Anti-Immigrant and Anti-Semitic Rhetoric: The Same Today as Just After WWII

I’ve been reading Dave Renton’s article on the police and Fascist and Anti-Fascist street demonstrations in the years 1945-51 in Lobster 35. Renton’s one of the leading lights of the Socialist Workers’ Party, and has contributed a number of pieces to Lobster over the years. The article is about the way the police acted to protect the meetings of Oswald Mosley’s Union Movement from anti-Fascist protests and demonstrations when it was founded just after the Second World War.

What struck me is that while the police have done much to root out the culture of racism – I’ve got friends and family in the police, who are very definitely not racist – some of the xenophobic rhetoric from the Fascists themselves remains strikingly unchanged. For example, Renton quotes an anti-Semitic comment from the area where Mosley started campaigning again as saying that the reason there was so much infant mortality was because all the hospitals were full up with ‘alien’ refugees. It reminded me very strongly of some of the comments made about the Health Service being placed under similar pressure from immigration. The only difference is that in the early post-War years, the refugees were people displaced from their European homes by the War. Now, they’re likely to be Syrians fleeing the War there, as well as other asylum seekers from around the world.

Hope Not Hate have put up a piece listing the 1,530 extreme Right-wing candidates around the country standing for the elections on Thursday. This includes not just members of the Fascist Right, but also UKIP, who are doing their best to stoke up xenophobia and have provided a home for members of the Nazi Right, despite Farrage’s protests and policies to the contrary. Let’s make sure that they don’t win.

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