Anti Fascism

Defend Democracy

Shalom Lappin, in an excellent guest post at normblog, makes the point that there have been two parallel responses to the terrorist acts of 7 July.

The first is xenophobia, which abandons muslims to the besuited thugs of the BNP.

The second is a parallel rise in the politics of the extreme left, which has also “effectively delivered the British Muslim community into the hands of extremists, abandoning moderate and democratic elements within it. “

Lappin’s conclusion is this:

It is important to recognize that after the London bombing the rise of bipolar politics poses a serious threat to democracy in Britain. It surrenders the public domain to two kinds of fascism. To oppose this pattern effectively it is necessary to develop a democratic political discourse that militantly opposes collaboration both with jihadism and with right-wing racist populism. The fact that significant parts of the British media are infected with representatives of these two pathologies makes the task of building a powerful democratic response particularly difficult. It requires that the movement be constructed from the ground up through intensive grass roots activism. While the London bombings have made us dramatically aware of a deep threat to the fabric of a free and open society, the processes that have shaped this threat have been operating for some time. The hour is late, and it is imperative to act quickly to defend the basic institutions of our democracy.

He is absolutely right.

There is nothing particularly new to say about the need to fight the far right. We know them of old and are familiar with their agenda. But it is vital that we don’t forget that they will be making electoral ground if we focus our attention exclusively on the important task of reclaiming the left. We certainly need a strategy which combats both left and right fascism.

Defeating the far left “idiot anti-imperialists”, who are “involved not so much with appeasement of fascism, packaged in religious terms, as in active collaboration with it” will be a long struggle. In some ways, the cards are stacked in their favour. In others ways, we have the advantage.

In order to win in the medium term, the fellow travellers with Islamism need only create confusion. Their strategy is therefore one of encouraging a sense of paralysis and disengagement in the middle ground of liberal opinion when the question of how to dealing with religious fascism is raised. A reasonable sounding comment piece by a member of the Muslim Brotherhood here, an interview with a “religious leader” which dodges the issues there, and the seeds of doubt are sown.

But that sense of doubt cuts both ways. The central message of the extreme Left/Islamist coalition is broadly read as “Don’t Mess with Muslims”. Both committed racists and the “unsure” read that message as a rationale for ending muslim – and all non white – immigration, including refugees from theocratic tyrannies. The extreme Left knows this: but they don’t care. They think they’re playing for higher stakes, after all. This is why the fight against extreme right and extreme left are closely related.

We can and must fight the extreme left as well as the right. The SWP, George Galloway, and their supporters will never be able to win over any more than the fringes of liberal opinion to their absurd views. They also know that if their alliance with theocratic totalitarians is unmasked, they are lost. That is why they seek to deny it.

Lappin’s article compares the phoney “expressions of surprise” when the fact that the London terrorist attacks were committed by British muslim extremists were revealed “of a piece with the comment of Louis, the Vichy police prefect in the film Casablanca, who announced indignantly that he was shocked to discover gambling in Rick’s Place.“.

Louis Renault, you will remember, is the cynical and letcherous Chief of Police who is happy as long as he is getting something out of the deal with fascism: Rick is the disappointed romantic whose affair with anti-fascism has gone sour.

But at the close of Casablanca, Louis Renault chucks away his Vichy water and Rick recovers his commitment and idealism.

This is a fight which we can, and will, win.