Category Archives: Analysis
The Football Lads Alliance (FLA) march in London last Saturday, saw large crowds (estimated between 5,000 to 20,000) gathered to protest Islamic extremism. The stated aim, at least from the organisers, was to demand the arrest, internment and or deportation of 23,000 ‘extremists’ without trial.
On the 4th October 1936 , tens of thousands of anti-fascists turned out to stop Moseley’s Blackshirts marching into the East End of London.
Displaying openly Nazi symbols is illegal in many countries, so European fascists have taken to using a plethora of symbols, logos and codes to hide their real views. This fashion has spread to British Fascists as well, so we’ve written a short guide to help people understand the confusing world of far-right iconography. Know your enemy!
(taken from emaf.noblogs.org )
Taking the piss out of the fascists is as easy as shooting fish in a barrel and because they are so good at making of mess of what they do it often seems that there isn’t much for anti-fascists to do. However, thanks to the support of the popular media and political discourse for increasingly authoritarian and reactionary politics on immigration, the “undeserving” poor and ethnic and cultural minorities, fertile ground for far right recruitment has been created. It only takes the far right to stop screwing up for a little while for them to find something that works and take off with it. For example:
The chameleon-like ability of the far right to infiltrate local politics with their own brand of fascist politics is one of the major threats that they pose. The biggest success for the EDL and the BNP in the East Midlands this year was the Thurnby Lodge protests in Leicester against the takeover of a disused scout hut by a local Muslim group.
Nick Griffin is parachuted in to Thurnby Lodge
The BNP and EDL exploited existing community tensions and a well-founded distrust of the local council to spin a dispute over community resources into an anti-Muslim crusade. At times, hundreds of local residents were involved in nightly pickets of a community centre where the As Salaam group had their prayer meetings. The crowds were addressed by BNP leader, Nick Griffin, on one occasion, although some residents distanced themselves from far right groups in public. The far right helped the process along by making up a story about Christians being forced to cover up a cross whilst Muslim prayers were being held. The story was discovered to have been made up but not before additional hysteria had been whipped up.
The pickets have now been going on for many months under the leadership of EDL activist Chris Hopewell, who has been photographed shaking hands with Leicester’s mayor. Members of As Salaam have complained of intimidation by protestors at the nightly pickets and in response the police have started imposing S.14 restrictions on numbers present at and the location of protests. They have also arrested several people they suspect of being organisers of unauthorised protests, including BNP members. A pigs head has been left at the doors of the community centre in an attempt to insult the Muslim group in response to the crackdown and now 4 people have been arrested for religiously-aggravated public order offences.
While the state crackdown will almost certainly drive a wedge between the extreme racist hardcore and most local residents, the fact that the far right have been subverting this campaign for so long (and doubtless recruiting and spreading their poisonous ideas) is a failure for anti-fascists. These kind of successes are the sort of thing we should be nipping in the bud, not by accusing everyone involved of being a racist, but by separating the legitimate concerns from divisive and paranoid ones.
Whilst not explicitly far right in nature, Dean Everitt’s anti-immigration demo in Boston was relatively successful and left some of the far right supporters who turned up eager for more. Again, the issue is one where many local people have legitimate concerns – the latest census results showed that Boston has seen a higher level of immigration than anywhere else over the last decade and local resources are clearly stretched. The issue undoubtedly plays on racist fears as well though. Given that Everitt himself is a supporter of far right groups and many of the people who were invited were from the EDL and BNP, it is fair to say the far right has some influence on this movement.
There has been talk of a future anti-immigration demo in Spalding in the new year. We need to make sure we continue to expose the involvement of the far right in this movement.
As the organised far right fragments it can be predicted that there will be more incidents of fascists acting on their own, without any restrictions imposed by a larger organisation. Indeed, the number of racist attacks, particularly against Muslims, appears to be on the rise. Lincolnshire police have reported a sharp rise in racist incidents as have schools in Derbyshire. There have also been some high profile attacks on Muslims in Leicester, Northants, Lincoln and Bingham, often involving people with links to far right organisations.
Many people wrongly think that the police will deal with these isolated incidents. In reality, Notts police were criticised for their extremely racist stop and search profiling and Leicestershire cops were were highlighted for the racist way in which they policed the EDL demo in February.
Anti-fascism will only succeed if the wider struggle against racial and religious divisions within society is also strong. There is no point in beating off organised fascism while the seeds of its rebirth are being sown all around us.
