Subject: [UK_Left_Network] Re: Bradford: All Quiet In Riot City - BBC

--- In UK_Left_Network@y..., "James Tait" <juche_86@l...> wrote:
> All quiet in riot city
> ============
> At least eight people were injured in the riots
> Hundreds of police have been patrolling the streets of Bradford in
an effort
> to stop a second night of rioting in Bradford.
> Police officers have been drafted into the suburb of Lidget Green
> across West Yorkshire.
> The streets of Bradford were quiet but tense on Monday night with
no reports
> of further incidents.
> A clean-up operation begun on Monday morning and police street
patrols were
> increased after rioting youths in Bradford hurled petrol bombs at
pubs and
> cars.
> Frightened people sought refuge in a pub's upstairs
> Three men were arrested after more than 100 officers dealt with
> scenes in the Lidget Green area of the city on Sunday night.
> At least eight people were injured by flying glass and stones, with
> people kept in hospital overnight with facial fractures.
> Trouble flared outside the Coach House pub, in Legrams Lane, at
2030BST on
> Easter Sunday, as a Hindu wedding got under way.
> We don't have a clear picture of a race element here
> Superintendent Mark Whyman
> Police said they were unsure whether racial tensions were to blame
for the
> disturbances, adding they believed the trouble involved racially
> groups.
> Senior police officers met with community leaders on Monday to
discuss the
> disturbances.
> Superintendent Mark Whyman said: "We don't have a clear picture of
a race
> element here."
> But Mohammed Amran, of the Commission for Racial Equality, said the
> that started at the pub was between a group of Asian youths and a
group of
> white youths.
> "Then it spilt onto the streets where Asian takeaways were attacked
by white
> youths and bricked and bottled," he said.

James, has it not struck you as strange that the police maintain
there is no "clear picture of a racial element here" when ALL the
evidence points to precisely that. Particularly in light of
Macpherson which makes it a legal obligation to assess race as factor
in any case where to ANYONE PASSING BY has the slightest suspicion
there might just have been a racial element. It is in other words
subjective. Leeds footballers a case in point.

Yet here is a situation in Bradford where it is as clear a race riot
as could possibly get, but according to police the situation in
regard to race is 'unclear'.

A day or two ago, a ten year old it was gravely announced, is facing
charges of 'racially aggrravated assault' for calling another kid
a 'Paki bastard' (and punching him twice in the back)in retaliation
for being called a 'tele tubby'.

So on the one hand race is regarded by police and CPS and left as
absolutely pivotal when in a playground, but all collectively shrink
from the political implications when it turns into a riot with petrol
bombs being thrown through pub windows. There is however an evident
connection between the two. And it is this. When it suits the
authorities, media, left like to play race up, and when the chickens
begin to come home the race angle, as in Bradford is denied.

Similarily in Oldham elements on this site had fits of the vapors at
the sight of 100 BNP outside a police station. Yet I did not notice a
single inquiry as to why they were there? Was no one not the least
bit curious? Or is everyone operating to benign stereotypes of their
own? Cowardice and hypocrisy abound.
None of this is lost on the white working class targets of the
incessant liberal finger-wagging.

Which is why AFA and others have long concluded 'anti-racism as
preached is not working'. The reponse of the Left? 'refugees welcome
here is vote winner'. Numbing stuff.

Sooner or later, one way or the other, a substantial political price
will be exacted for the Left's connivance in the liberal displacment
of class by race.

Date: 17 April 2001 15:40
Subject: [UK_Left_Network] Re: Bradford: All Quiet In Riot City - BBC

Gary is right. It is easy for the police and media to talk of race
attacks when individuals are involved but when there are groups and
gangs then the race factor is ommitted.

But why should the police ignore the racial elements to these
incidents? I think it is because the police are understandably afraid
of really serious race riots.

Things like Bradford go on and on all the time in the North of
England and probably elsewhere - just on a smaller scale. Sometimes
they are described as race attacks and sometimes not and as James
says often they are deliberately ignored by the media.

The fact is that the Guardian and BBC other liberal organs talk
bollocks when they describe places like Bradford as "harmonous
communities". I don't know Bradford well but in many northern towns
there is real and constant racial tension and the police are keen to
play down any racial angle after things like Bradford because they
are scared stiff of 'copycat' incidents, much bigger and more serious
racial violence and they are not without reason.

