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Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Lies About Fascists or National Socialists in the English Defence League


NO! Fascists or National Socialists in the English Defence League?

EuropeNews July 2011
By Henrik R. Clausen

For people dealing seriously with the threat of Islamism in the West, two of the most common slurs are those of being either “Fascist”, “Nazi” (National Socialist) or “Extreme right-wing”. The English Defence League, probably the broadest based and most influential anti-Islamism movement in Europe today, certainly had their share of those, on top of extensive government harrassment
Now, if one pauses for a moment, these frequently repeated slurs are quite puzzling. Before we examine each of them, let us take a clip from the EDL Mission Statement:

Promoting Democracy And The Rule Of Law By Opposing Sharia The European Court of Human Rights has declared that “sharia is incompatible with the fundamental principles of democracy”. Despite this, there are still those who are more than willing to accommodate sharia norms, and who believe that sharia can operate in partnership with our existing traditions and customs. In reality, sharia cannot operate fully as anything other than a complete alternative to our existing legal, political, and social systems. It is a revolution that this country does not want, and one that it must resist. Sharia is most definitely a threat to our democracy.
That's a pretty clear pro-democracy statement, and one may wonder how one could sanely oppose a purpose like this? One obviously interested party is the Islamists, whose intention to implement Islamic law anywhere possible would be seriously impaired by opposition. Another is those who do not understand the real intention of Islam in its fundamental form, to submit as much of the world as possible to Islamic rule. That would include people who are so joyfully naïve that they cannot imagine such sinister intentions to be possible.
Another clip from the EDL Mission Statement reads:

The EDL is therefore keen to draw its support from people of all races, all faiths, all political persuasions, and all lifestyle choices. Under its umbrella, all people in England, whatever their background, or origin, can stand united in a desire to stop the imposition of the rules of Islam on non-believers.
That would address slurs of 'racism' and other stuff. Note the “all political persuasions” bit – the EDL is not a political party with an agenda of “Big Government” or “Small Government”. What matters is countering religious – specifically Islamic – intimidation. Most Westerners would find the notion of forcing Sharia law upon anyone in the West that by default they'd be fine with any move to oppose it. Still the EDL is subject to much slander, explicit or implicit, as in this Guardian article.
And further:

Working In Solidarity With Others Around The World The EDL is keen to join with others who share our values, wherever they are in the world, and from whatever cultural background they derive.
This is an internationalist outlook, not a British supremacist one. Any concern that the EDL might secretly the return of the glory days of the British Empire should be put to rest by this.
Now, talk can be cheap, missions statements deceptive, and it could turn out that these sane-sounding intentions are really a cover for something sinister. This is where you have investigative journalists examining things undercover, like Sigurd Ericson did with the English Defence League. In his report published at EuropeNews, he gave them a clean bill of health with regards to racism, fascism and violence-prone. Talking to both leadership and the rank-and-file of the EDL, he found that it consists of straight English citizens concerned with the threat of Sharia in Britain, and working in line with the EDL Mission Statement to counter it.
In any case, it is good to know the substance of what the EDL is being accused of promoting:
First Fascism, an ideology out of post-WWI Italy: Fascism is totalitarian, in that it regulates every aspect of the citizens' lives. It is single-party, in that the “perfect” system needs no dissent. It is authoritarian, believing in the wisdom of one supreme leader. It is violent, in that its adherents freely apply violence to implement it, then later war to glorify it. Finally, it forbids any opposition to the fascist state.
Mussolini, the head of the original Italian fascist movement, was an active socialist before World War I, but was expelled from the socialist party for his pro-war attitude. Originally devised as a total welfare state (thus the term 'Totalitarian'), the fascism turned out not to viable in practice, degenerated into opportunism, and eventually disgraced itself entirely through the alliance with the National Socialists of Germany.
Since fascism is explicitly anti-democratic and the EDL explicitly pro-democratic, blaming the EDL for being 'fascists' fails a simple “Check the facts” test. Anyone making that charge should back it up with extensive and detailed evidence, not merely personal opinions and judgements.
Next up is “Nazism”, or more correctly, “National Socialism”, an ideology out of post-WWI Germany. In contrast with fascism, which has been emulated in a variety of forms both before WWII and later, National Socialism doesn't really transplant well, neither in space or in time, from Weimar Germany to anywhere else. If one studies the circumstances of Weimar Germany, for instance in the excellent book When Money Dies (whose prime concern is the hyperinflation), the inapplicability of National Socialism under any other circumstances becomes quite clear. The anti-Capitalist sentiment of National Socialism in Germany might have some resonance with the extreme left in some places, but largely comes across as a confused and incoherent, including a profound misunderstanding of capitalism, as this quote from an original National Socialist flyer (propaganda nausea alert) shows:

