Between 15th and 19th April Plan C hosted members of …ums Ganze! on a UK speaker tour. This tour, the first Beyond Europe event in the UK, aimed to introduce people to …ums Ganze! and generate interest and discussion around the topics of nationalism and current attempts at European wide organising within the crisis. Events were held in Manchester, Leeds and London and were well attended.
There was lots of interest in the question of nationalism, what an anti-national politics looks like in Germany, and what it could look like here in the UK, as well as the need for tackling right populist organisations. With far right street movements in the UK dwindling in numbers and impact, the most prominent expression of nationalist and reactionary politics in the UK is now the UK Independence Party (UKIP). Effectively opposing UKIP, a political party with elected officials, will require different strategies and tactics than those which have been used against street movements such as the EDL. The recent attacks on UKIP billboards show that people are aware of the threat that UKIP pose. Developing a clear and understandable anti-national politics and broadening our repertoire of tactics appear to be necessary steps in organising against chauvinistic responses to the crisis. It was great to get a chance to discuss these issues alongside members of some of the anti-fascist groups currently active here in the UK. These questions will be thrown into sharper relief in the light of likely gains for right populist parties in the upcoming European elections and we hope to continue developing these conversations and plans for activity alongside active anti-fascist groups.
These events were an opportunity for comrades to discuss strategic questions, find out about different political contexts within Europe and share experiences of political organising. One common avenue of discussion focused on organisational questions: many of which are unfamiliar to a British left currently characterised by relatively low levels of organisational capacity. Although …ums Ganze! members were quick to point out the relatively low levels of struggle in Germany when compared to Southern Europe, it still felt like there was lots to learn. Plan C is a relatively new organisation and it is always inspiring to learn from the experiences of those much further down the organisational road than ourselves.
Finally, the tour was a chance to inform people about developments elsewhere in Europe including the ongoing Blockupy process. The British anti-authoritarian left’s international relationships have dwindled since the peak of the anti-globalisation movement and many British comrades are unaware of struggles, movements and co-ordination projects taking place elsewhere in Europe. The reasons for this are complex but we were pleased to see these events serving as a chance to reflect on the British movement’s relationship with the rest of Europe and acting as a practical example as to how knowledge can be exchanged between different political situations. We are happy to be part of a move towards reconnecting the British anti-authoritarian left to movements beyond our state borders.
It is rare for radical organisations to tour the UK and we feel this one was a success. Hopefully we can build on the interest and discussion these events generated through local events, discussions and (hopefully) more concrete activity. We also hope that in the future we can invite our Greek comrades to the UK for something similar.
B (Plan C MCR)