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Posted on 27 July 2011 at 11:45 GMT

Norway massacre and the English Defence League

Naomi Byron

Massive demonstrations of defiance and mourning in Norway show that Anders Breivik's terrorist atrocities have had the opposite effect to that he intended.

According to the BBC 250,000 people gathered in Oslo, joined by mass demonstrations in every town and city across Norway, to condemn the attacks and mourn the dead.

Breivik claims he was part of the formation of "the Knights Templar Europe" in London in 2002, a group of nine far right individuals whose purpose was "to seize political and military control of Western European countries and implement a cultural conservative political agenda."

His 1500 page "manifesto" predicts a civil war in Europe which would only end in 2083 with the deportation of all Muslims and the execution of all "cultural Marxists" - a phrase he uses to describe anyone who doesn't agree with his bigoted views and paranoia.

Attacks on the left by the Scandinavian far right are nothing new. In Sweden members of the Socialist Party's sister organisation, which plays a prominent role in fighting racism and the extreme right, has been physically attacked by them 18 times in the last year and a half.

But Breivik's terrorist atrocity was much bigger in scale than any in Scandinavia since his political ancestor Quisling held power (the Norwegian politician who acted as a puppet for the Nazi occupation of Norway during the Second World War).

The targeting of the ruling Labour Party youth camp on Utoya island, where Breivik massacred 68 people, was aimed at producing mass terror. So are his pronouncements since the attacks that there are two other "cells" in Norway and several in other European countries aiming to commit similar or bigger terrorist attacks.

This is entirely possible. Firstly because the attempts of all the main parties across Europe to whip up prejudice against Muslims, migrants and other minorities to distract attention from the fact that they and their pro-big business policies are responsible for the economic and social problems that working people suffer from daily.

This, added to the media's attempts to fan the flames of racism and division, has also helped create a fertile climate for far right and racist organisations to grow.

Terrorism is a central part of the far right, a fact that the leaders of far right and racist groups linked to Breivik are desperate to obscure. The English Defence League (EDL) in Britain has produced two official statements condemning Breivik's actions.

But the aims of the leaders of the EDL are to whip up racist divisions and violence, opposition to what they call "Islamic extremism" is a cover for racism, as anyone who has heard the racist chants or seen the frequent racist attacks committed by EDL supporters on their demonstrations will know.

Some EDL supporters posted comments more supportive of Breivik online. One post on the EDL forum said "they may blame this on the right wing but it's most certainly caused by the left-wing politicians and the injustices they serve up on a daily basis," and another posted "I would have supported [him] 100 per cent if he had just stuck to bombs instead of killing them poor brainwashed children," on the EDL's Facebook page.

Chillingly, the leader of the EDL ended by "warning" that if the EDL isn't listened to, there will be a "similar" attack in Britain to Breivik's over the next few years.

This is a threat to take up terrorist methods if the racist, far right agenda of the leaders of the EDL is not adopted wholesale.

The EDL are threatening to march through the borough of Tower Hamlets in East London on 3 September. This is pure provocation, in an area that has a large Muslim population and a huge mixture of different races and cultures, and a proud history of fighting racism and the far right.

Last year the EDL pulled out of a planned march in Tower Hamlets, frightened at the widespread opposition. The leaders were particularly scared that their supporters would be facing not just a crowd of angry Muslims, but also trade unionists, socialists and local residents from every community and culture in the borough.

This year the EDL can be stopped, particularly if the campaign links the fight against racism to the fight against cuts in jobs and public services.

The mass protests of unity against the attacks show a strong public mood to stop anything like this ever happening again. But the same politicians who opened the door to the far right in the first place are doing their best to keep people from questioning their role and policies.

To eradicate the threat of terrorism, both from far right racists and from the groups supporting right-wing political Islam we need to build a movement based on working-class unity opposed to racism and all other forms of prejudice.

This is the only force that can not only defeat the far right, but provide a positive alternative to the dead end of terrorism. By fighting on the issues that unite us - jobs, housing, defending public services - we can begin to challenge the cuts agenda that every career politician in Europe is pursuing and undercut the appeal of the far right.

In Britain we need an active, fighting trade union campaign to stop the cuts, including the biggest public sector unions, Unison and unite. We need a new workers' party, beginning with anti-cuts, antiracist and socialist candidates standing to challenge all of the main parties who are carrying out cuts.

Socialist policies such as free state education for all including at university level, a mass expansion of public housing at cheap rents, could not only help provide jobs to the "lost generation" of this economic crisis but also remove the social conditions and problems that encourages racism and other prejudices.

Working people need to take over the commanding heights of the British economy - only 150 companies - and run them democratically, for need not profit.

Imagine the schools, hospitals and public housing that the bankers' bonuses could buy! But this would be small change compared to the enormous resources and productivity that would be released by a democratic plan of production, debated and agreed by working people.

Right-wing terrorists choose their methods because they have no hope of winning wide support for their ideas. Socialists, by contrast, know that the only way of either cutting across the growth of the far right, or creating a better society is to win mass support.

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