2012 saw a long-awaited resurgence of confidence in street-level anti-fascism. This was in no small part due to an increased militancy of UAF in tackling the EDL but also thanks to the growth of the decentralised Anti-Fascist Network. Anti-fascists had a number of victories over the fading EDL, most notably in Walthamstow where they blocked the EDL’s march and the fascists had to be kettled for their own safety.
That said, there is still a lot of poor analysis in the broader anti-fascist movement which tends to see fascism as one element of “extremism”, a label which is as likely to include people fighting for freedom as fascists. This can lead to our movement being appropriated by populist politicians for their own ends. If anti-fascism is not also against our authoritarian, racist state then it doesn’t deserve the name.
There is also a tendency towards anti-working class prejudice in some quarters, with the EDL and co being mocked as thick simply because they don’t express themselves in a suitably Guardian-reading manner. Anti-fascism should be a grassroots movement welcoming of all those who are sick of the divisions in our communities not an elitist sneering club.
Locally, anti-fascists had a relatively low profile although a successful benefit gig for anti-fascist prisoners was held in Nottingham, the Lincoln Underground Collective hosted a discussion on anti-fascism and Leicester anti-fascists took action against a coach company used by the EDL. It is harder to mobilise against the fascists when they are weak and don’t seem to pose much of a threat but that is exactly what we need to do to if we really want to stamp them out. If we can’t beat them when they are weak we will have no chance by the time they are strong again.
There is a lot to be done so support your local anti-fascist group and help build the Anti-Fascist Network.
A little late reposting this, but it contains stuff worth reading! Its taken from the anarchist journal blog While Rome Burns.
This Saturday’s attempt by the English Defence League to return to Walthamstow marked another chapter in the decline in fortunes of the organisation. Time was when they could get 3000 to a national demo. Now they only managed 60. After a previous national demo at Walthamstow where 300ish EDL were outnumbered by a couple of thousand opposition, leader ‘Tommy Robinson’ (Stephen Yaxley-Lennon to his mother) announced there would be a return to Walthamstow. A strange strategy… what made him think that re-running the whole thing two months later would change the result is mysterious.
Saturday also topped off a week of misfortune for the organisation – 53 of them all got nickedapparently on the way to do something to an East London mosque including glorious leader ‘Tommy’ who has been remanded till January. This meant that ‘Tommy’ and the leadership were unfortunately unable to attend the return to Walthamstow.
In the event, the Home Secretary proscribed all demonstrations in the Walthamstow area and the EDL were given the option of a static demo outside the Houses of Parliament for an hour. The UAF and community opposition held a victory rally in Walthamstow, while the EDL headed for Westminster.
So far so sorry for the EDL. However, despite their low numbers, the EDL in Westminster still managed to outnumber the opposition by some considerable number. It is a shame that more anti-fascists didn’t turn out to Westminster.
It was not entirely inappropriate to hold the victory rally in Walthamstow – it was by no means certain that all the EDL would go to Westminster and there was talk on the internet of some of them heading to Walthamstow anyway (apparently a grand total of two made it to Walthamstow!). Also it served a function in cementing alliances that have been made in opposition to the EDL.
However, the EDL are very good at bravado, so they made a lot of noise for a meagre showing and it felt dispiriting being in Westminster to oppose them. If a small fraction of those that went to Walthamstow or the Anarchist Bookfair had stopped by Westminster for an hour we could have comprehensively drowned them out and made them feel a little smaller and more insignificant. As it was, they got to shout their shouts, wave their flags, make some short speeches and retire to the pub mostly unopposed, with the added irony of a large anti-racist deaths in police custody demonstration just round the corner at Downing Street complete with SWP paper sellers selling copies with headlines calling on people to oppose the EDL in London (“they’re behind you!” I felt like shouting).
Perhaps it might have helped if an organisation had responded quickly to the change in location of the EDL demonstration and had announced a call-out for people to assemble at Westminster. However, of course, there was one organisation which did announce an official demonstration at Westminster – the EDL. You would have thought that that would be enough for anti-fascists. If the EDL have said they are going to be somewhere then we should try and be there too.
