Clarification: Anti-Germanism, Bahamas, the English Defence League, and the Gates of Vienna


Some time ago, I linked to some allegations made against leftist antifa activists by a group of ultra-conservative sites, Diana West, Tundra Tabloids and Brussels Journal. These sites were alleging that in various places, including Koln and Malmo, antifa activists had violently targeted Jewish people, calling them Nazi because of real or imagined affiliations with the state of Israel. I had not at the time appreciated how right-wing the sites I was linking to were, although I knew they were pretty conservative. I regretted afterwards having linked to them, but I had not seen convincing refutations of the allegations they made. My regret increased as I learnt more about Stop the Islamisation of Europe, to which some of them are connected (more on that below). Recently Will, formerly of the sadly defunct General Theory of Rubbish and Drink-Soaked Trots blogs, visited here and used his favourite word, which begins with C, about me for having made these links.

Also quite recently, my friend Bob From Brockley posted some materials at Contested Terrain about the anti-globalisation/far right nexus. This was the first item:

Bernd Sommer  “Anti-capitalism in the name of ethno-nationalism: ideological shifts on the German extreme rightPatterns of Prejudice, Volume 42, Number 3, July 2008 , pp. 305-316(12). Abstract: “Sommer examines the (re-)emergence of anti-capitalist and anti-globalization themes within the ideology and discourses of the German extreme right. He argues that it would be short-sighted to interpret this development simply as another opportunistic attempt by the extreme right to incorporate Zeitgeist issues into its political agenda in order to appeal to a broader spectrum of supporters. An analysis of the latest campaigns of the Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands (NPD)—the most successful extreme-right party in recent years—as well as the activities of groups that exist within the larger German extreme-right milieu, the so-called freie Kameradschaften, reveals that the taking up of social questions as well as anti-capitalist and anti-globalization themes marks a deeper shift within the political agenda of the extreme right in Germany. However, the analysis shows that racist and antisemitic issues do not disappear with this shift, but are linked with and incorporated into anti-capitalist and anti-globalization discourses.”

In the comments, Negative Potential (I believe another Contested Terrain contributor, whose own now out of action blog I think I have a link to on my blogroll) wrote this:

The first study cited is about the far-right, which as far as I know, was never part of the “anti-globalization movement” even in the broadest sense. It’s one thing to say that the far-right makes use of anti-globalist sentiment. Quite another thing to imply it was a component of the summit-hopping movement (which really doesn’t exist as a dynamic force anymore, and arguably hasn’t since after Genoa, though it might’ve taken the movement a few years to realize it was dead).

Seriously, Bob, that’s a Bahamas-level slander. There are plenty of problems with the anti-globalization movement, and yes, undoubtedly anti-semitism is one of them (though not to the extent that anti-Germans and fellow travelers would have one believe), but your argument shouldn’t have to rest on such sleazy amalgamations.

If we’re going to play six degrees of political slander, I think with a bit of effort I could probably link Bob From Brockley’s blog to the neo-fascist Junge Freiheit, especially given that Bob openly links to the “Anti-German Translation” blog, which links to Bahamas and other racists. Stones, glass houses, etc. [Hyperlinks are added by me. – AGT]

Subsequent comments address the substantive points about the right and the anti-globalisers. It’s my connection to the far right I want to address here. Indeed, Bahamas features on my blogroll, between Bad Weather, a now defunct website associated with Antifa in Hamburg, and Cafe Morgenland, a Greek/German anti-Germanish/communist site, from whom I’ve taken the first image which illustrates this post. Other links include some that are far more Zionist/right-wing than I am, as well as anarchist and left communist and pro-Palestinian sites, ranging from Platypus to WW4 Report to Abdel Kader to Anarchists Against The Wall.

EDLFrom Entdinglichung I learn that Bahamas has celebrated the English Defence League! Here is a very, very rough translation of part of Entdinglichung’s post:

In the current issue of a German men’s magazine for the preservation of the dominant western culture, Bahamas, next to an item in which Uli Krug defends Pope Ratzinger from nasty criticism, be found some scribblings by Sören Pünjer under the title “The spirit of Winston Churchill: in Great Britain provides the English League for the Defense of excitement and confusion (which is not linked here, please find it yourself). During this tirade, the author honestly tries to honesty present the EDL as an anti-fascist and patriotic opposition to a dark, Muslim-directed conspiracy (the abolition of English Christmas and the St. George’s Day and the introduction of Sharia law in Britain).

