We don’t need this fascist groove thang

Posted by in March's Magazine




“Everyone knows the Clash were ‘invited” but that was an old SWP trick to get people along. The Scars and The Freeze were the stars on the day.”

It was an interesting contribution and said with good intent. Stand Up To Racism had organised a call to meet in Davidson’s Mains to show support, solidarity and our opposition to, the racist attack on two young Polish men there on 21st July. Speakers included the Lib-Dem MP for the area and two local councillors – one Lib-Dem and one SNP. And, as I was already in attendance and had spoken at previous events I was asked, unexpectedly, to put a Labour perspective. It was then opened up to other contributions including one from a Polish woman on behalf of the new Scots but it was another contribution that caused a ripple amongst those there. 

Opening up the floor to all, one contributor related a direct experience he had in a pub in the South of the city. In conversation with two young men he revealed that he had voted ‘No’ in the Independence referendum in 2014. The conversation then took a different turn and tone. Due to his accent he was told in no uncertain terms to go back home ‘where he belonged’. On asking the young men their age (which was 27) he pointed out that he had lived in Scotland longer than they had been alive and anyway he was in fact Welsh! 

He told our gathering that there was a need to address this attitude and indeed to challenge it. To be fair those gathered said that it did not represent the views of those present. However it is a live current in Nationalist thought that does need to be challenged. Some are up for that challenge but when descriptive terms such as ‘quisling’ and ‘traitor’ are bandied about and not challenged by those on the same side then the potential for exchanges such as that related at this meeting will continue.

But there are more pressing matters to tackle and it has to be done together. In this city we have seen a refugee attacked with a knife in a hostel reliant on Council referrals and two different assaults in two different parts of the city on two young men based on their ethnicity. As well as a fascist sentenced for bomb making and the potential for causing real mayhem based on the racist material both printed and on the internet he held in his house at Meadowbank. 

The fascist Scottish Defence League has targeted this city bringing in trouble from outside. We have UK Government ministers indulging in ‘dog whistle racism’ (or coded language). These are dangerous times and remind me of when we rocked against racism in season 1977/78. 

In my contribution at the Davidson’s Mains get together, I mentioned that it was 80 years this year since the return of the volunteers of the International Brigades. There were some here who called them ‘premature anti-fascists’ and ignored the fact that the Luftwaffe practised their bombing technique on Guernica before bringing it to London, Liverpool, Glasgow and even Leith. I pointed out that the previous day was 40 years to the day that we marched from Hillside Crescent to Craigmillar under the banner of Rock Against Racism. 

These echoes of the past are why Labour MP John McDonnell has called for a return and revival of the Anti-Nazi League. Which brought together anti-fascists, trade unions and diverse political parties. Recent events in Edinburgh, the lenient treatment meted out to Tommy Robinson, and the attack on Bookmarks in London all demonstrate that this is a call we must answer. There is a need to organise. There is a need to act together. There is, once again, a need to answer the call. ν

P.S. Gordon’s article was written on the back of a letter to the Guardian – which was signed by, among others; Peter Hain, Tom Robinson, Paul Holborow, Roger Huddle and Jerry Dammers. 

Some Excerpts:

“All of us who are committed to a tolerant, multiracial and multicultural society face a growing and serious challenge from the racist and fascist right in the UK, encouraged by Donald Trump and his close associate Steve Bannon and now boosted by (…) the disturbingly large mobilisations on the streets of London, Leeds, Manchester and elsewhere (which) underline the scale of the threat.

Boris Johnson’s recent remarks are a calculated bid to appeal to the same audience and can only give them further confidence.

We need a broader-based, imaginative and vibrant campaign that unequivocally opposes all forms of racism, Islamophobia and antisemitism.

The process (…) now urgently needs to be deepened and extended, uniting all people and organisations of goodwill against the huge challenges we face over the next few years from the far right and fascists.”

Info: Read the full letter here:

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