Tommy Robinson’s release will be seen as a victory for the far-right.
Just like in the 1930’s and early 40’s, we must unite as one to fight the racism, violence and hatred that the far-right portray. Over the years they have labelled themselves under many different banners, one being the British Union of Fascists which was formed in 1932 and disbanded in 1940. Its member Oswald Mosley was a member of the British aristocracy who called for Britain to make peace during WWII with the fascist states of Germany and Italy at the time and called for the halting of “Aliens” into the country. Mosley’s isolationist policies mirrored what was happening on the continent with the rise of Hitler and the Nazi’s, and Mussolini in Italy. They also hailed the monarchy, as a representation of Britain’s imperial past, a past that led to the death of millions.
Supporters of his party were called the ‘blackshirts’, they were heralded as heroes by the right-wing paper the Mail, one headline reading at the time, “Hurrah for the Blackshirts”. Violence by the group at an event at Kensington Olympia in 1934 and at the infamous Battle of Cable Street in 1936 forced the government to create a Public Orders Act in 1936 which banned political uniforms, this along with other events led to their decline. They failed also due to the fact that they drew massive counter demonstrations, seen at the Battle of Cable Street in 1936 where East London workers fought and beat the blackshirts and there divisive ideology they represent.
However they won heavy support from Lord Rothermere, the owner and editor of the Mail and the Mirror. A friend of Hitler he would often praise Mosley and his gang. As well as call for their policies in his publication’s, especially to make a peace pact with Hitler and Mussolini. Furthermore the work of Fascist Anglo-American propagandist William Joyce, meant they always remained a threat. This helped them gain some support, but never enough to challenge for government. Fortunately, with Churchill never wanting to give in to Hitler, and people choosing love over hate, the BUF never became the large political force Mosley dream of. By 1940 Mosley was in Holloway jail, and in 1946 Joyce was hanged, the last man to be sentenced to death for treason in Britain in Wandsworth Prison.
After the war, there was an influx of immigrants from former colonies that had gained independence, many from the Caribbean. Some of these people were known as the ‘Windrush Generation’, and came in at a rate of about 75,000 a year. They came in to help revitalise the economy and industry, and take jobs in the newly former NHS and welfare state. However this led to a massive backlash, with walls being painted with messages like ‘White jobs here’ and ‘Blacks go home’. This made them often unwelcome, and racist and xenophobic jokes were not uncommon on TV and the radio at the time. This was seen high in the political establishment too. In 1968, Tory MP Enoch Powell performed his famous ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech in which he predicted a race war where the “black man” would come out on top and that the nation was creating its own “funeral”.
The 1970’s then saw the rise of the National Front, becoming the 4th largest party with 20,000 members. It’s ‘send them home’ anti-immigration slogans did gain some support, drawing huge crowds. There leader, John Tyndall was known to celebrate Hitler’s birthday, he led thuggish marches; with one in Lewisham, a high immigrant neighbourhood in 1977 leading to 111 deaths. Although they managed to win a host of council seats, in the 1979 General Election, they put 303 candidates up and didn’t just lose, but were wiped out.
The 1980’s saw a period of riots due to social and economic deprivation and social unrest. While the national front split into lots of little groups, anti-facist movements united and grew to oppose the thuggery and violence of the Nazi like NF. Leading often to clashes between groups. These clashes continued into the 1990’s, on the streets and even into some people’s back gardens.
The rise of the BNP in 1982 by John Tyndall, was a result of the division of the NF, with all the same faces. It’s most well know leader was Cambridge educated Nick Griffin, he believed that the British race was being exterminated amongst a Jewish Led media conspiracy, highlighting his anti-semitic views. They spread out, forming links with racist groups and parties on the continent, like the Front National in France and Jobbik in Hungary. They had a white members only policy, growing in the North of England and East London, in 2008, they managed to hold 55 council seats in local elections and one on London’s assembly. The following year, almost a million people voted BNP in the local elections, many former Labour voters. However after a disastrous Question Time appearance for Nick Griffin and his party, where he was exposed as a racist, in the 2010 Election the party crashed with no seats, money lost and Griffin expelled. Griffin now finds himself on Youtube as a TV chef.
Now with the rise of the EDL and Tommy Robinson, the far-right are back. While as before they attacked Jews and Blacks, now they decided to attack Muslims and people of Indian or Pakistani descent. Claiming there are ‘muslim rape gangs’ patrolling the streets, another example of pathetic scaremongering by the far-right. EDL use social media to organise events and spread there propaganda on their social media pages. However with Tommy leaving as it’s leader, and infighting led to the EDL’s attendances declining from Thousands in 2013, to dozens in 2015.
Finally the rise of UKIP, fuelled by fears of immigration and scaremongering due to scenes of migrants getting off boats on the coast of Italy meant the far-right could claim to have a respectable home. They were very prominent online in the 2016 EU campaign, as through racist and xenophobic scaremongering, along with a terrible Remain campaign they won the argument as people voted to leave the EU. They have also been caught out for lying, in 2014 they put out a leaflet saying that 27 millions Bulgarians and Romanians were coming to Britain, when in fact they’re only 25.5 million in those two nations combine. After a disastrous 2017 election, where they lost 10% of there vote from 2015, they now sit on the sideline of British politics licking its wounds.
Although the far-right may look strong, they’re not. Just like before, we will defeat them. Tommy Robinson is no free speech matyr, he’s a racist and xenophobic criminal fraudster who represents the worst of British society. The far-right are divided into many little groups, like Britain first and the BNP. However the far-right have proved they don’t need to win to make change, Brexit and Trump are two clear examples, this is mainly due to the power of social media.
They will never stop, so we will never stop. A video released by momentum on this issue was called “same shit, different arseholes”, and they’re right. This is the same hate we have dealt with before, its just being spewed out by different people.
We must unite, from socialist’s to liberals to conservatives to defeat this evil ideology that preaches hate and fear, just like we did in the 1930’s and 40’s when it was spreading through Europe. Our ancestors fought for us against this evil hatred.
We must defeat hate, so love can prevail.
Article submitted by Ted James. Do you have something to submit? Send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org