Some Objectivity Needed
It’s hard to get a very objective picture of the state of play between the EDL and the anti-fascist opposition because much of the analysis and opinion on both sides is designed for the other side to read and is essentially propaganda. In this brave new world of the internet and social media, both the EDL and the opposition are well aware that everything they say is in public and that many of the readers and posters on their blogs and forums will be trolls from the other side. Hence if there are failings on the anti-fascist side, no one much wants to discuss that publicly for fear of giving ammunition to the EDL. I’m sure the same is true on the nationalist side. So then on both sides you get a culture of bigging yourself up and mocking and denigrating the opposition, no matter what you do or what they do. Regardless of whether the EDL get a good turn out or a poor one, no matter whether they achieve their aims or not, often the commentary will be much the same – mocking them for being failures and hypocrites etc.
Some of the problems with this were made evident by online responses to Saturday’s demonstration. Some have been lambasting anarchists and anti-fascists for their failure to turn up to Westminster, to which has come the fairly reasonable response – “We’re constantly being told that the EDL are failures and are an irrelevant laughing stock. In which case why is it so important to get out to oppose them?”
Maybe we need to try and have a more objective look at the successes and failures of recent anti-fascism.
A Little Bit of History
The emergence of the EDL three years ago came like a bolt out of the blue and was a real wake up call for the left and anti-fascists. Prior to this there had not been any mass street mobilising of the far right for 20 years or more. The BNP had moved from street mobilising to an electoral strategy and was being opposed by the UAF and other anti-fascists on this ground. Anti-fascism had split into this sort of electoral politics on the one hand and on the other, the slightly underground world of AFA-style anti-fascism, where you had small closed groups of anti-fascists lurking round pubs looking for small groups of fascists, often where both sides were personally known to one another.
Both these forms of anti-fascism were inadequate for dealing with the emergence of the EDL, who were both ideologically different from the old far-right and also practically mobilised in different ways. They were confrontational and on the streets in numbers. Ideologically opposing them as people had been doing with the BNP was not effective, neither was having small semi-underground groups of militant anti-fascists when faced with hundreds or thousands of the far-right marching through city centres.
The left in general were caught on the hop and were very slow in catching up. It seemed for quite a long time that people were crossing their fingers hoping the EDL would prove to be a flash in the pan and burn themselves out quickly so that we would be spared the effort of having to confront them.
The emergence of the EDL marked the coming of the New Right to Britain. Across Europe this new form of far-right politics had emerged that ditched many of the symbols and preoccupations of the traditional far-right. Out went anti-semitism, in came support for Israel and counter-Jihad politics. Out went talk of race and in came talk of ‘culture’ and ‘values’ and even ‘anti-capitalism’ and opposition to globalisation. Out went the boots and braces skinhead look and in came a variety of different images from respectable suited politicians to the black bloc-style ‘autonomous nationalists’ of Germany. You had politicians like Geert Wilders presenting themselves as defending liberal Dutch cultural values against Islam. This shifting ground of the far-right had the potential to short-circuit traditional left responses and arguments against the right.
Luckily the EDL weren’t quite smart enough to pull it off and were hamstrung by their reliance on traditional racists to make up the numbers on their demos.
However, initially at least, this confusion over what exactly the EDL were added to the delayed response from the left. The right had innovated – politically in their language, technologically through the use of social media – and we were playing catch up.
You had the phenomenon of people shifting the goal posts and celebrating the fact that the EDL ‘only’ got 500 people for a march whereas two years before the idea of 500 overt racists marching through British city centres would have been inconceivable. You still have that phenomenon now – although we can all pat ourselves on the back about what low numbers the EDL managed on Saturday, that’s still 60 loud overt racists going mostly unopposed the centre of London.
Although it is traditional amongst anarchists to slag off the more mainstream left anti-fascist organisations such as UAF, Hope Not Hate, Love Music Hate Racism and all their various incarnations, it has to be said that this time round the UAF have been instrumental in regularly opposing the EDL wherever they go and in getting some numbers on the streets, where often anarchists and other non-aligned or autonomous anti-fascists have managed only small groups.
For a while the EDL were making all the running. There was a turning of the tide however and it seems to have come about through a number of factors…
What Turned the Tide?
Over the last year or so the EDL have notably declined, with Saturday’s ‘national’ demo probably marking the lowest point so far.
A combination of factors has led to this. Which seem to be, briefly: the EDL’s own splintering and internal acrimony; a change in the initially uncertain media coverage of the EDL to a fairly unanimous representation of them as racist thugs (with the possible exception of the Daily Star’s attempt to make itself the house paper of the EDL); ‘robust’ policing of EDL demos resulting in them being increasingly less fun to go on; and continuous and increasingly effective anti-fascist opposition.