Much of the left also tries to play down any racial angle because it
lives with the same illusions as the liberals -- that we have happy
little towns and that only the Nazis come in and stir things up. If
only things were so simple.

It is just not like that. Things are a lot more complicated
(including taboo subjects like black on white racial violence) and a
lot more dangerous.

This is a big problem for the left. The left has no longer any
legitimacy in the communities it seeks to represent - it is just
parroting the failed bullshit of the liberal middle class 'race
relations' lobby. As the Red Action people keep pointing out this
sort of line just plays into the hands of the BNP and others.

The left needs to return to real grassroots local initiatives to show
that race is not the root of the problems facing the forgotten towns
of the North and elsewhere, through practical action.

The irony of much of the rhetoric of the left is that while they are
always spouting the line that "racism divides the class" (rightly) in
practice the left helps divide with its support of seperatist
initiatives, its support for certain religious groups and its
ludicrous attitude of turning a blind eye to anti-social elements and
activities among the black and Asian communities.

There needs to be a serious rethink over the left's attitude. As
the "Refugees Welcome Here" slogan shows, too many are still living
in the failed liberal agenda of the seventies.

I would be interested to know more about what Red Action are actually
doing as an alternative to the strategies they criticise.


Subject: [UK_Left_Network] Re: Bradford: All Quiet In Riot City - BBC
Date: 17 April 2001 18:38

At the moment as well as trying to influence the broader Left within
the LSA along the lines you yourself recomend, RA politically
endorses the IWCA strategy of empowering working class communities
through addressing 'immediate working class interests'. At different
times this has seen RA members working in tandem with local activists
in a number of 'pilot schemes' in the Midland north-west, London and
the south-east, as well as parts of Glasgow.
In addition to the more mundane but major matters such as anti-
council privatisation, the issues that have *not* been ducked include
a major mugging epidemic, Labour corruption, 'social cleansing', drug
use, and anti-social crime in various forms.

As an expression of the overall democratic content of the IWCA
project, one such pilot scheme is currently conducting a work
intensive door to door survey of 4,000 working class homes in its

It is expected that in specific target wards within those areas in
which the IWCA is working, the IWCA will be standing candidates in

From: James Tait <>
Subject: Re: [UK_Left_Network] Re: Bradford: All Quiet In Riot City - BBC
Date: 17 April 2001 00:55

Not really much for me to say by way of reply, excpet that I agree with what
Gary (and Steve) have to say on this. It quite clearly was a "disturbance"
in which race was a deciding factor (just as in Cinncinatti). That one pub
was singled out for attack is quite telling. Idon't know the circumstance
but I don't think it's a wild guess to say that race had some bearing on the

The BBC report I posted did say that the rioters were of mixed ethinc
groups, but the US media said the same about the Cincinnatti uprising when
film footage clearly showed it was at least 90% black. So "anti-racist"
media reporting now says that even riots must be given a politically correct

The problem isn't of course that the asian community feels the need to give
coppers and racist pub landlords a thrashing on occasion. The problem is
that white communites feel that asians can get away with doing it and they
can't! And it is this "anti-establishment" us-and-them, under attack from
all sides, state of siege attitude in many white working-class communities
that the BNP (and ITP) have latched onto with quite some success in Oldham,
the West Midlands and parts of London. That "anti-racist" education, media
and policing intitiatives have done more to create and fuel racial division
in this country than a thousand Bernard Manning jokes ever could!

Liberal "anti-racism from above" is every bit as oppressive and divisive as
any other Government policy by default of the fact that it IS a government
policy and therefore can only ever be imposed UPON the class, not BY the
class. And that it is the middle-class 'Left' that has been most vocal in
demanding this "liberal authoritarianism", then it is the 'Left' that must
bear responsibilty for it's own impotance when faced with the results.


