Whilst other Globalise Resistance members debated Palestine, 'global governance' and Latin America during the morning session, 40 or so assorted leftists and local campaigners attended 'Fighting the Euro-nazis', where three speakers discussed how best to combat the rise of the far right across the continent. James Bull was there
Jim Wolfreys, a Kings College London lecturer and co-author of The politics of racism in France, French anti-fascist Yves Carel and an Anti-Nazi League full-timer by the name of 'Bat' all put forward their perspectives on the issue. A brief talk on the rise of the far right in Europe led comrade Wolfreys to make a valid conclusion. He asserted that the left must do three things: firstly, unite all communists, socialists and anti-racists behind a single banner; secondly, be prepared to physically stop the far right from meeting and organising; and, last but certainly not least, put forward a "different vision"ï¿½ to counter the reactionary propaganda of the fascists. In light of this, it seemed somewhat bizarre that the comrade failed to mention the one organisation on the British left which has the capacity to achieve such a task - the Socialist Alliance. Nevertheless, the message was one our SWP comrades should note. The experiences of comrade Carel of the French anti-fascist group, Ras l'Front, seemed to emphasise the need for a genuine working class party. He spoke of the rise of the Front National in his home country - from being dismissed as a rump group of extremists to becoming 'respectable' politicians. With the success of Jean-Marie Le Pen in reaching the second round of the presidential election, elements of the ruling class have moved to the right themselves. Sadly, the SA was not on the SWP's agenda on Sunday, and instead it was the Anti-Nazi League - for which the session was obviously to some extent a promotional event - that was being pushed. The speech put forward by Bat, a loyal ANL organiser about to become a full-timer in London the following day, was depressingly limited to discussion of the tactics of the ANL, not its politics. Describing how best to combat the rise of the far right, the comrade gave a rather disheartening, technocratic account of exactly how the ANL conducts its campaigns: "First of all we leaflet, leaflet, leaflet,"ï¿½ he said. "We say, 'These people are nazis! Don't vote nazi!'"ï¿½ He continued: "We must also thoroughly canvass the area of course - if you point out to people that the BNP have never opened a school or led a strike then it is soon obvious that they have nothing to offer working people."ï¿½ Evidently this worked perfectly in Burnley, didn't it? Where is the "different vision"ï¿½ that comrade Wolfreys called for? By implication voters are told they have no choice but to back Labour - whose dismal failings have driven them into the arms of the BNP in the first place. Discussion was perhaps unsurprisingly limited mostly to a few ANL and SWP types, with the exception of two hysterical young comrades from the Spartacist League who, after beginning a vicious rant on the evils of the Socialist Alliance, were censored by the SWP chair who declared she had "no time for left groups"ï¿½. One comrade was later granted 30 seconds. Other speakers who questioned comrade Bat's apolitical approach were told in reply that it would be "too difficult"ï¿½ to pose an alternative to fascism whilst campaigning on the streets. "What would it be?"ï¿½ he mused. "Green, anarchist, socialist? It's too complicated. First we need to simply stop people voting Nazi,"ï¿½ he said. Perhaps the working class deserves a leadership that is capable of grappling with "complicated"ï¿½ issues and their solutions. Stopping the far right in Europe requires working class organisation and politics which can challenge not only the despicably chauvinist ideas of the BNP and Front National, but also the mainstream parties whose policies have produced a growing constituency of support for such groups. Comrade Wolfreys could not have been more right - the working class does need an alternative - a revolutionary working class party. Sect politics and trendy student groups simply cannot do the job.