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Five antifascist were fined for disturbing the public peace. We send them our greetings in solidarity, and would also like to oppose those who point moralistic fingers at them.
On Saturday, October 27, Nazis in Den Nordiska Motståndsrörelsen (NMR) [English: The Nordic Resistance Movement] gathered in the Østfold cities of Fredrikstad and Moss. Roughly 50 Nazis, mainly imported from Sweden, handed out fliers, held speeches, and shouted slogans.
The organization started in Sweden and in the last few years has managed to establish itself in Norway, Finland, and Denmark. They praise Hitler and organize based on a model developed by the German NSDAP. They are infamous for a number of murders, violent assaults, and terror bombings.
The victims of this Nazi violence are political opponents, gays, and people that Nazis consider to be “racial aliens”.
- The organization was recently banned in Finland after a member killed a 28 year old antifascist activist. For his deadly kick, the member was given an award by the organization [in Norwegian]
- The central member Tommy Olsen was earlier convicted of stabbing two Africans [in Norwegian]
- Ole Nicolai Kvisler, the main perpetrator of the murder of 15 year old Benjamin Hermansen in Holmlia in 2001, had ties to the organization [in Norwegian]
- In Göteborg, NMR-activists attacked a syndicalist book café and two refugee centers with bombs. Three activists were convicted in connection with the attacks [in Swedish]
Attack in a parking garage
It is the police that contacted the media about a group of five activists who attacked NMR-members in a parking garage in Fredrikstad. It is also the police that has reported that they belonged to what they refer to as the “AFA-environment in Oslo”, and they they have been fined for disturbing the public peace. [Translator’s note: AFA, or ‘Antifascistisk Aksjon’ is a loose organization of multi-tendency antifascists in Norway, mainly based in Oslo]. We never trust the police or bourgeois media, so it should not be taken for granted that what they say is always correct. It may or may not have been AFA that stood behind the action, but we nonetheless applaud their efforts.
The fines are 9000 kroner for each activist. The police have reported that one of the Nazis indicated that he planned on pressing charges for battery and assault.
We do not have any information to confirm or deny the police’s or the media’s depiction of the events or any of the other information in connection with the events. Our information is based only on that which has been revealed in the media. We do not wish to speculate about things either, but we nonetheless wish to show our support and honor in solidarity with those who have been fined for their actions, regardless of who they are.
It is right to resist Nazism
Some equate Nazi and antifascist violence with each other, and claim that antifascists “stoop down” to the Nazis’ level when they use violence against them. Some would perhaps hold as their main argument that violence begets violence, something that is known in popular language as a “spiral of violence”. Others are in turn concerned that violence leads to negative publicity.
These are all tendencies and analyses that must be opposed in the question of resistance against fascism.
First, because not all violence is the same. Violence is nothing more than a tool, and each type of violence must be judged on the basis of what that tool sets out to accomplish and what consequences that violence has. Violence already exists in society, and all historical and contemporary experience shows that Nazism and violence are inextricably linked. Wherever Nazis are allowed to gain power, they will threaten and oppress the political opposition and people who do not fit into their worldview. Their violence is reactionary.
Antifascists exercise violence as an act of self-defense. Nazi growth is a threat, and people have the right to defend themselves against this threat. It is not necessary to wait until Nazis attack, or until they make good on their threats of terrorism. But even this is not enough – Nazis are attacking people today and are a very real threat for queer people, people who are considered “racial aliens”, and political activists on the left. Antifascist violence is always self-defense, even when it is offensive.
Second, with the first point as background, is the awareness that antifascist violence is not negative or beneficial for Nazis. Nazis wish to exercise power and violence, but do not want to be exposed to attacks or suffer losses. The goal of antifascist violence is not to convince people that it is right. The goal is to fight back against these Nazi groups, hinder their growth, and scare them away from showing themselves and attacking others. When we say that antifascist violence is self-defense, one does not deny that it is nonetheless an oppressive violence. It is an oppression of Nazism, but also a liberating violence for those who are threatened by Nazism. Those who sympathize with Nazis will feel that Nazis are under attack, but they cannot recruit when they appear weak, or if there is a risk associated with joining them. On the contrary, this weakens the image of the strong Aryan soldier they wish to cultivate and scares potential sympathizers from taking a step closer to Nazi organizing.
The strains of repression and fines
Arrests, fines, and other forms of repression strain the efforts of antifascists. Even for dedicated antifascists, the fear that a potential police investigation will reveal their names to Nazis, along with the economic burden of expensive fines can be a great strain alone.
Not everyone can be in a physical fight with Nazis. It is not only those who fight Nazis in the streets who are antifascists, and in this struggle there are also many other ways to participate. Those who participated by changing slogans and mobilizing against Nazis also deserve a salute, as they contribute in strangling the Nazi snakes.
That activists are willing to take this risk shows a selfless dedication, firmness of principle, and antifascist honor. They make an important effort and make sacrifices to the struggle where most people would avoid the problem altogether. Meanwhile, the struggle is absolutely necessary to stop Nazism, and therefore we as antifascists ought not only to be impressed, but also grateful to those who do this necessary dirty work.
With the background of both the efforts and the strains involved in meeting repression, we wish to thank and greet these antifascists.
- A group of Red Antifascists