Goosebumps

Aging Norwegian folkie leads 40,000 people singing the Norwegian version of Pete Seeger’s Rainbow Race, in a giant fuck you against Breivik and all he stands for



The news can seem unending grim day in day out, then something like this comes along and restores some of your faith in humanity. A reminder that despite all the Breiviks out there, there has been progress in the past seven decades since WWII, that the belief in the equality and worth of all people, no matter their race, creed, faith, orientation or gender, is utterly mainstream. The fascists and nazis have lost, they may still be dangerous but they cannot win.

It was seventyfive years ago yesterday



On the fourth of October, 1936, a coalition of Jews, unionists, Labour Party members and communists of various kinds, not to mention ordinary stopped the fascists under Oswald Mosley marching through the East End of London. In the Battle of Cable Street they stopped him and his blackshirts cold, despite a heavy police presence there to protect the fascists. It was a huge victory, hugely symbolic in that it was the victims who stood up to the fascists and their police escort; it would inspire antifascists decades later, even though there are always some who’d belittle these achievements.

See also: seventy years after Cable Street: nothing changes.

Totaler krieg



On 18 February 1943, in his famous Sport Palast speech, Joseph Goebbels asked the German population whether they wanted “der Totaler Krieg”, Total War. Almost sixty years on, Geert Wilders uses the same imagery in his first speech at his new trial. Accused of discrimination and incitement of hatred against Muslims, he doubles down on his racist kookery, using not just Goebbels’ Total War, but also the famous Chruchill quote about “all over Europe the lights are going out”.



The new fascism comes partially clothed in the language of anti-fascism, of freedom, but betrays itself with its obsessions. Wilders talks about defending freedom, but paints the whole Muslim world as “a desert”, all Muslims as “creators of deserts”, of a people without a Mozart, a Bill Gates, of an ideology (sic) that can only produce murder and manslaugther, whose societies can only be barbaric and backward. And in this they are supported by the “multicultural elites of Europe waging total war on their own peoples”. We’ve gotten used to similar sort of outbursts, Isloam bashing has sadly gone mainstream in the past decade, but we can still get to know its evil if we translate it into the ideology of seventy years ago, with some simple search and replaces of the key words in Wilders’ speech:

President, members of the court,

Lights are fading out all over Europe. Everywhere on the continent where our civilization flourished and where man created liberty, prosperity and culture, everywhere the foundation of the West is under fire. Everywhere in Europe the elites act as the defenders of an ideology that has been out for our destruction for over 30 centuries

(Plaintiff: Mr. president, may I leave the room?)
(Judge presiding: You may leave the room if you do so quietly)

An ideology that originates from the desert and one that can only produce deserts, because it doesn’t allow man to be free. The Jewish Mozart, the Jewish Gerard Reve, the Jewish Bill Gates, they do not exist, because there can be no creativity without liberty.

And I believe, with everything I have in me, that Judaism is an ideology that distinguishes itself in murder and manslaughter only, that only brings forth societies that are backward and impoverished. And strangely, those same elites won’t tolerate any negative word about this ideology.

My trial is not an isolated incident. Only the ignorant think it is.

Throughout Europe, not just in the Netherlands, but in Europe as a whole, multiculturalist elites are fighting a total war against their people, with continuing mass immigration and Judaismisation at stake, ultimately resulting in an Jewish Europe. A Europe without liberty. Eurozion

All over Europe the lights are going out.
Who thinks and speaks independently, is in danger, freedom loving citizens that criticize Judaism or even only dare to suggest there is a correlation between Judaism and criminality or, for instance, honour revenge, pay a bitter price. And are threatened, persecuted and criminalized. He who speaks, who speaks the truth, is in danger.

All over Europe the lights are going out.
Everywhere the Orwellian thought police are at the ready, looking out for thought-crime everywhere. Everywhere looking to throw the people back within the lines within which they are supposed to think.

