No2ID – with friends like these, who needs enemies?

All leftists of a certain age will remember Grunwicks. In 1977, 90 Asian women working for this photo processing plant joined a union and went on strike against appalling pay and conditions. For this they were sacked. A bitter dispute followed, in which Grunwicks’ management were aided and abetted by a shady organisation called the National Association for Freedom. This far right bosses’ club had been founded two years before by the ultra-reactionary McWhirter brothers (of Guinness Book of Records fame); besides its strike-busting activities, the NAFF were wholehearted supporters of the apartheid regime in South Africa. Indeed, one of the NAFF’s founders, Alec Bedser, was the man who left mixed-race cricketer Basil D’Oliveira out of the England team to appease the South Africans.

In 1980 the National Association for Freedom became the Freedom Association. With Thatcher doing the NAFF’s work in crushing trade union rights, they could afford to keep a lower profile. After the Tories lost power, however, the Freedom Association was back on the march, defending the right of fascists to free speech and parents to hit children; opposing immigration, climate campaigns, ‘political correctness’, EU membership and atheism.

It’s a general rule of thumb in politics that anyone who includes the word ‘freedom’ in their name is an enemy of it. The Freedom Association, a capitalist organisation with strong links to the Conservative party, care only about their freedom to exploit; when they defend civil liberties, it is their own right to conduct their own affairs in secrecy with which they are concerned.

Which brings us to the campaign against ID cards, No2ID: a campaign uniting Respect, the Green Party, Liberty, the SWP front Globalise Resistance, the Scottish Labour party, a wide variety of socialists and anarchists and. . .the Freedom Association.

It is a fair bet that many of those involved in the campaign against ID cards are unaware of their far right allies. That’s not surprising when No2ID has no national events and exists as little more that a lobbying organisation. But then, when a campaign is trying to hold together totally incompatible political forces, how else could it operate?

Nor are the Freedom Association the only far-right bigots involved in No2ID. UKIP are on board, as are the so-called ‘English Democrats’, featuring one Gary Bushell, who believe every town hall should be forced to fly the flag of St George and that asylum seekers should effectively be banned from the UK.

Only the most myopic single-issue campaigner could believe the fight against ID cards justifies unity with such forces.

While the introduction of ID cards would undoubtedly be a significant erosion of our freedoms, they have to be seen in the context of a generalised attack on civil liberties which is a universal feature of modern capitalism. In order to prosecute neo-liberal policies, the capitalist class had first and foremost to shackle the ability of workers to fight back. Partly thanks to the intervention of the NAFF, UK workers lost the right to call immediate walkouts, to mass picket, to secondary picket, to call solidarity action, or to hold on to their funds if they defied the law. The loss of these rights have fundamentally shaped the world we live in today and paved the way for further attacks.

It is essential that anyone concerned with defending civil liberties recognises the enemy: not just the Brown government, but the capitalist class it serves. If Labour are trounced at the next election, Cemeron’s nice-guy image will vanish overnight, and the David Davises of this world will happily take up the baton to whip up the fear of terrorists and hatred of asylum-seekers in order to justify greater state surveillance of its potential enemies. The Tories may well decide ID cards can be sacrificed – but the database state will march on, the Forward Intelligence Teams will continue to video demonstrators, and the anti-union laws will if necessary be strengthened.

Apologists for the involvement of the far right in No2ID might also cast a glance at the situation in Italy, where the far-right Northern League and National Alliance are coalition partners in Berlusconi’s government. Their commitment to the civil liberties of Romanies currently involves fingerprinting every one of them.

This Friday in Cardiff a number of artists and bands are playing a gig in support of No2ID. PR are unequivocally opposed to ID cards and believe in effective action in stopping their introduction. That will not occur while the campaign lends credibility to the class enemy and is hamstrung in the process. We have contacted all those involved in the No2ID gig to ask if they are willing to make a statement against the FA, EDP etc. We have also contacted the organisers who have defended the links with the far right. We need to cause them to think again.

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42 Responses to No2ID – with friends like these, who needs enemies?

  1. Laura says:

    Silly. Do you not see that those on the right will be as appalled by notoid being affiliated to the far left (RAN, Socialist parties etc) as you are that people on the right are affiliated. If they cut off one side, they have to cut off the other as well. Then what would they be left with?

    If you want to continue to fight the capitalist class, it’s going to get a lot harder if the transformational government agenda gets through. Anyway, it’s pretty much a dead cert that we’re going to have a Tory government after the next election, if they don’t have friends, ears and influence on the right as well as the left, how on earth are they going to be able to effect policy in any meaningful way?

  2. Solly says:

    Hey people!

    This is a guy that has put all his effort into disrupting all efforts made by Cardiff NO2ID to raise awareness about the ID scheme and the very scary (to me at least) National Database.

    NO2ID is a 1 issue campaign.
    end of story.

    1 issue as the name says: NO 2 ID
    meaning NO to the national database and the ID scheme as put forward to start tagging all British citizens.

    If an organisation wants to state that they are also against this scheme or provide a link to our website, that’s up to them.
    Following and promoting our campaign are: Anarchists, socialists, comunists, labour and torie supporters, liberal democrats and many others.
    We welcome them all, unless they want to disrupt and make erroneous associations that supporting us will also mean supporting another group or set of beliefs.

    It’s mere BULL SHIT.

    And if this is John Blake stop contacting all the bands because all your doing is wasting your time. NO2ID will not shut up because of your ridiculous articles.

