Smash the National Front!

Anti-Fascist Protest in Wellington

On 23 October 2004, 40 fascists from the New Zealand National Front (NF) held a rally in Wellington. These thugs, who had been responsible for a series of racist attacks on immigrant youth and the desecration of two Jewish cemeteries in the preceding months, sought to present themselves as defenders of the current New Zealand flag and opponents of crime.

A counter-demonstration organized by Multi-Cultural Aotearoa (MCA), an ad hoc anti-fascist bloc, drew more than 2,000 participants. The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, leftist, Maori and minority organizations as well as prominent actors, artists and other public figures endorsed the protest.

Some elements of the MCA were anxious to avoid confronting the NF, but many protesters felt differently. When the fascists began their provocation, they were surrounded by “scary fairies” who threw insults and glitter in their faces. Somewhat later, the fascists were routed by more traditional means. One of those who did not manage to escape sustained a cut on his forehead and was escorted by the police through a crowd of mocking leftists. Many of the anti-fascists took up the chant initiated by our comrades: “Arab, Asian, Maori, White—Workers of the World Unite!”

The following remarks were made at the MCA rally on behalf of the International Bolshevik Tendency by comrade Adaire Hannah:

Today has been a victory. We have shown the National Front that it has no place here and that no matter how it tries to downplay its true politics, no matter how many little old ladies and men it offers to protect, its members are scum who must be prevented from spreading its filth about race, homosexuality, trade unions and communists.

Right now the National Front is presenting a dual face. On the one hand, flexing its muscle by attacking migrants, and on the other hand, standing for local and national government by trying to disguise its true programme. This dual face is giving the NF some grief as it finds it is difficult to explain away the symbols and programme of fascism. It is vital that we—workers, ethnic communities, communists and gays—remain vigilant and not be lulled into thinking that the National Front is too small or irrelevant or that it is not currently targeting the particular community to which we, as individuals, belong.

We must remember Martin Niemöller’s words in 1945:

“First they came for the Communists,
“And I didn’t speak up
“Because I wasn’t a Communist

“Then they came for me
“And by that time there was no one
“Left to speak up for me.”

But we must also remember that fascism has a role to play in capitalist society. When, at some point in the future, the Labour Party and trade-union bureaucrats are no longer able to restrain the working class, no longer able to assist the capitalists to extract even greater profits, then the capitalists will turn to the fascist scum to smash the organisations of the working class. So it is vital that workers today staunchly defend communities from attacks by the National Front, forming defence squads as necessary.

The weaker the National Front is made today, the smaller and less effective it will be as a tool of the capitalist class in the future. It is also necessary for workers to fight for demands such as stopping racist immigration laws, and for a workers’ government that will lay the foundations of a society without profit, sexism, racism or poverty.

Posted: 06 April 2005
Published: 1917 No.27 (May 2005)