The post provides some images and videos of the real (i.e. fascist) face of the EDL and recommends articles on the EDL from AWL, Antifa England und hope Not Hate. As these three all rightly and differently observe, the EDL is fundamentally a fascist organisation, even if it does not exactly fit traditional classical images of fascism, and even if it has flirted with pro-Zionist imagery. The (anti-anti-Zionist) Community Safety Trust is also clear on this, warning Jews off the EDL and its allies:

A small Islamophobic group, called Stop Islamisation Of Europe (SIOE), has called for 1,000 Jews to attend its forthcoming demonstration at Harrow mosque; and for each Jew to bring an Israeli flag.

This is strikingly similar to appeals that have also been made in recent months by the English Defence League (EDL). It is also essentially the same as opportunistic attempts by British National Party leader Nick Griffin to ditch both his and his party’s antisemitic heritage, by stressing his supposed new-found support for Israel and Jews.[]

Because the EDL does not necessarily fit into the common, pre-existing understanding of far right politics – for instance, that its membership is not exclusively white, and that some of its supporters have brandished Israeli flags – there is disagreement about the extent to which they can be classified as a far right, racist group. There is room for an academic discussion about whether they should be described as racist or Islamophobic; or whether their politics are fully far right, or more akin to an adaptation of the aggressive, xenophobic nationalism displayed by English football hooligans at countless football tournaments in years gone by. However, this discussion, as interesting as it may be to observers of extremist politics, should not distract anybody from the bigotry, division and demonisation that are central to the EDL, as they are to all forms of extremism; nor from the obvious provocation at the heart of their demonstrations.[]

The Guardian also had a lengthy profile of the EDL, and there are a series of articles on the Hope not Hate website which go into the EDL’s origins and structures in great detail. In particular, they highlight the ambiguous position that the BNP holds in regards to this new combination of football hooligan gangs and street racists. The BNP, and the NF before it, used to openly embrace football hooligans as useful muscle with a fierce nationalist pride. However, demonstrations and punch ups no longer fit with the image that the BNP tries to project, and so the EDL has filled a gap in far right politics that the BNP voluntarily vacated in its pursuit of votes.

Although the message of the EDL is focused on Muslims – all of them, not just extremist groups as they claim – nobody should doubt that the politics of both the EDL and the BNP is still driven by the familiar bigotry and hatred of the far right, with a new language and target to fit with the times. There has been debate elsewhere about whether this change from attacking all minorities, to attacking Muslims, represents a genuine shift from racism to Islamophobia, or is simply a political ploy (I am aware that I have oversimplified this debate). My personal view is that it is a bit of both, and that such distinctions miss the point. Inasmuch as ‘Paki’ was a generic term for anyone with a brown skin in the 1970s, so now ‘Muslim’ serves much the same purpose for racists today. Far right politics has followed the blurring of boundaries between race and culture along with the rest of society. And it is also very easy to over-intellectualise what is essentially an emotional politics based on ignorance; particularly where the street racism of the EDL is concerned. They hate Muslims because they are brown, and because they are different, and because they follow a strange religion and build new mosques to practice it in; and for those who need to feel that there is more to their bigotry than just the fear and hatred of difference, it is because of the conspiracy theory that Muslims are trying to take over society. Conspiracy theories are the bedrock of racist politics. Modern antisemitism is based on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a hoax which tried to ‘prove’ that Jews were plotting to take over the world. No similar text exists to ‘convict’ Muslims of actively plotting world domination, so instead, some people – and here the term ‘Islamophobia’ is apposite – try to argue that the Quran is just such a document.

If you look beyond the specific language then the similarities should be obvious: this is the politics of hatred and division, which has nothing positive to offer any part of society. The fact that Muslims are the current target simply means that it is Muslims who should be the recipients of anti-racist solidarity. Nor should anybody be distracted by the bizarre sight of EDL demonstrators waving Israeli flags. They are no friends of the Jewish community, or of Israel.[]

In my view now, EDL and SIOE are two sides of the same coin of far right extremist populism. SIOE plays to a more upper class and petit bourgeois conservative audience, EDL to street fighters and football casuals, but they are essentially the same. They lack the ideological coherence and complexity of classical fascism, but they are heavily influenced by fascism. They are closely related, too, to the Euronationalism of Nick Griffin and Jorg Haider, which appears to be simple conservative populism on the outside but is Nazi to the core. Any “anti-German”, anti-anti-Zionist or anti-anti-imperialist who has any time for this shit is, well, completely beyond the pale.

All of this prompts me to provide a little more clarity about what this site is about, given another regret I now have: the title of the blog and my blogging identity. I am not German. I am not German-speaking. I have visited Germany, but that’s it. I am not an anti-German. I don’t really know any anti-Germans. I’ve not read more than a few articles in Bahamas.

I just find the anti-German critique of certain trends and tendancies in the anti-capitalist/anti-imperialist/anti-globalisation movement(s) interesting and useful. And I felt that there was a need for some of that analysis to be more widely disseminated in the anglophone radical scene, which was the mission of this blog originally. That’s all.

