London (Oct. 5)
A resolution condemning fascism, which was adopted yesterday by a Conservative Party conference at Brighton, may have the effect of spurring the Labor Government to more active steps against fascist and anti-Semitic agitation, despite the fact that it was passed only as an afterthought to a resolution condemning Communism. Some part of the Government’s reluctance to act is thought to be the fear that the Conservatives would attack any measures as “Socialistic” curbs on freedom of expression.
The anti-Fascist resolution was pushed through after an uproar on Friday night when Andrew Fontaine, one of the delegates, made an anti-Semitic address in connection with the Palestine problem. The speech was greeted with thunderous applause, but some of the other delegates strongly attacked Fontaine. As a result the conference decided to adopt a resolution concerning both Communism and fascism, instead of just the former.
Meanwhile, trade union and other groups are continuing to map plans to counter the growing fascist and anti-Semitic activities. The London Trades Council is meeting next Friday to consider proposals for mass action, including protest meetings and circularization of Members of Parliament. The London County Council, central administrative body for metropolitan London, will meet on Tuesday to vote on a resolution which says that “concerned with the best interests of the people of London, the Council views with grave concern the increasing activity of fascist organizations in London.” The resolution calls on the Home Secretary to make anti-Semitism a criminal offense and outlaw fascist activities.
The fascists have been encountering some difficulty in holding meetings in recent days. A meeting in the London borough of Lambeth on Friday night was broken up by police after a half-hour when crowds attempted to drag the speakers from the platform. Spectators shouting anti-fascist slogans prevented the speakers from leaving until they were escorted by a police detachment.
Five fascists were arraigned in the North London magistrates court yesterday on charges of using brass knuckles in dispersing Jewish hecklers at a fascist meeting in Ridley Road, chief meeting place of the British League of Ex-Servicemen. The cases were adjourned until next Sunday.