The Late Late Show’s decision to feature convicted holocaust denier David Irving on 7 March represents a new low for RTE. Irving’s Nazi CV is such that RTE must be aware he is much more than a “controversial right-wing historian”. Irving’s meetings in the UK have been stewarded by BNP and Combat 18 thugs, he has addressed meetings of a society founded by former SS members and rallies attended by goosestepping skinheads.
The Socialist Party calls on trade unionists in RTE (and Newstalk who also had Irving on their station) to debate the issue and discuss taking industrial action in future rather than allowing fascists onto the airwaves again. A model example of how to deal with a nazi propagandist and organiser was given by anti-fascists in Cork in late February and early March.
The University College Cork (UCC) Philosophical Society invited Irving to participate in a debate on 10 March. The Socialist Party convened a meeting for organisations opposed to giving a platform for fascists and a protest was organised for the debate night. Socialist Party members on UCC campus convened a meeting to oppose the invitation, enabling anti-fascist students to make their own plans for a protest.
Sinn Fein’s ongoing move to the right was shown by their college branch’s announcement that they would not be joining the protest against the fascist Irving, but it was soon clear that hundreds of anti-fascists were mobilising with a significant bulk determined to prevent Irving from speaking. The Socialist Party does not believe that fascism, whose essence is the smashing of all workers’ organisations and all democratic rights, should be allowed to organise or to have a public platform.
Hitler once said: “Only one thing could have broken our movement – if the adversary had understood its principle and from the first day had smashed, with the most extreme brutality, the nucleus of our new movement.” We cannot allow fascists to gain a foothold of support in society. If a fascist organisation was allowed to grow it would spread racial hatred and discontent and without a doubt physically attack migrants, asylum seekers, gays and lesbians, socialists, trade unionists and anyone who stands up to them. All across Europe neo-nazi organisations are guilty of racist attacks and murders – we cannot allow this to happen in Ireland. This was the reason why we organised to stop David Irving from speaking.
Three days before the debate, the invitation to the nazi Irving was cancelled. This is the fourth time in 15 years that anti-fascist campaigners have successfully stopped a fascist from speaking in UCC. Socialist Party Councillor Mick Barry took part in a subsequent debate and defended the no platform position before the Philosophical Society audience. A well known neo-nazi turned up with a number of Irving supporters describing themselves as “free speech activists” but were turned away by security guards. Irving told the Sun newspaper that he will visit Ireland for two days of “private meetings” with “friends” in late March – he will of course be meeting fascists to assist them to build and develop in Ireland. Anti-fascist activists should be vigilant in the period ahead.