An important piece from Harry’s Place on how to beat both the BNP and the Islamists
I’ve just been having a chat with – well, I say ‘chat with’, but really it was more of a ‘monologue at’ – a friend, about the rise of the BNP, and of anti-Muslim bigotry. I put into a few paragraphs, what I think needs to be done, and I thought I’d share them here.
I think that what is needed is an antifascist campaign that combines fighting the neo Nazi far right with the Islamist far right. I’m convinced that this is the only way to defeat both.
Part of the reason – not the only one – that the BNP has risen is that the cordon sanitaire that surrounded far Right thought has been fatally compromised by the accommodation between the far Left and the Islamist far Right. Organisations which say pretty outrageous and extreme things have got op eds in the Guardian and have cultivated links with Labour (and LibDem and occasionally Tory) MPs. This allows the BNP to say: “We’re the only ones who are standing up for *you*”. Both groups share a common racist hatred of Jews – including Holocaust denial – but yet the Islamists have been given a pass on this by large sections of the Left. That lowers the bar as to what constitute acceptable political discourse. As the BNP pursues its ‘thug in a suit’ rebranding strategy, it actually allows them to pose as the ‘less extreme’ of the two.
You should read the whole thing here.
I could write a book on why his thoroughly sensible and principled hopes will not be achieved. (Now I come to think of it I have written a book, What’s Left, on that very subject.) The main problem is that for good reasons as well as bad my generation of leftists has adopted post-modern relativism. To admit that the Islamist far right is a bad as the white far right, would force them to question their sustaining ideology, and they lack the courage to do it.