  3. Colin says:

    Very clever phoning all the bands trying to convince them we’re sympathetic to the nazis or somesuch.

    Well done attempting to sabotage other peoples’ particularly valid protest attempts.

    The opinion of the SWP or whatever communist nonsense you are supporting has gone down dramatically.

  4. permanentrevolution says:

    The friend of civil liberties who tells us to ‘stop contacting all the bands’ and says we are welcome in the campaign as long as we don’t make ‘erroneous associations’ has also deleted our link to this site on the Cardiff NO2ID Facebook page.

    Fortunately most of the 1000+ people who read this blog every month know our commitment to the democratic process and basic liberty run rather deeper.

    Well done, Solly, you’ve just made our case for us.

  5. Solly says:

    just admit that your for ID cards and were dandy.
    Say it.

    Say:
    I am for the NATIONAL DATABASE STATE and the ID SCHEME that fingerprints, makes iris scans, reads biometrics and contains 48 categories of personal information because I don’t care about PRIVACY.

    Then we can all understand why you are making an attack on this group and what it’s doing on Cardiff.
    your thousand readers are also probably rational and understand what a 1 issue campaign is and why the ID scheme is not a good idea, where ever your coming from.

    If you a rational reader you will also read the http://WWW.NO2ID.NET website and get a view of what we support without people trying to manipulate it.

    Guilty by association is a dead argument. We associate with no one. Others associate with us as they wish.

  6. Solly says:

    PS u’d be a fool to miss SICKNOTE:

    or New State Radio:
    http://www.myspace.com/newstateradio

  7. permanentrevolution says:

    Please note we have been advertising the No2ID gig for the past week; we have not proposed anyone boycott the event; we have not claimed organisers are nazi sympathisers or that gig funds are going to far right groups.

    We have, however, said that organisers have defended the involvement of far right groups in No2ID which everyone can see from the comments here is true.

    We will not be intimidated from raising awareness about the issue of far right involvement in this campaign or any other. Our arguments are set out in the article above and we would appreciate it if people responded to the points we have raised there rather than insult, threaten or censor us.

    Please note also that No2ID has an annual general meeting which all members can attend. So UKIP, the FA and the EDP – not to mention their Tory associates – can vote on policy. It is not merely a matter of them having a link on the No2ID website.

  8. rob says:

    Colin,Permanent Revolution has no connection with the SWP.

    PR is right to object to the Freedom Association’s involvement given they’re attacks on trade union rights but wouldn’t the best way to challenge this be through NO2ID’s structures? I think PR have gone and got people’s backs up unnecessarily although I aggree with everything they say about the Freedom Association.

  9. Cosmo says:

    Well, well, well, what a hornets’ nest!

    I’m one of the performers participating in tonight’s NO2ID show. I have been in email debate with one of the members of the Radical Socialist group as well. Personally, I think he has brought our attention to some important issues and I fully appreciate the concerns he has.

    As to the suggestion that the performers should make some kind of statement from the stage, that is really up to the performers themselves how they wish to respond. I invited the gentleman I’ve been in debate with along to the show to put his point of view, but he is attending Cameron Davies’ funeral. Fair enough.

    On reflection -although it is inevitable these issues will be discussed at the tonight’s gig – the best place to properly debate tactics would be elsewhere, preferably at a meeting convened specifically for this purpose. People no doubt have strong opinions and this issue is obviously emotive, so it would be nice to talk face-to-face away from the hubbub of a gig.

    I hope tonight’s show is well-attended and I’m glad that finally there is some interest in this city in a grass roots campaign against ID cards. I also sincerely hope we do not degenerate into “People’s Front of Judea”-ism.

    Just yet, anyway ;-)…..

    Cosmo
    http://www.cosmoguitar.net

  10. Jim NSR says:

    New State Radio are proud to lend our time and efforts to a gig which Solly has worked very hard to organise. I know all too well that putting events like this together is not easy, and as everyone on this site I assume opposes ID cards then I think we should all take a deep breath and say ‘well done’ to Solly.

    Ok, PR have raised a valid issue. In order for No 2 ID to boast the numbers it needs in order to have an impact, then it is clearly necessary to bring middle-ground politics into the fold alongside radical left politics. However, I think some discussion is needed within No 2 ID as to whether organisations such as the EDP and FA will, in the long run, do more harm than good by association.

    Not being a member of PR or No 2 ID but a sympathiser and friend of both, I urge everyone to focus on the areas they agree on, and work from there. I’m sure all the radicals, socialists, anarchists, students and friends who will no doubt turn out tonight in large numbers will join us in condemning far-right oranisations, as they did at the Love Music Hate Racism gig we organised last month. NSR make it quite clear we oppose ID cards from a leftist viewpoint, as many if not all PR members, I’m sure, do. For now, please support tonight’s gig. If Gary Bushell turns up, it’ll be worth coming to see me wrap my bass guitar round his head 😉

    Jim Sadler, NSR

  11. Me says:

    Solly, do your best to ignore these idiots and keep up the good work.

    What they really fail to grasp is that NO2ID is not radical. NO2ID is not a protest movement of the left, seeking to advance class warfare. NO2ID is not of the right either, but that scarcely matters. This radical socialist mob obviously follow the Bush doctrine: if you are not for us, you are against us.

    They are wrong. We are not for them or against them. They just don’t matter. Ignore the extremists, of any shade, and keep reaching out to the mainstream population – the battleground in which we will defeat this vile scheme while the People’s Front of Judea wage an irrelevant war on the Popular Front, unnoticed by anyone but themselves.

