Wednesday, 1 June 2016
An open letter to Norman Adams and a PS to David Huffadine-Smith
Dear Norman. We have been acquaintances for many decades.I remember you as a fierce AEU member forever agitating and organising.I salute the work you have done in Northampton in Defending Council House tenants and as part of SOS.
Yet just lately you appear to have lost your mojo-has the gargle finally got to you,or are you an impostor masquerading as the Norman Adams we know and love ?
On the aborted visit of Nigel Farage you wrote on Facebook:
"UKIP are bigoted,nasty and slightly eccentric but not fascist" and then went on to say:
"Hope nor Hate and its supporters should stick to its valuable work fighting the real thing."
Now I realise that you,along with a small section of the British Left think that Brexit is a solution,I get that although I think a grouping made up of the CP,SWP,and george Galloway, along with Kate Hoey,Frank Field and Gisela Stuart makes for an unusual set of left travelling companions.I know that RMT are on board,but I suspect that is more a romantic gesture to the memory of Bob Crow than anything else.,and of course even Bob could be wrong sometimes.
As I have written elsewhere I am no fan of the EU, and indeed in 1975 I suspect like you voted not to join the EEC.We understood quite clearly then what was happening, it was a European Employers Confederation that would not help organised labour.
It still has the characteristics of a bosses conspiracy,but of course times have changed.The union movement is far weaker,the Labour Party has been systematically weakened from within, and the media has dismantled step by step,day by day, the confidence of working people to defend their rights.
Every fight is harder and every step we take is slower and more painful than before.
However as capital has become more transnational,what remains of the labour movement has to operate in the same way.
We have to be pragmatic and at the same time look for optimism and hope where we can find it.I believe for instance that at last the Labour Party may be moving back towards an internationalist agenda that seeks to build on what solidarity that now exists.
That's why the in/out battle is largely irrelevant and the battles ahead will not really matter in or out.However what will matter is who else is on the road with us.
You are in my view profoundly wrong about UKIP. It is not a one issue outfit with a charismatic leader and a populist appeal,well it is populist and it has a leader,but it is far more than a single issue campaign.
It is as you rightly point out,bigoted and nasty, but slightly eccentric it is not.
it is unashamedly of the far right,it works in the European Parliament with some of the most dangerous parties in Europe.It is admired bt Le Pen and Donald Trump, and is seen by people like them as part of an axis of right wing xenophobia and racism.
It is no coincidence that as it has risen with it populist anti-immigration,little englander,patriotic flag-waving nostalgia for the Empire,so the BNP and EDL and others have declined.
But of course their views haven't declined or vanished,they have been subsumed into the ranks of UKIP.
UKIP are not dotty eccentrics who yearn for a quieter,peaceful,all white England ,with church bells and tea on the lawn.
They are fiercely anti-trade union,passionately pro-free enterprise,austerity,the breaking down of the welfare state-in fact they are Tories with knobs on!
Of course they will sell the single issue,because anti-Europe is easier to sell than unadulterated full blooded fascism,But think of the history of fascist movements throughout the last century.
Some even came with the added ingredient of pretending to have a socialist message,Mussolini came from the Socialist Party, Mosley and his wife were Labour MP's.
UKIP have latched on to fears about the economy,healthcare,housing and employment and have found a convenient scapegoat-Europe,Europeans, Johnny Foreigner.
Hope not Hate are absolutely right to point out on a daily basis the danger of allowing your 'slightly eccentric' any space to develop.
Finally a short paragraph on David Huffadine-Smith and his increasingly shrill outbursts.David ,your quite a nice man,and after several conversations it would seem that politically you fit nicely into Norman's 'slightly eccentric' category.Not that I'm saying you are UKIP,you've made that clear that your not.However a few days ago you published a checklist about all the reasons you gave for Brexit, and it all added up to a pile of jingoist rhetoric with a pinch of piety thrown in.
You endlessly plead for democratic debate-yes you can have democratic debate with anyone who is willing to debate.But did you really think Farage was coming here to 'debate'?
No he was here to rant at his faithful,trot out his usual tropes and get some media coverage.If you've bothered to read this far you will see that I consider UKIP, a self acknowledged far right party,to be the base of an embryonic fascist movement of the sort we are seeing in many places.
You know my background,I've written about it endlessly, and you know I believe that fascism could have been stopped in 1936 if the world had rallied behind the democratically elected government of Spain.
And what was the slogan in the defence of Madrid ?
Non Paseran- they shall not pass!-later adopted in the East End of London when Mosley tried to intimidate the Jewish community.
They shall not pass has a long and honourable part of the Socialist response to the emergence of the fascist hydra.had the world listened then, maybe 20 million lives could have been saved.
I'm happy to debate anywhere,anytime with people who want a genuine debate,why I'll argue with Tories,Liberals,anarcho-syndicalists,why even Evangelicals like you David....well maybe I have to draw the line somewhere!