Subject: [UK_Left_Network] Re: Bradford: All Quiet In Riot City - BBC
Date: 18 April 2001 10:41

--- In UK_Left_Network@y..., "Lawrie Coombs" <redlorry30s@h...> wrote:
> This is worrying, is any intervention into the effects of this
planned by
> the left, there is/was a sizable left (Militant at least) in the
> Some kind of public position and communication with the parties
involved in
> the area would seem appropriate?
> Lawrie Coombs
That would perhaps be good but the fact that we are discussing that
after the event is an indication of the problem though isn't it?

After incidents like this the left turns up trying to "communicate
with the parties involved" - all good intentions but too late and
often with a complete misunderstanding of what has gone on, unless
the town is one of those increasingly rare places where the left has
a deep presence in the community.

The usual reaction to trouble in my experience is some sort of
meeting with the local authority, the police, the CRE and
the "communities". If for example a Pakistani community is involved
that invariably means local councillors, religious leaders and a few
social workers. The latter group sometime include people who know the
youth involved and sometimes are people who have some knowledge of
what is really going on. As for the 'white community' we have the
same people but usually without the religous leaders unless things
are really serious and usually without social workers who know the

A platitude about "getting on with each other" and condemning "the
minority" is declared and everyone goes home having been 'good anti-
racists' while the lads involved on both sides either just piss
themselves or become even more alienated from the authorities and the
so-called community leaders, including the left.

Until the left actually has a presence and a credibility
among 'alienated youth' black and white then its actions and words
will have no more impact than that of the police, the media, the CRE
and the local council.

I am not a member of Red Action and have never really come across
them but I have to say they seem to be one of the few left groups who
have realised this and have an understanding of the way in which
traditional liberal anti-racist strategies actually enhance rather
than address the problem.

The rest of the left seems to just want to compete with the state and
produce a more 'radical' official anti-racism with 'Refugees welcome
here' being but one example of such crassness.

IMO much of this can be explained by the fact that the left groups,
the Labour Party and agencies like the CRE are dominated by the
middle class (black and white), who neither live with nor work with
(or even near) the alienated asian and white youth we are talking
about and haven't much of clue what really is going on at street

Not only sad and true but at times a dangerous situation.




From: Nick Bryant <>
Date: 17 April 2001 20:25

From the Red Action website
17th April '01



'Detecting unconscious racism while simultaneously dismissing in-your-face
evidence of studied aggression is a balancing act British liberalism has
finessed to an art' an article in Red Action commented only last month.

Police remarks following the race riot in Bradford at the weekend, that any
racial motivation remains 'unclear', bears out that observation in the most
graphic fashion imaginable.

Here you had a situation where an apparently chance encounter between an
Asian and a white youth, flared almost instantly into a full blown riot,
spontaneously drawing in hundreds of combatants eager to inflict serious
injury on otherwise total strangers purely on the grounds of colour.

In the mayhem that followed cars were burnt out, pubs fire-bombed, minority
owned take-aways set alight in retaliation and the police are completely
mystified as to what might possibly have been the motivation?

A more vivid example of a 'race riot', even before anyone heard of William
Macpherson, would be hard to find.

Generally since the Macpherson Report, police are encouraged to regard
practically every fight between different ethnic groups, as the result of
deep-seated racism on the part of one of the combatants. But in Bradford
where the attackers and victims were selected on racial lines, there is
head-scratching on the part of the media and the constabulary.

A more typical example is the trial of the Leeds United footballers, where
the media for months stressed that Bowyer and Woodgate were on trial for
'attacking Asians' even though the police who had investigated it as 'a race
hate crime', presented no evidence to the court to substantiate it.

The trial collapsed for that allegation being made by a Sunday paper anyway.
Socialist Worker then ran a totally over the top centre spread in support
of the Mirror allegations.

In the same week, another example of teasing out imaginary racism and as
well as ignoring real racism, involved a ten year old being charged with
'racially aggravated assault' following a minor playground dispute where
insults were exchanged. In response to being abused for being over-weight
he called his tormentor 'a Paki bastard'. Had he left it at 'bastard' no
charges would have been proffered.

In recent weeks we have also witnessed the ANL hysteria and the media frenzy
generated by a couple of dozen NF marching through Bermondsey. Yet in
Bradford where it is self-evidently an open and shut case of serious racial
conflict, the police, media, and liberals prevaricate.