To take these in turn…
For those who follow these things, there has been ongoing and increasing diet of tales of woe from within the EDL. Individual people and entire ‘divisions’ have been leaving in droves. Some of this was inherent in what allowed the EDL to expand so quickly seemingly out of nowhere in the first place. As an extremely loose organisation essentially focussed on a single issue and a single tactic, they could draw people in very quickly, who have then left again just as quickly when things started going in a direction they didn’t like.
Equally the attempts of the leadership to square the circle of keeping their core constituency of thugs, racists and nazis on board while also trying to deny their existence and to present themselves as merely ‘peacefully protesting against militant Islam’ has resulted in mass defections to the more overtly racist Infidels.
And as usual in the far-right, individual egos and arguments over money have also played their part. As the EDL has slowly become a Tommy Robinson personality cult, people who didn’t like this have marched off to found rival sects.
The change in media representation and public perception of the EDL has made a big difference to their fortunes. Initially people were not sure what to make of them and many people took their statements and public pronouncements at face value. There was a possibility at one time that they could have gathered much wider public support and sympathy.
Luckily, the EDL have been their own worst enemy in this respect and have unfailingly revealed themselves to be nasty bigoted racists. Again some of these problems were inherent from the outset – with an organisation that largely exists on internet forums controlling the ‘message’ was always going to be difficult.
The police have also gradually developed more strategies for dealing with the EDL and nowadays EDL marches and demonstrations are very restricted. This must also have played its part in their decline. A key attraction of the EDL demos of being able to gather together in large numbers, have a few drinks and go where you wanted, saying what you wanted has been largely curtailed. Travelling across the country to be frog-marched by hundreds of cops from a deserted car park 200 yards to another deserted car park, all the while inside a giant cordon or pen, before being hurriedly stuffed on to buses and packed off home must start to lessen the attraction of attending.
Some have claimed that the EDL are being used by the state. The traditional argument is that the state uses racism to divide and rule the working class, that racism serves the interests of the ruling class. While this may be generally true, in the specific case of the EDL I don’t see it. They have had fairly significant amounts of trouble from the cops and I certainly get the impression that the state doesn’t like them any much more than it likes anarchists or lefties.
From the anti-fascist point of view the key thing that changed was bringing back together the two sides of the split in anti-fascism. Having numbers out on the streets but also having those numbers committed to directly opposing the EDL – stopping them marching or haranguing them along the length of the route of their march. Previously any strategy of getting numbers out was tied to having a UAF ‘celebration of diversity’ rally or some such on the other side of town from where the EDL were. On the other side, any commitment to physically opposing the EDL was limited to small clandestine groups of militants. Bringing together the two sides of that equation, as has happened with more recent community mobilisations against the EDL (Bristol, Brighton, Tower Hamlets, Walthamstow), where you have had large, diverse crowds of people committed to filling the streets and stopping them marching has been a key factor in turning the tide of the EDL.
All these four factors have worked together and reinforced one another. For example, the policing of EDL demonstrations has become more restrictive for them partly because wherever they go they have been meeting counter demonstrations and protests. Also, the shift in public perception of the EDL has been aided by continuous anti-fascist opposition both physically and ideologically. All of these things have then put increasing pressure on the EDL, which has in turn been splintering and disintegrating as a result.
So the unfortunate truth is that although opposition has played an important part, anti-fascism cannot claim full credit for the decline in fortunes of the EDL and that this is probably as much a victory for their own crapness and for the state as for the massed ranks of anti-fascists.
It’s Bigger Than The EDL
The EDL calls itself a ‘grassroots social movement’ which might stick in the throat for those who normally associate these words with liberal or left politics, but is nevertheless more or less true. Following this thought I have sometimes found it helpful to compare the experience of the EDL to experiences of grassroots protest and activism familiar to people involved in anarchist or left politics.
Thinking about how it was that the EDL seemingly sprang out of nowhere, rapidly spread and circulated, why it is that it now seems to be in decline and what the future might hold, it seems useful to compare the experience of the EDL with other rapidly emerging, fast-circulating protest phenomena.
For example, the Reclaim the Streets movement in the late ’90s emerged very quickly, seeming to catch the zeitgeist, was copied very rapidly across the country and then across the world, expanded very rapidly and then went into decline.
Key to the growth and expansion of RTS street parties was the experience of being on the thing. This combined the opportunity for some fun, having a bit of a go at the cops, the chance for a bit of excitement, seeing all your mates, having a beer, being part of something a bit audacious, and seemingly being able to go where you wanted and do what you wanted and to get away with things you couldn’t normally get away with.
