All the recent brouhaha over the accusations of “neo-fascism” aimed at the English Defence League have prompted Henrik Ræder Clausen to write an excellent explanation of what “fascism” really means. By looking carefully at what the EDL stands for (and does), he demonstrates the distinct absence of anything resembling fascism within the EDL.
Below are some excerpts from his post at Europe News:
Fascists or National Socialists in the English Defence League?
For people dealing seriously with the threat of Islamism in the West, two of the most common slurs are those of being either “Fascist”, “Nazi” (National Socialist) or “Extreme right-wing”. The English Defence League, probably the broadest based and most influential anti-Islamism movement in Europe today, certainly had their share of those, on top of extensive government harassment
Now, if one pauses for a moment, these frequently repeated slurs are quite puzzling. Before we examine each of them, let us take a clip from the EDL Mission Statement:
Promoting Democracy And The Rule Of Law By Opposing Sharia
The European Court of Human Rights has declared that “sharia is incompatible with the fundamental principles of democracy”. Despite this, there are still those who are more than willing to accommodate sharia norms, and who believe that sharia can operate in partnership with our existing traditions and customs. In reality, sharia cannot operate fully as anything other than a complete alternative to our existing legal, political, and social systems. It is a revolution that this country does not want, and one that it must resist. Sharia is most definitely a threat to our democracy.
That’s a pretty clear pro-democracy statement, and one may wonder how one could sanely oppose a purpose like this? One obviously interested party is the Islamists, whose intention to implement Islamic law anywhere possible would be seriously impaired by opposition. Another is those who do not understand the real intention of Islam in its fundamental form, to submit as much of the world as possible to Islamic rule. That would include people who are so joyfully naïve that they cannot imagine such sinister intentions to be possible.
Another clip from the EDL Mission Statement reads:
The EDL is therefore keen to draw its support from people of all races, all faiths, all political persuasions, and all lifestyle choices. Under its umbrella, all people in England, whatever their background, or origin, can stand united in a desire to stop the imposition of the rules of Islam on non-believers.
That would address slurs of ‘racism’ and other stuff. Note the “all political persuasions” bit — the EDL is not a political party with an agenda of “Big Government” or “Small Government”. What matters is countering religious — specifically Islamic — intimidation. Most Westerners would find the notion of forcing Sharia law upon anyone in the West that by default they’d be fine with any move to oppose it. Still the EDL is subject to much slander, explicit or implicit, as in this Guardian article.
Working In Solidarity With Others Around The World
The EDL is keen to join with others who share our values, wherever they are in the world, and from whatever cultural background they derive.
This is an internationalist outlook, not a British supremacist one. Any concern that the EDL might secretly the return of the glory days of the British Empire should be put to rest by this.
Now, talk can be cheap, missions statements deceptive, and it could turn out that these sane-sounding intentions are really a cover for something sinister. This is where you have investigative journalists examining things undercover, like Sigurd Ericson did with the English Defence League. In his report published at EuropeNews, he gave them a clean bill of health with regards to racism, fascism and violence-prone. Talking to both leadership and the rank-and-file of the EDL, he found that it consists of straight English citizens concerned with the threat of Sharia in Britain, and working in line with the EDL Mission Statement to counter it.
In any case, it is good to know the substance of what the EDL is being accused of promoting…
See the full post at Europe News for Henrik’s detailed explanation of what fascism and national socialism mean.