Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 3 August 2011

Anti-EDL demonstration in Tower Hamlets, photo East London Socialist Party

Anti-EDL demonstration in Tower Hamlets, photo East London Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

Editorial of the Socialist

Norway: right wing terrorist killings

United working class struggle needed

The terrible mass killings carried out by far right activist Anders Breivik have horrified the world. In Norway itself - a country of less than five million people - more than 250,000 took to the streets of Oslo to express their outrage, with smaller demonstrations taking place in every town across the country.

This was one of the biggest terrorist attacks in European history. The massive bomb in Oslo, which killed seven, was a deliberate 'diversionary' tactic to allow the killer time to carry out the cold-blooded murder of 85 participants in the Norwegian Labour Party's youth camp.

In the hours after the killings took place most of the world's capitalist media suggested it was al-Qa'ida, or some other brand of right wing political Islam, which was responsible for the atrocity. Once it became clear that the killer was a far right political Christian, much of the capitalist media have followed the line of the killer's lawyer, that Breivik is "insane".

Whatever Breivik's psychological state, it is clear from the 1,500 page screed that he emailed to far right activists before he went on his killing spree that he had developed his ideas as an activist in far right politics. Breivik had a history of membership of, or support for, a series of far right organisations. Until recently he had been involved in Norway's far right populist Progress Party. He has also claimed to be inspired by the English Defence League (EDL) and the Dutch racist politician Geert Wilders.

Hatred for Islam, along with what he calls 'cultural Marxism', is central to his 'ideology'. In reality, his ideas and outlook are a mirror image of al-Qa'ida's, not least his hatred of Marxism and of the left, but also in his looking back to a mythical feudal society, in his case via his claim to be a continuation of the Knights Templar (Christian aristocrats central to the invasion and occupation of Jerusalem in the 12th and 13th centuries).

He even mirrored the 9/11 bombers in his declaration that he did not have relationships with woman, in order to concentrate on his cause, but, similarly to them, had put 2,000 aside to pay for a prostitute before his killing spree.

It is no surprise that there is an attempt to avoid discussing what social forces created Breivik by branding him as mentally ill. Breivik is a product of 21st century capitalism. Almost a decade ago, US imperialism, backed by British imperialism, used the appalling 9/11 terrorist attack as a justification to invade Afghanistan and especially Iraq. Inevitably, the deluge of propaganda defending these occupations has increased racism, most sharply against Muslims.

This has been one factor in the growth in electoral support of far right, racist parties in a number of countries across Europe. In Norway the racist Progress Party won more than one-fifth of the national vote in the latest parliamentary election, in 2009. In a horrible irony its 2005 election campaign poster showed a dark-skinned man holding a gun, with the slogan "the perpetrator is of foreign origin".

Electoral growth of far right

Norway is not alone - in Sweden the far right Sweden Democrats entered parliament for the first time in the last general election, while Denmark's Folkparty, which recently ran a racist campaign under the slogan "Give us Denmark back," secured 14% of the vote in a 2007 election and has since been a influential coalition partner in government. In France the leader of the far right National Front is on 19% in polls for the presidential elections, while the Freedom Party in Austria is at a new electoral high.

These parties have all whipped up racism and nationalism, helping to create the conditions in which small grouplets or individuals turn to reactionary violence. Where these parties gain an electoral base all workers suffer as a result, but particularly those from ethnic and national minorities, as the vicious anti-immigrant policies of Berlusconi's government in Italy show all too clearly.

However, dangerous as this is, this does not represent fascism coming to power, the conditions for which do not exist. While the working class has suffered setbacks, it has not undergone a fundamental defeat resulting in its atomisation.

The far right parties today have emerged as electoral phenomena, not as paramilitary forces on the lines of the fascist militias of Hitler and Mussolini. Very often these parties have been able to make electoral gains by winning protest votes from sections of workers, who, in the absence of any mass political voice for the working class, are looking for a means to express their anger, which has been enormously intensified by the economic crisis.

It is not a coincidence that across Europe these parties have made their biggest electoral gains in areas which were previously strongholds for Social Democratic or Labour Parties. The transformation of these parties - including the Norwegian Labour Party - into parties of big business has left an enormous vacuum which far right forces are attempting to take advantage of.

Whatever its limits, the electoral growth of far right forces has inevitably given confidence to far right violent grouplets or thugs, of which Breivik is the ultimate example. This does not mean, unfortunately, that the electoral undermining of the far right - which is a likely consequence in Norway, at least in the short term, of the popular outrage at the killings - will necessarily lead to a disappearance of perpetrators of far right violence.

On the contrary, the growth of the EDL in Britain is in part a consequence of the electoral setbacks suffered by the far right BNP, which has led to a section of the BNP giving up on 'respectable' politics and returning to street fighting.

The danger the EDL or other similar forces could potentially represent in the future is also shown by its attitude to the Norway killings. While two official EDL statements condemn them, in reality its response has been more equivocal.

For example, the EDL's leader, Stephen Lennon, himself convicted last week of leading a fight at a football match, declared: "I know how incensed people are at the threat of Islam. This is not a threat but in five to ten years we will have English lads blowing themselves up."

The EDL has been able to win some angry working class support, particularly on the question of unemployment. Over the last two years EDL demonstrations have attempted to intimidate and sometimes physically attack Asian communities and also, on a small number of occasions trade union and socialist meetings.

