The Anti-Fascist Network has extended an invitation to all anarchist, radical, left and class struggle groups; this has led some to debate whether to join the A.F.N. collectively or leave it to the individual. Some have argued that it will divert time, energy and resources away from the main purpose of their local or branch; and others feel that affiliation to such a broad based network implies ideological or constitutional compromise.
Signing up to the network as an organisation is largely symbolic, since every member chooses their own level of involvement, but it does raise awareness and presents a united front against the fash. We don’t want any more of your money or time than individual members would naturally spend anyway. As most of us are already involved in anti-fascist activity to some extent the only extra work involved is displaying some version of the Supporters’ Statement on your website, preferably with a link to the site, and passing on news and alerts.
The main benefit is the safe sharing of intelligence and the use of our internal networks to get everyone’s input and decide the best response to each situation, it’s also a lot easier to vouch for someone if you already know some of their friends. We aim to meet quarterly, and aligned groups may send as many delegates as they wish; this way we get to know and trust one another.
We don’t ask you change your strategy or tactics, we just offer support when needed; a win for the fash is a loss to us all! Many groups are already organised extremely well, we can benefit from your experience.
It goes without saying that we’re all anti-fascist by conviction; but more to the point, fascism is pre-emptive counter-revolution. To paraphrase comrade Durruti, the bourgeoisie will always use the far right as a last resort to divide the working class, to scare people into voting for mainstream parties, and to justify repression.
Often the initial response of our class in hard times is not to stick together but to look around for someone to blame; with the collapse of the post-war consensus the triangular relationship between politicians, the media, and the fascists has succeeded in shifting the centre ground far to the right in my lifetime. This is going on all over Europe as a reaction to austerity and it’s a direct hindrance to the conduct of class war. Having torn the arse out of Islamophobia, the fash in this country are now actively targeting anarchists, union and other radical activity.
Here’s a quote from one of the founders/organisers:
“There are not many single issue antifash groups in the country. The idea was kind of born when the EDL threatened to ‘smash you cunts in’ when Portsmouth anarchists organised a mayday picnic, other than Brighton antifash, there was no support network available.
I think anarchists in general have been really bad at organising in response to the new fascism, and it has to change, if all groups can support each other in whatever way they can its a real start in combating a real threat to us organising ourselves effectively, whatever group or union we are in.
We seem to have left it to the liberals & police, and offered no grassroots working class response the rise of EDL like groups.”
So to sum up, if we don’t strive for a united working class we have nothing to play for, we will have no effective class response to the nightmarish final phase of capitalist accumulation. As a priority, we need to see off the fascists once again, as we have done many times before. I would further argue that the experience of working together against the common enemy, in a voluntary and non-hierarchical way will be invaluable in our ultimate conflict with the bourgeoisie and the construction of a free society.