Since the proscription of the neo-nazi group National Action in December 2016 the threat of extremist far-right terror has not gone away. In fact, according to a timeline of UK far-right terror in the 21st century put together by Beyond the Fringe Politics, of the over 50 incidents recorded half took place in the last two years – with 11 incidents happening in the last two months alone. This uptick should concern us all, especially if you are a member of a group particularly targeted by the far-right or involved in left activism or other solidarity work.
The police and security services have taken an interest in far-right extremism. The top police officer for counter terrorism recently declared far-right terror to be the fastest growing in the UK, with around a quarter of terror plots foiled by the police to be far-right in nature. Some antifascists have been cheered by this development, celebrating the proscription of NA and the incarceration of some of its top lieutenants. Whilst it is hard to feel much sympathy for self-proclaimed nazis, we should be realistic in evaluating the effect of proscription. The state ban has not stopped extreme right organising, but has simply driven if further underground – making it much harder for antifascists to monitor and oppose.
State intervention is not the sole answer to the problem of far right terror, for one thing the police and security services simply cannot foil every plot or keep every far-right activist in jail indefinitely. We need a broad based proactive antifascist left to take on the far right in all it’s forms, whether that means defending left wing demonstrations, actions and meetings or proactively shutting down nazi, fascist and far-right organising.
Listen to the full episode below: