It was the kind of place where the floors were sticky, most of the regulars were old and bitter, they openly served alcohol to 16-year-olds and anyone could buy weed in their toilets.
It was a wonderful place to spend your teenage years. Between 2001 and 2003, Tanners was where I made all of my best mistakes.
Here is a picture from November 2016, where you can just see Tanners on the right of the picture, behind the sieg heiling Nazis.
This picture was taken in the town of Darlington, in the North of England. This was where I went to college, and where I discovered that I love punk, I love Quentin Tarantino, and that I might be one of those ‘transgender’ things (and that I should push that shit down forever). Darlington will always hold a special place in my heart as it was where I did so many things for the first time.
Now Darlington can add itself to an ever growing list of places where the far right have targeted, and the truly scary part is that hardly anyone noticed. The only mention of this march that I could find in the media was one local newspaper that reported it as a glorified traffic issue.
At no point did the journalist mention the ski mask wearing Hitler psychos. He simply called the event an ‘anti-Islam’ march, and implied that this event was only noteworthy because it brought a high street to a standstill.
I cannot work out which part of this is worse: the fact that this paper failed to report the literal sieg heiling Nazis that were walking the streets openly, or that a bunch of white people marching against an ethnic/religious minority is seen as a reasonable thing to do unless it blocks traffic.
Is this treatment in the media consistent with other nightmarish hate groups? Of course not. When an Islamic extremist idiot group called “Muslims Against Crusades” pulled the same shit back in 2011 they gained national attention and members of their group can’t fart without it being covered by any number of national newspapers.
But a hundred Nazis walking through a town centre? Nothing to worry about according to our press. Never mind that a literal fucking Nazi straight up murdered a member of Parliament last year, never mind that religious and racist hate crime reports have risen as much as 41% this year. It is the Muslims we are all afraid of here in the UK.
Openly holding a racist, Islamophobic view has been ‘reasonable’ here in the UK since 9/11, and there are no signs of this stopping being the case anytime soon. The British gutter press has perpetrated a hostile anti Muslim campaign for close to two decades, in the form of stories that are almost always false, and has successfully woven a narrative through the minds of the British public that tells one toxic tale: That Muslims are coming for your bacon, they are coming for your culture and we have to stop them.
Is it any wonder that far-right groups can openly march under the banner of “anti-Islam” and barely anyone gave them a single thought? The press has prepared the soil for Nazis to plant their bullshit, and we are letting them do it.
And this isn’t only a British thing, the far right are capitalizing all over the continent. Here are some from Greece.
Here are some in France.
This is also happening in America. Muslims have been the target of right-wing reactionary fuck buckets for just as long as they have been here in the UK. But, and I am not going to mince my words, the difference between the US and the UK (for now) is that America’s next head of state is a Nazi.
That isn’t some Godwin, ‘sore loser’ liberal nonsense. Trump may disavow the imagery and the specific words used by Nazis, he may even be mistaken as being too stupid to be a Nazi, but every move he has made is taken from the Adolf Hitler playbook and every Nazi in the US loves him. Not convinced? Let’s look at his latest nonsense.
It doesn’t matter that America is currently the most armed country in the world and could blow up the fucking solar system if they wanted to, Trump is ramping up his talk of defending the US against a vague, foreign evil in a way that has military experts losing their minds.
Hitler did the exact same thing in 1933. And that isn’t the only time Trump has used the Hitler playbook to get ahead politically. What about that time they both pointed at a minority and claimed they are the cause of economic turmoil?
Adam Todd Brown at Cracked made the argument that Trump is basically Gordon-Gecko-Hitler months before Trump was even nominated, and everyone thought he was crazy. He made the alarming point that Trump’s rise to power is alarmingly similar to Hitler’s and nobody took it seriously because it was Cracked that published it whilst the rest of the media was laughing at Trump’s candidacy. Turns out, we were the crazy ones, for believing that Hitler couldn’t happen again.
It is happening again. A political ideology that vilifies a religious minority is flying into power across the world under a wave of casual Islamophobia. How else could a bunch of Nazis walk through my old college town without any fanfare?
