Brexit Fascism Left Politics Racism Scottish Independence

Gleichschaltung – or, “How the Left Helped Unite the Racists.”

During the forced Westminster closure, the fascists, the far right populist and various idiots will be supporting their leaders as they  plan the next phase of Gleichschaltung. The right hate each other, every bit as much as they hate sharing this world with other h man beings. But, they will support each other and support positions they perceive to be advantageous to them, and theirs. 

What about us, the left?  Do WE support our leaders?  

We seem split, as we throw expletives too and fro at each other on Facebook groups and on Twitter and across the media. And this article will do nothing to break that habit. But I hope it sets out a position. One that needs strength and the spirit of those who in the past, have defended the barricades. Defended a position. Because that’s what we need to do. We need to Unite to defend our neighbours, and those vulnerable to attacks from an increasingly fascistic Government (and governments). 

What left leaders am I meaning?  The left leaders, like the current Labour leader, telling us they respect the result of a racist, lie sodden brexit campaign that targeted people illegally using stolen data?  Or the left leaders telling us that Brexit is a piece of rancid, years old racist shit, covering everyone who rolls in it, however briefly? Or those saying, “we take no position?” 

Do we support each other, we on the left; the left who are trying to oppose this who are being accused of being middle class by other sections of the left (echoing the language of the fash), or the huge section of the left that is paralysed somewhere in between these two positions? What message are WE giving to the hard right, proto and actual fascists who have taken power and are in control/out of control? 

Do we, the left, support the leaders in the remain camp who have elbowed their way to the top of the BBC hierarchy of notables, by doing not much other than piggy backing on to the 2010-15 Austerity Government by lying to students, and now telling us they are credible?  The “Liberals,” who moved far from their Liberal and Social Democratic beginnings for power in 2010 with a massive swing to the right?

The media, and yes, many on the left, screamed at Gordon Brown’s  gaffe in 2010, when he called a woman, off camera, but with microphone attached to his lapel, “bigoted.”  Lets be clear. These comments, her comments, whether they are educated or not… whether they are working class or not, ARE bigoted.  Did Brexit start with these words, or the racsit confrontations in the Big Brother House led by Jade Goody and her mum, or were these and Jade’s words just a reflection of the racism working class people have been taught to use to scapegoat?

“You can’t say anything about immigrants.”

“All these Eastern Europeans… where are they coming from?”

“There’s too many people now who aren’t vulnerable but they can claim, and people who are vulnerable can’t claim, can’t get it.”

and the Labour Party apologising and ever since compromising with these sentiments has been a disaster. When that happened, when the media forced an apology that should not have happened.  The Labour Party should have used the incident as an educational point. Instead the circumstances – Brown desperately wanting an elected Premiership – meant that tacticians on the ultra right were handed on a platter, a strategy.  UKIP were given a respectability that should have been challenged. The bigoted woman was one of us, or from the perspective of the Westminster political class – one of “our people”. The panic in the Labour Party that followed – members being told not to call out UKIP racism etc, because, to quote a Labor party apparatchik at the time, “we need to be careful, because the Labour Party have racists too.” This was a total misunderstanding of “our people.”  The media class – led by a huge proportion of people who are educated in elite universities, and a large bulk of them from what could be described as “middle Englanders,” subject working class and poor people to wall to wall attacks on working class lives – poverty safaris, Jeremy Kyle, awful social media memes, telly programmes demonising people resorting to crime, to benefit fraud etc. And then targeting them with fascistic commentary about immigration and immigrants.  There is consequence in words. In creating programmes that make people feel shit. That give people living miserable, shit lives far from the ideals broadcast by the media, scapegoats. And immigration – asylum seekers, refugees, brown people, people with different accents, have been kicked out of the working class. They have become political footballs in a game that should have been called off by a resolute left. But the game got the go ahead because those in charge of the biggest political party needed to court bigotry.    

I’ll be clear.  I do not support any position that holds that the Brexit process is in any way credible, never mind being a positive one a lefty can take.  Any support for Brexit is one that should shame those doing so – left, right, centre. But I’ll go further – those throwing their hat into the “Swinson represents me for now,” ring will end up in tears.  Yes those with principles and who are unflinchingly anti-racist may well look to the centre for allies – but the increasingly RIGHT wing Liberal Democrats really arent that centre.  They, don’t forget, defended and supported Tories Duncan-Smith, Cameron, Osborne, May, Pickles etc as they smashed working class communities yet again, and stamped on the vulnerable. They called Brown out for his remarks.  They court racists too.

The real centre here in Scotland, the allies of the Anti racist left, really are at present, the SNP and the Greens, who have taken a principled stance against the attempted gleichschaltung- the cohesive pulling together of forces of the right.  Few other groups on the left or in the centre have seen and condemned the Brexit process for what it has been – a fascist lie – racist – criminal.

In England, the choice is difficult, I grant you. If I lived there, I’d be looking at the record of my labour candidate, or if it is not a principled stance against racism, I would be voting Green. A revolutionary stance really is not one of supporting a Liberal Democrat party that suffered its own right wing take over in the 2000’s.

This – the present – now – is the time for the putting into action that principled position many on the left have lived for and thought about all of their activist days – the position that would have them standing up to fascism, standing up to those stamping on faces with their hobnailed boots of totalitarianism; that principle they hold dearly – the dream of waving that banner as we take power –  this is your time. OUR TIME… Shouting from the rafters “Scapegoating Immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, brown people, people with different accents IS FUCKING WRONG!!!” But instead, it almost seems that the banners are being ripped up and fed to the Faragian/Bannonite/ultra fash because of some on the left’s seeming out and out support for the racist, TTIP writ large, fascist animating Brexit.  I read, daily, on my Facebook, on Twitter, so called socialists and communists on social media cheering on “Bo Jo” [sic], and calling the catastrophe of no deal the “real deal,” and strangely, “the people’s Brexit”. The repercussions of this, is going to be catastrophic for the British left- and in turn for many of those on these islands and beyond. 

