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The far right pose the fastest growing threat of terrorism in the UK. The shocking trend was revealed in a recent briefing by the Met assistant commissioner in charge of counter-terrorism.
The far right accounted for a quarter of all terrorism arrests last year. Since 2017 they have made up almost one third of terror plots with intent to kill, seven out of 22. Foiled plans included a machete attack on a gay pride event and the building of bombs intended to target mosques and a football match.
Sadly, not all attacks were stopped. In 2016 Labour MP Jo Cox was murdered by a white supremacist. The following year a supporter of Tommy Robinson killed one and injured 11 when he drove a van into worshippers outside the Finsbury Park mosque.
Some of these attacks have been inspired by openly neo-Nazi groups such as National Action. They were the first such group whose membership was made illegal.
However, police warned that the terror threat comes from across the far right. They cited the English Defence League and Football Lads' Alliance (FLA) as groups whose ideology can radicalise right-wing terrorists. Their protests have been marked by violence against ethnic minorities and prominent trade unionists.
The Met chief also called on politicians to be "very careful with their rhetoric". Anti-racist charities have pointed out how Boris Johnson's remarks about women wearing the veil made being anti-Muslim seem acceptable and how such statements normalised far-right terror.
Hate crimes have risen in recent years. This type of rhetoric is not new. Capitalist politicians consistently try to divide the working class, particularly when they are in crisis.
We can't trust the capitalist state, including arms like the police, to defend us from right-wing violence. It exists primarily to protect the system and the interests of the bosses, and their powers can easily be turned against the left.
Government 'anti-radicalisation' schemes have included targeting those opposed to capitalism and a report they commissioned in July tried to equate a desire for revolution to political violence.
Workers must organise to defend themselves against the threat of the violence from the far right. This includes well stewarded, democratically organised counter-demonstrations to groups like the FLA.
We must also fight for fully funded services for mental health and the other social issues which can make people vulnerable to grooming by right-wing organisations.
Most importantly, we need to build the trade union and socialist movement to oppose austerity and provide a real alternative to a society that offers no future to so many. An alternative that can channel people's anger into a positive, collective struggle for change. This must oppose all divisions and build workers' unity to fight for all of our interests.
Far right (159)
Article dated 25 September 2019
The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party
Lessons from history
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