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May Day Challenge to Fascism

30/04/10

AntifaIn schools around Ireland, fascism is treated as a relic of a bygone age, to be picked over in the glib way that historians are apt to do.

However, throughout the world the far right is organising and planning. In Germany, a large number of organisations lay claim to the despicable heritage of Hitler and the Nazi party. Only with active resistance and direct action are these thugs kept off the streets.

This May Day will see the neo-Nazis attempt to mobilise thousands of their supporters for marches in cities throughout Germany in order to undermine the traditional left-wing May Day celebrations. They will be resisted by Germany’s strong anti-fascist movement, Antifa, who plan to implement the policy of denying the Nazis the use of the streets.

In Berlin, a blockade has been organised with activists meeting at nine in the morning to prepare to tackle the fascists. The route of the Nazi march is, at present, uncertain and so the Antifa will respond by adjusting their plans as the day develops. They are confident that they can succeed.

On the same weekend as the blockade, there will be a mobilisation against a well known meeting point for Berlin Nazis.

Just over a year ago, a new pub, The Executioner, opened in the Schoneweide area of Berlin. Since then, Nazis have had a focal point for their concerts, meetings and campaigning. The local population have lived through a year of vicious assaults, intimidating marches and racist propaganda.

Anti-fascist activists from Berlin have had enough and they have called a major demonstration for tonight [Friday] to close this centre for hate. Below are the details of some of the most outrageous activities which have happened within this Nazi base in the area:

  • On the eve of the pub opening in February 2009 a police raid found that a number of Nazi symbols were on display. The pub was closed, but only temporarily.
  • As early as the first week of March 2009 large groups of Nazis are seen meeting in the pub and they have begun putting up stickers and posters in the area. A Swastika has been burned onto the window of a gallery owned by an immigrant.
  • On May Day 2009, many of Berlin’s leading Nazis assemble at the pub before leaving for their march. Throughout the rest of May, various activities are organised from the bar, such as countryside walks and five-a-side soccer tournaments for Berlin Nazis.
  • In June, a Mongolian artist who has been attacked and abused on a number of occasions gives up the lease he has on local offices and moves premises. The pub continues to be a centre for far right activity, with 50 people attending a concert by a right-wing singer songwriter.
  • July 2009, three men are arrested at the pub because they have tattoos visible of Nazi symbols which are now banned. The youngest of the three, a 22-year-old, attacks the police with a bar stool. When he is subdued, he is found to be carrying a knuckle duster. On another night, anti-fascist activists observe approximately 50 members of the Nazi National Resistance meeting in the pub.
  • In early October, after assaults on local residents by Nazis, The Executioner is attacked by outraged citizens. The Nazis respond with attacks on Jewish offices and left-wing marches. An 18-year-old is viscously beaten by four Nazis on their way home from a related protest.
  • By November, the Nazis are becoming braver and launch attacks directly from the bar. At the local underground station, local anti-fascist activists manning an information stall are attacked by 10 Nazis who emerge from the pub.
  • In December, the activities of the bar regulars is even more brazen. One local anti-fascist is followed and photographed by a group of Nazis who use the bar as their base. On another night, local residents are attacked by 20 Nazis who charge from the bar armed with stones, bottles and knives.

Left-wing activists have an obligation to challenge fascism wherever it is found to be organising. When public meetings are attacked, marches prevented and activists assaulted, this intimidation must be resisted. In order to have a space for left-wing alternatives to grow, fascism must be eradicated. Hopefully, direct action and mass mobilisations will leave the ambitions of this generation of Nazis where they should rightfully be: in the dustbin of history. Good luck to Germany’s Antifa over the May Day weekend.

 

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