17 Responses to “Clarification: Anti-Germanism, Bahamas, the English Defence League, and the Gates of Vienna”

  1. Unfortunately i am afraid that many medias actually perceive the recent anti-semitic attacks in Sweden as being conducted from “ANTIFA” or “AFA”… but i am not that sure. i saw your post below for “national anarchists”, and ppl (MEDIAS!) need to get educated to not make such nasty mistakes. Because “NA” are anti-political WP terrorists, many of them are vegan (NS sXe), many of them support animal liberation… but ALL of them are violent WP terrrorists and ultraracists. they also use slogans as “workers unite”, “workers socialist union”, they also use Red/Black Flags, but they are NOT Antifa… so it’s really important for people (in medias mainly) to not create useless chaos for nothing.
    here the symbols of the “NA” fascists:
    if you see such symbols: you must know that they are not part from “Anti-Racist Action”. but unfortunately – populism is still part from TV night-news: and they want controversial news as “anti-racists attacked innocent jews” etc etc

  2. where is our “ANTIFA” brave spirit? why so many of us – love to create artificial divisions: “pro-sharia”, “pro-israel”, “pro-hamas”, “pro-zionists” etc etc
    ANTIFA recognize that we are all part from the “Human Race”. Religion create divisions. Many palestinians are anti-hamas and preffer Secual Palestine. Many jews are anti their far-right government and preffer secular Jewish state of Israel.
    If we ANTIFAs tolerate religious wars and “warriors” (jihadists/crusaders/zionist lions): modern fascists will take over a lot more easily their governments. Do you know how Natioanl Socialists (German Workers Party), won? Simply because – people were so divided. After the nazi revolution, political orientation did not had any meaning simply because – only one party was allowed “Democratic National Socialists”. For boosting the moral of germans: Himmler used pagan mass-parades, they gave them new religion “Aryan Fanaticism”. after that “baby-boom” followed. Many german babies were needed to replaced the dying german population from the nasty World War 2 battlefields… fanaticism gave them “baby-boom” and “democracy” (people really voted “yes” for Death Camps and Crematoriums). Now EU (and the world which will be affected globally after that) have the same tension felt before German NS taked over their government and establishing “Dictatorship”… but for german people everything was fine and dandy, they though that they live in trully democratic society (“thankfully” to Aryan propaganda of Hitler and mysticism taking over german hearths). If we ANTIFA allow already mentioned silly divisons: “pro/anti gay rights”, “pro/anti sharia”, “pro/anti israel” then we will lost, because our focus is very altered. Many ANTIFAs in juvenile fashion think that Conservative Right is the main enemy of EU, but do they know how many fascists infiltrated the left parties? i don’t, you neither… but it’s really frightening whats happening now. “Ideology” (white supremacy, aryan occultism) replaced our VISIBLE enemy – Conservative Ultra-rightwingers. Now the enemy is INVISIBLE and instead ANTIFA supporting: The Human Race, we are DIVIDED, when we need to be closer to each other than ever. Nuclear Attack for one night can change our world, so plz lets not allow such things.. sorry for my bad english, this is not my native language.

  3. I have continued to reflect on this, prompted by this comment from Waterloo Sunset:

    As a next step, I have now removed my link to Bahamas. I will think further before responding.

  4. I also removed one of the 2008 posts, not because it is to the most offensive website, but because it really added nothing, and I’m not sure why I ever linked to it. I have, for the moment, left two of the posts. The first (linking to Diana West), with my intro denouncing SIOE, gives an eyewitness account of antifa with, I think, good motivations attacking visibly Jewish people in a possibly antisemitic way, which, if credible, is worth observing at least. I will add a comment on that post on this. I welcome comments about Diana West, who seems at the zanier side of conservatism rather than to be part of the fascist milieu, but am willing to be corrected on that.

    The second (from Tundra Tabloids) is not offensive, but provacative, and gives a different negative account of the antifa.

    And I have removed the links to Gates of Vienna, which is an offensive website.

    This is also relevant:

  5. 5 djones

    “I welcome comments about Diana West, who seems at the zanier side of conservatism rather than to be part of the fascist milieu, but am willing to be corrected on that.”

    Fascinating perception. Diana West is “zany”. What do you think Diana West stands for?

  6. Well,I believe she stands for a paranoid, war-mongering, possibly racist crusade against European Muslims.

  7. “Well,I believe she stands for a paranoid, war-mongering, possibly racist crusade against European Muslims.” Diana West is “fluffy bunny”
    most conservatives are harmless. even “hardcore” islamic conservative are harmless.
    the thrat come from radicals. they even don’t need political orientation, just Ideology, Philosophy or Religion and they are ready for Terror.

