By Ed Emery, originally published in effimera.org. On 19 May 2019, Italian author and political...
On January 30th, hundreds of nationalists, racists and out-and-out Neo-Nazis will descend on the port of Dover to protest against refugees. Since the collapse of the EDL, dozens of splinter groups have been active across the country trying to fill the vacuum left behind. Many have moved further to the right, towards an overtly pro-fascist and white supremacist politics, some carrying out so-called “lone wolf” attacks against mosques. Whilst many thousands of people have given aid and solidarity to those fleeing war in Syria, the Middle-East and North Africa, these far-right gangs want to build an extreme right street movement to oppose them. Now, they are calling a “unity demonstration” in Dover, against migrants and the current border regime, and against the European Union, invoking slogans such as “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children” coined by convicted white supremacist terrorist David Lane.
The Crisis of Social Democracy
The UK, like much of Europe, is in crisis – a debt crisis, a labour crisis, a representational crisis, an identity crisis. The murmurings in the financial markets and the trends of social unrest in states such as China suggest this crisis is about to intensify as developing states in the Global South also enter a period of economic crisis. Things are about to get worse.
In general terms it is everyday working class people that have borne the brunt of the crisis with stagnant wages, low paid and low quality insecure jobs, spiralling debt and rising rents. This deep social crisis has sparked an increase in recruitment for racist and authoritarian “solutions”.
In the absence of effective struggles and progressive solutions, many maintain their hope in the state, in national and racial identity, in the market and hierarchical top down authoritarianism – the very principles that cause crises in the first place. These ideas respond to the crisis, not by trying to fight for a re-organisation of society, but by invoking a mythology of past history, steeped in a colonial legacy and a system of privilege and power to maintain a social peace.
These reactionary ideas take different forms, whilst the implicitly pro-fascist and pro-nazi politics which will be visible in Dover are far less appealing than the politics of Nigel Farage’s UKIP or the more subtle racism of the Tory Party, society is becoming more open to reactionary ideas. It is especially attractive to a section of society who have seen everything they were promised slip away, who have seen an acceleration in property speculation and gentrification re-shaping the places in which they live, and the managed decline of towns and cities across the UK.
This promise pre-dated the Social Democracy of the post-war era, and was predicated on an offer to the most able, and “privileged” sections of the (male) working class: make an alliance with your bosses, don’t complain, don’t organise and we’ll look after you. The promise of full employment, secure tenancies, income to bring up a family, and political and social rights coupled a large section of the majority white working class to a system based on its exploitation and its continued capacity to be exploited. The lingering benefits of colonialism, were essentially a promise of privileged status. Both the new right of populist organisations like UKIP and Britain First, and more traditionally pro-fascist groups, have as its basis the desire to return to that white privileged status.
Migrant crisis or Border crisis?
In 2015, over 1 million people moved to Europe from the Middle East (mainly Syria) and Central and North Africa. Over 10,000 people have died attempting to cross into Europe. In 2016, there are predictions that we may see 4 to 5 million people trying to enter Europe.
This is not a crisis of migration. There is nothing about large groups of people moving across territories which necessarily produces death and misery. For every person who decides to leave their home fleeing war and poverty, migration is the last, desperate solution. Migrants are met with the barbed wire, police truncheons and the detention centres of Fortress Europe. There is a crisis in Dover and across the EU, yes – it is the crisis of borders, not of migrants, it is a crisis of the complete unsustainability of accumulating the wealth into fewer and fewer hands, decimating people’s lives and leaving people no options but to flee.
From the state to the street
It is the attempts by the EU and its member states to prevent freedom of movement and enforce border regimes that have caused deaths in the Mediterranean and across the continent, and encouraged the racist backlash from the far right in the form of UKIP, Pegida, Jobbik, the Front National and others. Alongside our comrades in Beyond Europe, we are committed to opposing this transnationally. We need internationally co-ordinated action to confront this crisis of borders with solidarity.
As a November demonstration by students, anti-racists, anti-fascists and others demanded: ‘Open Dover, Open Europe!’ – it is only through meeting the immediate needs of people, directly, either through political pressure on the state and private companies to mobilise resources or by circumventing them and developing our own infrastructure for mutual aid and solidarity.
Our response must be twofold. First, we need to be organising against reactionary response to the crises, both on the streets and elsewhere in our communities, to hold open the space for potential libertarian communist futures to be heard. Second, as a broad movement we need to organise and produce that potential, so that we build community movements and collectives who understand that crises are solved by going forwards, not going back.
Some Antifa comrades of Plan C
Plan C is supporting the call out by the Anti-Fascist Network (AFN) to mobilise against the far right in Dover on 30th January. We encourage you to participate in the demonstration as well. This text was written by some of our members who will be attending.
Saturday January 30th
11am Market Square, Dover.
Coach spaces are still available from London, contact firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line “Coach2Dover” to book a space. See the London Anti-Fascists call out
Coach organised by Brighton Anti-Fascists, contact them here
Transport is being organised by Kent Anti-Racism Network (KARN) who are also organise the main demonstration in Dover. Contact them here.
Transport details and pickup points, contact Berkshire Anti-Fascists