This trial, Mr. president, members of the court, is hence not just about me.
It is about something much bigger. Freedom of opinion is not the property of the accidental elite of a country. It is an inalienable right, the birth right of the Dutch people as well. Centuries have been spent fighting for it and now it is about to be sacrifices to accommodate a totalitarian ideology.

Future generations will watch, and look back on this trial, and wonder who was on the good side and who wasn’t. Who stood for liberty and who wanted to sell out liberty.

All over Europe the lights are going out.
Everywhere our liberty is being curtailed. That is why I will close with the words I also spoke last year during the first session. It is not only the right, but also the duty of free people, to speak out against any ideology that threatens our liberty.

It is hence a right as well as a duty, my right and my duty as a member of parliament as well, to speak the truth about the malignant ideology that is Judaism.
I hope the freedom of opinion will be victorious in this trial, I hope not only that I will be acquitted, but above all that the freedom of opinion of so many Dutch and so many Europeans, will continue to exist.
Thank you.

Sueing nazis told to fuck off

The owners of the extreme right clothing brand Thor Steinar have lost their court battle against anti-fascist parody brand Storch Heinar:

Storch Heinar

Media Tex had alleged that the brand had been damaged by the humorous label. But Judge Horst Rottmann said there was no danger that the two could be confused.

Furthermore, Storch Heinar creator Mathias Brodkorb, an MP for the centre-left Social Democrats in the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, was protected under the country’s freedom of speech laws, the court said.

Sehr gut.

Better not laugh at nazis – they might sue

What do you do if your clothing brand, ever so slightly tweaked to appeal to neonazis though you swear that’s not your intent, is parodied? You appeal to the decadent weakling courts of course to stop it:

Storch Heinar has been around since the winter of 2008, and is the brainchild of a left-leaning youth group called Endstation Rechts — which translates as “last stop for the right wing” — set up to combat right-wing extremism in the states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Saxony. As members of the groups discussed the opening of a “Nazi shop” selling, among other things, Thor Steinar in the middle of Rostock over a bottle or two of wine one night, they decided to respond by starting their own clothing label. And so the tale of the unhappy stork was born. “We were not drunk though,” Mathias Brodkorb, a Social Democrat and member of the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state parliament, one of the people behind Storch Heinar, told the daily Die Tageszeitung.

Storch Heinar’s popularity has increased over time, no doubt due partially to increased local media coverage of the brand — the range of goods available via their website is now large enough to include baby bibs and Frisbees and the brand has around 4,000 fans on Facebook. The label has sold “more than we thought it would,” Brodkorb told news weekly Focus. The profits fund the work of Endstation Rechts. Storch Heinar is only a small, and relatively uncomplicated, part of their work, Brodkorb, 33, who studied philosophy and classics, explained to Die Tageszeitung: “We are all fixated on neo-Nazis and often we overlook more subtle opportunities for people to be inhumane and right wing extremist.”

[...]

Unsurprisingly, Mediatex GmbH, do not like any of this. The owners of Thor Steinar are known for their litigiousness and, as one local commentator put it: “Right wing extremism and humor go together like combat boots and Birkenstock sandals.”

Brodkorb told local media that the day after Storch Heinar was founded, the company that owns Thor Steinar tried to copyright the avian name. They were rejected. Mediatex then filed a complaint against Brodkorb, saying that Storch Heinar was injuring and “disparaging Thor Steinar.” The case went to court on Wednesday in Nuremberg. The small group behind Storch Heinar has been raising funds to fight the case — they even have a new T-shirt for sale that boasts the garment’s owner is part of the rescue team for the beleaguered bird.

Germans do have a sense of humour, but those who hanker back to the good old days of the Third Reich? Not so much.

Your happening world (9)

Your monday slice of linky goodness:

Antiracism is a crime in Bolton

From Socialist Worker’s rolling update on the anti-EDL protests:

angry scenes in Victoria Square #uafbolton on Twitpic

1.10pm: From Bolton, Victoria Square

Police have broken up an entirely peaceful UAF rally in the square and seized organiser Weyman Bennett. Trade unionists are trying to speak but have been stopped.

