italy reading group: fascism, anti-fascism and stalinism, 16th may

The next of the London Commune’s reading group meetings on the class struggle in Italy takes place on Monday 16th May. We will be discussing the rise of fascism, resistance to it and different ideas of ‘anti-fascism’, and the lessons for today.

The meeting takes place from 7pm at Freedom Bookshop, Angel Alley, near Aldgate East station.

We have prepared a reading pack (click here to see as one Word file). This includes an article on the Arditi del Popolo armed anti-fascist movement; short sections of two pieces by Italian Left Communist Amadeo Bordiga questioning the idea of anti-fascism and its interconnection with capitalism; and an article by David Broder briefly explaining the twists and turns of Stalinist policy. The aforementioned reading pack is much less reading than the whole text of the articles linked to above. Continue reading “italy reading group: fascism, anti-fascism and stalinism, 16th may”

stalinism and fascism in 1930s italy

Pietro Tresso (pseudonym, Blasco) was one of the early leaders of the Italian Communist Party. He was forced into exile by the fascist régime in 1929, and then expelled from the party on 1930 on account of his critique of the Stalinist claim that social democrats should be treated as fascists. Tresso helped create the Nuova Opposizione Italiana but also joined the Trotskyists in France, where he was exiled.

In August 1938 Tresso wrote this article in Quatrième Internationale, explaining that the Stalinists were not anti-fascists, but rather manoeuvred to curry favour with the black-shirts to suit the USSR’s diplomatic interests. The dark warnings in Tresso’s article did indeed play out. In August 1939 Stalin signed a pact with Hitler, abandoning his previous anti-fascism. In 1944, liberated from the Puy-en-Velay prison camp in German-occupied France, Tresso was himself murdered by Stalinists. Continue reading “stalinism and fascism in 1930s italy”

from persecuted to persecutors: the lessons of zionism

by João Bernardo

Reflecting on the recent Israeli aggression against the Mavi Marmara and the feckless impunity with which this country spreads terror in its region, I thought that most commentaries limited themselves to the obvious but fell short of the most important conclusion.

members of the Irgun terrorist group

Everyone knows that Jews were the victims of great persecution, the Nazis making anti-semitism one of their main ideological bases. From the first day of his regime Hitler persecuted Jews and during the Second World War attempted to exterminate them. It is also widely known that the  State of Israel inflicts suffering on the Palestinians, dispossessing them and subjecting them to a system of terror beyond even what the South African racists could achieve in the Apartheid era. Between these two moments: Jews as victims and Israel as aggressor, there is not a contradiction but rather a logical nexus, which this article seeks to explain.

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the shipwrecked (part II): anti-fascist refugees during world war II

Knowing how to fight one enemy means knowing how to fight another: this sentiment underlay the Stalinist politburo’s attitude towards refugees from the fascist countries. Second in  a series by João Bernardo: see here for part one.


Why did those who fled from fascism, only to end up in the democratic countries’ prisons, not seek exile in the Soviet Union? Moreover, what happened to the people who did go to there, the country of the October revolution and the socialist fatherland? Continue reading “the shipwrecked (part II): anti-fascist refugees during world war II”

the shipwrecked (part I): anti-fascist refugees during world war II

The refugees who tried to save themselves by crossing the frontiers: hated by the fascists for being communists, hated by the Nazis for being Jews, and hated by the democracies for their being anti-capitalists. By João Bernardo.


In the early days of July 1940, off the Irish coast, a German submarine attacked and sank a ship carrying around 1200 civilian passengers. More than half died, not least because the ship did not have enough lifeboats. Continue reading “the shipwrecked (part I): anti-fascist refugees during world war II”

the rising threat of the bnp: the underlying causes, its present nature and prospects

by Dan Jakopovich

In this paper, I will try to provide an integrated analysis of the British National Party as a political organisation and a political movement. I will begin by analysing its political evolution after the split from National Front, through the long period of John Tyndall’s neo-Nazi leadership of the party, to its current modernising phase under the leadership of Nick Griffin. This second part of my analysis will deal with the causes of the BNP’s relative success (which I will examine through the perspective of “demand side” and “supply side” factors), and a basic assessment of the space that exists for its growth. I posit that – while Europe-wide statistical research of far Right development remains in many ways inconclusive – there are some indications (such as the convergence of main parties, the relative “crisis of legitimation“, and its possible augmentation in the course of the economic crisis) which seem to indicate there is considerable space for far Right growth.


This inquiry into the BNP’s modern trajectories will also entail an analysis of its present ideological nature. Here I will (among other things) show that, despite certain adjustments, BNP nonetheless remains informed by various fascist motifs, and can be defined as racist and “nativist” (I will explain this concept later). Finally, I will broadly indicate what a successful progressive response to the rising far Right challenge might have to look like.

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should “we” ban the bnp?

by Kofi Kyerewaa

Despite the repetitive Nazi name-calling, the British National Party achieved their hope of getting elected into the European Parliament, and the British hard left once again finds itself at the margins of electoral politics and unable to match the BNP in votes even across its fractured political front. The landscape has changed: the British National Party can command 900,000 votes, while a hotch-pot of Stalinist bureaucrats, Impossibilists (SPGB) and Scottish Socialists garnered less than half at 350,000.

What is Socialist Workers Party leader Martin Smith’s remedy to this tragic state of affairs? More of the same with added egg throwing, “No freedom of speech for fascists”, “we should ban the BNP” and, bizarrely on BBC’s Newsnight Smith exclaimed to the polite but patronising Jeremy Paxman and Lib Dem MP Simon Hughes that the BNP had to be stopped because “they are counter-revolutionaries [to a Socialist Revolution?]!” Continue reading “should “we” ban the bnp?”