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Around 20 people attended a public meeting in Leeds on 21 January to discuss 'how to stop the far right - build a movement against the Tories and austerity' - a topic on everyone's minds since a group calling itself "Antifa Public Watch" tried to disrupt a Socialist Party meeting earlier in the month.
Many Socialist Party members spoke and shared their experiences on dealing with the far-right threat. It was generally agreed that, despite our politics and those of the far right being drastically different, the underlying anger of those looking towards the far right stems from the harsh economic environment facing working-class people, which could equally push people in a socialist direction.
A few days earlier, a far-right group was involved in a protest in Leeds - co-opting the pro-working-class imagery of the French 'gilets jaunes' (yellow vests) movement, but with added xenophobic rhetoric - one protestor was even photographed doing a Nazi salute!
Some people may turn to the far right as a result of low pay and poor material conditions inflicted by the Tory government. In the absence of a visible left-wing movement, working-class individuals can fall victim to the divisions enabled by the ruling class, placing the blame on scapegoats like migrants instead of the true culprits, the exploitative capitalist establishment.
The general conclusion was that, to stop the emerging far right, we need to not only combat its demonstrations, but also to step up campaigning to alleviate the material conditions that fuel the far right. Crucially this means presenting a viable socialist alternative in the interests of the working class.
Far right (159)
Article dated 30 January 2019
The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party
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