  12. Laura says:

    I’d really like to debate the points I made in my comment.

    Anyone?

  13. jonblake12 says:

    Laura, can I first point out that all PR have done is ensure everyone playing the gig knows about the far right involvement in No2ID. For this we have been pilloried, insulted, threatened and censored. While our article has been called ‘ridiculous’, ‘idiotic’ and (by you) ‘silly’, not one person has engaged with the arguments it raises.

    We have nevertheless allowed everybody a platform for their views, despite our own posts on Facebook being censored.

    In doing so we have illustrated why the left have a place in a civil liberties campaign. Because we support those civil liberties, and in the case of PR members, have in many cases being doing so consistently for decades.

    In equating the far left with the far right, you and others are equating racists with people who fight against racism; enemies of workers rights with people who fight for workers rights; fulsome supporters of the armed forces with people who protested against the invasion and occupation of Iraq, and most importantly, the capitalist class and its allies with people who resist the oppresssive power of those who rule us.

    Once again, it is the demands of modern capitalism which lies behind the assault on civil liberties and the controlling measures which may include ID cards but are certainly not limited to them.

    As for those here who argue that ignoring ‘extremists’ like ourselves will help build a big campaign, there is only one problem: No2ID is not a big campaign. It has been in existence for several years and mobilised minimal forces. The fact it can have an AGM which all members can attend demonstrates its small size – Stop The War, which mobilised millions, has to have a delegate based conference.

    If you read the previous article on this site, you’ll see how socialists work with wider forces in united front campaigns which are far larger than our own groups.

    I’m afraid I don’t follow the point yu make about the Tories. If anything, campaigns like No2ID, which identifies the Labour government as the sole enemy, are helping them get elected, just as No2ID encourages the perception that far right groups are friends of liberty. As we’ve seen with David Davies, the Tories are happily jumping on the civil liberties bandwagon – but once in power, they will robustly defend measures such as police stop-and-search powers, the increasing illegalisation of protest, and the collection of information on activists (including No2ID activists, if the Tories change tack on ID cards). Again, check our previous article on the use of the public order act to prevent a march against the St Athan military academy being seen by Cardiff shoppers. Under the Tories such infringement of our basic rights will get worse.

    No2ID supporters have consistently, and wrongly, said that ID cards are a one-off issue. They are not. Our rulers, if they go against the idea of cards, will find other means of keeping tabs on us. The DNA database will continue to be built. No2ID campaigners would do well to have a look around what is already happening in this country – detention centres such as Yarls Wood, for example – to broaden their perspective of the struggle we’re involved in.

  14. Solly says:

    thank you for attempting disruption.
    better luck next time buddy.

    Didn’t see you at the gig. Would of liked to talk to you in person.
    But all you can do is try is pathetic messaging on the internet.
    And your right, we are not leftist. We are not on the right or the middle or anywhere. We are for privacy and against the ID scheme.
    You are sad and your not going to get anywhere by attacking people and making a fool of yourself in a pointless attempt to stop things from happening.
    And yes anyone can come to our meetings, including you (as painful it is for me to say it because you are intent in stopping all progress)

  15. Jon,

    Where have NO2ID said id-cards are a “one-off” issue? NO2ID explicitly campaigns against “the database state”, not just ID cards.

    Where have NO2ID stated that the Labour government are “the sole enemy”? We’ll campaign against this stuff whoever is pushing it.

    Who has threatened you? With what?

    James

  16. jonblake12 says:

    I rest my case (see my last comment).

    Clearly Solly has not even bothered to read the comments of the bands who played last night.

    If Solly had been involved in any other campaign relating to civil liberties, he most certainly would have met me, because as every activist in Cardiff knows, my politics are certainly not confined to the internet.

    Solly is welcome to meet me at any time, but for obvious reasons I will not be going to any No2ID meetings. PR do not participate in campaigns which involve the far right. However, all our activities are listed here.

    Better still, read my latest book (see http://feela.co.uk). It was in Cardiff Waterstones last time I looked. That may give an insight into my concerns about the oppressive future No2ID activists are concerned with. I’ll even send Solly a free signed copy.

  17. jonblake12 says:

    I wrote that before I saw James’ comment.

    I’m pleased you don’t regard ID cards as a one-off issue, James, but that is not what the No2ID supporters are saying here. And as this government have proposed the introduction of ID cards, if ID cards are divorced from everything else that’s happening to our privacy, it does become an attack merely on this government which gives people the illusion civil liberties will be in better hands under the Tories.

    An illusion you certainly promote as your blog calls for a vote for David Davis!

    The comments left here by Solly and others are the internet equivalent of someone shouting in your face. The tone of these, demands I stop talking to the bands, statements like “would of liked to talk to you in person” etc I interpret as attempts to threaten, not that as a hardened old activist this has the least effect on me.

    Do you think racists have a place in the battle for civil liberties? It is asylum seekers and ethnic minorities who suffer far worse than everyone else in this regard. As the article said, look at what’s happening in Italy. That is the kind of thing the FA and EDP would unleash if they had half a chance.

  18. On re-reading I see Solly has described the campaign against the national identity scheme as being the single issue NO2ID are opposed to (but didn’t use the phrase a “one-off” issue). This is incorrect, our tagline says it all “Stop ID cards and the database state”. That is the official line available for all to see at the main NO2ID website, and our badges and leaflets and even Cardiff No2ID’s facebook page. And whilst our current prime focus is the national identity scheme, we do also campaign against the other schemes such as the expansion of the DNA database beyond those convicted of crimes, the NHS spine, the children’s database and the transformational government agenda. I suggest you check the forums and press releases and NO2ID blog on this front.

