So a poll of 5000 by Populus informs us that 48% of those questioned would support some type of anti-immigration far right party as long as it eschewed "fascist imagery" and did not condone violence. Searchlight Educational Trust commissioned the report, titled Fear And Hope - The New Politics Of Identity, " which paints a disturbing picture of our attitudes towards each another and the unknown".
"It also graphically highlights the dangers that lie ahead if the issues highlighted in the research are not addressed. Fear And Hope throws down a challenge to the political parties to really understand what is happening in the body politic and then do something about it."
Director Nick Lowles pointed to some positive findings: "Young people are more hopeful about the future and more open to living in an ethnically diverse society. "The vast majority of people reject political violence and view white anti-Muslim extremists as bad as Muslim extremists and there is overwhelming support for a positive campaign against extremism."
Yes ofcourse there is support for racism, Islamaphobia and fascism in Britain today, but it is stoked up by the tabloids, the EDL and those seeking scapegoats for the present crises caused by the bankers, the City and our failed politicians. When Cameron makes his statement on multiculturalism , his opportunistic attempt at popularism far from helps the situation. There is even greater support opposing racism, Islamaphobia and fascism, as evidenced by the marches, meetings and rallies held over the past 2 years in this country organised by anti-fascists.
Public spending cuts, unemployment and attacks on the living standards of working people carried out daily, with a lack of hope for the future, is the root cause stoking up the fears people have. However the future is far from bleak. As more and more people join in the fightback against these austerity measures and unite on the streets and in their communities against both cuts, racism and fascism then this is the most effective way of challenging racism.
In supporting ethnic minorities against racist attacks, campaigning actively against the fascists and racists marching on the streets and showing there is an alternative to the international capitalist crises, this can and will be reversed. The problem with these polls is that they fail to show up the number of people actively challenging and standing up against racists and fascists. This is the challenge for the anti-fascist and anti-racist movement, a challenge it is responding to up and down the country. Do not be fooled by the headlines and scaremongerers.
Racism must not be confused with fascism. Immigration controls are racist by nature. Capitalism welcomes immigration when it needs the labour power and selective immigration controls must be racist by definition. There is no such thing as a non violent fascist movement either.Some tried to paint Mussolini as non racist but the evidence is to the contrary. Fascists take to the streets and use violence as the last defence of Capitalism, aimed to destroy resistance by the labour movement. This is the lessons of the 30's and 40's. We have the lessons of Cable Street instead. Try explaining to the victims of Nazism and fascism that you can have a non violent fascist movement! Where and when in history did that ever occur? Never.
The EDL claim they are not fascist or racist but just anti radical Islam, although that does not prevent their supporters on the streets shouting Islamaphobic statements against Muslims, opposing mosques and attracting fascists. The BNP attempted to appear a "normal legitimate party", but there is nothing normal about rampant fascists, with or without Griffin dressed up in a suit. It fools no one.
No, we can not be complacent. The entire labour movement has a responsability in actively rejecting the racist and fascist attempts to assert themselves . Divide and rule is the last card left to a bankrupt system. State bans and polls is not the answer either. The anti-cuts movement and the anti-racist/ anti-fascist movement must ensure that they can defend all communities from racism and offer hope. That is why we must ensure the TUC march on the 26th is the largest this country has ever seen and show there is an alternative.
What the poll also fails to show is that every time fascists and racist attempt to march, there are more anti-fascists opposing them. The poll is not the final word on the matter, even though the tabloids and racists will use it to argue their case. We must counter its message with one that is internationalist, anti-racist and anti-fascist. There are polls and there are polls. Nothing is really scientific about it but it attempts to reinforce a limited view of a quickly disappearing reactionary world. The events in the Middle East , Greece and Wisconsin show these reactionary and racist ideas will end up in the dustbin of history if we unite in our opposition to them.