Why tackling fascism is important

Today saw the third and final leafletting run by Liverpool Antifascists in the run-up to the Fazakerley By-Election. Activists covered considerable ground over the course of two and a half hours and distributed roughly 2,000 leaflets.

What was interesting was that, during this run, we finally encountered leafletters from Labour and the Liberal Democrats. The BNP, whatever else you can say about them (an that’s an awful lot!), have been working the area constantly for over a month. Labour and the Lib Dems have essentially thrown something out at the last minute before the election. This is yet another reason why more and more people from working class communities are fed up with the main parties, and why it is increasingly vital to spread the word that the BNP are not an alternative – they are infinitely worse.

Of course, eliminating fascism will not correct the wrongs of the world. It will not solve the problems faced by ordinary people as services are privatised, pay is cut, and communities fall into disarray. For that, we need organisation. Involvement in local communities is critical (and this does not mean parachuting in as outsiders, but people taking action in their own areas). It is absolutely vital that we undertake education and workable solutions to the problems ahead of us both in the workplace and on the streets. Members of Liverpool Antifascists are involved in a wide variety of such actions.

However, it is important to remember that fascism still needs to be tackled.

Parties such as the BNP aim to gain control by turning the working class in on itself. Their distinction between migrant workers and British workers is no different than that between agency and non-agency workers, permanent and temporary workers, or (going back to the turn of the 20th Century) female and male workers. The more vulnerable group is the most heavily exploited, working for buttons and with few rights, so as to undercut the more established and organised group, rolling back their hard-won rights.

But this is not the fault of the more vulnerable group, and the answer is not to remove them from the workplace. “British Jobs for British Workers” may have an instant appeal to those put out of work by bosses who exploit migrants (not by migrants, which is an important distinction) but it makes as much sense as calling for “Male Jobs for Male Workers.” It serves to strengthen the distinction and division, from which only the bosses benefit. History teaches us that this approach is destructive, whilst uniting all workers – regardless of race, gender, nationality, or any other distinguishing feature – to demand fair pay and conditions for all is the only way to win battles.

Nationalism serves the bosses, not the workers. Of course, it is vital that we are organising and fighting back against the very real injustices and problems that we face, but until we recognise this fact we will get nowhere. Only by rejecting nationalist sentiment can we hope to eliminate the problems created by those in power.

A PDF version of the leaflet can be downloaded here.

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