This has many similarities with EDL demonstrations I think. When they have attracted large numbers I think it has been for many of the same basic reasons, although the politics are entirely different of course.
People want to be on the winning side and to be part of things that feel successful. In their heyday, RTS events were seeming to build success upon success. You didn’t want to miss the next RTS event because you might be missing the best thing ever. RTS had somehow managed to create a virtuous circle and had created a buzz around their events – everyone was talking about them, asking when the next one was going to be…
Again, this has similarities with the EDL I think – at their height, the success of each large demo fuelled the success of the next.
The virtuous cycle of RTS events ended (in London anyway) with the Mayday event of 2000 which spawned the Maydays of 2001, 2002 etc. – each one promoted more and more as a riot, turning out less and less people and attracting more and more aggressive policing. Then a virtuous circle turned to a vicious circle as heavy policing lead to people staying away and it being less fun – the events started to be perceived as a probable arrest or a long kettling.
The idea of ‘moments of excess’ applies to the far-right as well as to the left. RTS brought a whole load of people into contact with politics, politicising a whole generation and gave them some really formative experiences that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately I think a similar thing may be true of the EDL – even if they disappear now, their malign legacy will continue.
So the positive thing we can take from this analogy…
People were aware that one key way to fight the EDL was to make the experience of coming on the demonstrations dispiriting, boring and not fun – making them feel like a failure. Getting the spiral to flip the other way so that the less people come the worse the demos are and then even less people come next time. Having seen things work in this way with anarchist and left mobilisations, it’s applying the same thing in reverse. Through the combination of factors outlined above, this now seems to have happened.
And the slightly less happy truths we need to face also revealed by the analogy…
The EDL didn’t come out of nowhere – they emerged out of a much wider culture of Islamophobic, anti-immigrant racism sweeping Europe that is still there and that has been reinforced by the existence of the EDL.
In fighting the EDL and physically getting out there on the streets to put forward an anti-racist message we are fighting that whole culture of racism that has grown up and in some ways it’s a good thing that this media/ideological culture took physical form and manifested itself in the EDL to allow us to physically oppose it. It is easier in some ways than opposing that which surrounds us everyday.
Although harder to oppose, that whole culture is still there and needs opposing even if the EDL disappeared tomorrow. It is necessary to oppose this cultural background racism lest we wait until it spawns another proto-fascist monster like the EDL (and also because, as has been pointed out, it is actually more deadly than the EDL, for all their bluster – the EDL just talk about blowing up muslims, the British government actually does it).
Secondly, like RTS, through the EDL, thousands upon thousands of people have had this really formative, life-changing experience which they will not easily forget. Those people are all still out there – they haven’t gone away just because EDL demos stop being fun and successful feeling for them. And the unfortunate fact is that as I’m sure we know from our own experiences, for every 100 people who come on a demo there are probably hundreds more who would support it but not come on the demo. So there’s a lot of racists out there.
The EDL could turn its fortunes around – they could resurrect themselves. Pull off a success that turns their vicious circle of decline back around. Or there are all these splinter groups – one of them could take on the mantle of the EDL, perhaps a little smarter and less prone to self-destruction.
So to draw some brief conclusions from all of this…
We should beware of declaring victory too soon or of resting on our laurels (especially when they have not really all been won through our own efforts). We don’t want to have to rely on the inherent rubbishness of the far-right or on the cops to stop the nazis for us. If a smarter far-right emerges or elements of the state decide they have an interest in promoting them we would be in a very different situation.
Right now we need to…
Respond quicker to where the EDL say they’re going to be.
Make definitely sure that they can’t bounce back and resurrect themselves – all they would need would be one perceived ‘success’ and it could turn things around for them.
Ensure that we are not subsisting only on propaganda – it’s OK to mock the EDL but we also need to explain why they are a serious threat too.
Have unity with the UAF and other left anti-fascist organisations if possible, but equally we can’t rely on left groups to do all the big overt public organising so that anarchists and autonomous anti-fascists can then tail-end and lurk around the fringes of their mobilisations. We need to get stuck into mass public mobilising too.
And even if the EDL now disappear or become insignificant…
We need to remember the lessons learnt from this struggle against the EDL. We need to try and keep the memory of what worked and why.
