- “No offence but honestly who gives a shit about some Romanians in Belfast.” Nowave | “If Romanians are so interesting to you, move to the Six Counties.” ~ Fruitsalad | Melbourne Punx Forum, October 2008 | “When we played Dirty Ol’ Town, Adam says, in the height of good humour, ‘this one’s for Ulster’ as I’m doing the harmonica intro…” Doug Smith (Bulldog Spirit/Marching Orders/Skin Heads Neither For Nor Against Racial Prejudice).
Less than a week after the BNP’s success in the Euro election, in Leeds Orangemen marched for the first time in 40 years. Funnily enough, the march took place only an hour or two after ‘Unite Against Fascism’ organised a rally in the same part of town; alternatively — according to antifa.org.uk — the UAF march “led by [Weyman] Bennett, was halted by the UAF on the request of the police, so that the first Orange Order parade in 40 years could go ahead on time in the same location”.
Call me a crazy Jewish anarchist / call me a gay Nazi / don’t call me late for dinner, but this sort of behaviour is not usually understood as constituting ‘militant anti-fascism’.
America and France, and the Spectre of Republicanism
In 1778, when the regular garrisons had been depleted for service in America, there arose in Ireland the (overwhelmingly Protestant) Volunteers movement, ostensibly to defend the country from foreign invasion. Soon the Volunteers began to alarm the government by their obvious republican and independentist tendency and, above all, by their declarations of support for equal rights for Catholics. In December 1791, the British government proposed that the Irish Parliament allow the elective franchise to sufficiently propertied Catholics. The calculated effect was that the Catholics of “the most consequence and property” would become “sharers in” the system of social control. Within little over a year, the government and the authoritative negotiating team, known as the Catholic Committee, reached an agreement that in effect ended Catholic collaboration with the Volunteers in exchange for the passage of a law in 1793 (33 Geo. III, c. 21 [Irish Statutes]), giving Catholic forty-shilling freeholders the right to vote in elections of members of the exclusively Protestant Irish Parliament. A companion act (33 Geo. III, c. 22 [Irish Statues]), established an Irish militia of about fifteen thousand (increased to nearly twenty-two thousand two years later) which, although officered by Protestants, had a predominantly Catholic rank and file.
Thrown on the political defensive by the cumulative effect of this shift in the strategic orientation of the British government, the forces of Protestant Ascendancy rallied behind the racist tradition symbolized by the Dutch William of Orange (“of glorious… and immortal memory”) who, as King William III of England, had defeated the Irish and Catholic cause in 1689 and ushered in the long night of the Penal Laws.
The first to rally were labouring-class Protestants in 1795, who sensed a creeping Catholic Emancipationism threatening their racial privileges — such as their preferential tenant status and the right to keep and bear arms. The surge of Protestant bigotry took organized form with the establishment of the Orange Order, following an armed clash between Protestant and Catholic tenants in County Armagh in September 1795. This event was immediately followed by a terror campaign which drove hundreds of Catholic families from their Ulster homes into stony Connaught. Viewed at first with a considerable degree of upper-class suspicion for its lowly origins, Orangeism gained in respectability, especially among the diehard Protestant Assembly elements of the ruling class who had not yet got the message that it was time for a change. In the Rebellion of 1798, the Orange Order, now formally constituted in Ireland and Britain, played a key role in splitting Protestants from the equalitarian stand of the United Irishmen, and in the form of the armed and mounted yeomanry units served also as repressive auxilliaries in the repressive operations of the military.
~ Theodore W. Allen, The Invention of the White Race: Volume One, ‘Racial Oppression and Social Control’, Verso, 1994, pp.93–94.
See also : Loyalism and the Protestant working class: Time to stop beating the Orange Drum, Joe King, Workers Solidarity, No.44, 1995.
