One of the recurring problems the British far right has always had to contend with is fragmentation. The last successful group of British fascists was Mosley’s British Union of Fascists over 80 years ago, just before the outbreak of World War II. Ever since then small groups of fash have sprung up, occasionally grown but always splintered into smaller, weaker factions that preferred to fight each other rather than anything else.

The usual explanation for this is that they’re paranoid and can’t help falling out with one another. There is some truth in this – of course they’re paranoid and paranoid people have real trouble trusting each other. But that’s not the whole story.

Fascists (and especially their followers) are by nature conservative in outlook. They feel uncomfortable without rigid rules and command structures. That means that most of them are destined to be sheep. Every fascist organisation is full of people with large egos and equally uncontained ambition. For every 100 sheep there are at least 10 wannabe leaders, all desperate to outshine the others and all desperate to hang on to whatever power they can get for themselves. This combination of obedient sheep and frustrated megalomaniacs makes factionalisation inevitable. It also makes their downfall a foregone conclusion but only if we seize the opportunity it presents.

The more frustrated these people get the more irrational they become and the more mistakes they make. And nothing frustrates order-loving sheeple and would-be fash than failure. They blame each other and the paranoia grows stronger. They protest their innocence in front of the flock and the sheep scatter, momentarily terrified by the lack of leadership they quickly regroup behind leaders who order them to hate their former friends. That’s where we can win.

Leave The Dark manifesto

We won’t do it by fuelling the fires of fascist paranoia. That’s already stoked pretty high. We don’t need to do that. We just need to trigger it. We just need to take away their ground. We need to domesticate their sheep. Forget the deeply entrenched thugs who go to rallies and beat up immigrants. They’re not the majority. They’re only ever going to make up a few percent of the total. Most of the people who support the far right only do so because they can’t see a decent alternative. They need something to rely upon and in the absence of anything better they fall back on authority and tradition. They never think to look for a more compassionate alternative. That’s because we’ve spent so much time opposing the really nasty stuff we haven’t stopped to think about giving the sheep anything better.

The #LeaveTheDark campaign will do just that. We need to bring a message of positive inclusion and sincere compassion back into society. We need to flood the UK with a message of tolerance and creativity – not just online but on the streets as well. A year or two from now it should be impossible to walk through any of our major cities without seeing posters about #LeaveTheDark in the windows of homes and businesses. Everywhere we look there’ll be campaign badges and all over the country courses, talks and activities will be spreading the message. Internet vines and memes will proliferate alongside blogs and articles in newspapers and magazines extolling the virtue of virtue! And the factionalised fash won’t know what hit them.

How will we achieve all this?

What we won’t do is factionalise. There will be no power struggles because there will be no leader. What ‘leadership’ there is will act as more of a central hub for activists than a command centre. There will be no attempt to woo followers away from other Antifa groups. #LeaveTheDark is not in competition with anyone who shares our aims. There are already some fine people out there doing some excellent work and we will not detract from that. In fact we support and applaud it. #LeaveTheDark isn’t about reinventing the wheel – it’s about adding another spoke to exist alongside all the others, interacting with them and ideally sharing members. There are no issues of divided loyalty here and nobody will be asked to hate anyone – not even the fash.

First we need people who can spare at least a few hours each week, more if you can. We’ll be asking for volunteers to help in a range of different ways. The idea is to flood British culture with a different message of inclusion and compassion. And it won’t just be online. There’ll be events and real world advertising campaigns as well as all the usual social media stuff. We’re looking for all sorts of people who might be able to help including, speakers, teachers, organisers, stall-manners, poster putter-uppers (within the law, of course), meme-makers, video-makers, interviewers, writers, bloggers, marketing and publicity experts, performing artists, designers and a whole lot more.

It’s surprising how few people it takes to make a big difference if we have a good enough plan. A couple of dozen people working in their spare time can have a massive impact in a fairly short time but only if we operate across a range of different media and in real life as well. So far we envisage…

For interaction between members, awareness-raising and to recruit more members…

  • Facebook page
  • Blog
  • Newsletter
  • Twitter
  • Podcast
  • Youtube

For real world awareness raising

  • Poster campaign
  • Leafletting
  • #LeaveTheDark branded merchandising
  • Lectures
  • Street stalls
  • Training days on topics like Hate crime prevention, Racism, British fascism, Activism
  • Regular regional meetings and social events
  • Marches and rallies

What we won’t do…

We won’t be directly confronting far right groups at their rallies and marches. Remember our task is to create awareness of an alternative for those people who need some sort of leadership. We won’t provide any alternatives by focussing upon the thing we want to move away from. Other groups do that very successfully and that’s fine but it’s not the purpose of #LeaveTheDark. Remember – we’re an additional spoke – not a replica of existing ones.

We won’t be spending a lot of time directly confronting far right propaganda. Other groups already do that and are extremely skilled at it. They don’t need our help, especially when we’d only fall back into the same trap we’d hit if we went around opposing fascism. Remember – our task is to create a better alternative for those who need it, not to attack the existing filth.

We’ll make links with social organisations from churches to schools, youth groups to amateur dramatic organisations and collaborate with them on the projects they already know how to do best. That way we can constantly involve new blood and develop our own skills and techniques as we go along as well.

We’ll publish plenty of ways for people to make suggestions and help members to collaborate on #LeaveTheDark initiatives, sometimes with the help of the larger group and sometimes on their own, depending upon their needs and preferences. We’ll also build up a large base of followers who can help out at regional and national events or attend them with their friends and family in tow. Everything we do will help to foster a spirit of tolerance and mutual respect that cannot fail to overwhelm the vicious, small-minded philosophy of the far right.

There’s a huge amount of potential out there, not just amongst antifa campaigners but throughout the rest of society as well. Many, many organisations and employers will be sympathetic to our cause if we just approach them in the right way – and if we focus on the right things. Criticising the fascist mindset isn’t enough. That’s important but it’s only half the story because it risks being perceived only as negative. We need to provide a viable, positive alternative.

Are you with us?

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Together we can be an unstoppable force.