The anti-Jewish riots in Norway, and communalism

20Feb10

A long and well-worth reading post at Z-Word: The Anti-Jewish Riots in Oslo, a guest post by Christian Tau of NIJ, about Eirik Eiglad’s recently published The anti-Jewish riots in Oslo.

I find the post somewhat problematic because of this passage:

A left-wing activist

Author Eirik Eiglad is the editor of Communalism, a journal which reports as its purpose to “provide a forum for the exposition of Communalism as a viable political alternative”, and his political outlook on life is made glaringly obvious on almost every page of “The anti-Jewish riots in Oslo”.

While watching a pro-Palestinian attack on a completely peaceful pro-Israel peace rally, Eiglad finds himself caught between “hell and a hot place, between Hamas supporters and the Christian Right“. Later in the book, Eiglad and a friend reminisce over the good old days of the pre-Hamas intifada, when the Palestinian struggle could still be perceived as a noble cause. The political right-wing is consistently portrayed as xenophobic rabble rousers, and when Behind the Humanitarian Mask* (Ed:Manfred Gerstenfeld, JCPA) makes the list of recommended reading it is “despite the conservative focus of many of its contributors”. For an appendix, this kind of warning is rare.

To really show his colours the author at one point even admits to having participated in Blitz* and AFA* “mobilisations” against neo-Nazis. This is less than savoury. For the first thing Blitz and AFA indiscriminately apply the badge of neo-Nazi to anyone they take a dislike to. For the second, during the riots in Malmö in 2009 AFA fought shoulder to shoulder with the very neo-Nazis it proclaims to be fighting against, merely in order to stop an Israeli citizen from playing tennis. Rather than being anti-fascist, AFA is basically a rivalling outfit. For Eiglad to unashamedly admit to contacts with such a group is breathtakingly worrying and indicative of the dire moral straits in which the Norwegian left finds itself.

I don’t know the details of Blitz and AFA in Norway. Blitz is or was a squatted social centre in  Oslo which has been attacked by Nazis a number of times. I haven’t heard from them since the 1990s, and am not sure of their current status. AFA is the Norwegian Anti-Fascist Action. I have read allegations from right-wing sources about Swedish AFA, and have reported Norwegian AFA demonstrating against the David Cup in Malmo. But I believe that this anti-imp turn of Scandanavian AFA groups is a recent phenomenon, a turn away from its core values, and says nothing about the AFA mobilisations of the 1990s. The idea that they simply call “anyone they take a dislike to” neo-Nazis is ridiculous.

Nonetheless, as well as the importance of the post’s topic, I was grateful for the intro to the social ecology group Communalism.org. Among its texts which you might find interesting are:

* = Hyperlink added.

UPDATE: Norm on Malmo.

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6 Responses to “The anti-Jewish riots in Norway, and communalism”

  1. 1 echo

    The idea that they simply call “anyone they take a dislike to” neo-Nazis is ridiculous.

    Is it? Can I ask on what basis you make that judgment? I don’t, for what it’s worth, claim that it is true &em; I don’t know enough about the politics of AFA groups in Norway or Sweden to be able to make that judgment &em; but I’d like to know what makes you consider yourself qualified to make it yourself. And it’s clear that AntiFascistisk Aktion was involved in ‘anti-fascist’ protests against the Davis Cup match between Israel and Sweden. http://www.antifa.se/index.php?p=1&id=244

  2. Echo, Surely the very hyperbole of the claim that they call “ANYONE they take a dislike to” neo-Nazis is enough to see it is ridiculous?

    Thanks for the link to the post on antifa.se, which is from three AFA groups, AFA Helsingborg, Malmö Julia AFA, AFA Hectogram Stockholm, which does not call Israel “Nazi” but calls it a racist state and ominously adds “For it will cost to cooperate with the Zionist state of Israel …”

    I posted once before on a UK antifa group similarly joining in anti-Israel protests in London https://antigerman.wordpress.com/2009/02/12/anti-fascist-or-anti-israel/

    I wrote then: I am not sure that Antifa, as Antifa, had a place on that march. Not the individuals, who could have joined the anti-authoritarian bloc, but the group as itself. This is because fighting Israeli militarism is NOT anti-fascist and Antifa as Antifa should have no position on it … Antifa members might also march against the monarchy, against the City, in solidarity with cleaning workers, etc – but not AS Antifa. This is even more true in the Davis Cup case, where it was not even a particular Israeli action that was being protested but Israel itself, as represented by some tennis players.

    I welcome other perspectives on this issue here because, to be honest, I know very little about the scandanavian scene.

    • 3 echo

      So when you say it’s ‘ridiculous’, you really mean that it appears to be an exaggeration? And thanks for acknowledging that you know about as much about the Scandinavian scene as you seem to know about the anti-Germans — for a moment I thought I might have been getting information from someone who vaguely knew what he was talking about.

  3. Ok, echo, let me put it differently.

    If you browse my “northern europe” or “antifa” categories, you will see that I am frequently critical of AFA/Antifa groups. I strongly feel that anti-fascism as a movement has degenerated since 2000, partly as a result of the Second Intifada and the war on terror, so I am not ruling out allegations about anti-fascists a priori.

    I came into contact with Swedish and other Scandinavian Antifa activists in the 1990s thru The International Militant Anti-Fascist Network, and occassionally at anarcho/squatty type gigs and parties in London. As far as I can tell, like German Antifa groups, Scandi AFA/Antifa groups are highly autonomous, localised affinity groups in loose confederations, in contrast to UK AFA which was a membership organisation. Therefore, they are likely to be highly heterogeneous, so tarring them all with one brush is not likely to be correct.

    It is just that I have not yet seen a convincing accounts which substantiate the spin Christian Tau puts on this. If you can provide me with any, please do.


  1. 1 News from Malmo « Anti-National Translation

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