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Fascists on the cultural level

category france / belgium / luxemburg | anti-fascism | opinion / analysis author Thursday May 24, 2012 00:17author by Alternative Libertaire - Banlieue Nord-Ouest Report this post to the editors

On 24 March last at Vernouillet (Yvelines, north-central France), local activists from AL and other revolutionary and progressive organizations (NPA, Attac, Front de Gauche, Europe Écologie Les Verts, etc.) engaged in political action to counteract the organization of a fascist concert. [Français]

Fascists on the cultural level

On 24 March last at Vernouillet (Yvelines, north-central France), local activists from AL and other revolutionary and progressive organizations (NPA, Attac, Front de Gauche, Europe Écologie Les Verts, etc.) engaged in political action to counteract the organization of a fascist concert.

Cynically, behind the music label of "Working Class Heroes" there lies Serge Ayoub and his tiny Troisième Voie (Third Way) group. As demonstrated by the Fafwatch site, the operation of ideological covering-up being carried on by the far right continues. Under cover of "socialist" words, for the benefit of the (French) "workers", it is nonetheless, and obviously, the crassest nationalism.

The fascists of Troisième Voie thus only managed to rent a private concert room under false pretences, unknown to the owner. But, despite billing notoriously racist music groups, or openly Nazi ones (the band Condemned 84 refuses to play in the presence of people of colour), tickets were distributed without no questions asked by major supermarkets in the area, mostly made up of national chains like Fnac, Carrefour, etc. Not content with trying to get its foot in the political door, Troisième Voie is also trying to attract followers from the punk and skin counterculture, part of which is active in the daily struggle against the pernicious influence of fascists.

Despite these different attempts and thanks to the vigilance of the comrades from AL in Britanny, the concert did not go unnoticed. Anti-fascists did the best they could to prevent it from taking place, or at least disrupt it. But the relative isolation of our militants and the lack of an effective local network makes street opposition difficult to organize. We were thus forced to "enlist" the help of the local (Socialist Party) mayor.

Fascists in disguise march on

The town council responded quickly, conscientiously and courageously (a rare enough event to be reported!), by banning the concert. But that was without taking into consideration the counter-attack by Ayoub & Co., who appealed the decision to the Administrative Court of Versailles. The judge ruled in their favour and allowed the concert, despite the risks to "public order" set out by the town council. The council, supported by members of an ad hoc collective, held a public meeting to denounce the court's decision and lay bare the real face of the organizers for the benefit of the local population.

This was quite an unusual event in the suburbs and deserves the attention of anti-fascist militants, as both the methods used and the underlying strategy are indicative of a new development by the far right, far from the neighborhoods it usually favours.

Sounding the terrain

The events should make us reflect on our approach to the struggle against fascism in these areas, far from the major urban centres. It is clear that the choice by Troisième Voie to organize a concert in Vernouillet is no accident. Despite its very limited success - about a hundred spectators - this is a first sounding out of the area, to promote fascism in the youth culture of this distant banlieue. Not only are concerts and other cultural events rare or inaccessible here, but the situation in these regions is worsening as the social divide widens between the residential suburbs and the housing estates, the middle-class towns and working-class towns.

Neither rural nor urban, these areas which alternate and criss-cross each other in the Val d'Oise and Yvelines, are bursting with unemployment and job insecurity. The virtual absence of militant solidarity networks is thus proving to be a fertile ground for the far right. The results of the coordination of various groups involved in the fight against fascism are interesting, and will need to be reinforced.

But this is so far primarily a "republican" opposition, far removed in terms of ideas and practices from the radical, class-struggle anti-fascism that we want to bring. Our programme: to break the isolation of anti-fascists, to strengthen their links with groups located in the major urban centres and consider building a network on the ground, closer to the population and based on education work and regular publicity of the struggle against fascism, so that in that banlieue as elsewhere, the street will stand in the way of the fascists: no pasarán!

Alternative Libertaire
Banlieue Nord-Ouest

Translation by FdCA-International Relations Office

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