12.55pm: From Bolton, Victoria Square

Police are preventing hundreds of anti-fascist protesters from entering Victoria Square. Those inside are chanting “Let them in”. They have had to link arms to block the police and defend the UAF speakers. Riot police have repeatedly pushed into the crowd.

Weyman Bennett of Unite Against Fascism address the crowd, saying, “Police are rioting and are out of control.

“Anti-racism is not a crime, and it’s about time the police stopped treating it as such.

“I say to the police, if you can turn this number of officers out here today, why could you not stop the EDL running riot through Stoke last month?”

The EDL, the socalled English Defence League is the sort of acceptable side of the BNP, supposedly non-racist but just concerned about the “loss” of Englishness. In practice of course they are a bunch of white racist thugs just using the fact that mainstream politics has made islamophobia largely acceptable. The constant stream of scaremongering news items and editorials about the danger of “Muslim terrorism”, combined with the lack of the same sort of attention for “white terrorism”, has lead to a climate where Paki-bashing has become acceptable again. Everytime the EDL gets to march through a city unopposed helps strenghtened this climate, especially when it’s the police who make it possible by attacking the antifascist, antiracist counterdemonstrations.

The police of course always present that as a neutral problem of keeping public order, with the argument that allowing counterdemonstrations would lead to violence, yet as Weyman Bennett points out, where were the police when the EDL rioted in Stoke, unopposed?

Antifascists are the real terrorists!

With local elections to be held early next month, the AIVD, the Dutch security and intelligence service warns about an insidious new threat in the runup to these elections: the threat of antifascist demonstrations (Dutch). In a letter sent to all mayors in the Netherlands, the AIVD describes the sinister group responsible for this threat: AFA, Anti Fascistisch Actie and its methods. It makes for chilling reason the way this group is in the habit of contacting local governments to advice them on racism, organises counterdemonstrations against nazi intimidation and even organises within local communities to defend against racist aggression! Worse, they even deliberately cause the racists and fascists they organise against to attack them and beat them up.

Ironically, the AIVD even accuses AFA from infiltrating rightwing groups in order to gather intelligence on them — something the intelligence services have never done themselves, at least succesfully.

This piece of fearmongering, silly at it is, does show the mindset of those supposedly guarding us. Rightwing, racist and even fascist intimidation is not a problem, but attempts to defend against it are beyond the pale. This is of course neither new nor surprising, considering the rightwing sympathies of most intelligence services. As long as rightwing violence doesn’t threaten the state directly it’s tolerated, even encouraged, while leftwing activism is always a threat, no matter how legitimite or innocent, even in supposedly democratic states. What is new is how blatant this warning was, something we have not seen in a while. A more paranoid person might wonder about possible connections between this, the economic situation and the way this is used as an excuse for the drastic budget cuts the government wants to force through parliament…

You got to be fucking kidding me

BBC to vet BNP Question Time audience for anti-fascists but not fascists? Seem so:

Audience members for the Question Time edition featuring BNP chief Nick Griffin are being rigorously’ vetted by BBC producers to weed out likely anti-fascist demonstrators, it was confirmed today.

BBC bosses fear protesters could disrupt the recording of the programme, due to take place at the Wood Lane studios on 22 October.

As well as filling out the normal detailed questionnaire, applicants to become audience members will also be checked for membership or involvement in organisations such as United Against Facism. Many are likely to be questioned personally and be asked to prove their identities on the door.

United Against Facism, which is planning a mass blockade of the BBC studios on the day, has also urged its supporters to apply to join the audience, putting a link on its website to the audience application form.

The Corporation has confirmed that it is working closely with the Metropolitan Police and Hammersmith and Fulham council to keep a lid on the protests.

The council is concerned at the potential for disruption to local people and has asked the BBC to pay for extra policing, which the Corporation has rejected.

Heaven knows we can’t have any disturbances when the fash Nick Griffin is spouting his filth. Nice to see the Met getting involved as well; they know how to deal with peaceful protests, as proven earlier this year.