    As for the Tories, I’m not certain of their commitment, but Davis’s commitment is clear. After all he’s sacrificed a shadow cabinet place and a highly probable cabinet career (given the likelihood of a Tory government next time round) on the alter of civil liberties. Time will tell whether the Tories will do any better (assuming they get the chance). Their past record is not good, which is reason to be sceptical, but then our choices are limited. It seems likely they’ll be the next government, and the only realistic choice other than that is another term of Labour and they’ll definitely continue the erosion of liberty and the database state schemes if they get elected for a fourth term in a row despite it.

    Your equation of Solly’s comments here to “in your face” shouting is ridiculous. This a *moderated* platform where people are *invited* to comment. You could bar Solly’s comments and/or request no further contact if you really think you’re being threatened here. This is (at most) the internet equivalent of a heated exchange at a debate where the public were invited.

    As for the tone of Solly’s comments, whilst I think Solly’s feeling angry at an attempt to sabotage a gig that a lot of work went into but I would not perceive any of it as threatening if directed at me. Certainly no threats have been made in these comments.

    Regarding the FA and the EDP and your characterisation of them as racist, I’ll get back to you once I’ve researched them. As far as I can tell, at this point, the only solid bit of evidence you have is the NAFF support for apartheid and Alec Bedser’s actions in the cricket team. Whether the FA are still like that (we are going back decades to a different more racist country) is another matter.

  19. Oops, made a mistake there. The Cardiff NO2ID face book page doesn’t have the tagline. I thought I’d seen a standard NO2ID logo there, but aside from a small graphic where the logo’s too small to read, it seems there isn’t one.

  20. permanentrevolution says:

    James, for the nth time we advertised the gig, we did not call for a boycott of it or in fact do anything bar inform the performers about the far right link and ask if they’d consider making a statement about it . In what way does this constitute sabotage?

    As far as allowing the comments is concerned, you have again not read what we’ve said. This site encourages reasoned debate, not fits of pique or abusive comments – we have only allowed them in this case to allow our detractors to condemn themselves out of their own mouths. As for the e-shouting and threat content, that’s best left to the judgement of the people the comments are aimed at, but do you really think there is a reasoned discourse going on?

    Nor is anger an excuse, because, believe me, that exists on both sides.

    One thing is for sure. The No2ID posters here (apart from the performers) have been far keener to attack us on the left than those on the far right who they may find themselves sat next to at the next AGM. I’m glad to see you are going to research the groups in question – that’s more than the Cardiff activists have done. There is no douibt you will find what we’ve said corroborated, and we very much hope you and others will then campaign to get them out of No2ID. All along we have argued that not only is it wrong to consort with racists, it is contradictory to the aims of the campaign and hinders the fight against the oppressive state none of us want.

  21. A few members of No Borders South Wales attended the gig last night and very good it was too, well done to everyone involved. It is difficult to see what is to be gained by critiquing from afar, without making direct contact at a face to face meeting first – such conduct is only going to get people’s back’s up.

    No doubt many organisations that have no real respect for personal freedom and pay only lip service to any notion of civil liberties are against ID cards. Very likely because it is a popular stance. No doubt some of these groups are ‘left wing’ rather than ‘right wing’, authoritarianism is quite healthy on both sides of of the political ‘divide'[sic].

    Some readers may be aware of the Defy-ID network, which came out of the libertarian milieu. The network appears to be largely inactive, though there are some active local groups. There was an attempt to set up a Defy-ID group in Cardiff a few years back, but it never got going, not sure why. No Borders has had a close relationship with Defy-ID and shares very similar politics.

    We encourage opponents of ID cards to look at what is happening with the control of migrants, and see the thin end of of wedge of the surveillance society. No doubt some of the less libertarian supporters of NO2ID would disagree with our stance on freedom of movement, hopefully others would agree. We wholeheartedly believe that the frontline of opposition to the creeping surveillance state is the defence of migrants, especially asylum seekers.

    Here is the text of the leaflet we have recently produced and distributed to everyone at the gig last night:

    Worried about ID cards, biometric passports, and the surveillance society in general?

    Then you should be concerned about the repression of migrants by government and corporate immigration ‘services’. Because ID cards have already been tested on asylum seekers and will be used first on other ‘foreigners’.

    The UK Border Bill introduced in January 2007 formally brought together border controls and compulsory ID. From this November foreign nationals wanting to enter the UK will have to apply for “biometric residence permits” and their details will be entered into the national identity database. From next year foreign nationals living in the UK will begin to be issued with ID cards. The aim is that 90% of foreign nationals in the UK will have ID cards by 2015.
    The Home Office is now much more open about its intended use of a biometric ID database scheme to control Britain’s borders than previously. This is not completely new, we know that ID technology has always been tried out first on asylum seekers. For example, the Application Registration Card (ARC) that is carried by asylum seekers is used for their regular reporting and to obtain NASS payments from the post office. It is an ID card containing the bearer’s fingerprint, photograph, name, date of birth and nationality.

    The plan for a new National Identity Register has been dropped in favour of combining three existing database: the Home Office asylum-seeker database, the Identity and Passport Service database, and the ‘National Insurance’ database. Although the eventual plan is to extend ID cards and database to everyone in Britain, this change of policy makes it clear that asylum seekers and other ‘foreigners’ are first in line for more repression.

