Liberal Revisionism

The issue of Socialist Worker following the Soho bomb carried an index of significant anti-racist events over the last fifty years, ranging from demonstrations of thousands to meetings of hundreds.

That neither a 2,000 strong march through central London to highlight the race attack epidemic on Remembrance Day in 1988, a 4,000 strong march (on which the SWP itself was heavily represented) on the same theme through Bethnal Green in 1991, nor a 10,000 strong anti-racist ‘Unity Carnival’ in nearby Hackney in the same year warrant a mention, is, few will be surprised, solely on account of them being organised by anti-fascist militants.

As far as the membership of the SWP arc concerned these events never happened. In true Stalinist fashion, the role of AFA in anti-racist resistance has for the Socialist Worker readership been duly extinguished. ‘Fascism and anti-fascism in Britain in the 20th century’, is the focus of the November1999 issue of Searchlight. Guess what? AFA’s role in anti-fascist resistance is being extin­guished as well! Under the title ‘Anti-fascism in the 1980’s’ it generously allows “AFA major successes, particularly in street confrontations and in challenging Blood and Honour.” Thereafter, while in varying detail it records the rise and fall of Blood & Honour, the rise and fall of C 18, the BNP change of strategy and so on, any reference to an organisation pivotal (in fascist eyes anyway) to events is edited out. Even ‘The Battle of Waterloo” in 1992 is described as a ‘failed concert in London’. But no mention of who ‘failed it’.

In the same issue, editor Steve Silver warns of the need, in light of fascist growth and cooperation internationally, for the “...anti-fascist movement to renew itself, re-analyse exactly what we are fighting and what strategies need to be followed’. Difficult though to gauge ‘what strategies need to be followed’ when anti-fascist history is being so effectively cleansed - by anti-fascists. Difficult too to ‘re-analyse exactly what it is we are fighting against’ when any serious questions in regard to ‘ends and means’, and what we’ are fighting for is (in light of Searchlight’s now formal collaboration with state security) - needless to say ‘verboten’.