In a context such as the current one in which the extreme right takes advantage of the crisis context to incite fear of what is different and that parties like Vox win voters in each new election1, it is necessary to remember the movements to fight against fascism and their achievements when it comes to stopping it, especially now that we have it recently with the failure of the Vox rally in Vallecas thanks to neighborhood action.
On April 7th Vox arranged an event in Vallecas which received from the beginning a strong rejection among the neighbors with calls for anti-fascist demonstrations on the same day2 with the slogan “The neighborhood is ours.” Despite the fact that Más Madrid, Unidas Podemos and the PSOE distanced themselves from the event asking “not to fall into provocations”3, thousands of neighbors appeared to boycott the act. Abascal came to jump the police cordon without any impediment from the police to directly rebuke the protesters4, given his failure to achieve conflict in another way. The event ended with arrests and police charges against those who demonstrated but not without the act failing both to transmit his hateful message and to declare themselves “victims.”
In the Usera neighborhood in Madrid with a 30% immigrant population faced with the discourse of the extreme right that linked immigration with endemic problems in the neighborhood such as dirt or crime5, 37 different associations decided to react against xenophobia, take advantage of the international day of tolerance in 2018 and distribute brochures and stickers with the hashtag #UseraConvive6, setting up information tables to speak to the neighborhood’s neighbors and undo racist messages. Undoubtedly this ant work of the neighborhood groups is behind the “punctures” of Vox in their rallies in the area7.
Some of the most interesting cases arise in Catalonia with the collective Unitat contra el Feixisme8, initially founded in 2010 to stop Plataforma per Catalunya9, a far-right identity party that achieved a great electoral victory in the elections of 2007, achieving 17 council members10. Thanks to the coordinated action of the collective in each event of this party its rise could be stopped and it finally disappeared in 2015, merging into a coalition with the Party for Freedom and Spain 2000 that only obtained 722 votes11. Other important achievements of the neighborhood antifascist struggle in Barcelona were the closure of the far-right house Tramuntana12 or the Holocaust denier Europe bookstore13.
It is the fear of the different that gives wings to fascism to achieve its objectives and the information from the same street is an effective way to confront it as was demonstrated in Nou Barris in Barcelona by achieving that a neighborhood opposed to the construction of a mosque learned to coexist in diversity14. Now more than ever given the looming crisis and which parties like Vox will use to feed on fear and misinformation, neighborhood movements are a much-needed asset to stop the rise of the far right.The neighborhood is ours!
1 https://www.elplural.com/politica/la-prensa-internacional-asustada-con-el-ascenso-de-vox_207455102 2 https://www.elindependiente.com/espana/madrid/2021/04/07/ultras-del-rayo-antifas-y-organizaciones-vecinales-quieren-sabotear-el-acto-de-vox-en-vallecas-el-barrio-es-nuestro/ 3 https://www.elsaltodiario.com/opinion/foto-santiago-abascal-no-queria-acto-vox-vallecas 4 https://www.elsaltodiario.com/cronica/guillermo-martinez-cronica-acto-vox-vallecas-elecciones-autonomicas-fotografias 5 https://elpais.com/ccaa/2018/10/20/madrid/1540067338_233929.html 6 https://elpais.com/ccaa/2018/12/07/madrid/1544221827_583657.html 7 https://www.elplural.com/autonomias/doble-pinchazo-vox-orcasitas-publico-disturbios_264237102 8 https://unitatcontraelfeixisme.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/quc3a9-es-ucfr_bn.pdf 9 https://web.archive.org/web/20140627215627/http://www.plataforma.cat/ 10 https://www.icps.cat/archivos/WorkingPapers/wp274.pdf?noga=1 11 https://espana2000.es/2016/04/25/la-federacion-respeto-recibe-el-apoyo-de-la-lider-tatjana-festerling-pegida/ 12 https://www.lavanguardia.com/local/barcelona/20150524/54431839692/casal-tramuntana-neofascismo-anuncia-cierre.html 13 https://www.publico.es/politica/capitulo-final-libreria-europa-centro.html 14 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqsuY96JIQI