    The fact that ID cards and fingerprinting technology has been tested on asylum seekers shows that the state is prepared to impose ID on those people with the least voice to oppose it, before rolling it out to the whole population. The government is trying to get its ID plans accepted by cynical scapegoating of immigrants and asylum-seekers. Once migrants have been used to test the scheme, the government’s plan is to issue identity cards to UK citizens on a voluntary basis from 2010, then in 2011 bringing in compulsory ‘choice’ of a passport, ID card or both.

    By resisting the repression of migrants, we defend the freedom of everyone!

    http://www.noborderswales.org.uk

  22. Phoning bands and saying that the “far right” (which has connotations of racism and fascism associated with it) are involved in NO2ID was hardly going to make them jump for joy was it? It was an attack on NO2ID and an attack on a key part of Cardiff NO2ID’s campaigning efforts.

    I stand by my claim that the comments are not the equivalent of “in the face” shouting. A heated exchange at a public meeting is probably the best analogy. And even so, it is clear that no threat has been made to you, unless I accept the subjective argument that if those the comments are aimed at judge it so, it is so, which is a silly argument. My comment about Solly’s anger was a comment about the tone of his comment, nothing more.

    Anyway to return to the substance of your article. I’d have raised this before, but I needed to check to be certain. Your article, and some of your claims in the ensuing discussion, are also based on a misconception about the supporters list. Being listed as a supporter does not mean the organisation concerned has joined NO2ID. It is merely a statement that these organisations support our cause. It does not mean we endorse their cause(s) in any way. It does not mean they have a vote at the AGM.

    For UKIP, the Freedom Association or the English Democrats to get a vote at the AGM they must affiliate. Even if they did, they get just one vote each for doing so.

    Which leads me to the racist characterisation you’ve given to these organisations. Having looked at the platforms of both UKIP and the English Democrats, it seems to me the only way you can claim these groups are racist is if you believe that being anti-immigration or wanting strict controls on immigration is racist per se. It isn’t, so I take issue with your characterisation if that’s your grounds.

    Regarding the Freedom Association, a look at their current web site suggests they hold a broadly classical liberal outlook, including a commitment to civil liberties. Like the EDO and UKIP they’d like mroe control over immigration, but that’s not racist per se.

    I’ve seen nothing racist on the FA site, but then there’s their past to consider. Support for apartheid and the actions of Alec Bedser are evidence of racism on their part in the past. Whether the current organisation is racist is to my mind an open question without further evidence.

  23. Pingback: Against ID cards, for migrants, for everyone! « No Borders South Wales

  24. jonblake12 says:

    Is the No Borders comment the view of all No Borders supporters, and if not, why is it in the name of No Borders?

    We knew about the gig a week before it happened. Where was the opportunity to go to a meeting to discuss the issue?

    I can’t believe an organisation committed to the defence of asylum seekers is criticising us for bringing people’s attention to No2ID’s links with the far right.

    Can you justify the claim that ‘left-wing authoritarianism’ is as bad as right? In what way does this apply to Cardiff PR?

    Your excellent leaflet makes the perfect case for kicking racists out of the ID card campaign – so why don’t you give us wholehearted support, instead of joining in with the criticism? If it had been No Borders under attack, we would not have thought twice about offering solidarity.

    James – we did not phone anybody. I sent an email which said this:

    ‘I’m contacting people playing at the No2ID gig this Friday to check if you are aware that No2ID is a campaign which involves groups of the far right, including the Freedom Association and UKIP. The Freedom Association’s commitment to civil liberties includes helping management to break strikes and paving the way for Thatcher’s anti-union legislation. Another group, the English Democrats, are so committed to our civil rights they are demanding that every town hall in England fly the flag of St George.

    I hope you agree that the fight against ID cards does not need these groups on board. Besides anything else, they hamper the ability of the campaign to become anything other than a lobbying organisation. If you are opposed to far right groups being involved in No2ID, I think it would be worth making a statement to that effect.’

    There – no attack on the gig, no proposal for a boycott, no claim the groups concerned were fascist, no authoritarian demands, merely some information people had a right to know and a suggestion, the underlying purpose of which was to help make No2ID a more effective campaign which anti-racists could happily take part in.

    That is what we’ve been pilloried for. And I would suggest if that got people’s backs up, it is only because they, like you, are more offended by our politics than those of the Freedom Association.

    I accept what you say about the groups not necessarily being affiliated. But they most certainly are associated with it, and it is naïve to think that serious political organisations who see profit in a campaign will not seek to capitalise on it. The fact remains that members of these organisations can attend its AGMs and affect its decisions. They can also gain credibility by being accepted as bona fide civil liberty campaigners. Their websites will get traffic from the No2ID link.

    I’m sorry your research hasn’t borne more fruit. You might at least have discovered that Gary Bushell of the EDP founded a ‘patriotic’ white skinhead movement called Oi. And if you don’t think immigration controls are racist, you really don’t know much about immigration controls. Maybe you think there is nothing racist about the EDP’s plans to stop any asylum-seekers coming to the UK. Please – I don’t believe you’re that naïve.

    Do bear in mind it is illegal to openly incite racial hatred, and even the BNP claim not to be racist.

    I leave it to others to check out the tone of the comments we’ve received here. I really don’t see any profit in comparing our perceptions any further.

