The Plague In Town

He knew what those jubilant crowds did not know but could have learned from books: that the plague bacillus never dies or disappears for good; that it can lie dormant for years and years in furniture and linen-chests; that it bides its time in bedrooms, cellars, trunks, and bookshelves; and that perhaps the day would come when, for the bane and the enlightening of men, it would rouse up its rats again and send them forth to die in a happy city.

– Albert Camus, The Plague

When I read about the Norway killer, I am struck by how mainstream he sounds.

Anders Behring’s obsessive rants about political correctness, immigration and multicuilturalism would not be out of place in newspaper comment threads. In some papers Behring’s views would not be out of place above the line.

Nick links to an online profile of Behring, compiled from a trawl of various fascist talkboards. He points out that the conspiracy theory Behring subscribed to – that the Labour Party tried to stay in power forever by mass immigration and forced multiculturalism – originally surfaced last year, and was promoted by rightwing broadsheet pundits. I covered the story, prompted by other leftwing bloggers.

Behring, who has just confessed to the murders, is an admirer of the BNP and also claimed links with the EDL.

When this happened many people leapt to the assumption that Islamists were responsible. It was a fair assumption to make, given the Islamist track record of cruelty and violence.

But police in the UK have warned of a far right terror threat for years. In July 2009 West Yorkshire police raided a neo-Nazi cell and seized guns, grenades, pipe bombs, and rocket launchers. In May 2009 BNP member Terence Gavan was arrested after a similar arsenal was found at his home. Neil Lewington was jailed because he had a bomb-making factory and neo-Nazi literature in his home. There are more. I recommend reading the Standing/Meleagrou-Hitchens report for similar cases. Many of the individuals involved were investigated for unrelated reasons – police stumbled across one cache of weapons while investigating the offender for paedophile material. The only difference between these men and Anders Behring is that Behring’s plan worked.

One of these days, a British Behring equivalent will get lucky. Norway’s cities are our cities. As Lenny Henry says every Comic Relief: Forget geography. These are your neighbours.

There are people in this country who portray British fascism as an understandable reaction to globalisation and immigration – the cry of the dispossessed working class. These people say we should ‘engage’ with the BNP and the EDL, rather than ‘demonise’ them. Some are just well meaning and stupid. Others want to legitimise certain types of racism for short term political gain. For example, Labour peer Lord Glasman has argued that we should encourage EDL supporters to join the Labour Party.

To these people, it has to be said: you have no idea, just no idea, of what you’re dealing with. You are out of your depth and drowning fast.

To those who can talk about nothing but immigration and political correctness. Those who wail for the lost silo nation swamped by multicultural decadence. Grow the fuck up, accept that you don’t always get what you want and that you don’t always get the society you like or understand. Accept that times change and we must change with them. Above all, do we not have enough trouble and sadness in the world? Even without this? Is there not enough unhappiness and suffering?

To the far leftists who gloat because for once their favoured killers are not responsible for a major world atrocity. Neo-Nazi killers differ from Islamist killers only in skin pigmentation. Sometimes, not even then. They both hate gays, and women, and Jews, and most Asians. Both represent the forces of sameness, changelessness, and purity. Put another way, both represent the forces of evil.

We think of fascism as a cold and glittering totalitarian efficiency. But in manifest it is just as often scenes of chaos and devastation, streets of dust and ash, triage tents, dead children, people sitting on pavements and sobbing into their hands. That’s what it leads to. The plague cannot create. It destroys. Unable to build, the plague destroys.

Defend the happy city. Death to fascism.

Update: The EDL respond.

This afternoon, I called Tommy Robinson, the E.D.L.’s leader, who called Breivik a ‘nutcase,’ but said that European politicians risked similar atrocities if they didn’t start addressing ‘the fucking elephant in the room.’ ‘I think it was predictable,’ Robinson said of the attack. ‘I think it’s disgusting, and my thoughts and prayers are with all the victims. We don’t want English lads blowing themselves up on our soil, but that will happen if they don’t give us a platform.’ He continued, ‘I don’t think any of them understand the undercurrent of anger. He’s just a sick lone individual, but you’ve got a lot of angry people. And if British politicians don’t learn from this, God forbid, it might happen again.’

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2 Responses to “The Plague In Town”

  1. David K Says:

    “There are people in this country who portray British fascism as an understandable reaction to globalisation and immigration – the cry of the dispossessed working class. These people say we should ‘engage’ with the BNP and the EDL, rather than ‘demonise’ them. Some are just well meaning and stupid. Others want to legitimise certain types of racism for short term political gain.”

    Sigh…. there are different types of people in the BNP and EDL, and they are different again from the people who vote for the BNP or will be persuaded to sign petitions against mosque building.
    And of course it’s understandable – it isn’t rational, it’s not anything we can agree with or sympathise with, the people who think that way are at best foolish, ignorant and misguided, (at worst they are the Admiral Duncan Pub bombers) but it’s understandable.
    Far right movements always start with a real world, rational problem – then they give people a simple, powerful but irrational explanations and solutions.
    I’ve met plenty of people who have absorbed the standard tabloid myths about immigrants, political correctness, “muslims” et al
    and in consequence they are sympathetic to the far right…
    I assume you read the fear and hope report?
    http://www.fearandhope.org.uk/project-report/new-tribes

    To think that everyone with far right opinions is a potential Anders Behring is a stupid as to think they are all dear old un-PC grand-dads who are just nostalgic for the better, whiter Britain of the past. You deal with different people in different ways…
    >the hardcore who just enjoy hate and violence, and only want a political justification for it, you deal with like any other violent criminal – the police should track them down and beat them up.
    >you cut away mainstream support by offering real explanations and solutions to their real and perceived problems, and then solve them using democratic means.
    >you don’t solve the problem by writing “death to fascism!” on your blog – that does nothing except make you and your confident multilateralist friends feel good about themselves.

    • maxdunbar Says:

      We had this conversation on Twitter didn’t we?

      Again – do you want to walk around EDL demos with a clipboard to distinguish the ‘different types’ of fascist? Maybe you could ask them to wear stickers saying ‘Nice EDL supporter’ or ‘Terrorist EDL supporter’ so we can differentiate them?

      As I said on Twitter – if you think there is anything to be gained from this pointless kind of outreach work then by all means go to an EDL demo and ‘engage’ with them. If you survive we can pick up the debate

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