Alerta antifascista is mounting throughout Europe – in Germany, Greece, France, Switzerland, Spain, Austria, UK, and Sweden – against the rise of the far-right, encouraged by the capitalist racist and economic attacks on the working class, their first targets being the refugees and immigrants.
3 refugees were killed in Hamburg last week in an arson attack: a woman and her two kids, 6 and 7 years old. Police suspect a 13 year old boy, but are not clear on the motive. Some 300 people took it to the streets in a spontaneous painful silent demonstration against the racist and economic stigmatization of refugees or other “outsiders.” Autonomous activists in Germany, Spain and Greece are among the most active in Europe in their relentless struggles to protect refugees from being turned into scapegoats to the benefit of the far right and the ruling classes. For this they endure States’ repression and are targeted by Neo-nazis.
Such an incident happened in Ballstädt, Germany, Saturday night, when a group of 20 Neo-nazis stormed a meeting in the community hall and attacked the people gathered there. Nine were injured, and two of them were taken to hospital in serious condition.
Sunday night, in Switzerland, – in Zürich, Luzern and Bern – thousands of antifascists took it to the streets against xenophobia and nationalism to protest the results of a referendum in which 50.3% voted to curb immigration, meaning they denied the free movement of people between EU and Switzerland. A map of the vote proves that the most anti-immigration areas are those with the fewest immigrants.
Over the past year, some 80,000 people moved to Switzerland, a quarter of the total population of 8 million is represented by people who moved in from other countries.
This referendum means that there will be quotas imposed on immigration, and that the Swiss must be preferred when filling job vacancies. It also restricts immigrants’ rights to social benefits. “Critically, it also stipulates that Switzerland will have to renegotiate its bilateral accord with the EU on the free movement of people within three years or revoke it.”
Britain’s Nigel Farage of the UKIP was quick to salute the Swiss – no surprise here, considering the referendum against freedom of movement was pushed forward by the Swiss People’s Party – known for its xenophobia, racism and nationalism.
In Linz, Austria, weeks after a Nazi ball in Vienna, antifascists tried to stop a similar event, but were policed by Green and “leftist” protesters (or liberal counter-insurgents), that acted as an “auxiliary” to the police. These “peaceful” protesters were more concerned with how they will be perceived in the media than with what the fascist fraternities were doing. They even excluded antifascists from their ranks and stigmatized them, which could have easily caused them fall victim to state repression. One trade unionist even said: “They (the antifa) do not belong to us.” The the goal of liberal counter insurgency protest organizers is to have antifa stigmatized and portrayed as “evil” and “violent” so that the state and the media could praise them for their “peacefulness,” instead of dealing with the fascists. A similar incident occurred last year in the US, in Kansas City Missouri, when liberal leaders got together with police to hold a third demo against a nazi rally in order to undermine immigrants and radicals. Fortunately, in this case they only embarrassed themselves, while immigrants and radicals stood together against hate at site of the nazi rally, fully drowning out their rally and sending nazis home exhausted and defeated. In Vienna just like in Kansas City, counter insurgents did not allow radical people of color, radical immigrants, or antifascists to speak at their rally against the structural state violence and racism, or about the fraternity between the state and the Neo-nazis which results in refugees and immigrants being killed.
It speaks for itself that after the arson attack in Hamburg-Altona – in which a refugee woman and her two kids were killed – the police allowed the neo-nazi party to hold a rally. It’s not the state and the Neo-nazis who need protection and solidarity, but their most vulnerable victims – the refugees and the immigrants – but this is something that the reformist left chooses to ignore. If autonomous antifascists don’t stop the Neo-nazis, nobody will.
Same is happening in France. In Rennes, 600 autonomous antifascists tried to stop on Saturday a meeting of the far-right party Le Front National, protected by 300 CSR (riot cops). In the state repression which followed, 4 antifa got arrested, 4 windows were broken, and a car was set on fire, but it is not known by whom. Activists photographed riot cops which infiltrated the antifa march in Rennes, as they did in Spain.
The meeting of the far-right was disturbed, which can explain the fury of the far right supporters against antifa, but not the liberals who protect them.
Autonomous antifa are stigmatized as “dangerous enemies of the republic” and insulted on social networks and in the media – some “leftists” even quote racist Churchill to support their insults – while the extremism and racism of the far-right – which results in antifascists being killed – does not seem to stir the same outrage. Apparently, Neo-nazis can kill and still be considered non-violent in France. Indeed, antifascists defaced a police station – and wrote A on a wall – but the police employed the only violence, as cops beat protestors, used water cannon attacks against them, and hunted them on the streets. Apparently, violent riot cops are invisible in France.
Groupe Action Directe International attacked the Church of Christian Science in Pau, which serves as the basis of the rearguards of the fascists from the National Front (Le Front National). ”Since 1990, almost 100 people have been murdered by fascist groups. We do not forget the latest murder: Clément Méric was killed by fascists on 5 June 2013 in Paris. We must put an end to the fascist repression. We must not forget the genocide caused by fascism across Europe, which resurfaced today to continue its legacy of death, destruction and racism. Death to fascism.”
Le Pen demanded that antifa be dismantled after what happened in Rennes, which had autonomous antifascist laugh in their face: “LOL Yes, please, dissolve us! No organisation, no leader, just individuals,” as one of them replied to a far-right supporter on Twitter.
On Sunday, in Paris thousands marched for Clément, killed by Neo-nazis, the last of their victims, and on the 80th anniversary of the 1934 manifestations against fascism: “Antifascism concerns everyone of us! Killed by fascists, Clément, we’ll never forget you.”
Some of them hanged an anarchist flag – No god, No master – on the building of the firefighters in Paris, in a symbolic gesture. “In spite of all repression, we don’t give up. No fascists on our streets“.