  25. In dealing with you questions:

    The majority of the comment is the view of the no border group, though the first two paragraphs were chucked in by me, Tom. causal comments unlikely to cause much debate I thought. I guess every comment done in the name of permanent revolution is checked by the entire membership first. Sloppy on my part I guess, hey ho…

    No2ID have been publicising meetings for some time, possibly you were unaware of this.

    An organisation committed to the defence of asylum seekers is not criticising you for bringing people’s attention to No2ID’s links with the far right. There was just a comment about the way you have gone about engaging with potential allies which has been to alienate them.

    There is no claim that ‘left-wing authoritarianism’ is as bad as right, just that both forms of authoritarianism exist and their both fucking shit. If you want to get into an historical discussion about the horrors of ‘left wing authoritarian government I would suggest here isn’t the place. As for the way this apply to Cardiff PR? Dunno. Wasn’t thinking of PR.

    As for giving you solidarity because you are ‘under attack’ -don’t be daft, honestly don’t see how we have been ‘joining in with the criticism’. You are being paranoid. We blatantly agree with you, but we haven’t made critiquing civil liberty lobbying groups a priority.

  26. jonblake12 says:

    PR are a democratic centralist organisation which has no problem with speaking as a collective; the No2ID gig was discussed at our last branch meeting and our position agreed. As we are a cadre organisation where all members are fully familiar with our political method, any of us posting here in the name of the group are trusted to do so.

    Yes, I most certainly have been put under attack for criticising the links between No2ID and the far right. Not only in the comments here (even more offensive ones have been disallowed) but elsewhere on the web, particularly on NO2ID’s own board, where my privacy has been violated and blatant lies posted about what I’ve done and said.

    The criticism which others have made and you repeat again is that I have alienated potential allies, put people’s backs up etc by what I’ve done. What is very significant to me is that I have had quite cordial email discussions both with an organiser and with artists, then once the Chinese whispers took off that I wasa trying to sabotage the gig, accuse organisers of being far-right sympathisers etc, I suddenly became enemy no1, not the FA or EDP.

    If I was as unconcerned with people’s privacy as the people posting at No2ID, I would publish all the communication I had with performers and organisers. You would be hard pressed to find any indication anyone was alienated by it. Sure, it was suggested that I make a statement at the gig myself, but as I made clear, (a) I could not be at the gig for reasons I am grateful to Cosmo for outlining, (b) would the organisers welcome a random Trotskyist getting on stage to make a statement? Surely the best people to say something about the far right link are the people performing, and of course, this would be their choice!

    What no-one can question is that I have made my feelings very clear here, and taken the flak for it.

    Maybe it’s just a classic case of shoot the messenger. Not that I blame the bands for not knowing the dubious connections of the campaign they were raising money for. I must admit, when I criticised the far right link, I had not realised the extent that No2ID was not an organisation of the left at all; that prominent activists elsewhere were calling for votes for Tories, arranging events with corporate sponsors, and most significantly denying that the FA etc were far right in the first place. We had a very good discussion at the last socialist forum about the united front, as opposed to popular fronts involving the class enemy, and here we are less than two weeks later with that theoretical discussion made flesh.

    It’s a shame Defy-ID didn’t take off, because, although it was organised on anarchist lines we might not agree with, it was surely more supportable than N02ID.

    Owing to the amount of abusive mail I’m receiving we are going to close the comments on this topic now, but I’ll happily continue the discussion in person with anyone involved, or on the CRSF egroup.

  27. Solly says:

    OK lets clear some things up for you…

    1. Your right: NO2ID is NOT an organization of an organization of the left… at all. or the right. or the middle. or anywhere in the political realm.

    2. ‘Prominent activists’ may be tories, labour supporters, lib dem supporters or supporters of any other political organization. We don’t ‘filter’ our supporters. They are also allowed to be activists else where if they want, including *gasp* calling for votes for a Tories (or labour mps or lib dem mps)

    3. We are an organization that is against the introduction of the ID scheme and the DATABASE state. And yes, we welcome support from all political parties to end this atrocious scheme and the devastating national database.

    Now that you know that ‘shocking’ truth you can stop wasting your time.

    p.s. I apologize for the tone of my comments. Yes, I was angry when had put so much effort into something and there was some guy contacting all bands trying to prevent the whole thing from happening by making nonsensical comments. Oh and for the record, I never received this email, only the bands did.

  28. Solly says:

    *1. Your right: NO2ID is NOT an organization of the left… at all. or the right. or the middle. or anywhere in the political realm.

  29. jonblake12 says:

    Apology accepted. But please stop repeating the misinformation that I was trying to stop the gig taking place! That was merely your hasty assumption, for which there is no evidence,

    What you must appreciate, Solly, is that though you have no problem with far right involvement, many others do. I knew several of the people performing, that they were socialists and anarchists, They had a right to know about the nature of the campaign, which, as you say, is not a left campaign – but not everyone realises this.

    We just have to agree to differ. For us, groups who are the absolute enemy of the basic rights of workers and immigrants have no place in a civil liberties campaign, which, if nothing else, is lending them credibility.

  30. rob says:

    I realise comments are probably closed but I take it back after reading all this.PR were right to talk to the bands as it looks if you wouldn’t get anywhere with the NO2ID people who are coming across as scarily hostile and not very keen on democracy within their organisation.
    PR, you’re dead right on all this.

  31. permanentrevolution says:

    Thank you, Rob. Left solidarity is not dead.