Mila (Transgender Universe site writer and hero) told me that, if I wanted to write on this site, anything I submitted would have to relate to the transgender community. This made sense; I was applying to write for a website called Transgender Universe. This wasn’t going to be a place for me to rant about how much I love Hamilton. But this is the biggest platform I have, so just this once I don’t want to focus on trans people. We will be a target, of course, but we are an afterthought. We are just faggots who are disgusting to them. It is Muslims who are their main targets.
And the general public is with them.
Don’t believe me? Let me prove my point, call any relative you have that is outside of your bubble, and ask them what they think of Muslims. I will wait here.
Well, how was that? I thought so.
For that reason, we must make 2017 the year of the Nazi.
We have to scream in any way we can about the rise of this old evil because most people are going to miss it. Most will argue that it isn’t happening; they will explain it away as some kind of Brexit related, Midwest steel industry, alt-right thing that will fade in time. Maybe they are right, and maybe this will look really stupid in a year, and I am just diverting attention away from ‘real issues’.
But in this most new of years, Brexit is going to happen, Trump is going to start BEING the president and the Nazis in his cabinet and the skin heads on the streets are going to branch out. Hell, they already are. The stakes are too high. We have to act.
We have to fight them.
“THE ONLY THING THAT HAS EVER WORKED AGAINST THE FAR-RIGHT IS DIRECT ACTION.”
The only thing that has ever worked against the far-right is direct action. These are not people you can persuade with reason or logic. Most will be disenfranchised, angry and are driven by fear. Maybe one day they will recover from their nightmarish condition, but right now whenever a bunch of skinheads show up anywhere (and I mean anywhere) we have to get in their face.
I am not saying you should walk up to a Nazi and punch him in the face, I am saying that we must be there and block their marches, throw bricks, scream over them and stop the sight of Nazis being normal. We have to outnumber them and make them scared, because fear is the only thing they will respond to. When they speak, we must disrupt, when they walk we must block, when they fart, we must punch them in the face. To quote Quentin Tarantino’s Aldo Raines “Nazis ain’t got no humanity. They’re the foot soldiers of a Jew-hatin’, mass murderin’ maniac and they need to be dee-stroyed.”
This approach cannot be just for your average bunch of swastika tattooed skinheads, or your alt-right script kids. We must directly act against them when they wear suits and are elected into governments. We need to demonstrate against every single deportation, every single racist law, every single thing a Nazi in a suit does. We need to scream “NAZI” in every face we see when the press fails to do so (and they will, they already are).
If Milo Yiannopoulos shows up at your college, in your town, you have to react as if Hitler himself has crawled out of hell and is doing stand-up at the Comedy Store. For the longest time I thought the best thing was to ignore him, now I know we have to fight him and his ilk. Even if he is doing it for the money, for the infamy, that doesn’t stop him essentially being a fucking Nazi.
“I HAVE SAID BEFORE THAT THE ACTUAL TRUTH IS WE ARE PROBABLY ONE OF THE STRONGEST SETS OF PEOPLE YOU CAN GET, AND NOW IS THE TIME TO SHOW IT.”
Trans people have a reputation for being weak, thanks to a news media that can’t help themselves when some student tries to stop people from saying ‘tranny’ in the union bar. When someone says “special snowflake,” they are talking about us. I have said before that the actual truth is we are probably one of the strongest sets of people you can get, and now is the time to show it. Seek out anti-fascist groups in your area, seek out other trans people, seek out any group that acts against the far right and give them your time and your money. If you see a news report about Nazis that fails to name them as actual Nazis, scream at them. If you see your government planning legislation that targets Muslims, put yourself in-between them. If there was ever a time to show that trans people are a force to be reckoned with, it is now.
They will call you an aids spreading faggot, they will misgender you, and they will try to pick at the psychological scars that are buried deep. You have to shake that off, you have to take it and you have to scream back louder. Don’t take it personally, they are Nazis.
We need to make 2017 the year of the Nazi, otherwise we risk letting the 2020’s be the decade of the Nazis.