Hard-left violence 'hurting anti-racist organisations'

THE INFILTRATION of anti-racist organisations by hard-left groups, some of whom are dedicated to violence, has led to bitter divisions within the movement and left some families of victims of racial violence feeling exploited.

Groups such as the Anti-Nazi League have been infiltrated by elements from Class War, Militant and the Socialist Workers Party. One result is that peaceful protests against racism, such as the demonstration in Welling, south-east London, on 16 October, degenerate into confrontations with police.

'Violence with Violence', a World in Action programme due to be broadcast tonight, looks behind the public face of anti-racist groups such as the Anti-Nazi League.

More militant than its rival, the Anti-Racist Alliance, it fights racism by confronting the BNP on the streets. Its main organisers are both members of the SWP.

One former member admitted the ANL was prepared to use violence against the police in order to satisfy its aims. 'If the police block their way, they'll use whatever means necessary to break their ranks,' he said.

Other groups, such as the recently formed Youth Against Racism in Europe (YRE), were set up by Militant to recruit young people from the anti-racist movement. Although it does not officially advocate violence, World In Action discovered a hidden group of 25 within the organisation called the 'Away Team', used for defence and confrontation.

On an anti-racism demonstration in Brick Lane, east London, on 19 September, the Away Team, posing as racists, were driven into the BNP ranks by police who assumed that they too were right-wing extremists. They then attacked the BNP members. Twenty-three charges against team members have since been through the courts.

Panther UK, another group originally set up by Militant to recruit young black people, recently split into two sections; one that believed in confrontation and another that did not.

Mike Beckham, the programme's producer, said the violent factions were seriously undermining the anti-racist cause. 'What appears to have happened is that anti-racism is a single-issue cause like the poll tax and acts as a kind of catch-all for some of the extreme left-wing groups to jump on board,' he said.

According to Ken Livingstone MP, a supporter of the ARA, this is just what the BNP wants. 'No one's discussing their policies. Now the question is the violence of the SWP, arguments between the police and the SWP about who is to blame.'

World in Action 'Violence with Violence'; ITV, 8.30pm tonight.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Physiotherapist / Sports Therapist

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Advisor

£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Ashdown Group: Senior .Net Developer - Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A long-established, technology rich ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable