The Left and my problem with it
Say you received a beating .
Not all the time but enough to make you live in fear and look over your shoulder.
Say that fear led you to believe there was a threat of persecution, removal from your home based on your skin colour , gender , sexual orientation or religious belief.
Say that fear of threat was being allowed by or encouraged by your government.
Then you are living in a state of populist right wing fascism.
Right wing fascism and my problem with the left.
Recently , as the old year passed and the new year arrived, I found myself , as well as filled with outrage with the right wing , becoming more and more frustrated with the left, infuriatingly frustrated.
The reasons for this are sound bites such as :
“We shouldn’t be protesting against the election of a US President and must accept the mandate of the American voter”
“we must work with Trump”
“we need to be talking to those with opinions that we class as racist or fascist”
My problem is , recently I have seen that we of the left are too worried if we cause offence to some group or individual somewhere .
At this moment in time we stand on the edge of cliff . Where many of our family members stood 78 years ago.
The election of Donald Trump is most likely going to have the most negative effect on global politics for years to come and that is exactly why we should be protesting him taking seat of this most powerful office .
Yes , the way he has conducted himself is abhorrent .
From his treatment and mocking of disabled people, to the way he describes women and his behaviour towards them, to the way he describes anyone who isn’t a white American.
The way he categorises people based on their commercial worth is anything but anti-establishment.
I agree with all that the left have to say about the man.
However words are not going to hurt “the Donald”
Finely constructed sentences and paragraphs will not make his reign in the Oval Office stressful for him , only perhaps make him slightly angry on twitter .
A disparaging report from experts in their field will not sway this man from his opinion, people like Donald Trump only know one way of dealing with things and that is direct action, direct action is what gets results.
Yes “the left” must retain the moral high ground of course we should. We should maintain our levels of openness and freedom for the individual but at what point do we say , hang on ! I will not stand for this bullying and abuse of my fellow humans ? When do we start countering the right with direct action ? When do we stop being afraid of upsetting people along the way.
Yet I hear people saying “But he’s been democratically elected”, well yeah that’s true but so was Adolf Hitler and that played out ever so well didn’t it.
I personally applaud everyone at the J20 protests in Washington DC, smashing the windows of the Bank Of America and Starbucks, I applaud the lads and lasses setting fire to limousines.
They are directly fighting against the right wing narrative of capitalism and nationalism, we should be supporting AntiFa and Black Bloc.
And here in the U.K. we have seen the rise of the popular right in the lead up and the wake of the EU referendum. Race hate crimes have sky rocketed in the wake of the vote, nationalism is once again marching it’s filthy boots through the Western World, and I’m sorry beautifully composed sentences, the most beautiful fine sentences you have ever read won’t stop it. The sharing of memes won’t stop it. Attempting to reason with fascists will not work. Fascists understand one thing and one thing only direct action.
For too long in my opinion the left have been too passive .
Whilst we are passionate we are too passive , our marches no matter how regular they are and in however many thousands they number are not going to blight the lives of Donald Trump and Theresa May.
You want things to start changing, you need to make them change.
Did the left defeat Oswald Mosley and his blackshirts by publishing beautifully composed sentences and paragraphs, was it the two thousand word essay that stopped all the EDL divisions in their tracks when they attempted to march through our towns. No it was hard graft and toil from those on the left who went out and fought hand to hand with those on the right .
I agree with Jeremy Corbyn so much in the sense that politics in this country needs to change, in the respect that our Houses of Parliament looks like a fucking pantomime to the rest of the world, where I work the majority of the workforce is from Poland, good lads, guys I am glad to know and call my friend and when I ask them of our parliament the response I get is – “you look like a laughing stock”. An assessment I would agree with. Whether kinder politics is the way forward I don’t know. Maybe more direct politics is a better option.
If you really want to stop the likes of Donald Trump and Theresa May, if you really want to beat a government that is intent on exploiting its people, its workforce, it’s land and resources , go outside and fight it.
Over the course of the last 12 months there have been plenty of opportunities for us on the left to counter the narrative of the right but a lot of those chances we have let fall by the wayside.
We all sit and moan about it on facebook and organise twitter storms, and whilst they are effective tools for organisation .
I agree with Owen Jones when he said,
“If Twitter was as effective as we’d like, Labour would have won a majority of 200 the last time. Can we bear that in mind? #WeAreHisMedia”.
And the same can be said of countering the narrative of the right now , we all post our rants into our favourite left wing echo chambers, knowing that we will be agreed with.
If you really want to counter the right then you need to challenge their opinions, with your words, opinions and facts.
You need to call them out on their dangerous subversive crap , as people rather than enemies if you can but don’t stop calling them out
When I see a Nazi such as Richard Spencer, Tommy Robinson, Paul Golding or Nigel Farage I do want to punch those fuckers straight in the face , much as I would if I saw someone abusing someone in front of me .
The lads and lasses from the left in AntiFa and Black bloc are using direct action to keep fascism at bay and I have a lot of empathy with them .
The governments of this country and the USA certainly haven’t, they have allowed it to flourish as it is politically convenient for them. The governments are the people leading the rise of right wing fascism.
People are led by narratives that they can agree with, and these narratives are put in place by leaders. The leaders that are sitting at the top tables of the banks and the corporations and governments –its all a big game to them and they set the odds at the bookies. Stop fighting the wrong people, and start fighting the right .
Look at how the French react when there is even the minutest of changes to their working conditions the whole country comes to a standstill for weeks, where as, us we have a march or go on strike for two days here or there mostly over the night time hours as to cause minimal disruption and then we accept the breadcrumbs at the edge of the table.
You want change, make it happen . stop bitching and moaning from the sidelines and throw yourself on the front lines, get out there and support AntiFa and Black Bloc. Get out on the picket lines and support striking workers rather than castigate them, join a workplace union, collectively organise. Stop accepting the narrative from the right as a forgone conclusion and fight against it.
Yes someone somewhere will take offence and get upset, but if we’re going to stop protesting and fighting because we may upset someone, somewhere , then we will never succeed .
Direct action is needed. More people punching Nazis in the face is needed.
Our problem and I’m not sure if this unique to the British psyche, but it all too often seems a case of “oh mustn’t grumble old boy” or “yes I’ll join you on your march, as long as it’s back in time for tea”.
Where is your fight?
Where is your spirit?
What happened to the resolve of lads and lasses of Cable Street or those at Orgreave?
The resolve of those fully committed to their cause.
We need to stop worrying about those we may offend and start worrying about those who are causing us offence and why they are still in the position where they are able to do so.
Fascism and nationalism is coming to the west draped in the colours of red, white and blue both here and in the states.
The streets is where we need to be no matter how old, young or able bodied.
Franz Frison a holocaust survivor said this of fascism in 1988, and it reads as true today.
“If fascism could be defeated in debate, I assure you that it would never have happened, neither in Germany, nor in Italy, nor anywhere else. Those who recognised its threat at the time and tried to stop it were, I assume, also called “a mob” Regrettably too many “fair-minded” people either didn’t try, or want to , stop it, and as I witnessed myself during the war, accommodated themselves when it took over …
People who witnessed fascism at its height are dying out, but the ideology is still here, and its apologists are working hard at a comeback. Past experience should teach us that fascism must be stopped before it takes hold again of too many minds, and becomes useful once again to some powerful interests.”
Unless you are really willing to make a difference yourself, what difference are you expecting to see?
So now you must ask yourself.
Are you ready to take direct action ?
Are you happy to just preach to the converted .
I know where I stand.
For the record my granddad didn’t vote for fascists he shot them.
Words by Lizzie Fletcher and Ed Clarke