“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

No Platform And The Need For Thought.

with 6 comments

I didn’t want to post for a couple of days, but after reading a discussion on Socialist Unity blog I thought that it might be worthwhile to ponder the No Platform for fascists position whilst the ideas are still in my mind.

There’s quite a lot of debate going on there so I won’t rehearse the same arguments, but it strikes me that we need to look at it in a slightly more subtle fashion.

I think No Platform is a good idea, however it mustn’t be just a mechanical reaction, rather it needs to be expanded out and made the point of discussion in the public discourse

What we should be arguing about is a complete opposition to the normalisation and acceptance of neofascist parties, such as the BNP.

It was noticeable how quickly the conventional politicians capitulated on this issue, with the notable exception of Peter Hain and a few others.

That a once long-held view that neofascists should denied the oxygen of publicity has now been disregarded, thrown aside in a few seconds in reaction to the BNP’s appearance on BBC Question Time.

My approach is, that if BBC producers, their management and even craven politicians wish to accept or welcome into their bosom the BNP, that’s their choice, I won’t accept it and certainly others do not have to follow the precedence set by them like sheep. I would argue there is no good reason to concede any ground to these neofascists.

Normalising the BNP makes it fairly certain that they will grow exponentially, rather we should aim to stigmatise membership of this neofascist group.

We should aim to remind people of the origin of these cranks, their lust for power, their incompetence, their violence and stupidity, and along the way make it very clear that their arguments are a tissue of lies.

Above all we should remind people that the BNP are an inherently racial grouping, whose policies would lead to an ethnic minorities being placed in camps or murdered along the way.

We need to remind people that the BNP would violently dispatch any of their opponents, if they could get away with it. Any society or institution which becomes dominated by the BNP will lead to increased racial violence, strife, worse poverty and despair.

We need to remind people of the history of fascism, the tactics and lies used by modern day neofascists and where those policies have lead, to war and mass murder.

No ethnic or social minority will be safe with the BNP around, further, they would destroy the NHS, trade unions and the remaining social fabric of society, if they could.

Opposition to the BNP must be total, but it must be thoughtful as well.

The BNP will aim to use their Question Time exposure to gain more media attention, so opponents of the BNP must provide a counterbalance not only in opposition but also in the form of ridicule and argumentation.

Recent examples suggests that the British media would not give the BNP a particularly hard time, so it is up to antifascists to do that job.

All the natural opponents of neofascism and the BNP need to find common ground, put aside previous differences and take a longer term view of the situation, finding all and any sensible methods to impede the BNP’s growth. That’s what needs to be done, block the BNP at every turn.

We need to argue for, No Platform, no to normalisation and certainly no acceptance of neofascists.

Written by modernityblog

27/10/2009 at 01:06

6 Responses

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  1. By smearing as racist everyone concerned with illegal immigration and the overboard tolerance for radical Islam, the British left is desensitizing everyone to the legitimate charge when it is directed at the BNP. People think, “Well, I’m concerned about illegal immigration, Islamists, the white poor, etc., and I’m not a racist so maybe the BNP isn’t either.” The overuse of the left’s catch-all denunciation deprives it of meaning and force. People may simply stop listening to the left’s warnings because they’ve so many times labeled people with legitimate concerns as racist. By their own narcissism, self-righteousness and contempt, the left is actively driving people to fascist solutions just as their more radical ideological ancestors did back in the 1920s.

    Worse, entire generations of Britons have been conditioned to believe that the state has a moral obligation to care for them cradle-to-grave. It is a short step from there to the belief that the government has a moral obligation to care for native Britons first and foremost before all others. Such a longstanding belief in Germany certainly made National Socialism an easy sell to the German working class and poor.

    If the mainstream parties cannot address the real concerns of many Britons, and if they cannot at least pretend to respect and value lower-income white Britons, then Britain may be only one ugly incident away from a political seismic shift. A major native Islamic terrorist attack or an immigrant riot might be all it takes to push Britain over the edge. Other European nations are at risk as well, for the same reasons.


    27/10/2009 at 01:33

  2. Read it, far too sweeping, ahistorical and really just settling scores, as such a bit predictable.

    Doesn’t really address the issue of the BNP and their neofascism.


    27/10/2009 at 02:22

  3. If I may disagree, Mod

    No platform doesn’t work because the rhetoric that Neo-fascism created to mask itself is now part of the dna of discourse on identity and immigration. The BNP don’t, in the main, use terms and vitrol one iota out of place in the majority of the press and much of the post Thatcher political settlement.

    The New European right, of which Griffin, Fini and Le Pen are indebted to created a new vocabulary, one based on identity and soft sounding words like respect, heritage and localism. Of course this is merely the front to their cultural or racial bigotry and dreams of rebirth but that front is now legitimised.

    How many times have the Scum, the Mail, the Tory right or the Frank Field end of New Labour used exactly the same langauge, attacking a strawman chimera of political correctness in the last 15 years? How many lies have the yellow press produced, gobbled up by the fascists? I’m sure you’ve seen that EDL clip with Express and Mail covers. This is the vital nourishment, the soft infrastructure that supports a fascist sub-culture.

    If fascist discourse is made mainstream by non-fascists, no platform is pointless. Our political discourse has been poisoned well before Ol’ Nick got anywhere close to office. It would be like the restrictions placed against Shinners in the 80s. Pretty pathetic

    As for that ‘white working class’ crap. Where to start?


    27/10/2009 at 06:17

  4. If “respect,” “heritage,” amd “localism” are markers for fascism, you are a deep trouble.


    27/10/2009 at 11:55

  5. Btw, I dig the new New Look, Mod.


    27/10/2009 at 11:56

  6. Socrep,

    I would disagree, the *way* no platform has been applied in Britain recently hasn’t been terribly good, but that is a failure of implementation.

    To me, No Platform, is a broader notion of non-normalising relationship with neofascism, how exactly it is applied will vary from situation to situation, etc


    27/10/2009 at 15:06

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