At this stage big business sees the far right thugs as an irritating nuisance. However, in a period of heightened class struggle they can be prepared to make use of them as auxiliary forces against the workers' movement.

Trade union initiatives

In London recently the railway workers' union, the RMT, has taken an initiative to begin to organise trade union stewarding of socialist and anti-fascist events, in order to protect them from the thugs of the EDL. It is very important that this is developed on a national and cross-union basis over the next period.

It is also essential that the trade union movement mobilises against the far right on a clear working class programme. The struggle against the far right has to be linked to the growing movement against cuts, and in defence of decent pay, jobs and services. The 750,000 workers who marched against cuts on 26 March are a potentially powerful force that could defeat the far right in Britain, if mobilised around a clear programme.

By contrast, the far right will never be defeated by forming a united block between the trade unions and the mainstream capitalist politicians. It is those mainstream capitalist parties which have fuelled the growth of the far right.

Capitalist governments across Europe have, to one degree or another, generated racism and anti-immigrant feeling in order to divert attention from the catastrophic cuts in workers' living standards resulting from their policies and the crisis of their system. Cameron's 5 February statement speech against 'multiculturalism', on a day when the EDL marched, was a clear example of this.

Even when the establishment politicians try to cut across the far right their strategy for doing so is to steal the far right's clothes, thereby only increasing their confidence. New Labour repeatedly did this when it was in power, leading to the leader of the BNP, Nick Griffin, calling one Labour home secretary David Blunkett, "the BNP's best recruitment sergeant".

The development of genuine mass workers' parties - that can unite all sections of the working class in a common struggle against racism and in defence of all workers' interests - will be the most powerful weapon in the battle to politically defeat the far right.

Keep the EDL out of Tower Hamlets

No to racist division: Unite to defend jobs and services
Support United East End demonstration
3 September, assemble 11am
Weavers Fields, London, E2 6HW

Nearest underground station: Bethnal Green

Join Youth Against Racism in Europe and Youth Fight for Jobs on the demo

The English Defence League (EDL) plans to march through Tower Hamlets in East London on 3 September. EDL 'boot boys' plan to sow racial division, particularly against Muslims, in an area where they have little or no support.

This clear provocation, in a borough that has seen off attempts by far right and neo-Nazi groups in the past, follows on last year's threat to protest in the borough. The EDL withdrew its threat to march mainly due to mass opposition. But 5,000 mainly local youth and trade unionists still demonstrated to show the EDL is not welcome in the borough.

It is the local community including trade unionists and socialists who have defeated far right, racist groups every time.

Youth Against Racism in Europe:
Youth Fight for Jobs:

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


In The Socialist 3 August 2011:

Fighting the cuts


Building a workers' political alternative to the establishment parties

Opposing the far right

Norway: right wing terrorist killings

Waltham Forest: a victory for unity

Socialist Party NHS campaigning

NHS cuts from a nurse's viewpoint

Gloucestershire NHS

International socialist news and analysis

Eurozone and USA - Debt crisis

Kazakhstan oil strike: solidarity urgent

Syria: State unleashes new terror

Spain:"Throwing a shoe at the system"

Socialist Party workplace news


Reinstate Paddy Brennan!

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Party youth and students


Socialist Party news and campaigns

Disability rights

The great PFI schools rip off - once again!

News in brief

Socialist Party review

Ragged Trousered Philanthropists

Socialist Party feature

Llanelli railway riots 1911


Home   |   The Socialist 3 August 2011   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:

Far right:

triangleCardiff West Socialist Party: The danger of the far right

triangleSwansea Socialist Party: The danger of the far right today

triangleBradford Socialist Party: Hungary and the threat of the far right

triangleLeeds Socialist Party: The far right threat

Working class:

triangleLifting the lockdown: workers must not pay the price

triangleLessons from the Corbyn experience

triangleLenin at 150: A revolutionary life - and the relevance of his ideas for today

triangleLabour must resist 'Covid coalition'


triangleTommy Robinson BBC demo: socialist fightback needed to undermine far right

triangleStand up against abuse - justice not racism

triangleHuddersfield Socialist Party opposes racist EDL


triangleStreatham attack: Johnson's bill can't stop terror

triangleNew Zealand mosque terror atrocity


triangleScandinavian Airlines walkout disrupts Nordic air travel


triangleTowards an anti-racist school curriculum


triangleFrom slavery to Black Lives Matter - racism and capitalist injustice exposed




triangle25 years since 50,000 marched against the far-right threat


triangleNo to terrorism! No to racism! No to war!

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis



Tory full return to school plans gamble with lives


Trans rights

Yes to self-identity



Plastic waste ignored



Tories put profit before lives



A socialist NHS fit for heroes


Labour Party

Workers need a new mass party to defend their interests



News in brief


Tory party

Capitalism and corruption go hand in hand



Boris's new big deal



Benefits system being used to force return to unsafe workplaces



A new movement for system change



Act now to cancel Covid crisis rents and debt


South Wales

Victory for Royal Glamorgan A&E!



Lifting the lockdown: workers must not pay the price


Young people

Young people fighting back: Jobs and homes, not racism

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041



Alphabetical listing

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020