Similar contradictions can also be detected in the ANL pretence that
Bermondsey is strategically important whereas Bexley, or Beckton, or Tipton
where the BNP have clocked up 20% averages in recent local elections are
all better ignored.

Warmly applauded by the Left, the Macpherson conclusion that urged that "any
incident which is percieved to be racist by the victim or any other person"
was to be treated as racist is now routine. On a roll, some members of the
inquiry were tempted to go further, publicly wondering whether it might be
possible 'to criminalise racist thinking'.

Objectively from any progressive perspective deliberately putting race at
the centre of criminal, social, and media affairs as a matter of routine,
effectively racialising debate around such issues is bound to end in
disaster. For only one political tendency can ultimately benefit from such a

For instance as the law now stands there is a four-fold increase in the
penalty attached to common assault if the Crown convinces a jury that
racial epithets were used.

This is bad enough but it pales besides the 56-fold increase in the sentence
for "racially aggravated" criminal damage. Now the maximum penalty for
causing damage less than 5,000 is three months in prison. However if some
racial element is suggested or proved the maximum
sentence rises to 14 years. Should a sentence of anything like such
mahnitude ever be applied the poltical fall-out could be terminally
disastrous - to the cause of anti-racism itself.

Meanwhile each idiotic episode supplies the right and the far-right with a
fresh injection of self-righteousness and propaganda by which to legitimise
its political existence.
It has been said before, but it is undeniably absolute madness.

In the meantime historic rises in racial incidents are 'welcomed' as proof
of minority confidence in the police. What none in the race relation
professionals seem keen at all keen to answer is at what stage the increase
might cease to be welcomed and become a cause for concern?

Neither is any consideration even given to the posibility that a) the four
fold rise in London might reflect how bad things always actually are, or b)
racial incidents are being recorded at such a rate because racial conflict
is itself on the increase.

Other surveys which show that 80% 'resent refugees' or that repatriation of
all immigrants is still favoured by large sections of the population, even
after being abandoned as too 'extreme' by BNP policy makers, are cast aside
without comment by the CRE in favour of the pursuit of 'greater visibility
for minority groups in sitcoms'.

Up to now any militant anti-fascist concerns, or criticisms of the Left for
allowing or encouraging the displacement of class with race and total lack
of priorities on display, has typically been met with the charge that it is
the anti-fascists themsleves 'who are in need of race awareness training'!

Last summer merely for the fact of pointing out that slogans such as
'refugees welcome here' were not fact, and therefore likely to prove
counterproductive propaganda wise, Red Action was accused of being
'national socialist'.

In recent weeks attention has been drawn to the implications of Beckton,
Bermondsey, and now Bradford. For some this suggests an unhealthy obsession
with race, but this is only because the situation on the ground is in many
areas, unhealthy in the extreme.

'Race hate crime' is manufactured artificially where none exists, and where
racial tensions exists in voluminous amounts liberalism turns a blind eye
to the implications.

Hypocrisy and cowardice of such magnitude cannot hope to be credibly
sustained indefinitely. Particularly as none of it is lost on the working
class targets of the finger-wagging.

Only one thing remains certain - it will, it is safe to predict, 'all end in

Date: 17 April 2001 21:17


I have to say that I think Red Action's line on race is pretty awful
(I would say that wouldn't I!), far far worse than Militant's in the
1980s (all that 'let's just talk about bread and butter issues so as
not to alienate white kids' nonsense). But I just wanted to ask one
question. Given RA's line, how many black or asian members to you
have (a rough percentage figure will do)? I ask, because in my
experience if an organisation on the left is virtually 100% white
(I'm talking in general terms here you understand), then it must be
doing something very very wrong...

Jim D. Liverpool

Date: 18 April 2001 12:38

"If any organisation on the left is virtually 100% white (I'm
talking in general terms here you understand) then it must be doing
something very very wrong"?

I think its quite unfair to condemn nascent organisations like the
London Socialist Alliance like that. It is true of course that the
LSA steering committee is almost exclusively made up of university
educated white collar and culturally at least middle class people
(I'm talking in general terms here you understand) but I see no
reason at all for you to insinuate because of that they might be
racist as well!