Ideally we need to be quicker to respond to new threats and to try and maintain what level of anti-fascist organisation that has been achieved, as to counter the threat of the EDL we had to start almost from square one, reinventing the wheel as there was a very limited existing anti-fascist movement.
We can expect future far-right phenomena to spring up fast and circulate quickly using social media – we will have to respond quickly.
We need to try and fight the whole culture of Islamophobia and racism that spawned the EDL.
Although there are sometimes things to mock, far from being a joke, this phenomenon of the EDL, which is hopefully now dying a death, has been one of the most frightening and worrying developments in this country for many years. Equally worth remembering is that some of the victories against them have been amongst the most inspiring and invigorating mass community mobilisations we have seen in this country for a long time.
“The most important thing with anti-fascism is to show up. There are a thousand excuses we could give to other people and ourselves, so I believe the hardest part of anti-fascism is getting out of bed.“ – K. Bullstreet
March for England morons plan yet another city centre St George’s day outing. Brighton plans another warm welcome.
Ever get the impression that some folk just can’t take a hint? Well it look as if the rhino skinned racists March for England (also known as the Toytown English Defence League) are heading back for another go at tarnishing the streets of the City-by-the Sea.
Despite having been comprehensively run out of town twice last year – on their annual St Georges day outing and then again on their June 4th revenge mission – they’re determined to put us all to the inconvenience of once more having to jeer at them/ block the roads with our bodies/ throw bottles/ set fire to bins in the street* on a Sunday.
This time round there’s no pretence that April 21st will be anything other an attempt to force unwanted and very un-Brightonian opinions down our collective throat. This isn’t a celebration, it’s a threat.
After they left town following this April’s humiliation , the March for England took to issuing idle online threats about bringing ‘a full EDL demo’ down to Brighton. Now that a national EDL demo is actually smaller than the turn out for MfE in its heyday (i.e under 200) we can safely take that as a hollow threat.
Across the country the English Defence League are in a steep nose-dive, but March for England supremo ‘Pompey’ Dave Smeeton clearly hopes to step into EDL Fuhrer Tommy Robinson’s recently vacated jackboots. Can the March for England take over where the EDL left off?
RM spoke to Stop MfE , the group behind last years successful counter-mobilisation ,“Brighton was a significant turning point for anti-fascism in the UK – we showed that a community united could drown out the message of hate. Others have followed suit and now the EDL are in decline”
See you on the streets!!
For more see those stalwart warriors at Brighton Anti-Fascists
*Delete according to personal preference or political inclination.
Yet another brilliant write-up about Satruday’s events in Brighton by Schnews crew. Enjoy:)
Brighton – June 2nd
“You asked for it”– “you sowed the wind, now you’ll reap the whirlwind” , “no women and kids this time” “We are coming back to Brighton IN NUMBERS and you dirty lefty child abusing cunts will be dealt with” – These were just a handful of the online threats made by EDL supporters in the wake of the humiliation of EDL splinter group March for England on April 22nd.
The EDL’s football hooligan division, Casuals United, had been boasting on their blog that they would be returning to Brighton in numbers and strength to take revenge on local people. Six weeks previously, hundreds of locals stood side by side against right wing racists who had tried, and failed, to parade around the city under the banner of ‘March for England’.
Weirdly, Casuals United named 2nd June the day for their action, but decided to keep the details quiet. They were obviously caught between the stools of either keeping the whole thing completely offline and having tiny numbers or advertising it and having to deal with police and anti-fascists. In the end they plumped for calling the whole thing a ‘social’, as if coming to Brighton, the South Coast’s biggest tourist town, and buying a pint while in disguise was an achievement of some sort.
Brighton anti-fascists decided against an extensive counter-mobilisation on the grounds that the Casuals weren’t going to pull the numbers and a big call out would simply be crying wolf on their behalf.
Nonetheless on the Saturday around a hundred anti-fascist activists assembled in Brighton’s main shopping area, Churchill Square. This was to support the Brighton Uncut Great Brighton Street Party and the regular Palestine Solidarity campaign stall. They anticipated the arrival of some kind of flash mob as the fash gathered in Hove and around Palace Pier. (Well, most of them – two were nicked at Hove train station for cocaine possession). However all we saw were EDL spotters, at least two using their wives as cover. Police numbers were huge so the spotters were just politely encouraged to fuck off.