  32. Solly says:

    I think the bands fully realized that people from all sides of the political spectrum support the NO2ID campaign. It is the way you phrased it to make the campaign look like a far right one that made me angry. We are NOT a LEFT or RIGHT campaign. We are simply a campaign that accepts support from ALL political parties to stop ID cards and the NATIONAL DATABASE state.

    You stated:
    “‘I’m contacting people playing at the No2ID gig this Friday to check if you are aware that No2ID is a campaign which involves groups of the far right, including the Freedom Association and UKIP.”

    That is phrased in a way to make it look like we support them. That is untrue, they support us. There are also many organizations on the left that support us including NO BORDERS and many others. That doesn’t mean we endorse what ever they endorse. We endorse getting rid of ID cards and the database state.
    I hope you understand now why i wasn’t happy with your emails.

  33. jonblake12 says:

    Sorry, Solly, but people playing the gig did NOT know that groups such as the Freedom Association supported the campaign. The reason I knew about the gig was through talking to one of the performers, a committed socialist who was certainly surprised there was a link to the FA on NO2ID’s website.

    Obviously I haven’t persuaded you that the FA is an organisation so reactionary, so opposed to basic liberties, that civil liberties activists should have nothing to do with them. But I assure you it’s not only socialists who feel like that. However it is more likely that older activists, who remember Thatcher, are more likely to be aware of how poisonous they are.

    The phrase you quote certainly does not say that you support the far right groups. Nor do I think that most people would infer it, but I suppose it is possible, so for that I apologise – I should maybe have added, “not that I am implying that local organisers support these groups”. But at any rate, you have supported their right to be involved.

    It is right you don’t have to endorse the politics of No Borders to accept them into No2ID. However, the values and aims of No Borders are fully compatible with the fight for civil liberties. The values and aims of the Freedom Association are not.

    If it was just a matter of accepting everybody against ID cards into the campaign, why did No2ID not allow the BNP to affiliate?

    In retrospect I could have made it clear to you and Michael that I was merely informing people involved in the gig about the FA etc in case they wanted to say something against this, and not (as was hastily and wrongly assumed) that I was trrying to sabotage the gig. But I assumed the fact we had a nice poster in the prominent place at the top of our homepage (seen by 100+ people a day) spoke for itself!

    I do respect the effort that goes into putting on a gig (having done so many times in my younger days), I recognise that you did this with the sole purpose of campaigning against the database state that we all oppose and hope you will continue to be active as, heaven knows, we need proactive campaigners defending our rights.

    PR won’t support No2ID as campaign because of the far right involvement, but we may support individual actions which you can advertise on our What’s Happening page. The offer of a book was serious – if you email me where to send it, it’ll be in the post as a peace offering.

  34. Barry says:

    One of the reasons the Nazis took power in Germany was that the opposition to them was split. The Communists, a powerful force at the time, refused to join with the Social Democrats, describing them as ‘Social Fascists’ who objectively aided the Nazis by not also opposing the capitalist system at the same time.
    With the opposition split, the Nazis won.
    The revolutionary left cannot defeat the ID card scheme on its own, any more than the German Communists on their own could defeat the Na
    If you cannot win on your own you must join up with others with whom you have little in common, but share at least one of your aims.
    We must all stick together to beat the ID card scheme and the database state. In doing so we may persuade those we have campaigned alongside to join us in other causes. I believe that joining in with peripheral social democratic campaigns was something Trotsky supported as a way of meeting potential new supporters.
    Who approves of opponents of ID cards squabbling amongst ourselves? Why, the supporters of the database state. Let’s not help them. Let’s oppose them.
    United we stand, divided we fall.

  35. permanentrevolution says:

    Barry, you’re absolutely right to point to the split between the KPD and SPD as paving the way for Hitler. But this was a policy dictated by Stalin, and as you rightly point out, opposed by Trotsky, who coined the phrase ‘march separately, but strike together’ to describe how revolutionary socialists should form a bloc with social democrats but retain their own organisation and voice within this. What Trotsky absolutely opposed, however, was any alliance with the capitalist class and its organisations. We covered exactly this topic at the last socialist forum (check July 3 article). We’ve also explained why we agree with Trotsky in the No2ID article and comments.

    The lack of democracy in No2ID, the involvement of businessmen and consultants, the credibility given to TFA etc and the insistence on seeing ID cards as a separate issue (therefore why not vote Tory?) certainly does not guarantee that activists will be enlightened by the experience. Nor can we stand united while fear of terrorists and hatred of asylum seekers are being whipped up, while protesters are being treated as criminals and while people at work are being denied the most basic rights to defend themselves and fight back. All of these issues define Tories and those to their right as the enemies of the civil liberties movement.

  36. Solly says:

    Who supports the ID database scheme? I’ll tell you who: THE ELITE.

    They want everyone tracked and put in a database. They wanted everyone to be tracked, categorized and controlled and will stop at nothing to archiving their goals. Right now they are quite successful. They are winning and the ID scheme is going through. Soon you will be asked for your biometrics, finger scans, iris scans among many other things and all this will go on the biggest database in a free country to date. They also want to put tracking devises in your cars, take DNA, search you whenever they please and track every movement. Personally I don’t think labour or tories are any different.
    The following video shows Tony Blair speaking about how opposes the Torie plan for ID cards (3.30 mins). Did he change his mind or has he always just been a very well payed lier?

    So yes, if tories do get in I am sure that they will also ‘change their mind’ about the ID scheme, quite quickly.