From: Nick Bryant <>
Date: 18 April 2001 21:03

From your email I don't think you know what the Red Action
position on race is, as you come out with the very strange comment, "all
that 'let's just talk about bread and butter issues so as
not to alienate white kids' nonsense". This bears no relation to anything RA
has ever said anywhere, let alone in the article I posted. Did you read the
article? Obviously not from that comment. Aside from that you say nothing
about the actual contents. Why is that? Do you think that the current
anti-racist politics of the left, and the state as they're virtually
identical, are working? You also don't say what your politics on race are.
Is this beacuse they're the same as Jack Straw?

The point of the article cited is to try to show how the problems caused by
the left's de facto acceptance of the state's liberal anti-racism are
leading to disaster.
Read the postings from RA members in the UKLN archive or look at the race
and class section on the Red Action website at
Then we can have a proper discussion but until then I can't take anything
you say seriously.


Date: 19 April 2001 00:34


Red Action prides itself on criticising what it sees as the 'liberal'
position on race of the rest of the left, as you make clear. So, it
was a very simple question, and one that you went out of your way to
avoid answering: How many black and asian members has RA got?

Does the question embarrass you or something? It seems to me that if
your organisation has made race one of its defining platform
differences then one indication of how good that line is would come
from your ability to recruit from oppressed minority groups. I seem
to recall the small matter of us being 'tribunes of the people' and
all that. Now, I ask the question because RA appears to be an all
white grouping, but I'm not sure on this. Over to you...

Jim D

Date: 19 April 2001 10:58

--- In UK_Left_Network@y..., gaismair@y... wrote:

The reference of 'tribune of the people' originates from the Bolshevik
Party if I am not mistaken. In your deep and profound analysis of the
racial composition of proletarian parties was the Bolshevik Party
prior to 1917 a multi-ethnic party?
Did it contain within it 100 different nationalities (that made up the
Tsarist Empire).
Better still does any leftwing organisation in the UK contain within
it more than 400 different nationalities (rough estimate acording to
government statistics on the different nationalities living in
If not, does that imply, a priori that if only say 10 nationalities
are represented that a small organisation is only 10 out of 400 really
truly a 'tribune of the people'?
Put it another way, will the revolution be one of racial composition
or class composition?
I know with whom Hitler would agree, do you?

Date: 19 April 2001 18:54

Jim, from your previous posts I suspect you are a bit of dillettante:
it was you was it not who previously tried to draw some equivalence
between the phrase 'bumchum' and the Soho bombing?
Either way you seem to have some difficulty understanding quite
straightforward statements, so as I promised myself not to spend too
much time on this in case it went over your head I'll simplify it a

1. Alex Ferguson made a statement a couple of weeks ago on the
subject of anti-racism: 'Racism is when someone can't get a job or
loses a job; can't get in the team or is dropped from the team
because of the colour of their skin'.

2. After France's victory in 1998 Le Pen grumbled that it could not
be counted a 'real' French victory because those of immigrant 'stock'
were over represented in the team.

3.Which of these statements are you most comfortable with?

Because you see there is more than a passing similarity between your
questioning of RA authenticity and Le Pen's grumbles about the
national side. See the point?

Good. Let's move on.

4.To answer your question in regard to Black and Asian membership: RA
currently meets the quotas applied for other sectors: approx 6%.
Of course RA is not a mass organisation so at times this was not
always the case.

5.Did that make the motivation of white working class members during
that period. risking life limb and liberty in clashes with the far-
right somehow questionable in your eyes?

6.While we are on subject of 'risk', or the 'shedding of a little
blood for the cause' your your own record, given your judgemental
demeanour must be pretty awesome? Don't suppose you'd care to let me
know what precisely such sacrifices entailed?

7.Thought so.

8.Finally, RA has not be made 'race a defining platform difference'
as you allege. To say as much bears out my original observation of
you as being a pretty superficial individual.If you had understood
anything about the RA position you would see the 'defining platform
difference' is not one of race - but one of class.

Ps you mention 'oppressed minorities'. Are the white white working
class 'a minority' in your eyes now: eg 'we're all middle class now'
or do you perhaps consider like other do-gooding looneys that they
are now transformed into the principle oppressors?

I could go on, but times up. By the way you really ought to answer
the other post equally critical of you - first. Made some good
points. Or do you not intend to answer that one either?

