An Election (26th May 2019)
Monday, 01 June 2020 03:19

An Election (26th May 2019)

Published in Poetry

An Election (26th May 2019)

by Chris Norris

Time was I clung to the idea
That it was not our style,
That fascist stuff; 'won't happen here,
The folk would run a mile'.

I thought our character showed clear,
Displayed this sceptred isle
As a land free from any fear
That 'hi' might change to 'Heil'.

That seemed to show the world that we're
Not folk you can beguile
By some shift of strategic gear
With new foes to revile,

New 'enemies within' to jeer,
And other ways to trial
The fascist line of yesteryear
On today's rank-and-file.

Think how we raised a wartime cheer
For Winston Churchill while,
Post-war, he'd be out on his ear
And choking on his bile.

We batted back the 'traitor' smear,
Returned it with a smile,
And thought: you types may domineer
But we're the xenophile

World-welcomers whom no frontier
Can henceforth domicile
Within the shit-filled Twittersphere
Where Farage tops the pile.

* * * * *

That's why I took a sanguine view,
Said ours was not the sort
Of country where some newborn crew
Of fascists could import

Old strategies to launch a coup,
Revive the beast we fought
The last time round in World War Two,
And teach what Hitler taught.

But now the fears are coming true,
The lesson's gone for naught,
The bigots and the racists queue
To pay their leaders court,

The tainted tints red, white and blue
Bedeck hate's juggernaut,
And who's to say what we can do
To counter its onslaught?

That's how the Farage movement grew
So fast, and how its short
Though lethal term in office threw
Dark shadow-lines athwart

Those native qualities I knew,
Or made-believe, or thought
Self-evident till I saw through
That 'We're exempt' retort.

For now the truth is out: they too,
Those sober Brits, disport
Themselves in fascist ways and slew
Far right when swine exhort,

When times are hard, when witches'-brew
'Solutions' are most sought,
And when it falls to some last few
Diehards to hold the fort.


In the Fade
Monday, 01 June 2020 03:19

In the Fade

Published in Films

Jenny Farrell reviews a new German film about the rise of fascism in Germany.

Winner of the Golden Globe for best foreign language film, In the Fade by Turkish-German director Fatih Akin, is one of the more important new political films on the state of Germany today.

It is loosely based on the NSU (National Socialist – i.e. fascist – Underground) trials, which were concluded this summer after dragging on for over five years. On trial was a group of neo-Nazis who had randomly killed nine people with a migrant background, and also a policewoman; undercover police officers were involved to the point of colluding with the killers. The most notorious of the neo-Nazis and the person on whom the trial focused, is Beate Zschäpe; two of her accomplices had died in the meantime. Only Zschäpe received a life sentence.

Akin pares down the actual events and trial to make his point. He creates a plot around one family, the assumptions of the police and the mechanisms of the court. Diane Krüger excels in her role as the victim’s widow seeking justice. Connections between the German fascists and Greece’s Golden Dawn party represent a growing network of rightwing extremism in Europe. The film is alarmingly relevant.

Where it falls behind real life is that things are even worse in actuality. The film stopped short of showing undercover state involvement, the failure of the legal system to bring this to light in the trial. Another question that arises as we see a terrifying increase of neo-Nazi presence on the streets and parliament of Germany, is how is this rise of fascism possible again? Where does it come from? How can it infiltrate society once again? Why is it not stopped? How can it be stopped? The film offers no answers to these questions. But it is a cinematic contribution to such a discussion and stirs viewers to think about racism, fascism and highlights the acute need for action to stop this.

The film has recently been released in its English version on DVD.