An open letter from the SWP

In this crisis and with the BNP victorious the left must unite says the SWP:

An open letter to the left from the Socialist Workers Party (SWP)

Labour’s vote collapsed to a historic low in last week’s elections as the right made gains. The Tories under David Cameron are now set to win the next general election.

The British National Party (BNP) secured two seats in the European parliament. Never before have fascists achieved such a success in Britain.

The result has sent a shockwave across the labour and anti-fascist movements, and the left.

The meltdown of the Labour vote and the civil war engulfing the party poses a question – where do we go from here?

The fascists pose a threat to working class organisations, black, Asian and other residents of this country – who BNP führer Nick Griffin dubs “alien” – our civil liberties and much else.

History teaches us that fascism can be fought and stopped, but only if we unite to resist it.

The SWP firmly believes that the first priority is to build even greater unity and resistance to the fascists over the coming months and years.

The BNP believes it has created the momentum for it to achieve a breakthrough. We have to break its momentum.

The success of the anti-Nazi festival in Stoke and the numbers of people who joined in anti-fascist campaigning shows the basis is there for a powerful movement against the Nazis.

The Nazis’ success will encourage those within the BNP urging a “return to the streets”.

This would mean marches targeting multiracial areas and increased racist attacks. We need to be ready to mobilise to stop that occurring.

Griffin predicted a “perfect storm” would secure the BNP’s success. The first part of that storm he identified was the impact of the recession.

The BNP’s policies of scapegoating migrants, black and Asian people will divide working people and make it easier to drive through sackings, and attacks on services and pensions.

Unity is not a luxury. It is a necessity. If we do not stand together we will pay the price for a crisis we did not cause.

The second lesson from the European elections is that we need a united fightback to save jobs and services.

If Cameron is elected he will attempt to drive through policies of austerity at the expense of the vast majority of the British people.

But the Tories’ vote fell last week and they are nervous about pushing through attacks.

Shadow chancellor George Osborne told business leaders, “After three months in power we will be the most unpopular government since the war.”

We need to prepare for battle.

But there is a third and vital issue facing the left and the wider working class. The crisis that has engulfed Westminster benefited the BNP.

The revelations of corruption, which cabinet members were involved in, were too much for many Labour voters, who could not bring themselves to vote for the party.

One answer to the problem is to say that we should swallow everything New Labour has done and back it to keep David Cameron, and the BNP, out.

Yet it would take a miracle for Gordon Brown to be elected back into Downing Street.

The danger is that by simply clinging on we would be pulled down with the wreckage of New Labour.

Mark Serwotka, the general secretary of the PCS civil service workers’ union, has asked how, come the general election, can we ask working people to cast a ballot for ministers like Pat McFadden.

McFadden is pushing through the privatisation of the post office.

Serwotka proposes that trade unions should stand candidates.

Those who campaigned against the BNP in the elections know that when they said to people, “Don’t vote Nazi” they were often then asked who people should vote for.

The fact that there is no single, united left alternative to Labour means there was no clear answer available.

The European election results demonstrate that the left of Labour vote was small, fragmented and dispersed.

The Greens did not make significant gains either. The mass of Labour voters simply did not vote. We cannot afford a repeat of that.

The SWP is all too aware of the differences and difficulties involved in constructing such an alternative.

We do not believe we have all the answers or a perfect prescription for a left wing alternative.

But we do believe we have to urgently start a debate and begin planning to come together to offer such an alternative at the next election, with the awareness that Gordon Brown might not survive his full term.

One simple step would be to convene a conference of all those committed to presenting candidates representing working class interests at the next election.

The SWP is prepared to help initiate such a gathering and to commit its forces to such a project.

We look forward to your response.

But with the examples of the Respect party and Socialist Alliance fresh in their memory, will the rest of the socialist left trust the SWP not sabotage any new regrouping again? Deservedly or not the party does have a reputation of using coalitions only for their own ends, ending them when they no longer seem to gain from them or they might lose control of it. The party needs to show that they’re serious about this open letter before anybody else will want to work with them on anything but a case by case basis.