It's up to the Greens to take down UKIP
In the next few years we shall either get that effective Socialist party that we need, or we shall not get it. If we do not get it, then Fascism is coming; probably a slimy Anglicized form of Fascism, with cultured policemen instead of Nazi gorillas and the lion and the unicorn instead of the swastika.”
George Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier, 1937
On Friday, at the Oxfordshire election count, I asked a fresh faced UKIP member “how does a young person become a Fascist?”. That was fun. It is easy to hate them. It’s bonding to pour venom over our enemies. But it does nothing to help us understand the rise of this Anglicised form of Fascism.
If we are to get our heads round it, then it is useful to go back to the quote above, and the context in which it was written. The paragraph comes from Orwell’s book The Road to Wigan Pier – written after the forces of darkness had extended across Germany and Italy, but before he himself showed up in an office in Catalonia and declared ‘I’m here to fight fascism’.
It is as true today as it was then. UKIP itself is, of course, less a firmly fascist party and more a discordant rabble. It’s voters are by no means all racist, and its representatives range from those motivated by bigotry to those who see it as a useful tool to defend their wealth.
But the point isn’t who they are. The point is that, the more they persuade people that immigrants, not capitalists, are responsible for low wages and unemployment, the darker, colder and nastier our country becomes – the closer we tilt towards fascism… a slimy, Anglicised form of fascism.
And as Orwell recognised, Labour, the Conservatives, and the Liberals will be useless in combating them. Because they are the parties of the status quo, and it is the status quo which needs to change, with which people are enraged. As UKIP tip the boat to starboard, these parties roll with the tilt until we all capsize.
The solution is that we need a party which explains, in clear terms, why wages are low, why there are no jobs, why there is a housing crisis – a party which can credibly do so from outside the establishment, a party which is steadfast in its commitment that they shall not pass.
For the Green Party, we have a choice. We can become this party – the effective Socialist party that Orwell demanded – or we can become irrelevant.
Of course, there are many socialisms, and the Road to Wigan Pier was written before Nineteen Eighty Four. Greens must learn the lessons of the 20th century, and accept that progressive movements today aren’t the democratic centralists. That way lies disempowerment and disenfranchisement and, ultimately, is at the core of the failure of the Labour party. Successful left movements are about decentralism and mass empowerment,
But that doesn’t change the point. People are, more than for a long time, angry with the establishment. And right now, that anger is being captured by the elite, and channeled at those who least deserve it. Whilst many Labour members will do great work in the coming struggle, their leadership have no place in the fight against an establishment of which they are a key pillar.
Unless we, Greens, can, along with a broad movement, organise ourselves against the establishment and for the people, the boat will one day capsize. Our country will become a colder, darker place. If you’re not a member yet, we’re going to need all the help we can get. Join this fight today.