Date: 19 April 2001 19:10

'Jim D.' is clearly trying to make this forum safe for Blairite 'enlightened patriots'. This is to be expected from the most degenerate forms of 'Trotskyism', however his playground style of debate is not fitting of even these. Someone from this background will generally *attempt*, at least, to understand their opponents before launching into an attack.

I advise RA to take this berk with a pinch of salt. He's hardly going to find any allies. What's he going to do? Call on ANL to 'smash the Red Action fascists'?

Now *that* would be amusing.



Subject: [UK_Left_Network] Re: New Worker: Racists Stir Bradford Riots
Date: 20 April 2001 13:24

--- In UK_Left_Network@y..., "James Tait" <juche_86@l...> wrote:
> British news item - 20/4/2001.
> Racists stir Bradford riots.
> by Daphne Liddle
> YORKSHIRE police are hunting a group of skinheads believed to have
> a riot in a predominantly Asian part of Bradford.
> Eight people were injured, four pubs badly damaged, cars burned and
> thousands or pounds worth of damage was done during six hours of
> after trouble was sparked in a pub in the Lidget Green area, where
a Hindu
> wedding reception was taking place.
> Confusing reports have appeared in different national news papers
as to
> the initial cause of the fighting but all agree that white racists
played a
> significant role in fanning the flames and exploiting the situation.
> But the locally based Yorkshire Post puts the cause down to a
small group
> of mature, white racists.
> It says that witnesses describe a gang of white men in their 30s
and 40s
> who were "burly looking" and "mainly skinheads" who were drinking
in the
> Coach House pub in Legrams Lane when trouble began at 8pm on Easter
> The Yorkshire Post then says that the violence spilled out quickly
> escalated as angry Asian youth retaliated and confronted these men
in the
> street.
> This led to another pub, the Second West, being virtually
destroyed by
> fire.
> There were three arrests, one a 42-year-old described as "dark
> a 19-year-old Asian youth and a 34-year-old white
> man.
> Several witnesses said that the men in the Coach House were from a
> right group and that at least some were not from Bradford.
> Bradford South Labour MP Gerry Sutcliffe visited the scene and
> that many constituents had raised concerns that a right-wing group
> involved.
> He said he was told the group ended up at the pub where a Hindu
> reception was taking place.
> "I am waiting to get a police report," he said. "We need to get to
> bottom of what happened as quickly as we can."
> Police say they are anxious to trace the gang of white men which
> "disappeared into the night" when police arrived.
> Superintendent Mark Whyman said the violence did not appear pre-
> and discounted reports in some papers that fire bombs had been used.
> "We work extremely closely with the local community," he
said, "and we
> have had no indication in Lidget Green which would cause us concern
> the last few days.
> "There didn't seem to be any planning involved -- it just seemed
to be a
> spontaneous incident.
> "There are tensions in Bradford -- it is a multicultural society --
> our work hasn't given us indications of problems that we saw in
> Green last night."
> Meanwhile, police in Leicester supported the local council in its
call for
> a ban on a proposed march by the National Front there planned for
21 April.
> Leiceslershire Chief Constable David Wyrko said: "We have to
balance the
> right of people to demonstrate with the rights of the community to
cany our
> their business without fear of crime and disorder."
> The National Front did hold a march through Bermondsey, south
London, last
> Saturday -- for the second Saturday in a row. It is a tactic the NF
> unsuccessfully last year with weekly demonstrations in an around
> against asylum seekers.
> The racists claim they will hold a march there every Saturday for
> foreseeable future. Fewer than 30 were on the march which was forced
> through at a very fast walking pace by police for the short distance
> between Bermondsey South railway station and Bermondsey Tube
> Anti-fascists who turned out to protest once again far outnumbered
> racists and the numbers of police involved outnumbered all.
> Many local community groups and London mayor Ken Livingstone have
> on the Home Secretary to ban these marches.

'older men','burly looking', 'mainly skinheads', = outside agigators!

Thank God! I just knew it couldn't have possibly been homegrown or
spontaeous. Good news.
Even better is the analysis from Bermondsey which explained

'the anti-fascists who turned up far outnumbered the racists and the
numbers of police involved outnumbered them all'. Three cheers for
Daphne! Three cheers for the police! Three cheers for Searchlight!