  8. 8 djones

    Currently, Diana West has on her website a rant about how Fox News has gone “halal” because it had white populist demagogue, Glenn Beck, and neo-conservatives disingenuously and opportunistically distancing themselves from Geert Wilders. She’s talking about Fox News here, an outlet that 24 hours a day attacks brown and black people.

    Scroll down her site and she has a link to Vdare, a white nationalist site.

    You don’t have to know the history of Diana West’s writings to understand where she coming from. It becomes immediately clear from reading just about anything she writes on her website. There is no “possibility” here. She is a white nationalist, perhaps bourgeois, but certainly with fascist sympathies.

    I think the fact that you link to her and think she “maybe” is a racist says a lot about your politics and the trend you come from. It demonstrates a lot about how you see the world, i.e. what you perceive as “racist”, and what imagined social and ideological position you are defending.

    Fascism is not just for ideologues anymore, but is showing some signs of becoming a real living movement. The objective differences of the Neo-Conservatives and Right wing Social Democrats (and its variants on the radical left) are dissolving before our eyes. You want a “movement” against the “threat” of “Islamo-fascism” and you are getting one–the only one you could have got.

    I think the return with a vengeance of neo-Shachtmanite thought, which you clearly express, has to do with changes in the social structure of the West in the neo-liberal period, just as much as the birth of right wing social democratic thought and neo-conservativism had to do with the collapse of the Cold War liberal establishment in the 1960s.

  9. The objective differences of the Neo-Conservatives and Right wing Social Democrats (and its variants on the radical left) are dissolving before our eyes.

    Where have I heard this before? Oh yes, Third Period Stalinism, when Social Democratic “social fascism” was considered as bad as Hitler… But if this is correct, then what is the point of using the term “fascism” or considering oneself anti-fascist? Before long, you are down the road of Bordiga or Dauve – or worse, Jay Knott – where all “bourgeois” thought is “fascist” or equivalent to it, and anti-fascism dissolves away.

    I think the return with a vengeance of neo-Shachtmanite thought, which you clearly express, has to do with changes in the social structure of the West in the neo-liberal period, just as much as the birth of right wing social democratic thought and neo-conservativism had to do with the collapse of the Cold War liberal establishment in the 1960s.

    This is interesting. Can you explicate this a little?

  10. 10 Tim

    Bahamas has only ended up where it was inevitable that it would end up. You begin with a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the Israeli state and the role it plays in world imperialism. You ignore all that because the state that German anti-semites hate must be good. If it is a good state, then its wars are also good. And its critics must also be motivated by anti-semitism. If the USA supplies Israel with money and guns, the USA must be good. And so are the USA’s wars. You do not question why you are out of step with the entire international left. Each step, logical in itself, takes you further away from the movements you once belonged to. You start to adopt the ideology of your new idols, and their hate figures. You align yourself with the most aggressively nationalist sections of US and Israeli politics, and it does not cause any self-questioning. And finally you give your backing to gangs of racist thugs.

    The other “Anti-Germans” may distance themselves from Bahamas, but they share the same basic misunderstanding of the world that leads to such disastrous conclusions. Credit to those who jump off at each successive lurch to the right, remembering that they were once leftists. But they are not more correct in their analysis than the Bahamas fascists – they are just less consistent.

  11. Tim, you are right to the extent that anti-Germanism is a negation of German nationalism and follows this logic. However, as far I understand it, large currents of the anti-German movement, if movement is not too grand a word, as well as some of the currents that have emerged out of it, have a more subtle and sophisticated analysis than simply to valorise everything opposed by German nationalism. For example, the group around Ca Ira have quite a different understanding, rather than simply being inconsistently anti-German.

    It is also worth thinking about how many on the conventional “anti-imperialist” left follow the same logic in the other direction. Those who see USA and/or Israel as the font of all evil and end up supporting regimes like Iran’s which are fundamentally anti-emancipatory, and indeed often regional imperialist powers. Again, no self-questioning.

    Finally, a note on the “you” in your comment and djones’ – I thought I made it clear in this post that I am not now and never have been an anti-German, simply set up this blog to find out what is worth exploring and translating into the English-speaking anti-capitalist movement where I am myself situated, given the prevalance of the un-self-questioning hatred of Israel among my own comrades and friends.

  12. you are right to the extent that anti-Germanism is a negation of German nationalism and follows this logic. However, as far I understand it,

  1. 1 Clarification: Anti-Germanism, Bahamas, the English Defence League, and the Gates of Vienna | apples from the Underground
  2. 2 News from Malmo « Anti-National Translation
  3. 3 Looking back at 2011 « Anti-National Translation
  4. 4 keylogger download free

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