As for Weyman:
‘BNP should be confronted to prevent them gaining power’
June 13, 2009
The recent electoral gains by the British National Party have triggered debates over how best to oppose it. Unite Against Fascism (UAF) believes that the BNP is a fascist organisation, and as such it should not be treated with the respect one accords to democratic parties. The BNP should be physically confronted wherever it tries to organise. It should be not be accepted as a legitimate political organisation, or mollycoddled with interviews and airtime. It should driven out of our political life…
Weyman Bennett is Joint Secretary of Unite Against Fascism, and a member of the Central Committee of the Socialist Workers’ Party. (On previous criticism of his special brand of activism, see Reflections & analysis: the WOMBLES, the ESF & beyond, WOMBLES, December 2004 // Unite Against Fascism is a weird mob, August 1, 2008; BNP’s RWB vs SWP’s UAF, August 21, 2008.)
SWP vs. BNP
The SWP would appear to be in something of a bind with regards ‘anti-fascism’. On the one hand, it closed down its front group the ‘Anti-Nazi League’ in the early ’90s, only to re-boot it several years ago upon the realisation that while the NF and other fascist groupuscules had faded away, the BNP was growing. But organising pop concerts and seeking the endorsement of TV personalities — and even British Labour — has hardly been a resounding success — in fact, quite the opposite. At the same time, while the SWP has careened its way from the ‘Socialist Alliance’ to ‘Respect’ to the ‘Left List’ to ‘Left Alternative’ — gaining less votes at each turn — the BNP has gained hundreds of local councillors and now representation in the European Parliament. As the fortunes of the SWP have dwindled, so those of the BNP have increased. Partly for this reason, the SWP is once again appealing to other leftists to join them in a NEW! IMPROVED! electoral coalition.
The non-confrontation in Leeds also follows hot on the heels of an egg-throwing incident outside the British Parliament involving a one-eyed Welshman, a handful of his thugs, and a few score journalists and protesters: no yolk. A faint echo, perhaps, of a previous militancy which, ‘ironically’, resulted in a purge of the SWP of its militant, ‘squaddist’ elements. (See : Interview from Beating Fascism: Anarchist anti-fascism in theory and practice, January 10, 2006 | Fightdemback interview with Dave Hann, co-author No Retreat, July 11, 2006 | Ian Stuart : Zero of the White Race, Skrewdriver, and “The Battle of Waterloo”, September 25, 2006 | Bash the Fash, June 12, 2008. Of course, the egg-throwing incident brings to mind a somewhat similar incident outside Brunswick Town Hall in March 1994, in which Michael de Brander — the then fuehrer of local fascist groupusucle ‘National Action’ — expertly managed to catch an egg in his mouth: footage of which featured as ‘Goal of the Week’ on that week’s edition of The Footy Show. See : Anti-fascism in Melbourne: 1990s, March 20, 2007.)
Belfast, Northern Ireland/Six Counties
In Belfast in Northern Ireland / the Six Counties, 100 Roma (‘Gypsies’) from Romania have been forced to flee their homes following an assault by incredibly brave men determined to purge south Belfast of Those Thieving Gyspy Bastards. According to Robert Booth (The Guardian, June 17, 2009), Suspicion of ‘anyone different’ is a legacy of sectarianism. Further, “A far-right website published pornographic images of Chinese women linked to abusive remarks about [one woman] and she said she had been kicked in the street”.
Racist gang attack family’s home
June 15, 2009
A Romanian family has been targeted in a series of racist attacks in south Belfast.
A gang smashed windows and terrorised pregnant women and children in attacks on two houses on Belgravia and Wellesley avenues…
It has been claimed that up to 20 people gathered outside the properties which were attacked.
It is also alleged that those involved shouted Combat 18 slogans and a letter containing text from Hitler’s Mein Kampf was pushed through the letterbox of one of the properties.
There have been racial tensions in the area since trouble erupted at a World Cup qualifier between Northern Ireland and Poland at Windsor Park in March.
A number of migrant families subsequently decided to leave their homes.