Can't wait for a similar show of (anti-fascist?)strength in Leicester
on Saturday.


From: "ANL" <anl@a...>
Sent: 20 April 2001 17:14
Subject: [ANL] NF Demo on Saturday 21 April


Saturday 21 April, Assemble 10am Narborough Railway Station,
Station Road,
Narborough, Leicestershire

Following the ban on the NF Nazis marching in Leicester the
Police have
arranged for them to hold a St George's day march in Narborough.

Everyone should now assemble at 10am prompt at Narborough Station

Date: 21 April 2001 15:06
Subject: [UK_Left_Network] Re: Fw: [ANL] NF Demo on Saturday 21 April


The ANL really ought to be made to grow up. What possible
consequences can come of a dozen or so NF marching in Narborough of
all places? Particularly as even the national media are tumbling to
how really explosive the situation is on the ground in many areas
across the country. Oldham and Bradford are just recent examples.
That everything might not be hunky dory is something the ANL course
dogmatically deny. For them race relations, apart from the threat
offered by the 'last few dozen Nazis' have never been better: it is
increasingly revealed as a dishonesty of staggering proportion.

For some years AFA has maintained that 'anti-racism is not working'.
It is ironic that sections of the media are prepared to openly
address this reality while much of the left hide their heads in the

What Bermondsey/Narborough shows is that anti-fascism Searchlight/ANL
style is not working either. Far from being demoralised by ANL
mobilisations the NF are now planning a - march - a -week - in May.

Despite the failure to affect the NF on any level, the SWP leadership
will presumably be delighted.

More counter-demos, more publicity, (hopefully) more recruits for the
SWP. Increasingly the NF/ANL relationship is revealed as symbiotic;
like opposite ends of a pantomine horse.
Where the NF goes the ANL must follow.

Doubtless Narborough like Bermondsey one and two will be
proclaimed 'a success'. At this rate May, with four 'victories'
chalked up already will be easily the ANL's best month to date. The
NF, with all the attendant publicity drummed up by the ANL lie
machine will be equally estatic. Everyone a winner.

Effective anti-fascism the only loser.

How long must anti-fascism be caricatured before the SWP leadership
is finally shamed into ending this charade?

From: Eddie Truman <>
Subject: [UK_Left_Network] ANL & this list
Date: 21 April 2001 21:16

Is anyone from the ANL or the SWP going to take up any of the issues
raised by Red Action / AFA and others over their strategy and tactics
on this list or are they just going to forward their press releases
and carry on regardless ?


From: james.carroll <>
Date: 21 April 2001 22:33
Subject: Re: [UK_Left_Network] ANL & this list

If they do Eddie I shall be very surprised. The SWP obviously feel that it
is beneath them to comment on criricism from what they presumably regard as
fringe elements on anti fascism as on much else. What I detect on this list
is a growing rage against the ANL tactics that mount not a single challenge
to Fascism and are just designed to bolster the SWPs credentials with
dissolusioned Labour lefts. There is an urgent need for a wide ranging
debate about the future of anti Fascist work in this country and Red Action
are to be congratulated for trying to devolop a new class based model of how
such work should be done.

Jim Carroll

Date: 22 April 2001 13:16
Subject: [UK_Left_Network] ANL 'come clean' -finally!

Despite refusing to respond honestly to the mounting criticisms of
the glaring flaws and failures in their strategy, the ANL have
finally come clean in their account of events in Narborough: "the NF
can never march anywhere on St George's Day without local people
recognising them for what they actully are - Nazi scum".

Now that the ANL have made it plain that the real focus of ANL
mobilisations is to merely 'expose the NF as fascists' to people who
might have never heard of them otherwise presumably, the self-
defeating Sunny Delight style 'overclaiming' (at least on this site)
can now hopefully be dispensed with.

In the meantime the NF/ANL pantomine horse returns after a little,
and no doubt welcome break to Bermondsey on May 12.

While the ANL are busy 'exposing the NF as Nazi scum to the locals',
do they I wonder, ever pause, just for a minute or so, to reflect on
what the Bermondsey working class must think of them?