From Socialist Review, No. 169, November 1993.
Copyright © Socialist Review.
Copied with thanks from the Socialist Review Archive.
Marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).
‘Does Ken Livingstone really believe the left should have engaged Hitler in an interesting exchange of ideas?’
I did something I never dreamt I would do in my life the other day. I rang the Sun.
I just happened across a copy and foul reading it made. Its unique contribution to the fight against fascism was to show pictures of demonstrators from the Unity march, and offer rewards if you could identify them so that they could be arrested.
I was so incensed that I rang the number and enquired when they were going to offer rewards to catch racist murderers of the type who killed Stephen Lawrence, Rolan Adams and other victims of the far right murder gangs. After all nobody had been killed on the Unity march. The only interesting thing that came from my conversation was to find out that I was far from the first to make the call.
The Sun’s nasty little campaign may have been the worst example of the hooh-hah that followed but it was by no means alone. The television pundits, the liberal press, the cops, Tory politicians and even the likes of ‘left’ MP Ken Livingstone joined in.
What hypocrisy! Throughout Europe we have witnessed the growth of Nazi organisation and support. We have seen the violence of the thugs and boneheads that surround them, and now in Britain the Nazi BNP is dipping its toe into the water.
What has characterised the growth of the Nazis in Europe has been the complete failure to build a coherent anti Nazi organisation, single mindedly determined to stop them in their tracks. That absence has been a disaster for us and a boon to the Nazis.
Here the picture is thankfully different. We have an organisation, the Anti Nazi League, which has succeeded in stopping the Nazis before and is determined to do so again. The ANL as part of the Unity march, mobilised over 60,000 people against the bunker of Britain’s new ‘master race’.
Yet the ANL is being condemned for doing this job. It is condemned for being violent and for not allowing free speech.
The first thing to be said about this violence, is that most of it was meted out not by anti Nazis but by the police. Met chief Condon talked up violence throughout the week leading up to the demo, and his thugs in blue dished it out on the day.
Nevertheless, let’s suppose that wasn’t the case. Is violence against the Nazis justified?
The Tories of course say no, but then they would wouldn’t they? They, as we all know, hate violence. Hang on a minute, aren’t they the people that favoured and participated in the raining of bombs on Iraq in the Gulf War? On what basis did they justify this? That Saddam was the new Hitler!
He wasn’t of course, but nevertheless that was their justification for killing thousands. Now in Britain we have people who really do wish to follow Hitler’s footsteps, and the Tories howl because a few bricks were thrown.
I have no such qualms. Every time the BNP tries to march, rally or hold public forums the largest number of people should be organised to prevent it doing so.
Why? Because the more the Nazis are isolated, frightened and silenced the harder it will be for them to spread their filth. The more vigorously they are opposed the more unwilling their soft support. The people who aren’t sure will be put off.
If being BNP or supporting the BNP means you are loathed and made to feel beyond the pale, then the less likely you are to continue doing so. A bloody good thing too.
Ah, some people say, but they are only small. All the better. Now is the time to wipe them off the political map, because when they begin to mobilise 60,000 the job will be much, much harder. It is not often I listen to the words of Adolf Hitler but he was quite clear as to how he could have been stopped: ‘Only one thing could have stopped our movement – if our adversaries had understood its principle and, from the first day, smashed with the utmost brutality the nucleus of our new movement’.
This was a lesson German anti Nazis at the time didn’t learn. But we have their bitter and ghastly experience to learn from.
This makes the behaviour of some on the left even harder to fathom. According to Ken Livingstone (did they really use to call him Red Ken?) debate and argument is the way to deal with the Nazis. But the Nazis do not grow out of debate and argument, they grow out of people’s deprivation, their fears, their prejudices. They maintain that growth through ruthless violence.
If they ever get big enough they will crush all forms of democracy underfoot, brook no opposition and commit genocide against people with the ‘wrong’ colour skin and the ‘wrong’ religion. These are not people to be reasoned with or debated with, they must be crushed.
Does Ken Livingstone really believe the left should have engaged Hitler and his followers in an interesting exchange of ideas as to whether the ‘world Jewish conspiracy’ existed or not?
Livingstone believes that the anti racist movement must be black led. Personally I think the question of racism and fascism affects us all and must be fought by us all. I have more time for a leader, black or white, who understands that we will have to fight ‘by any means necessary’, than one who crawls and cringes to the Tory media to try and score cheap political points.
Thankfully there are enough people around, black and white, who know what needs to be done.
Last updated: 26 February 2017