The involvement of ‘Combat 18’ in the attacks has been disputed, although it is entirely possible that those shouting their silly little racist heads off have more than a passing familiarity with both the term and its organisational history (in which context, see also : Extremist Crimes: Neo-Nazis With Bomb Parts in Alabama, Maine, Intelligence Report, Summer 2009). It has also been alleged that some of those who participated in a ‘riot’ in Luton in May were somehow associated with C18 (Unmasked: The football hooligans behind last weekend’s bloody protest against a Muslim war demo, Paul Bracchi, Daily Mail, May 29, 2009); certainly, the relationships between fascist groupuscules, parties such as the BNP and Loyalism have been well-documented in the past.
- Video of racist yoof and other details concerning the attacks available via u.tv. In a gesture of solidarity with the fleeing yoof, u.tv has obscured their faces [!] — while failing to do the same in the case of the anti-racist mob.
At present, it appears that the fascist vigilantes may have won this battle: the Romanian families have left their houses, police have dispersed supporters, and the usual truckload of denunciations of racism have been emanating from various political worthies.
Still, the situation is not as bad as, say, Rostock (Germany) in 1992/3…
The above brings to mind the efforts of local boneheads, especially Melbourne Hammerskin Jesse, who together with Belgian boneheads belonging to nutzi band ‘Kill Baby Kill!’ has recorded the No.1 Smash Hit ‘Oh No Here Comes An Abo!’. Jesse and his mates will be gathering in Melbourne on September 12 this year to prance about in front of swastikas and other nutzi kitsch, just as they did at The Birmingham Hotel in 2005 and 2006. Funnily enough, at the 2006 gig, a woman was targeted by similarly brave men:
Blondien (not her real name) says she was walking alone to her car on Johnston Street the same night when she was surrounded by about seven men. She says the men screamed abuse at her, calling her a black c..t and forcing her to repeat the insults.
“It’s disgusting that people would single out one person and you have to say stuff about your race to get out of it,” Blondien said…
Hotel co-owner Gary (who wouldn’t give his surname) said: “I’m not getting involved in someone else’s bullshit.”
As for Those Thieving Gyspy Bastards, the anarchist faggots belonging to Amnesty International UK (who really should be killed) have complained (Northern Ireland: Attacks Against Roma Communities are Unacceptable and Must be Stopped Says Amnesty, June 17, 2009):
The latest attacks on Roma people in Northern Ireland are part of a trend of growing abuses against the Roma across Europe, Amnesty International said today. The organisation is urging the authorities to investigate urgently the series of racist attacks which forced over 100 Roma people from Romania to flee their homes in Belfast and to protect them from future attacks.
According to news reports, attacks in Northern Ireland against Roma people from Romania have increased in recent months – some of them have been attacked verbally and physically, and bricks have been thrown through their windows. An anti-racist rally in the city on 15 June was attacked by youths chanting neo-Nazi slogans [the anti-racists chased them away]. On the evening of 16 June, a group of Roma initially sought refuge in the City Church in South Belfast, and have subsequently been transferred by Northern Ireland authorities to temporary accommodation in a leisure centre elsewhere in the city…
Standing up to such bigotry and violence can, however, have terrible consequences: such is the case of Australian citizen Jock Palfreeman, currently imprisoned in Sofia, Bulgaria, where he is facing charges of murder and attempted murder following his attempt to intervene on behalf of two Roma being assaulted by a racist gang. Jock — like others — has seemingly been abandoned to his fate by Australian authorities, although the recent broadcast of an episode of Foreign Correspondent focusing on his case may have alerted at least a handful more individuals to his plight. For further infos, see : freejock.net.
In the meantime, it’s highly likely that more attacks will be launched against Roma (and anarchists and Jews and leftists and queers and and and) by far right militants, emboldened by their comrades’ entry into the European Parliament.
On a more positive note, The Anti-Racism World Cup will be taking place July 31–August 2 @ Donegal Celtic Football Club.