Nazi Tommy Robinson has been appointed as a “special adviser” to the leader of the racist Ukip party.
His appointment as Gerard Batten’s right hand man comes ahead of a far right march in London on Sunday 9 December. It’s another sign of the growing links between fascists and racist populists on the far right.
Batten has steered Ukip further to the far right. He has repeatedly made calls at fascist-organised rallies for the crowds to join Ukip and welcomed leading alt right figures into the party.
Appointing Robinson as his adviser has allowed Batten to get around Ukip’s traditional conservative wing that wants to focus on Brexit. They voted to defer Batten’s motion to the party’s executive committee last Sunday calling for an all-member ballot on letting Robinson join.
Ukip has a ban on former members of the fascist British National Party (BNP) and English Defence League (EDL) joining.
Robinson was a member of the BNP and founder of the EDL.
Batten gloated, “I have appointed Tommy Robinson to be a personal special adviser on two subjects of which he has great knowledge.
“It is not necessary for him to be a party member in order to assist me in this role.”
Robinson will be an adviser on “grooming gangs” and “prison reform”. This first is far right code for pushing the racist smear that Muslim or Asian culture is responsible for sexual abuse.
Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) and Unite Against Fascism (UAF) have called a counter mobilisation against the far right march.
Tens of thousands of people from across the left and labour movement joined the national demonstration against fascism and racism last Saturday. We need the same breadth of mobilisation against Robinson on 9 December.
Riccardo La Torre, FBU union Eastern regional secretary, was part of a firefighters’ delegation to the demonstration. He told Socialist Worker that “working class people have been at the forefront” of resisting the fascists.
“Tommy Robinson is a distraction from the real issues working class people should be fighting,” he said.
“It’s important that we oppose him.”
He added, “Trade unions hold a unique position.
“We have to use our voice and use it responsibly especially when Tommy Robinson and the DFLA are claiming to speak for working class people.”
Robinson has called the march under the banner of “The Great Brexit Betrayal” in order to capitalise on the Tory chaos over Brexit. The racism pushed by both Tory Brexiteers and liberals who want to block Brexit is fuelling a racist atmosphere that helps the far right to grow.
The anti-fascist mobilisation cannot be restricted to those who voted Remain. The left must not write off the 17 million people who voted to leave the racist, neoliberal European Union (EU) as backward bigots.
To do so would be pushing them towards Ukip and Robinson.
It has to be a united demonstration of all those opposed to fascism and racism whatever their views on Brexit.