    Now John Blake, I have no idea what your intentions have been. But the fact is that you have done nothing productive in helping stop the ID scheme here in Cardiff and Wales all together. In fact, it is my belief that all your attempts have been counterproductive and have actually helped the NATIONAL DATABASE scheme and the tracking of every individual in Britain. If you did this intentionally or not, I can’t say but it is the reason we have blocked you from our facebook group and deleted a message of yours. We do not have time for people who simply want to stir up something that doesn’t exist. We need support from all ends of the political spectrum and need that support. At our meetings we will allow anyone to join us in our fight because we need them to stop what the elite are planning. Be it the freedom association or the No Borders organization, tories, labour party supporters, anarchists or even people with no political association. But most importantly we want people who want to make a stand for their rights and civil liberties.

    Now talking about the Nazis and the holocaust I would like everyone here to search “IBM and the holocaust” on Google now and find out how Hitler was able to carry out the holocaust. I want them to realize that he couldn’t have done what he did had he not made a national database that categorizes everyone by religion, sexuality, disabilities among others. The holocaust was effective and successful only because the people of Germany gave up their privacy to the ruling elite.

    It’s time we all WOKE UP and started to get a grip to fight an ELITE that wants to track every movement and remove every right that you have. It’s time we stopped bickering and started standing up for our freedoms and our rights.

    Are you with us or will you carry on being disruptive and counterproductive? If you decided on the later then you will be excluded from our efforts as we have no more time to waste. This is my last post on this forum.

  37. rob says:

    Oh dear , “excluded from our efforts” eh? Solly, the only campaigns that work are broad inclusive campaigns with all those concerned working towards the same goal.

    Why not do something in the real world rather than spreading vitriol all over the internet?

    You know, something like leafletting or petitioning in town. I know it sounds boring but it’ll raise your visibilty and the arguments against ID cards and it’s a lot more positive than you’re current internet vendetta.

  38. Moon23 says:

    I don’t really think it’s very helpful to label organizations such as UKIP as far-right. Yes they are anti-immigration but many of them are also against EU authoritarianism. It’s a misconception to confuse opposition to bureaucratic and authoritarian EU governance with xenophobic right wing nationalism. There are many new people now within UKIP which are trying to get rid of the right wing dinosaurs and turn it into a truly libertarian party. Having actually taken the time to talk to people within UKIP I can tell you they are not all the baby eating monsters you think they are.

    NO2ID does have a non-discrimination policy as democratically agreed at an AGM. This would prevent parties with racist beliefs such as the BNP from affiliating. If you believe in democracy then join NO2ID and put a motion forward at the AGM.

    I’m a firm believer that in despite of people’s ideologies it is often possible to find a shared common ground. A politics of positive engagement with everyone is the only way in which we can build a harmonious future. If that means talking to and understanding the view of those you accuse of being on the far-right then so be it. Through engagine with such people you might realize that some of their concerns are actually rooted in desires that are not so dissimilar from yourself. The strength of NO2ID is that it is a broad church of people opposed to ID cards. I go along to meetings and am joined by people from accross the political spectrum. I mean who would have thought an Anarchist like myself would be able to work with a member of the countryside alliance who is pro hunting or fundamentalist Christians who think ID cards are the mark of the beast. I mean wow when was there last a political movement that brought together all sorts of people from all different way of lives. If we stop ID cards and learn about one another in the process then that’s something truly socially radical.

  39. permanentrevolution says:

    The following link to an article on UKIP was deleted by the moderators of the NO2ID forum:
    http://www.whatnextjournal.co.uk/pages/Back/WNext29/Ukip.html

    Since our original article was written those in charge of NO2ID have congratulated David Davis on his by-election victory. In keeping with the undemocratic nature of NO2ID this endorsement was made without reference to NO2ID’s members. Davis was a member of the Tory government which introduced the draconian Criminal Justice Act , the single greatest blow to civil liberties in the UK other than the anti-union laws introduced by Thatcher and also supported by Davis. In addition, Davis has opposed every bill promoting gay rights, and supports the death penalty.

    Responses to our article from NO2ID supporters here, on the NO2ID forum and at Urban 75 have shown just how right we were to draw attention to the links to the far right in the campaign. Not one NO2ID supporter has condemned the involvement of the right – but there have been no shortage of apologies for the far right, alongside a torrent of insult involving every anti-left cliche under the sun.

    As a result of the NO2ID forum thread titled “Cardiff Radical Socialist Forum Attack NO2ID” , which would have been better titled “Cardiff Permanent Revolution – not state agents or a front for the SWP – criticise the involvement of the far right in NO2ID “, our traffic hqs doubled. We hope our more enlightened new readers bookmark us and follow the political arguments we raise, in contrast to the personal vilification that is doing nothing to help the fight against what we at least recognise as the real enemy, the capitalist class with its loathsomely repressive agenda.

  40. permanentrevolution says:

    As we cannot continually respond to the same misinformation, insults etc, comments on this article are now (finally) closed.

  41. Garry Bushell says:

    Firstly, I have never said that any town hall should be forced to fly an English flag, just that it plays into the hands of bigots when po-faced ‘socialist’ councils try and suppress English patriotism.
    Secondly, I have never argued that all asylum seekers should be denied entry to the UK.
    Finally, I am not a member of any political party but I do believe that an English Parliament would be a democractic step forward – a belief that is shared by as many on the left as the right.
    To compound your wrong-headedness, I was actually at the picket line at Grunwicks on a couple of occasions.
    Try not to forget that the people who have been stripping the British of their hard-won democratic rights for the last twelve years consider themselves to be socialists.

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