Old write-up from 2009. Still rough around the edges, but you get the point.
Decided to post this up again seen as though the subject of the Churchill “quote” keeps coming up (mainly from gobshites on Twitter).
Have you ever noticed how much those on the (far-)right like to reference Winston Churchill when attempting to justify their existence? “The fascists of the future will be called anti-fascists” gets thrown around a hell of a lot, and is supposed to be one of the ex-Tory MP’s most famous quotes.
Dig a little bit deeper, though (the Internet’s right there) and you’ll find no record of Churchill ever saying this.
On the face of it, if you were to type the “quote” into Google, you’ll be presented with a number of flat discussions on Yahoo Questions and various (forgotten) message boards; as well as one self-confessed Islamophobic blogger using Churchill’s “words” as a non-credible source to back up his petty arguments.
Churchill as the originator of the phrase certainly seems to be more mythical than factual. The main source for Churchill on the web, winstonchurchill.org, has no record of him ever saying it; and the Winston Churchill Society is unable to provide any evidence, either (you can contact them via email).
So where did this “quote” come from? The One Million United website suggests it was adapted from 40th Louisana Governor Huey Long’s words, “Sure we’ll have fascism here, but it will come as an anti-fascism movement.” The “quote” also seems to mirror Italian author Ignazio Silone’s words, when he said, “The final conflict will be between the Communists and the ex-Communists,” (Max Lerner, “The Hero as Ex-Communist,” pt. 4, The Unfinished Country (1959).
The far-right’s tendency of having to twist the facts/lie through its teeth to get the attention it so desperately craves should come as no surprise in its desperate recruitment attempts (even Churchill’s own grandson has hit out at the BNP/EDL/UKIP-types for their methods of using false information as “appalling”).
Now, let us be clear: I am by no means a fan of Churchill (he was an imperialist/racist/long-term advocate of chemical warfare). But time and time again the right-wing trolls (as well as a lot of Liberals I’ve had the displeasure of speaking to) will point to Churchill, and indeed this “quote”, as if they were a credible source.
But this is nothing more than a mishmash of words, exploiting the myth of Churchill’s “greatness”; whilst attempting to tarnish the reputation/hard work of genuine anti-fascists.
For the record, this is a real Churchill quote: “I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes…[It] would spread a lively terror.”