Fascism arises when the ruling class, ie, the bourgeois multi-billionaires in whose interests our society is run, abandons the tactic of ruling the exploited masses with their consent in favour of the tactic of ruling by naked brute force. As long as the exploited class is willing to be ruled, then democratic rights are made available for everybody to be able to express that willingness. As the crisis of the capitalist economic system deepens, however, and the ruling class struggles to solve the crisis at the cost of the masses of working-class people (the proletariat) by reducing their economic well-being, then the democratic rights of working people are also reduced and the bourgeoisie resorts more and more to control by naked force.
A special characteristic of fascism is that, through demagogy, wide sections of the population - the petty bourgeoisie and backward sections of the working class - are actually mobilised by the bourgeoisie to force the working class as a whole to submit to the bourgeoisie's drive to push down living standards. Thus it was that Hitler came to power with the support of large sections of the population on the basis of a demagogic programme, which combined fake 'anti-capitalism' with anti-semitism, but which had the complete support of German finance capital, for which the entire German working class, and people elsewhere, had to pay very dearly. Thanks to the treachery of the German social democrats, who refused to unite with the communists against fascism, German finance capital succeeded in installing the Nazis at the helm of the German state. Ultimately, the German government used its powers first to round up suspected working-class activists, led by the communists, then the social democrats and send them to concentration camps where most were killed, and then followed a mass extermination of jews and other ethnic minorities.
In Britain we have not yet reached that stage, but the first steps have been taken. Our 'Labour' government has taken away the right to silence and has introduced compulsory fingerprinting and Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs), which can be used to prevent protests such as those that took place against the poll tax and forced the government to abandon it. On the pretext of 'prevention of terrorism' it has for some time been locking up foreign nationals in prison without trial or even charges being preferred. After the Law Lords ruled last December that this was a breach of international law on human rights, the government has now substituted prison with house arrest, and removed the 'discriminatory' element, by making the law applicable to British citizens as well as foreign nationals.
The end result is that anybody can be locked up at home without trial and without charges being preferred. Besides house arrest, there is an array of other possible orders that can be made without evidence of guilt (only "reasonable suspicion" need be shown!), such as tagging, deprivation of use of computers and/or mobile phones etc. There was, of course, a massive battle in Parliament over this, but it was a sham battle - it was about whether judges would be used to issue the orders or politicians. When the government gave in on this point, for all the good it does to civil rights, the issue was then whether there would be a 'sunset' (automatic expiry) clause, which the Tories were demanding in order to have time to consider whether the legislation could not be made even more draconian!
And how is the British working class being mobilised behind this destruction of our human rights? Why - by resort to racism! It's not the anti-semitism of Nazi Germany, but the 'respectable' British hysteria against asylum seekers, which the bourgeois press has for quite some time now been working frantically to portray as 'terrorists', ie, muslims. According to an anonymous senior Tory spokesperson, "'about 75 per cent want to hang, draw and quarter terrorists' rather than fret about their civil liberties". ('Deadlock in Westminster', The Observer, 13 March 2005) If that were truly the case, there would be little with which the British working class could reproach the 1930s German working class!
It follows that in the election, whether we voted Tory, Labour or BNP we would be voting for racism and internal suppression at home and ceaseless wars abroad. In the belief that we were voting to oppress asylum seekers and 'terrorists', we would be voting to tighten the noose around our own necks.
The CPGB-ML lacks the forces to stand in the forthcoming election. The extraordinary cost of doing so, designed to preserve the status quo, keeps out those who have not yet gained mass support (or the support of monopoly capital!). The present dire situation, however, where the ruling class is tooling up for effecting a massive cut in living standards on the British working class, probably by abolishing or severely restricting welfare benefits of different kinds, proves that the British working class desperately needs its own party to represent its interests - not merely in parliament, but also out of parliament, to mobilise against injustice and to alert people to the harmfulness of bourgeois propaganda, eg, against asylum seekers.
Above all, it needs its own party to lead the struggle to overthrow the bourgeoisie and its antiquated economic system which condemns more than half the world to penury, while embroiling everybody in endless wars.
The CPGB-ML seeks to become such a party. We urge everyone to give us support in any way they can in order that we may more effectively serve the working class. By helping to make the CPGB-ML strong, you will be helping to make the whole working class united and strong as well.