From the July 1974 issue of the Socialist Standard
On Saturday 15th June in London the National Front held a march to a meeting to protest against an amnesty for illegal immigrants. An attack on the march was made by left-wing groups, culminating in a battle with mounted police in Red Lion Square, and a young student was killed.
The inevitable accusations of “police brutality”, the headlines and questions in Parliament ensued. All this followed the National Union of Students’ resolution to prevent “fascists” and “racists” speaking. On 18th June the International Marxist Group announced that unless a July march of Orangemen supported by National Front is banned, it will attack that too.
The policies and attitudes of the National Front are detestable. So are those of the International Marxist Group and its collaborators. The latter include the Communist spokesmen for the National Union of Students who have expounded its policy of forcible suppression, and the Labour fools in the scarcely-known but ill-named “Liberation” group.
Their assertion is that unless “fascism” is crushed we are in danger of the rise of a dictatorship party, which would suppress democracy and persecute its opponents and those it did not favour. If that danger exists it is represented equally by the IMG, the Communist Party and other organizations of the left. What is THEIR aim ? To suppress democracy and put down rivals.
Like the Communist Party when it made a policy of attacking British Union of Fascists marches in the nineteen-thirties, IMG hope to obtain support by posing as the defenders of freedom. But the CP’s policy then did not apply only to fascists. At one period Labour Party meetings were ordered to be broken up. At other times our own meetings have been shouted down and disrupted. Make no mistake about this: these protesters are not Marxists or liberationists or democrats, but power-seekers wanting to suppress whoever disagrees with them.
What have the National Front, IMG and the Communist Party in common? It is not simply that all are would-be dictators; they all uphold capitalism, each aiming to run it in a particular way. A safeguard against them is needed, but it cannot come from force. The only safeguard is Socialist understanding : let any of them state their case, and have its worthless stupidity publicly demolished.
That is what these “defenders of freedom” fear. When the Socialist Party held a debate with the National Front, members of International Socialists came to shout down BOTH speakers. They did not want the fascists’ claptrap exposed — because it would have exposed theirs too. To them, a brawl in the streets is preferable to argument, and the support of hooligans acceptable because they cannot get that of enlightened working men and women.
The problem for the working class is not fascism but capitalism. Racism and other forms of oppression are symptoms of it. Socialists feel as strongly as anyone about them; and we know the solution of them to be the abolition of the capitalist system and its replacement with Socialism.