What does anti-Semitism have to do with socialism? I would put the question this way: What does the Jew have to do with socialism? Socialism has to do with labor. When did one ever see him working instead of plundering, stealing and living from the sweat of others? As socialists we are opponents of the Jews because we see in the Hebrews the incarnation of capitalism, of the misuse of the nation’s goods.
The English Defence League has pre-empted any slurs about Nazi sympathies through creating an explicit Jewish Division. That should send any self-respecting National Socialist scrambling for the exit, and cause any allegations about such sympathies within the EDL to vanish in a puff of logic and laughter.
However, having an explicit Jewish branch opens the door to a different class of problems, that of Jewish supremacists, who are more interested in defending Israel than in defending England. While obviously unrelated to the idea of a National Socialist agenda, this can be difficult in itself:
Just recently, the leader of the EDL Jewish Division, Roberta Moore, quit the position, quoting that “she had been offered work on "an international level" elsewhere”, complaining that the EDL ”had been hijacked by elements who wanted to use it "for their own Nazi purposes". ”, and posting the subtle slander ”"I sincerely hope that the leaders will get the strength to squash the Nazis within,"”
These are serious allegations, but fortunately they fly in the face of common sense. Not only has the EDL made quite a few moves (racial inclusiveness, Jewish Division, pro-Israel rallies) that would scare away any self-respecting Nazi. It also makes no sense that Britain, who carried out the heaviest lifting during World War II would be home to any meaningful pro-Nazi sentiment.
Also, given the fact of the Holocaust and the endorsement of the Holocaust by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, it makes little sense to accuse an anti-Sharia movement of having sympathies for the National Socialists. Doing so incurs a burden of proof to lift, or the allegations become libel – and in the case of the National Socialists, even blood libel. Failing to provide adequate evidence for allegations as severe as these constitutes intellectual dishonesty. Further, internal disagreements as to how much the EDL should concern itself with the plight of Israel should never degenerate into drawing the Nazi card inside an organisation that has already distanced itself solidly from Nazi ideology.
Third up is the most mysterious and intangible of allegation, that of “right-wing extremism”, which is a really badly defined epithet.
  1. One interpretation is that this means National Socialism, but given the details above, that does not make the remotest of sense.
  2. Another interpretation, looking at the origins of “Left” and “Right” in the French Revolution, is that it means adherents of the “Ancién Regime”, protecting the special rights of royalty and nobility. But while the EDL is likely to have its share of monarchists in its ranks, there is no evidence to support this idea.
  3. A third interpretation of the “Far right” label routinely applied to the EDL is that it means dismantling the welfare state and revert to a minimalist state, in line with what Ron Paul is promoting in the US. Since the EDL spans all political orientations, that is nonsensical as well.
In short, the slur “Extreme right-wing” makes no sense and should simply be disregarded. In recent days, the situation in the EDL has drawn a bit of commotion in the blogosphere. The latter of these articles is woefully uninformed, as the concerns raised there have been addressed a year ago, including on this video The John Snowy Shaw Show. Some of these articles are superficial, some are an avalanche of details of questionable relevance. One can pore over these for hours, trying to figure out who did Right and who did Wrong. But quite honestly:
Why waste your time nit-picking when the house is on fire? For as Reagan is often quoted for:

The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally — not a 20 percent traitor.
The bottom line: The English Defence League is the broadest and most effective anti-Jihad and anti-Sharia movement on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. It has achieved much in a mere two years, and continues to operate in spite of government harassment and systematic slander from the establishment. The EDL deserves emulation – the highest form of flattery - not vilification.