By 3pm the stalls and street party were winding down – co-incidentally this was exactly as we received reports that the fash had stopped skulking in pubs and in an astounding display of both Dutch and Colombian courage had sallied out of the pubs into Kemptown* to throw bangers around and make homophobic remarks. It was presumably at this point that well-known local EDLer Stephen ‘Sugar Plum Fairy’ Sands got nicked for letting off fireworks – something we all no doubt enjoyed when we were fourteen but possibly a little immature at 44.
*the thriving heart of Brighton’s gay community™
In response anti-fascists set off for an impromptu march down North Street, towards Kemptown behind a large ‘NO FASCISM’ banner. After dealing with a police roadblock and attempted kettle most of the anti-fascist crowd made it down to the Old Steine where the first face-to-face confrontations with the Casuals occurred. Mostly due to the numbers of cops these were confined to slanging matches but there was at least one exchange of blows. There were skirmishes along Old Steine and in Pool Valley bus depot. Anti-fascists were arrested and four were held for public order offences and one (ridiculously) for assault of a police officer.
The whole time this was happening more local people joined the mobile protests. Brighton Anti-fascists distributed a leaflet to explain their actions:
“Fascism grows if we let it. We are here to challenge the racism, Islamophobia and fascism of the EDL, Casuals United and the March for England. This has no place in our city or anywhere else.”
By 4pm police rounded up the majority of the Casuals, (around 35 of them) and marched them to the station where they were forcibly placed on a train and dispersed out of town. They were harangued by anti-fascists the whole way. A few more were arrested at this point for ‘racist chanting’. By the end of the day the fash had taken thirteen arrests meaning that even if we take their inflated estimate of a turn-out 100 at face value then one in seven of them were nicked. The spread of towns they came from means that this really was an attempt at a national mobilisation… oh dear.
In an effort to save face Casuals United have said that the vast majority of their supporters stayed hidden and undercover – moving around in small groups. Unfortunately for them, travelling to the City-by the Sea with all their racist and homophobic baggage meant that they did, in the end, reveal their true colours.
CASUAL ATTITUDE TO THE TRUTH
For those disappointed by the end of this year’s season of Game of Thrones there’s always the mystifying fantasy world of Suzy from Casuals United.
Their fantastic account of the weekend started with spotting “loads of UAF” up at the train station.
Actually there was no demo so we’re guessing that some of the idiots just ran into the crowd heading up to the Fatboy Slim effort at the football stadium and jumped to conclusions.
In the morning they came across “some unwashed anarchist scum on the beach in sleeping bags”..ermm do you mean homeless people? So much for the Soldiers off the Streets campaign.
Later, despite “not seeing a Commie all day” the Casuals apparently beat loads of us up.
“Ten people were arrested during these scuffles, mostly ours as several Anarchists were knocked out. A lot of ours then went to the police station to make sure those arrested were ok.”
In boring mundane reality no-one from either side was ‘knocked-out’. Even more hilariously not a single EDL supporter went to Hollingbury police station where their arrestees were being held (as Milton Keynes EDL member Darell Hobson found when he was released).
In the last analysis Suzy is still defiantly pretending that there were hordes of undercover Casuals in town but rather gives herself away with the last sentence “I know some people had genuine reasons not to turn up, but some people said they were going, didnt say they werent and didnt turn up. They should be ashamed and next time they say anything it will be treated as the shit it is.” Temper, temper dear.
The fascists present in Brighton on 2nd June will of course know that this is BS of the highest order and will perhaps begin to lose faith in their organisations and then hopefully, their politics.
This article is too good no to re-post it 🙂 Real cynical face of EDL fully exposed by EDL news.
By Gary Fieness Hastings and Simon Ireland:
The English Defence League, with their insistence that they have the welfare of children at heart have taken a major knock this week after EDL leader Tommy Robinson’s sleazy advances were rebuffed by a 15 year old schoolgirl on Twitter …he then went on to subject her to a torrent of racist abuse.
As you would come to expect, Robinson refused to apologise to the girl, despite her stating she was open to an apology.
Earlier this week we brought you news that yet another EDL child sex offender has been outed.
Child sex-offender Matthew Woodward was found guilty of possessing child porn pictures and trying to groom a fifteen year old girl into taking pornograhic photographs.
Later in the week it was found that, as well as being an English Defence League member, he was also a Divisional leader of the Combined Ex Forces, a splinter group of the EDL with neo Nazi connections.
So far the EDL have kept silent about thi,s and refused to comment, much like the several other members of their organisation we have revealed as being involved in child abuse over the last two years. We find this rather strange, considering that they are holding a protest against Asians abusing children in Rochdale later this month.