The UK needs a new left.  One built from the bottom up- not one that compromises with racists in order to bring these awful factions together.

Don’t for one moment think the Scottish left independence movement are going to be immune from the tyranny to come if we don’t. There are those within our Independence movement who are openly cheering PM Johnston in his “no-deal” attack on the vulnerable and workers on these islands.

I’ll be clearer. There is NO principled, left Brexit/Lexit position when it is driven entirely by the right. So, Galloway, the Communist Party of Britain, and in Scotland, RISE and those who are saying they “have no view,” and those accusing workers of being middle class, bourgeois or other utter crap for saying “now is not the time,” are totally in support and aiding and abetting what comes next. Those who say they “respect” the brexit vote – those who give credence to the illegal, fascist process are not on the side of the working class.  They are not on the side of the vulnerable. Because the vulnerable include people who came to make lives here and are now told they are “foreign,” unwanted, “othered,” unwelcome. The left who are supporting selective immigration are racist. The left not calling this out are failing totally in their duty.  They have forgot their raison d’etre.

Racism is driving us apart. And racists are leading many of our left groups and institutions at the moment. The left should not be compromising or proposing racist immigration policies… We should be resolute in our opposition to othering. 

“Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.” And Brexit is driven by the powerful for the powerful.

Those of us literally opposing the fascists on the streets (they rioted in London the other day, under the umbrella of Brexit, marching with their left comrades who looked impotent during the entire thing – as a countermarch was attacked) are told those of us in opposition to the racist, lie driven Brexit are “middle class,” “not socialists,” and the like. 

Look. Socialism really ISN’T taking a majoritarian line, or compromising with it. Especially when fash are literally on the streets of the country, unhindered.

And not just unhindered – they are growing in confidence, power, intent, as they nod along with Galloway et al, or smile at the left groups sitting this one out – they LOVE those who are further legitimising Farage, Bannon and Tommy Robinson – or sitting by “with no view” as vulnerable people’s faces are smashed further into the gutter.

Continuing to talk about “taking down neoliberalism rather than “wasting one’s time on brexit” (aresponse I got from a Facebook friend the other day), – literally the creaking language of the left for the past twenty years – while actual fascists are in power, marching, with growing confidence (here’s one getting a” Hello”magazine type coverage on release from Prison , speaking on our telly, reaching people through social media unhindered, is, to say the least, tired. Old. Like talking today of prioritising opposing the British regarding Suez or Waterloo as if that will change lives NOW. We on the left ALL oppose the continuance of capitalism and imperialism – we all hate the fact the neo-libs won in the early 2000’s – and we all hate the fact we are suffering it’s failures – but such talk is diversionary obfuscation at best. 

The battle -NOW- is against fascism and tyranny directed by Bannon and his club of far right extremists and millionaires and billionaires. That is the field we are in.  It is one paddock within our fight against capitalism, but it really is one with walls being built higher around it, and with walls on wheels, expanding.  If we don’t smash the walls being built right now, we stand no chance in defeating “neoliberalism” or capitalism. The paddock will become our totalitarian, fenced, imprisoned world. 

Fascism is literally on our streets in Glasgow. The modern day “manky shirt” (those who know who I’m talking about will tell you who manky shirt is!) S. A. are attacking republican parades. And, again obfuscation of the incidents and the intent of those attacking the parades has thrown up a “they are as bad as each other” narrative. This is not the case. Absolutely no-one is attacking the hundreds of annual orange marches in Glasgow. No-one. The fascists, open about who they are, have attacked TWO marches by Irish republicans. Regardless of your support or not for Irish republicanism, (and I really don’t support some of the groups involved), these attacks are by a confident hard right/fascist crowd. And remember–Tommy Robinson and his stooges have been up here regularly “in talks” with others. Ignore those attacks at our peril. 

By all means attack neo-liberalism with slogans as old as the average age of the current Scottish football team… But if you aren’t shouting down fascists at present… You aren’t disgusted by their marches and demonstrations and are happy to say, I respect the Brexit referendum outcome,” and are saying shite like Brexit is “an attack on the European elite” when it will quite plainly be an attack on the working class and vulnerable, led by aristocrat fascists like Rees Mogg, millionaires like Farage, and rich opportunists like Johnston, and brought to the streets by the brownshirts of Yaxley Lennon, the SDL/EDL and ultra right wing Unionists, you are  on the side of the oppressor. Brexit is the Gleichschaltung of the forces of the right across the UK. 

Freire’s words again… “Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.”

The fight is against power. Fascism. Lies. Poverty. Walls. Borders. Power. Money. And if more people don’t recognise that fact, the left have abandoned, “the people.”

By Neil Scott

One thought on “Gleichschaltung – or, “How the Left Helped Unite the Racists.”

  1. You need to read a bit deeper: the argument against the EU was always led by the Left, good people like Tony Benn, Jeremy Corbyn, and Barabara Castle, and for good reasons, but the Pretendy Left under Blair and Brown sold out to the brazen promises of the EU, leaving the rank and file behind. Two thirds of Labour-held constituencies voted to Brexit: they have a longer memory than the current apparatciks.

    “The left leaders, like the current Labour leader, telling us they respect the result of a racist, lie sodden brexit campaign that targeted people illegally using stolen data? Or the left leaders telling us that Brexit is a piece of rancid, years old racist shit, covering everyone who rolls in it, however briefly? Or those saying, “we take no position?”

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