Today, the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) enters the debate on how best to combat extremism by publishing two thought provoking pieces on IRR News.
Anti-racism and anti-fascism should be core values of a liberal and democratic society. But what if the contrary happens? What if anti-racism and anti-fascism are treated in policy and law enforcement circles as just another form of extremism?
Liz Fekete, who is one of Europe’s foremost experts on European fascism and author of Pedlars of Hate: the violent impact of the European far Right, questions whether government policy approaches are masking the multi-dimensional and pan-European nature of contemporary fascism. In ‘Anti-fascism or Anti-Extremism‘, Liz Fekete outlines the problems inherent in the frameworks developed by influential anti-extremist think-tanks and university departments, further noting the dangers that occur when police and intelligence services get too close to the far Right. She warns that anti-extremist experts, albeit unintentionally, may be strengthening calls from European extreme-Right and anti-immigrant parliamentarians, now openly advocating bans on Left parties and criminalisation of anti-fascists.
In a separate piece published today, ‘Is anti-fascism being criminalised‘ a young anti-fascist activist reports on upward of 340 arrests of anti-fascists in London over the space of just three months. There is growing concern amongst UK civil libertarians about the policing of anti-fascism, with tactics such as ‘snatch squads’ and restrictive bail conditions for those arrested lending credence to a belief that opposition to far-right street movements is now effectively criminalised in the UK.