Things have taken a further sinister twist this week as we reveal how English Defence League members have been taking photos of young girls from the Internet and using photoshop to turn them into images to promote race hate and violence.
A photographer has come forward and shown disgust at the far right group for using his images. It seems the little girl in question was the daughter of a family friend. This is the second time the photographer has asked the Blackburn Division to remove the image and so far they have failed to do so.
Two weeks ago, we asked Blackburn Division leader and convicted criminal, Bernard Holmes, if he had any intention of removing the photograph but received no response. Holmes has recently been released from prison for an attack on a Asian European MEP’s house and has previously served time for an unprovoked attack on a man outside a nightclub, leaving him with lifelong brain damage.
English Defence League Blackburn Division have had this image of a little girl along accompanied captions which blatently sexualize this picture of innocence for three weeks now.
This is not the only one we can reveal, the EDL have taken an image from the Internet and claimed it was a little girl hit by a bottle during their recent far right march in Brighton. As you will see, this is another instance of the EDL stealing pictures of young girls from the Internet and using the girls to propagate race hate and violence. It seems that girls under six years of age are fair game to use as propaganda for their race hate war.
The photographer and family friend of the little girl, took to the Blackburn Division’s Facebook wall today to request the removal again, asking why they would use the girl’s face for their mission, without the girl or her family getting any say in it.
Ever since a six year old was invited to speak at an EDL demo in Dudley a distasteful, nay sick. pattern has emerged within far right circles in this country, in which unapologetic use of child imagery has been promoted by the far right, most notably within EDL circles, with increasing regularity and equal prominance. This is a move that we should be both cautious and conscious about, but at the same time quick to condemn.
As if the Dudley incident wasn’t in poor taste enough, the use of that angle in the mystery surrounding the case of missing teenager Charlene Downes took the prominance of such behaviour to new heights of poor taste and bordering on exploitation.
Following the March For England (MfE) demonstration in Brighton in April, a thinly veiled front for an EDL presence on the South Coast, no disguise was made of this exploitation which has become centred on an alleged attack on what the EDL are referring to as a ‘Family Day Event For Patriots’ [sic].
It’s perhaps at this point that we should acknowledge that although the origins of MfE were at one time just that. Indeed the Gurkhas and Scouts have been involved on this march in the past, however, it has been hijacked unashamedly by the EDL who have gone to melodramatic lengths in their denial of this. It is of the upmost importance that we recognise the distinction between past MfE’s and the marches of 2011 and 2012.
The EDL under the guise of MfE have centred on an alleged attack on a 10 year old child at this years event. As there is a current investigation by Brighton Police we can neither comment or speculate upon that matter. It is in the hands of Law enforcement and the Police should be left free to conduct their investigation uninhibited by rumour and hearsay surrounding it.
However we feel that we should question the EDL and its supporters alleged propoganda surrounding the doctored images they are currently using to whip up an emotional response from the public and we would like to draw your attention to not one, but two, attempts to exploit children to promote the EDL’s cause :
The real image has come from an epilepsy site in the USA
The ethics of this behaviour are clearly questionable and the originator of the image makes no apology for its ‘creation’ and promotion. Chris Howard using his facebook admin name Laughing at the Muslim Defence League 2, gloats about creating the image.
Above: Chris Howard – originator of the ‘Brighton girl’ photo.
This is a man who makes no disguise of admiration of a former Balkan dictator responsible for the deaths of women and children
Click here for screenshot
And we have this screenshot.
It should also be noted that he also makes no disguise of his admiration of mass child murderer, Anders Breviek who is currently on trial for the murder of children.
Click here for screenshot.
What is inexplicable in light of the above, is the willingness of the EDL and its supporters to promote the use of child exploitation even further by it’s blatant use of the latest image to be circulated. Even the quite-rightly outraged demands of the father, of the latest child are ignored by the EDL in its drive to provoke an inciteful and emotive reaction.
Something that has also been clear to see this week, is EDL promoting their forthcoming Rochdale demonstration against Asian child abusers, but seemingly having no interest in addressing the abuse of children amongst their own ranks. Furthermore, there has not been one directive from leadership to stop using images of young girls to promote their racist agenda. To us, the blantant use of their images is abuse of the young girls who they have decided to drag into their seedy race hate campaign.
EDL News are happy to co-operate with any of the family of the victims or any criminal investigations that results from our article.
Thanks to Tony Dunn and Andrew Preview’s cat.